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Modular homes

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My neighbor did one last year and it went smooth as silk. The house is stunning, and the price was right. I'm looking at a lot in an existing sub-division and thinking about my options.

 

Anyone have any recent experience/war stories relating to putting up a modular????

 

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Modular homes have gotten a bad reputation because years ago they were small and boxy and considered the "poor man's" choice . All this has changed.

 

I used to live in a high dollar neighborhood where all the old houses were being torn down and McMansions built in their place.

On one of the lots the builder put up a beautiful 2 story modular home. His crew had the thing put together in less than a week.

It looked just like all the other homes in the neighborhood and it sold for well over 1 million dollars

 

In many ways the construction of a modular home is far superior to a stick built home because the sections are built in a climate

controlled factory under ideal conditions using computer controlled machinery and highly skilled labor.

The materials are stored inside and there is no time lost due to weather.

 

If I ever built another house I would look at modulars first.

 

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I put together modulars for a few years. Like anything else, it depends on who does the work. The factories make a great product, just make sure the crew putting it together on site is good. Most of the modulars are built to order and you can have a lot of choices as to the interior. Most of the houses are built very well and insulated tightly. Some of these have a seperate humidity control system, like a forced hot air system, because they are so tight. I have put together simple two box ranches and complex six box, two floor designs. From what I remember, Oxford homes from Maine had a great product.

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I've built spec houses in both modular and stick frame flavors. Typically a modular costs fron 5 to 10 percent more than a comparable house that's been stick framed but obviously goes up much quicker. Most people add up the price of the lot, foundation, and house as delivered and come up with an attractive number that appears cheaper than stick framing. However, by the time you're done, you've spent money on finishing the roof, siding, drywall, and trim where the sections go together. You also have to connect the electrical and plumbing from each section.  I'm not putting down modulars, I've done them in the past when I needed a fast turnaround and they make fine houses. Other than the modest cost premium, the only other downside to a modular is that they don't lend themselves to changes after they've been delivered because each section has finished floors, wiring and plumbing that's already drywalled over. When I do a modular spec house I never put it up for sale until it's done to discourage potential buyers from making changes.  


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Modular homes are superior to stick frame homes in many ways. If you go modular use the modular home set crew and trucking. You will save a lot of headaches. When you talk to the modular sales person tell them you want to visit the factory. 


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One of the biggest problems I have encountered with mod homes is the foundation. This is a place where you can't cut corners. If it is not perfect the house will settle into all the sags and drops in the foundation.

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We owned a lot on The Chester River in Kent County,MD for many years.We looked at all kinds of construction options before choosing a modular.There was no way any of the builders we talked too could come close to matching the price on something comparable.Ours was an Apex Homes Inc. that was manf. in PA.The factory rep who covered our area made all the difference for us.He was able to get all the permits (being in The Chesapeake Bay Critical Zone was much more complicated),recommend subcontractors and was there for us anytime we had a question.After a few years have really no complaints with the quality of the homes construction.There are many advantages to a modular and some of the better ones are listed above.I think if you go with a reputable manf. and have a good local rep. to help with the process you would be hard pressed to get a better value.

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My son who lived in Sweden for a couple of years is very interested in this type of building.  The Swedish method seems very different from what is being done here in the USA.  He's now in Melbourne, AU, but I have this video he narrated, which you might find of interest.  I hope the link comes through.  I do know that he intends to go to a conference in Sweden again this March.  See what you think.



 



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ive worked in a couple.  not a big fan.  the ones i was in had absolutely no character at all.  big ugly square houses.  i didnt like the way the stairs were set up.  they were in the middle of the house and assended up in small 90* turns of about 10 stairs.  what a pain to get furniture up or down.  we were running the hvac in the house.  there was a chase in the middle next to the stair well that was just big enough for both ducts to fit w/o any wiggle room.  one duct also was insulated which adds bulk.  3 stories, 2 zone.  once your system is in there aint no getting to any of the dampers to open or close them b/c there is no room.  getting the old furnace/coil out isnt going to be fun either when it goes.  not sure of the manufacturer.



 



my friend bought a small bungalo by me and knocked it down a replaced with a mod.  he's got all sorts of problems with water leaking in when there is any sort of an onshore breeze along with rain.  it comes in the front door, the middle floors slider and the upstairs bedroom slider.  along with some windows.  the floor in the kitchen is buckled under the lenolium.  the bathroom on the middle floor has a copper feed to the toilet that froze the 1st winter b/c its ran on the outside wall in the corner of the building.  pipes in the basement were exposed and not properly insulated.  and the house settled and after only about 2-4 yrs the sheetrock looks like its in a 50 y/o house with all of the nail pops.  most of that isnt cause its a modular or not but the major issues are.  agian not sure of the manufacturer.



 



not trying to pursuade anyones choice just my .02 


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I worked for a contractor here on Long Island that does modular extensions and whole houses. His own house is modular and looks fantastic. They go together FAST. He only uses Apex. They have tight quality control and the contractor visits the factory every year. The wall framing is 2x6 and well insulated. The attic of most units I worked on had room to stand. They ship with almost everything in place except tile which is done locally on site.

 

They also pitched the fact that the lumber used is never exposed to the elements since it is built indoors so that cuts down on potential mold issues. I agree with others that it is difficult to make changes once assembled but that can be avoided with good planning.

 

Good Luck.

 

v.

 

 

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