Built indoors, these homes come together quickly, and often with fewer problems than homes built on-site. Take a look.
Prefab and modular houses are two sides of the same coin. Prefab houses refer to kits made of factory-built parts, which are assembled on-site by trained builders. Modular homes come as pre-assembled sections that are brought to you via truck and lifted into place with a crane. The house pictured here was built using SIPS — structurally insulated panels formed by sandwiching high-density insulation between two layers of particle board.
10 Surprisingly Gorgeous Prefab and Modular HomesA Twist on Tradition
Classic architectural style camouflages the fact this modular house comes straight from a factory. The final price of a modular home depends on what options you choose for siding, roofing, flooring, kitchen cabinets, appliances, bath fixtures, and other amenities. Expect to pay about the same for a prefab as for a similar house built using traditional on-site framing methods. The advantage is that modular homes are factory-built to much tighter tolerances, and there are no construction delays due to weather.
10 Surprisingly Gorgeous Prefab and Modular HomesPrefabulous Designs
Energy efficiency is often baked right in to prefabs. Besides having a tight envelope, this home was sited close to the property’s north end to maximize winter sun on the windowed south. The patio trellis gives some shade in summer, but also allows sun free rein in winter. Note that the stairs face the windows, carrying light aloft and keeping electricity bills down.
10 Surprisingly Gorgeous Prefab and Modular HomesA View of Housing’s Future?
Custom-designed prefab houses can cost up to $200 per square foot of finished space. For a typical 2,500-sq.-ft. house, that would include more than $50,000 for site work, foundation installation, transporting the modular sections to the building site, permits, and the cost of a crane to lift the sections onto the foundation. Most modular house builders include design services, engineering, project management, and installation of all finishes in the per-square-foot cost of the house.
10 Surprisingly Gorgeous Prefab and Modular HomesThe Greener Side of Prefab
Some manufacturers of modular homes pride themselves on using eco-friendly construction techniques and materials, such as certified wood from sustainably managed forests, recycled steel, and energy-efficient appliances. Order the Breezehouse model shown here with optional solar panels that help lower energy costs.
10 Surprisingly Gorgeous Prefab and Modular HomesAmerican Icon, Prefabbed
Even that dream of Americana — the log cabin — comes in prefab versions. Built in a factory setting, the prefab log home is then disassembled and shipped to the building site, where it’s put back together by builders familiar with log construction techniques. Prefab log homes are complete with factory installed systems for plumbing, wiring, insulation, and HVAC. A prefab log home maker can produce 15 homes per week.
10 Surprisingly Gorgeous Prefab and Modular HomesPeople Who Live in Grass Houses ...
Considered to be as strong as steel, mature bamboo can be used for structural framing members. The prefab house shown was built using bamboo that’s more than 3 inches thick and certified by the International Code Council for use in residential construction. Amazingly, bamboo is actually a species of grass; when harvested, it grows back quickly, making it a sustainable building material.
10 Surprisingly Gorgeous Prefab and Modular HomesTry to Contain Yourself
Giving new meaning to the idea of a mobile home, this unique modular house is built with MODs — modified shipping containers. These rectangular boxes, 20 to 40 feet long, are made from corrugated steel, available for $2,500-$5,000 in used condition. Several entrepreneurial designers use these low-cost containers as building blocks for house designs, although your zoning laws may not accept them — be sure to check. Good news: Your refrigerator magnets will stick anywhere.
10 Surprisingly Gorgeous Prefab and Modular HomesDoes Your House Stack Up?
Made from synthetic composite panels with an insulating foam core, the Spacebox is a stackable living quarters cube that makes an ideal apartment complex, or a backyard guest house and studio. Each 20-by-12-foot module includes a bathroom, kitchen, and living area. The polyester outer skin can be ordered in any home color.
Image: Mart de Jong, Design Office De Vijf, Den Haag (NL)
10 Surprisingly Gorgeous Prefab and Modular HomesThe Original Prefab
In the early 20th century, Sears, Roebuck & Co. offered complete kit homes that could be ordered through their catalog. The pieces arrived stacked on a railroad flatcar. Sears sold about 75,000 kit houses from 1904 to 1940, many of which are still standing, such as this classic example in Cincinnati. Today, the prefab industry sells about 250,000 houses per year. If you buy a prefab that’s made in another region, make sure it meets all local building codes and zoning restrictions.
Image: Liz Foreman for HouseLogic
10 Surprisingly Gorgeous Prefab and Modular HomesN/A