Manufactured homes are mobile homes or trailers. They can be more easily transported as-is to a new location should the owner wish to move. Modular homes are constructed in factories and then transported in parts (or modules) to the building site. They are considered generally indistinguishable from homes built on site.
Manufactured homes are constructed in parts in factories and transported to site on their own wheels, which are never removed. Because manufactured homes are not customizable, buyers can select from a range and receive their house within days.
Modular homes are constructed in factories under controlled conditions. The parts are then transported on flatbed trucks and assembled using cranes. They are highly customizable to the buyer’s needs and generally take 8 to 14 weeks to construct.
This video talks about the construction differences between manufactured and mobile homes:
Manufactured homes can be single section – aka made of a single unit – or multi-section. Multi-section homes must be towed separately and joined together at any new living site.
Manufactured homes are smaller than modular homes, as they are built on a chassis and are transportable. The average size of a new manufacturer home in 2010 was 1515 square feet.
Modular homes are typically the same size as site-built homes.
On average, a manufactured home cost $62,800 in 2010, or $41.45 per square foot.
A modular home typically costs the same as a traditional site-built house, with cost varying depending on size and location.
Standards and Codes
Manufactured homes are built to meet the Manufactured Home Construction and Safety Standards (HUD Code). They must display a red certification label on the outside of every transportable section. This code requires them to be built on a permanent chassis.
Modular homes are built to the same building codes are regular, site-built homes.
Manufactured homes are mobile, as they do not have a permanent foundation. Instead, they have a steel chassis which is never removed.
Once a modular home has been assembled, it is no longer moveable.
Modular homes are considered more durable than most other homes, as they are designed to survive transport and must meet stringent quality checks. A study by FEMA found that more modular homes survived Hurricane Andrew than other types of homes.
Pros and Cons
Manufactured homes are much cheaper than other types of homes and are easily transportable. They can be bought very quickly, but tend to be smaller than other types of homes and are less durable.
Modular homes are similar to site-built homes, except that they are quicker to build and considered more durable.