Stick Built Vs. Modular

Stick Built Vs. Modular

If you’re planning to build a new home, there are many decisions to be made.

One of the first of many exciting decisions is whether you want to construct a stick built home or a modular one.

Stick built homes have all the appeal of tradition behind them. But on the other hand, modular homes can seem like a good alternative if you’re limited on funds and/or time.

Which of these is the best choice for you?

Here are some considerations if you’re trying to decide whether to construct a stick built home or a modular.

What’s the Difference?

A stick built home is different from a modular in one essential way: the construction process. This type of home is constructed directly on-site from the ground up. The term most likely came from early construction methods in which builders created the house one board at a time, “stick by stick”.

While modern methods are not quite so laborious, and other locally sourced materials besides wood are now used, the old-fashioned name remains.

In contrast, modular homes are built assembly-style in a location off-site. Once shipped, these homes can be quickly assembled on the property.

We think of modular homes as new, but people have been buying them since the early 1900s. During the Industrial Revolution, manufacturers learned that almost anything could be quickly and cheaply made via the assembly line method, so they applied this method to home construction.

Modular home construction really took hold immediately after World War II when it became necessary to house lots of returning veterans and their families quickly and inexpensively, and it remains popular today.

More About Modular Homes

Modular homes have come a long way since the early twentieth century when Sears Roebuck sold hundreds of thousands of premade houses to its customers. These days, modular homes come with lots of features that they didn’t have before.

Rather than simply ordering a prefab house that looks just like all the others from an assembly line, you can now order based on personal preferences around size, style, floor plan and materials. The companies that produce modular homes have learned to construct them so that they appear natural and very similar to traditional stick-built homes. With a good-quality modular home, you might not even be able to tell that it’s a modular.

However, even the best modular homes differ from stick-built homes in several specific ways which are important to consider.


When a builder works for you to construct a stick-built home, they are working directly to help you with the entire process. The house is built with your future in mind.

Builders, designers and architects work as a team to ensure you get a home that meets your needs for the long-term. They will actively research the best technology on the market to bring you materials and features that will last for generations to come. Windows and doors can be carefully constructed to save energy, if that is a concern.

Other items such as light fixtures and insulation are chosen using best current practice, guaranteed to last.

With the mass production methods used in the construction of modular homes, the same degree of care and authenticity is not possible. Generally, the nature of this production method makes it more difficult for construction companies to implement best practice and fresh building trends.

However, it’s comforting to keep in mind that modular construction companies are required to bring homes up to code in the same way as traditional builders. So you can always count on certain basic standards regarding the quality of things like the roof and the HVAC and electrical system with either kind of home.


With any real estate purchase, we want to know that it will be a good investment for the future. When purchasing a home, most of us do so with the expectation that we can eventually sell the home for more than we paid.

Even with some slight economic ups and downs, real estate has (for the most part) remained a solid investment. This is true whether you purchase a stick-built home or a modular. Both types of home will (in most cases) appreciate in value over the years.

It’s important to keep in mind that not all stick-built homes or modular homes are created equal. Things like location and beautiful surroundings will impact the overall value of the home.


In general, modular homes are a low-cost alternative to stick-built homes. That’s because modulars are quicker to construct and assemble, with many of the pieces already pre-made and then shipped out in bulk. However, the difference in cost is not so clear-cut as it might appear.

You will want to carefully research shipping costs to make sure these don’t wipe out any apparent savings. If the materials have to be shipped from a long distance, these costs can drive up your overall expense.

Also keep in mind that stick-built homes generally require less ongoing maintenance and support than modular homes. This is at least partly due to a high degree of quality control and accountability in the on-site building process, which means that stick-built homes often have better structural integrity.


One of the most exciting aspects of building your own home is the opportunity to make it exactly the way you want. You have freedom to create your very own dream home. You control every detail, from accessibility features to the floor plan to the number of bathrooms.

Modular homes now offer many more options for customization than they have in the past. But because of the way they are made, these options are still limited.

If you have a list of specific needs and wants for your home, and a detailed vision in mind, a modular might not accommodate these. In this case, you might be better off to go back to basics and choose a stick-built home.

There are advantages and disadvantages to every kind of home. With some careful reflection, the end of the building process will find you living in the home of your dreams.

Comments are closed.