Modular homes are a popular option today, as they offer an inexpensive way to construct a new home. However, many people might be surprised to find out that they have been around since the early 1900s. Modular homes got their start as kit homes, and today are still constructed in a similar way, making for fast construction when a new home is desired.

Of course the earlier varieties of these were cheap, do-it-yourself kit models designed to save lots of money, but prone to all kinds of issues. It was discovered along the way that it is worth the extra money to insure a home is sealed tight and securely built. The earlier versions of these types of homes gave the whole concept a bad name due to the poor quality, and it took many decades for the market to recover from that.

The Creation of Modular Homes

The very first kit homes were sold by the Alladin Company via a catalog. In the early 1900s, Sears and Roebuck started selling their own kit homes, and they ended up selling more than 100,000 by 1940. The homes were not delivered to the property already made, but the homeowner received the materials needed and instructions to build the home. At this time, many people would hire someone to build the home for them.

Modular Homes in the Early 1900s

When factory production began to rise, it was discovered that it would be easy to mass-produce materials like drywall, enabling the build of many parts of a home on an assembly line instead of on-site. This helped to lower the production costs of homes, which made modular homes far more affordable for most families. When the stock market crashed, however, home kits and modular homes became less popular because fewer people could afford to purchase a home.

Mid to Late 1900s Modular Homes

After World War II, modular homes became more popular as those coming home from the war needed to purchase a home. Popular home builders of the time started making modular homes, and many companies were at least partially constructing homes in a factory before the final on-site assembly. During this time, the homes started to be built according to code, and the codes were changing to ensure the safety of homes. As they were more affordable compared to traditional homes, more people were purchasing modular homes, despite the changes needed to get them up to code.

Newer Modular Homes

Far more stringent building codes appeared in the 1990s, which changed how modular homes were made and who their customer base would be. The homes also started to be more eco-friendly, which was very attractive to modern buyers. With the ability to construct a whole home quickly and affordably, modular homes have continued to be a popular option.

The Construction of Modular Homes

The construction of a modular home usually takes five main steps. The floors are constructed, then a wood frame is built under them. After this, the wall panels are attached, and the drywall, ceilings, plumbing, and electrical components are attached. The roof is next, followed by the exterior and interior finishes. At this point, the home can be transported to the buyer’s land. Once it is delivered, the parts of the home are assembled together, and other components such as decks are added to the home.

Modern modular homes may have come a long way from the homes of the early 1900s, but the premise is the same. These homes are simple to construct, can be mostly made in a factory, are affordable, and they’re faster to build and put in place.

Techniques have been developed to get the sections attached together not only tight and strong, but in a manner where the connection areas are hidden from view. There are no walls or channels or anything else visible in these houses to give away the fact they are modular. And because they are built in huge warehouses by the same crews, you know your home was built by people who know what they are doing. As an added bonus, because they are built inside, they are not subject to the elements until transport. If the weather is reasonable during transport, these houses never get a drop of water on any of the framing or interior wood.