Remodeling by Going Modular

March 22, 2016

The one size fits all approach to modular construction may be a thing of the past, and more owners are embracing modular home additions instead of traditional remodeling projects.

Modular homes have been around for nearly 100 years. The pre-fabricated units are built in a controlled factory environment and must follow all local building codes. They're then transported to the building site by truck.

While modular homes previously had the stigma that they weren't customizable or attractive, the modern modular home is quite the opposite.

"It’s not your father’s modular," said Michael Winn, owner of Winn Custom Modular near Washington D.C. in a recent interview with the Washington Post. "Anyone who’s picked up a copy of Dwell magazine has quickly discovered that modular construction has become very cutting edge. The modern approach is highly automated, customizable, precise, sustainable and fast.”

More home owners are looking to modular construction as an environmentally-friendly, cost-effective, and less-stressful alternative to traditional remodeling projects.

Vin and Kerry ­DeSomma worked with Winn Custom Modular for their recent home addition. "We have three school-age kids and a dog, so the most important thing to us is that the modular addition meant we only had to move out of our home for six weeks instead of nine months. We still had the benefit of the design-build process since we could customize the modular addition, but it was much faster.”

The Washington Post listed some basic facts and benefits for owners looking to go modular.

3 Basics of Customizable Modular Additions:

1. The best option for going modular is an upper-level or second-story expansion project. The average expansion project is around 900 to 1,000 square feet.

2. According to Winn, the typical modular project runs around $200,000-300,000, but his client base tends to want high-quality materials in their additions, which can push the price tag up to $400,000.

3. These additions do come with a size restraint: All modular construction must fit on the back of a truck. Another downside is that once the modular unit is constructed, there are no second-chances or room for making adjustments.

3 Benefits of Going Modular:

1. Modern modular design is extremely customizable and able to blend in with most architectural and design styles.

2. The construction of these units is energy-efficient and eco-friendly. Since materials are precisely assembled in a controlled factory environment by a computer, the amount of waste is extremely limited. Many modular additions use local material and are built with more framing material and with tighter air seals, making the structure more energy-efficient and natural disaster-resistant.

3. Modular additions can be constructed in half the time of traditional home addition projects, which also cuts down the cost of labor and saves owners when it comes to the cost and effort of finding long-term living arrangements during construction. 

Source: "Modular construction is an increasingly popular way to grow a house," Washington Post (March 17, 2016)