Prefab homes have changed dramatically since the ones Sears used to sell through their catalog. The new generation of architect and home buyer has sparked a movement in the prefab industry based on spirit and imagination. As a result a variety of modern modular homes that challenge all previous ideas of prefab homes has been born. Those uninteresting boxes have been transformed to gorgeous and affordable homes that can be customized to the level of uniqueness you want.
The term "Prefab House" can mean a variety of different building styles. In general prefabs are built in one location and shipped to a building site to be assembled. Types of prefab homes include, modular, panelized or precut, and manufactured or mobile. Each of these homes is made in a factory so the measurements are very accurate thus ensuring each house is sealed tightly to save energy and save the homeowner a lot of money every year. The majority of modern prefab houses meets or exceeds the U.S. government's Energy Star standard. What this means is they use at least 20% less energy than regular new homes.
Modern customers demand aesthetic creativity and customization. This has been fueled by the advances in prefab building technology. Recognizing this phenomenon companies are exploring such designs as; solarized floating homes, cliffhanger homes, sloping hillside homes, suspended homes, prefab igloos, and pod houses.
When it comes to owner input in the actual assembly of a prefab house panelized or precut are the most DYI'er friendly.
Panelized homes are assembled much like yourself furniture. Each panel is pre-built with framing, insulation, drywall, and siding. The walls include tubes for electrical wiring and plumbing to easily be installed at the home-site. The panels are engineered to be precisely fitted. The panels are built at the factory on an assembly line and then stacked on a flatbed trailer for delivery to the home-site. At the home site the floor panels are lifted into place on the foundation with the use of a crane. After the floor is assembled the walls are put in place and bolted together as well as attached to the floor. Next the ceiling and roof are built. Within a week or two the entire house is built and ready for finishing. Often a prefab home can be set up in 2-4 weeks. There is no need for specialized contractors for most panelized and modular homes. Often a handy homeowner and a few savvy friends can get the job done.
Another style of prefab house that is DIY'er friendly is modular buildings. However, these type homes require a bit more knowledge.
Modular prefab homes are also built in a factory on an assembly line. They are built in complete functioning sections. After transport to the home-site the modules are lifted into place and affixed according to the manufacturer instructions. Except for the crane work any handyman should be able to do much of the assembly work.
From shipping container homes to pop-up architecture, modern prefabs definitely don't have to look like a double wide trailer. And they certainly are not the homes Sears sold through their catalog.