Building a new private home can be a complicated process before construction even begins. Property has to be purchased, the site surveyed, the designs drawn, and the plans given an engineer’s stamp of approval.
Serious disasters strike every year. Severe storms or earthquakes can knock entire neighborhoods flat, and wildfires will burn towns to the ground. Worrying about how your home would fare in a disaster is understandable. Some people look to build their own home to reassure themselves that it is sturdy enough to stand up to a catastrophe. Those looking to build a new home may look into prefab homes and, with the latest news in mind, wonder, “Are prefab homes durable?”
The answer? Yes. Still, the durability of a prefab home depends on the design, the materials, and the company that builds the modules. Often, homes are advertised as disaster-resistant, but whether or not a structure can be lived in afterward is debatable. However, there are prefab home builders who design their homes to do more than just survive natural disasters.
WHY PREFAB HOMES ARE DURABLE
Prefab homes are built in individual sections in an indoor environment before being shipped to the final building site for assembly. The controlled environment of a factory allows prefabricated homes to be built to a higher standard and with newer manufacturing techniques than is possible with most onsite builds. When comparing prefab homes to traditional building, modular homes have several benefits, including:
- Precision: Lumber can be cut more precisely using jigs and fitted with guides. Sheetrock and plywood can be cut by CNC machines. This reduces the amount of materials wasted, and components fit together more tightly.
- Joining: Individual pieces can be joined more securely in a factory environment. Critical wood framing pieces are pre-drilled and joined with screws, helping them hold better under stress.
- Control: The interior environment of a factory allows for greater control over every step of the build. The gluing or sealing of compounds isn’t interrupted or hurried by rain or snow and can dry properly
- Oversight: Every step of the building process takes place under the supervision of the designer and the general contractor, making it less likely that workers will misread plans, miscommunicate, or take shortcuts.
These seemingly small details have big implications for the durability of the finished home. A piece of wood framing that is slightly too short leaves room for movement during a seismic event or heavy winds. This movement can allow nails to loosen which compromises a home’s structure and its air-tight, energy envelope. A board that is too long can place surrounding boards under excess stress and unusual loads. Improperly applied seals or sealants can allow moisture and air flow to intrude, starting the decay of wood and weakening the building. The controlled factory environment can lead to a home with a level of fit, finish, and durability that far exceeds that of traditional building methods.
ARE PREFAB HOMES MORE DURABLE COMPARED TO TRADITIONAL AND MOBILE MANUFACTURED HOMES?
Doubts about the strength of prefab homes often come from confusing them with mobile manufactured homes. Mobile manufactured homes have their own laws and market segment, which affects their durability in the following ways:
- Mobile Platform: Mobile manufactured homes are rarely, if ever, permanently anchored to a foundation. Instead, they are built on lightweight steel framing or wood platforms on wheels. This leaves them vulnerable to being knocked over in high winds and motion during seismic events..
- Built Light: Mobile manufactured homes are built with thin, lighter weight framing and materials—keeping them easier to move at the cost of their long-term durability.
- Budget Builds: Fairly or not, mobile manufactured homes are thought of as budget alternatives to traditional homes with permanent foundations. The result is many manufactured homes aren’t engineered to last.
Traditional building methods may be considered more durable than mobile manufactured homes, but they have their own issues, including:
- Multiple Builders: Traditional stick-built homes aren’t completed by a single builder. Carpenters, plumbers, and electricians all work independently. This can hurt a home’s durability if the quality of each of the subcontractors varies, which may happen considering how many workers are used to complete a traditionally built home. .
- Hurried Construction: Subcontractors generally have several jobs at different sites at the same time. This can lead to them rushing to finish a job so they can move to the next one. Work can also be interrupted by rain or snow, causing the exposed wood to expand allowing in moisture before it can dry and contract, decreasing a home’s durability and air-tightness which opens the door to mold growth and home inefficiencies.
- Material Variance: Subcontractors often compete for jobs by offering the lowest price for the work, which can lead to them using the least expensive materials possible. These materials may not last as long as they should.
Prefab homes from Dvele, can be more durable than traditional homes because their component modules are manufactured to set standards in an indoor setting where every part of the build is tightly controlled. While mobile manufactured homes are technically a type of prefab home, they are a market segment of their own and have different standards for durability than either traditional or prefab homes. They should not be confused with quality prefabricated homes anchored to a foundation.
THE DURABILITY AND LIVABILITY OF PREFABRICATED HOMES
Companies that specialize in building prefabricated homes are usually begun by builders who started off constructing homes the traditional way. They became tired of the shortcuts and setbacks that compromise the quality of the final home. They chose to find a better way.
At a minimum, a prefab home must be able to withstand:
- Transportation and Assembly: Prefab home modules must be built strongly enough to make the journey from the factory to the construction site intact and be lifted into place with cranes. The modules must be able to shrug off processes that are usually reserved for steel shipping containers. When assembled, the module’s strength contributes to a reliable finished home.
- Quality Materials: The necessities of shipping and assembling a prefab home means that wall framing must be built with thicker dimensioned lumber such as 2x6 vs 2x4, sheeting and plywood applications must also be robust and their fit tight.
- Diverse Environments: A prefab home must be built to a standard that meets or exceeds codes wherever the owner wants to build it. It must meet wind loading codes in Florida, seismic codes in California, and the fire codes everywhere in between.
- Energy Efficiency: Quality prefab homes are built with an airtight envelope in a controlled factory environment. By building homes indoors, they are not subject to weather delays and other environmental hazards like moisture and mold. The homes also include wool fiber insulation which prevents air entering or leaving your house allowing your systems to more efficiently.
The end result is a high-designed prefabricated home that can be much more durable than stick-built homes, as they must meet or exceed the most stringent building codes in the country.
FINDING THE RIGHT PREFAB HOME BUILDING COMPANY
If you want a prefabricated home that’s designed to last, it’s critical that you find the right company, one that is bringing a new generation of living through technology, commitment, and persistence.
Dvele Homes is a high-design prefab home building company that is changing the way we live by offering contemporary designs, better insulation, and built-in support for sustainable living. Our modern prefab homes are built to exceed all code minimums and designed to not only survive an earthquake but to remain a functioning home afterward. Dvele answers the question, “Are prefab homes durable?” with a resounding “Yes.”
Dvele is dedicated to building high-end prefab homes that exceed building codes with superior day-to-day livability and unmatched durability. A Dvele module is built to provide a healthy, energy-efficient home for you and your family. Contact us to see how Dvele is helping homeowners live healthier lives and customize a home today.