Prices of Modular Vs. Stick Built Homes

Comparison of Modular vs Stick Frame Homes

Building a new home is an expensive undertaking. It isn't just the cost of materials and labor that drive the cost upward, it's "soft costs" such as the cost to finance the construction project: closing costs, monthly interest, permits and water and sewer tap fees. Take a closer look at "system built" homes if you want to save money. When you compare a finished home, you will find that the "stick built" home as compared to a "system" constructed home will cost more. You will find the "system built" (modular built) home to be of higher quality.

Factory (Modular) Building

Factory (modular) building is a method of building a home that is faster, more efficient, and cost effective. Since Hurricane Katrina hit Louisiana and Alabama, "system" home building has increased in popularity and use. This type of building is the construction of one wall at a time, and is done in a factory. The walls are then boxed and sent by common carrier to the job site.

How Modular Building Works

System (modular) building takes place inside a climate controlled environment which means there are no slow downs due to weather. This fact alone is money saving in that the walls are prebuilt in a fast and efficient manner. This construction is done under strict supervision of engineers using the newest technology. Each wall is a structural insulated panel using stronger materials (2X6's rather than 2X4's) with 30 percent more insulation than in the batting that is used in site-framed homes. Since building the walls is all they do, there is no waste or mistakes. The orders are in and out fast, and once constructed onsite, the building process moves faster than for a site-built home.

Stick Frame Building

Framing for most site-built homes is done with 2X4's, and generally, the homes are good quality. It is common for warped wood to be used inside homes, since the materials tend to sit in the weather prior to use. This warp creates a curve inside the walls, and this creates cold spots where air can leak in. This is not energy efficient and will cost you more to heat and cool the home. The framing process is slow, and can come to a complete halt in inclement weather. Until the home is completely "dried in," (framing completed, outside insulation board and sheathing installed, windows set and the roof is complete), there may be days where no work can be done on the home, yet the construction interest clock keeps on ticking.

Cost Comparisons

Costs per square foot to build stick framed homes will vary greatly depending on the state it is located in, total costs associated with all the soft costs as well as labor and the grade of materials used. You can expect to pay at least $100 or more per square foot, so a 2000 square foot home could well cost you more than $200,000. This does not include the cost of land. Compare this to "system built" construction, which is about 20 percent less, which means your system built home for the same square footage would cost you about $160,000 to produce. The reasons for this cost reduction is numerous. National modular building factories buy lumber and all materials used in bulk, so the cost per unit is less.

But What About Styles?

Modular buildings are not premade in a kit nor are they delivered to your site in two box shaped half units. These homes can be anything that is stick built, including all of those two story styles with any exterior. If you see a completed home that was constructed of structural insulated panels, you wouldn't know that it wasn't a site-built home.