What Is a Modular Home?

Light blue modular home with white shutters and a stone porch.

Have questions about modular homes? Check out this FAQ to see some commonly asked modular home questions!

What materials are used to build a modular home?

Two men work on the roof of a manufactured or modular home in a home building facility.

The very same materials that create a site built home are the materials that go into our high quality modular homes. Modular homes are built to state and local building codes, just like a site built home, so they must be made with materials that meet those standards.

For example, a modular home's foundation is made up of wood floor joists attached to a steel frame. We place OSB board on top of the frame, which is a commonly used type of subfloor underlayment. The underlayment is then sanded down so the floor covering placed on top will go on smoothly.

Before floor covering finishes off a home's floor, we cut out holes for plumbing and electric and then install PEX plumbing. Once we're ready to finish the floor, we have all sorts of floor covering options like vinyl, laminate and carpeting.

The exterior and interior walls of a modular home are built with wood frames and high quality insulation, just like a site built home. Insulation is installed and walls are built to your specific area's wind zone standards to ensure the home is built to appropriate levels of strength and durability and to withstand area appropriate weather conditions.

Even better, the interior and exterior walls will never see the potentially damaging effects of poor weather because the home is built entirely inside a climate controlled facility. After walls are placed and secured, we add drywall and begin to finish off the interiors while skilled craftsmen complete exterior finishes.

For the exterior, we use finishing options like vinyl siding, Cemplank® lap siding and board siding. Our roofing options include metal roofing and fiberglass shingles! You can choose different shutter colors and options as well for your exterior. Be sure to ask your home consultant about the different exterior options available for your new modular home.

How long does the modular home building process take?

Light blue modular home with a gray roof, white pillars and darker blue shutters.

When you order a new modular home, the process from the time of initial purchase to home delivery typically takes four to six weeks. However, because each modular home we build is unique, the build time for your home could take more or less time.

A home building facility may have a high amount of orders and may not be able to build your home as soon as your home consultant places the home order. Delays may also occur due to state and local government requirements because each home plan must be approved by either a state agency or state approved third party as meeting all local home building codes before the home is built.

The amazing thing about how Clayton Built® modular homes is how quickly the home is constructed in a home building facility. Depending on any upgrades you choose for your new modular home, it typically takes five to six days for the facility to build your new home! The facility build time can also vary by how large the home you've chosen is.

Once the modular home sections are built and arrive at the home site for placement, it generally requires about two weeks to place the home, set it up and install it. The final steps of the installation process include joining the sections of the home together and setting up utilities.

There may be installation delays or schedule changes due to weather, unexpected land preparation issues and availability of local contractors who may be hired to assist with properly setting up your new home.


How is a modular home built?

When a Clayton home builder receives a modular home order, their process is fairly similar to building a manufactured home with a few slight alterations.

The process starts with considering whether or not the home will be an on-frame or off-frame home, which means whether or not you will keep your new modular home on its metal frame once it is delivered to your home site. On-frame means the home will stay on the frame and off-frame means the home will be placed on an alternate foundation such as a basement or concrete slab.

The home builder will also construct the home according to different state and local codes. Home building codes vary by the home site location, but many states and local areas base their modular home building codes off of a system that is similar to site built home codes.

The flooring of your modular home begins with a moisture resistant vapor barrier on the home's steel frame. Following the moisture barrier, the home builder will put down insulation and then an OSB sub floor.

At the same time, the home's walls will be built in a different part of the home building facility. Once floor finishing, like laminate, carpeting, wood, tile or vinyl is put on the floor, the finished interior walls will begin being installed in the home.

As the interior walls come together in the home, cabinetry, bathtubs, toilets and showers will begin to be installed. After the interior walls have been placed, the home builder brings together and temporarily the modules at the different marriage lines.

Crane setting up double-wide modular home at a home site.

The home will stay temporarily connected while exterior walls and roofing are added to the appropriate sections. This ensures that the home's walls line up and the sections of your modular home fit together correctly before it arrives at your home site.

While the home is temporarily connected, exterior wrapping, windows and siding are put on.

The home's plumbing and electrical systems will be checked and the inside will be cleaned before your modular home gets a quality walk-through inspection to ensure the home is built to our quality, strength and durability standards.

Your home site will have been leveled, have had a septic system installed if you have one and have had a foundation created by the time the sections of your modular home arrive.

When your modular home arrives at the home site, it will either be placed on a foundation made for a home on a metal frame, or it will be lifted by a crane onto an off-frame foundation. Common off-frame foundations are poured concrete slabs, concrete blocks or basement foundations.

The home will then be securely installed and hooked up to sewage and utilities. Final items like appliances will be installed. Other finishing touches may include installing certain types of countertops, finishing tiling work, finishing floor work at the modules' marriage lines or putting in drywall around the marriage lines to create a seamless finish.

When set up and installation is complete, the home builders will do a final walk-through to make sure everything is level and properly installed and check for any details that may need attention.

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