top of page

Stick-Built vs. Prefab: What’s the Difference?

So, you’ve decided to get your new home built. There are so many choices to make, but one of the first is choosing between ordering a prefab home or getting a stick-built house.

Which one is the right choice for you?

In this article by the experts of Granite Foundation Repair, you'll learn about the main differences between stick-built and prefab homes. We hope you can make a more informed decision after reading this article.

What is a stick-built home?

Stick-built homes are created on-site. This is the most traditional way of building new homes and when people imagine a new house being erected, then it's likely that they imagine this particular building process.

As the home is being built on the spot, there's a huge potential for making it unique, and making it stand out from all the rest of the houses in the area.

What is a prefab home?

Prefabricated homes, also known as modular houses, are built in factories that often are far away from the actual location where they will be set up. All of these prefab homes are mass-produced under strict rules and quality maintenance. The final construction will take place on-site as the different parts get assembled into someone's new home.

As you can see, the two options are quite different. Now, we'll take a closer look at the main differences regarding these home building approaches.

Here are the differences between a stick-built and a prefab home:


Stick-built homes are entirely customizable, following your needs, preferences, and lifestyle choices. The same can't be said about prefab homes. Instead, they are created in a cookie-cutter fashion using large assembly lines. This is reflected in the final result as the modular homes look alike many other buildings across the country that were created on the same factory line.

Construction Time

The process of building prefab houses is much faster compared to stick-built homes. On the flip-side is the fact that if you want something changed, then it might already be too late. A stick-built home building process allows for greater flexibility. The factory environment will never allow the freedom to change your mind about something on the last minute.

Land Problems

Finding suitable land for a modular home can be challenging. There are many issues, such as hookup regulations and zoning laws, making the search for land tedious. In many areas, restrictions have been put in place that won't allow people to erect modular homes. One of the reasons for creating these restrictions has been the belief that prefab homes are inferior to stick-built homes.

Resale Value

Although many people buy their house thinking that it will last for a lifetime, unexpected things can still happen, and reselling might be on the table. The public opinion still views prefab homes as having a lower quality and value compared to stick-built houses. That's why you might lose money when you try to resell your modular home years later.

Getting a Loan

The whole loan process is more complicated with prefab homes. Mortgage for a stick-built home is quite a straightforward concept but paying for a prefab home means paying the full amount even before the home is finished.

Often, the builders want a regular payment scheme to pay for the ongoing building activities. Usually, you'd have to get a construction loan first. That will be changed to a mortgage after the completion. Financing a stick-built home is an easier and clearer process.

Hidden Costs

In most cases, prefab home prices don't include the concrete floor, foundation, and utility connections. You'll have to sort out these issues yourself because your contract most likely includes only the modular home itself. This is a situation that can be more stressful than it sounds. Opting for a stick-built home saves you from this trouble.


All the modules are transported from the assembly line to the actual building site. Since the transport needs extra care, it's usually quite an expensive undertaking. Furthermore, transportation costs for the modules may be higher compared to the actual materials these sections are made of.


The most important difference is the customization option. Stick-built houses give you an opportunity to customize your home to a great degree. Stick-built homes have a more straightforward loan process, land acquisition, and cost structure.

The transport expenses of modular homes can exceed the transit costs of the actual building and materials. Finally, the resell value is another point to consider when deciding between stick-built and prefab homes.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page