This is by no means an exhaustive list of what's available in the area of prefabricated homes and buildings. This article is to introduce you to the world prefab. If you're in the industry, you'll probably be cringing about now at the word “prefab". But, the word is one that has become synonymous with homes and buildings that have been partially or fully assembled in a factory setting. I for one am excited to see the latest versions of modern prefabs emerging globally. They're well thought out, beautiful, and energy-efficient.
And to anyone who has any doubts about the quality of today's prefab homes, I'd ask, would you rather buy a house whose parts have all been crafted outdoors exposed to the elements - by hand. Or, would you rather buy a house built in a factory setting to tight specs exceeding that of site-built homes. I say exceeding, because a normal site-built home doesn't have to endure the rigors of transportation.
For your review, here are quick descriptions of 10 of the many categories of prefab homes available for exploring at http://PrefabExpo.com - in no particular order:
Single-family residential dwellings consisting of one, two or more sectional units and constructed to Federal HUD code. Zoning regulations and ordinances of the local Municipality or County might not permit use of mobile and manufactured homes in all areas of their jurisdiction.
Modular refers to a method of building a home, rather than a type of home. A modular home can be built in a factory from a stock modular home plan or from a customized plan, to the state, local or regional codes of where the home will be set up. Modular homes have not typically experienced the zoning restrictions and discriminative ordinances applicable to manufactured and mobile homes.
Panelized homes are factory-built homes in which panels — whole walls with windows, doors, wiring, and outside siding — are transported to the site and assembled. Panels are made from insulating foam sandwiched between two layers of structural material. The panels are lightweight and might already be filled with insulation when they arrive on the site. The homes must meet the state or local building codes of where they are sited.
Steel framing is an equivalent to conventional stick frame or post & beam home design where the structural lumber is replaced by steel studs and trusses or steel posts and beams. Light-Gauge Framing System features screw-together, galvanized stud-and-truss, grid-type construction system built on 4-foot center. Red-Iron Metal Post & Beam Systems features bolt-together, pre-engineered post-and-beam-type framing system that uses the red-iron steel “C" beams on 8-foot center. The prefabricated home built with this method can be single-story, two-story, and even tri-level home. Unlike conventional wood framed home that requires interior walls to support the roof, the higher strength-to-weight ratio of steel house allows to span greater distances with less material and fewer supports. The result is higher floor layout and interior design flexibility.
Unlike wood, steel won't shrink, rot, warp, buckle, split, or be attacked by insects. This results in greater durability, lower long-term maintenance, higher energy efficiency and overall greater quality of this prefabricated home.
This category includes wood-framed factory-built houses or cabins where building materials are factory-cut to design specifications and transported to the site to be assembled. PrefabExpo.com presents prefab building kits designed as wood-framed (also known as balloon-frame, 2 x 4, 2 x 6 or stick-built construction) as well as prefabricated home kit / cabin kit using post-frame method. The homes or cabins must meet local or state building codes of the area where they will be sited.
According to Katahdin Cedar Log Homes, cedar is aromatic to people, and problematic to insects: The heartwood of northern white cedar produces organic compounds called thujaplicins – which create that fresh, pleasant cedar aroma. But to insect pests, such as moths and termites, cedar just plain stinks. They’ll avoid cedar homes and instead search out inviting, tasty pine structures.
Cedar home kits include everything you need to build the home, itself. That is to say, the walls, the floor, the ceiling, the windows and doors. But your foundation, plumbing and electrical system are not usually included in a kit.
Timber framing is a specific type of post and beam construction in which a frame is created from solid wood timbers that are then connected by any one of the following wooden joints: mortise and tenon, dovetails, or scarfs secured with hardwood pegs. The frame is covered with any one of a number of enclosure systems. Normally the timbers remain exposed to the interior of the building.
Timber frame structures exhibit a strength and aesthetic quality not found in conventionally framed houses. The timbers are pre-cut, shaped, and finished at the factory, then sent to the construction site, where they can be quickly assembled by a crew, routinely using cranes to lift the bents and beams into place. The use of quality wood, enhanced by joinery that compares with fine cabinet making, maximizes the strength of the timberframe structure. Joinery is the heart of the entire structure.
Log homes provide their owners with a comforting and relaxing sense of informality and simplicity. The mass of logs produces heating and cooling benefits, and reduces noise transmission into and throughout the home. These are very attractive characteristics, but there are also challenges in construction and limitations in decorating. These aspects require special design considerations and have unusual maintenance requirements. Basic Kits Are. . .
WALLS ONLY: The walls-only log home package includes all the logs for the outside walls, including fasteners. Roof beams and staircases may be added.
STRUCTURAL SHELL: Shell This package includes everything that's in the walls-only package, plus all components necessary to keep the weather out, such as exterior doors, windows, and the roofing system.
THE COMPLETE PACKAGE: Complete packages also includes interior components required to finish log homes. Such items include interior walls, stairs, closets, interior doors and trim.
The circle is the strongest geometrical shape we recognize, and this factor likely influenced builders of circular homes for thousands of years. Prefabricated circular buildings have been built as cabins, studios, homes, offices or community halls and convention centers. Most of today's prefabricated circular homes and cabins offered across the country use conventional wood-frame or post & beam construction method. These homes and cabins are ideally suited to take the full advantage of locations offering exciting panoramic views, and to incorporate factor of the surroundings into the home design.
Geodesic Dome is using triangular networks forming hexagons and pentagons and creating a free-span, spacious environment of spherically shaped structure requiring no internal supports. This results in large flexibility for utilizing interior space to implement floor designs not limited by structural restrictions. Because of the structural strength of the shape, the domes have a far better record of withstanding tornados, hurricanes and earthquakes than cube-shaped structures of conventional homes. Advantages. . .
MATERIAL COSTS: Geodesic domes provide the greatest amount of floor area with the least amount of surface area, reducing the quantity of needed building material by as much as 30-50%.
ENERGY EFFICIENCY: As a result of the shape, the dome has approximately 30-50% less roof and wall area than cube-shaped home of equal floor space. This results in lesser area being exposed to the elements, resulting in reduction in heating and cooling costs of dome shaped structures. Also, the spherical shape of the dome facilitates natural air flow yielding more even temperatures maximizing overall interior temperature comfort.
Disadvantages. . .
As a result of complicated angles, the interior and exterior finishing of the dome (after speedy assembly of the prefabricated shell) is significantly more labor intensive than finishing the conventional house. Also, the finishing work requires highly skilled or specialized tradesmen which might not be available at every location. These factors might present welcoming challenge for skilled handyman - homebuilder, but would create substantial cost outlay if the hired labor is considered.
This piece was originally submitted by Diane Takahashi, who can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org , or visited on the web. Diane is co-creator of http://PrefabExpo.com a subscription-based online database of prefabricated homes, cabins and buildings and their vendors.