Myths About Factory Built Homes

Click the myths below about factory built homes that are commonly spoken by those who wish them to be true.

Myth: Factory built homes are less superior in quality...

Myth Exposed: Regardless of whether we’re talking about factory built, panelized or modular homes, in-plant construction quality is invariably superior to what can be done on a job site. Parts cut with a hand saw or a hand-held power circular saw at a job site cannot possibly be as precise as those cut with a $10,000 radial arm saw or $100,000 component cutter in a factory. Factory fastening methods are also demonstrably superior because they use pneumatic tools, which drive fasteners to precise depths – no under-driving and no shiners. What’s more, factory inspections cover every construction detail from floor framing to final paint, and trained factory inspectors or independent third party inspectors perform more than one-dozen unannounced inspections per house. The best that can be hoped for at a job site is three or four announced inspections. These days, with so much construction going on, local inspectors don’t always have time to get there.

Myth: Factory built materials are not the best...

Myth Exposed: The quality modular home manufacturer does not use green lumber and protects all building materials from the weather; otherwise, materials would be too warped or bent to fit into their precise jigs for wall panels or trusses. In many on-site building locations either green lumber is still used or building materials are not protected from the weather; as a result, for decades the ultimate homeowner inherits problems after the building is finished.

Myth: Factory built homes are not as strong as stick built homes...

Myth Exposed: The modular unit uses the strongest of all construction methods based on the 2×6 platform framing system. Traditionally, modular units are over-built so they can be hauled on wheels over roads to get to the site and so that a crane can lift them off the wheels and place them on a foundation. Only modular construction is sturdy enough to withstand such forces which are the equivalent to that of a healthy earthquake.

Myth: Factory built homes are more difficult to finance...

Myth Exposed: Factory built homes are very easy to finance because they have a positive track record. When the homeowner wants, for instance, the Acme Plan 3A from a factory with some variations, chances are the local banker has seen it before and knows the value. Bankers also like the idea that factory built homes are well insulated which means the ultimate buyer won’t go broke paying utility bills. Bankers also like the simplicity of the construction process compared to on-site construction.

Myth: Factory built homes take longer to build...

Myth Exposed: From the time you place your order, even when the factory is hopping busy, you can get a two-module home delivered to your site in eight weeks or less and you can move into it within a few more weeks. From the time you place your order, the average site built home takes six to nine months to complete.

Myth: Factory built homes don’t appreciate in value the same as stick built homes...

Myth Exposed: Other things being equal (primarily location), factory built homes appreciate in value in lock step with site-built homes.

Myth: Factory built homes aren’t as safe as stick built homes...

Myth Exposed: Modular construction technology of glue-nailed sheathing and decking with redundant framing members makes a modular home a safe place to hang your hat if you live in earthquake or tornado country. Modular homes are built to survive nature’s onslaught. The frame work of today’s modular homes matches or exceeds site-built homes or panelized units because modular homes are engineered for safe use in each of the specific geographic region where they are sold. Modular homes may be the safest on the market because of the federal laws requiring smoke detectors, escape windows and incombustible materials around furnaces and kitchen ranges. Many site-built homes are constructed in areas where not even smoke detectors are required by local law.

Myth: Factory built homes don’t last as long as any other type fo construction...

Myth Exposed: There are endless examples of factory built homes that have been in continuous service for 50, 60 and 70 years. One example: the homes built by National Homes through the Midwest 50 years ago which originally sold for $7,000, $8,000 and $9,000 complete. These homes today are still in use; the major change has been that they have increased ten-fold in value.

Myth: Factory built homes look poor...

Myth Exposed: Over 90% of all panelized homes today are customized to meet the buyer’s needs. They look as good, and in many cases, better than anything that can be built on-site. Some manufacturers are producing spectacular mansions of over 10,000 sq. ft. Modular units are routinely stacked to resemble any type of architecture the buyer may want from a New England Salt Box to an Ante Belle mansion. Modular units can be finished with stucco walls, tile roofs, and exterior design features so that they become indistinguishable from on-site designs.

Myth: Factory built homes are not the wave of the future...

Myth Exposed: America is the nation that invented factory fabrication. When we buy a washing machine, a microwave oven, a VCR or a car, we don’t expect it to be dumped in parts in our backyard for us to assemble. We expect these products to come factory-made, factory inspected and ready for instant use. It is unlikely that the home building industry will cling to the idea of costly, error prone piece-by-piece fabrication of homes at job sites. For both economic and quality reasons, on-site home building can’t last; factory home building can’t miss.