Understanding Modular Home Construction

Understanding Modular Home Construction & Other Building Options

There are many types of alternative construction in the building world and all the terms can be confusing. Let’s break it down a bit here.

Modular Homes: Prefabricated sections constructed in a factory and assembled on-site to form a complete home. This approach is also referred to as “Volumetric Modular” meaning it is a 3D structure when leaving the production facility. 

Kit: Pre-built wall sections shipped to the site for assembly by the homeowner or contractor.

Container: Homes made from repurposed shipping containers, often modified and connected to create livable spaces.

3D Printing: Homes built using large-scale 3D printers that extrude concrete or other materials layer by layer to create the structure.

Earthships: Sustainable homes built using natural and recycled materials, designed to be off-grid and self-sufficient.

Mobile Homes: Factory-built homes constructed on a permanent chassis, designed to be movable and typically subject to different building codes than traditional homes.

rendering of a modular home construction for the mountains

Common Terms in the Modular Homes Industry

Working with the team at SmartPads, you will often hear us using these terms. 

Boxes: In modular home construction, “boxes” refer to the individual modular units or sections that make up a modular home.

Mods: “Mods” is a shorthand term for modular units or modules, essentially interchangeable with “boxes” in modular construction.

Setting: “Setting” refers to the process of placing the modular units (boxes or mods) onto the foundation at the construction site. Check out this video of a SmartPads home being set in Steamboat Springs. 

Marriage Lines“Marriage Lines” refers to where two walls of a module come together. Also referred to as “Mate Lines”

Stitching: “Stitching” involves the process of connecting and securing the modular units together once they are set in place. This also refers to completion of drywall, siding, and other materials at marriage lines. 


Modular Home Myths

While “stick-built” is traditionally used to reference a custom home built on-site, we like to say our homes are “stud-built”. SmartPads home are wooden framed structures, built stud by stud in our indoor facility. We hear a lot of common myths about modular homes. Let’s explore them:

Modular Homes Are Inferior Quality:

Reality: Modular homes are constructed in a controlled environment, which can lead to higher precision and fewer defects caused by weather exposure. SmartPads homes are engineered for heavy snow loads and extreme temperatures. They are highly insulated, built with 2×6 exterior walls, and roof extensions designed for snow and sun.

Modular Homes All Look the Same:

Reality: SmartPads modular homes are highly customizable. While we have our signature SmartPads look, each home is put together differently with the view corridor, slope angles, and owner’s desires considered. 

Modular Homes Are Not Durable:

Reality: SmartPads Modular homes are built to be more durable to withstand transportation and assembly. Our building standards often exceed the building codes and standards adhered to by traditional homes.

Modular Homes Are Temporary:

Reality: Modular homes are permanent structures. They are set on a permanent foundation. They can last as long, if not longer, than traditional site-built homes when properly maintained. 

Modular Homes Are Cheap:

Reality: While our modular homes are more cost-effective due to the efficiencies of factory construction, they are not “cheap.” The cost varies widely depending on customization, materials, and design, just like any traditional home.

Modular Homes Have Lower Resale Value:

Reality: Modular homes can appreciate just like site-built homes, especially if they are well-maintained and located in desirable areas. We are building SmartPads in the mountain towns of Colorado, Montana, Utah, Wyoming, Idaho, and Arizona, and these areas are all desirable locations. In addition, our homes’ stunning aesthetics and highly engineered nature make them appealing to those looking for a beautiful home that can pass the test of time in mountainous climates.