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Pittsburgh Modular Homes

by Jon Nunan

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With the average cost of building a custom home running over $400,000, many folks thinking of building are looking for new avenues to create their house affordably. One such path is a modular home. Pittsburgh residents who are considering building a house on site might be surprised at how far modular homes have come and would do well to give them a closer review before dismissing them as an option for their new house.

Pittsburgh Modular Homes vs. Manufactured Homes
Sure, they are both transported by truck, but don't get modular homes and manufactured homes confused. A modular home is a house that is 90% made in a warehouse; it is shipped to the desired site piece by piece and then assembled. Modular homes are built to conform to the federal, state, and local building codes of the area they will inhabit. These structures are meant to be customized by the buyer and are made using the same brands of materials that you would find in a conventionally built house.

A manufactured or mobile home is built to Housing and Urban Development (HUD) code, which is the same no matter where you go in the country. They are made for mobility and are constructed on a steel chassis in order to be easily transported. Unlike modular homes, there are generally few customizable options available for a manufactured home.

Pittsburgh Modular Home Builders
In southwestern PA, there is one big difference between a traditional builder and a modular home builder: Pittsburgh is never too cold or too wet for a modular home builder to do his or her job. Since most of a modular home is built in a warehouse that is indoors, environmental conditions are never a factor that can slow or stop work. This makes a huge difference in efficiency, especially in a place where moisture and cold temperatures are anything but scarce.

Modular homes are built by people with the same qualifications and skill sets as any other house and are made with the same quality materials, too. The idea that modular homes are not as well made as a structure built on site is quickly becoming exposed for the myth it is. In most cases, one would be hard pressed to tell the difference between a traditionally built home and a modular home once each project is finished.

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Modular Home Drawbacks
While it is possible to give a modular home a sense of individuality through customization, there are still limits inherent in the process of building pieces of a home that need to be transported. Some things simply cannot be put on the back of a truck and moved from a warehouse to a job site safely. Due to this, someone who purchases a modular home will not have all of the options that are available to one who builds on site.

Prices of Modular Homes in Pittsburgh
To build a modular home, Pittsburgh residents can expect the cost to be between 10-15% less than that of a similar site built house. The savings, however, will decrease as the design of the house becomes more complex. Building a modular home will probably take somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 weeks. Creating the pieces in the warehouse typically takes 8-10 weeks, and assembling them on site will require another 8-12. A custom home, on the other hand, can easily take 7 months or more to finish.

Jon Nunan is a freelance writer who draws on his experience in construction, ranging from landscaping to log home building, for his articles on home improvement.