They’re all rectangular, but that’s where the similarities end
As you’re researching new home options, you’ll come across lots of terms including prefab, manufactured, modular, mobile homes, and container homes. You might wonder if these are all the same or if they’re different. It can be confusing! Let’s clear things up with some brief definitions.
“Prefab” simply means that a home is built off-site in a factory instead of on-site. “Modular” means that the home is assembled in sections, and designed to the same codes as typical site-built houses.
In the case of Connect Homes, we use a 40-foot steel frame as the skeleton for each prefab modular section. We build at least 90% of each home in the Connect Homes factory. The remaining 10% of the work is completed on site by Connect Homes itself, which is rare in the modular world. Most other builders outsource this work.
Yes--we do have smaller models ideal for people seeking a small guest house, pool house, or flex work space. Check out the Design Series Connect One (460 sq. ft.) and the Pro Series Pro Two (640 sq. ft.).
“Manufactured” is a legal distinction given to a type of home that has a permanently attached trailer. Manufactured homes have historically been called mobile homes or trailer homes. Sometimes people confuse modular homes with manufactured/mobile homes because they have a similar rectangular shape. Aside from the shape, they’re totally different. Here’s how:
Container houses are made from upcycled shipping containers. First, let’s acknowledge how container homes resemble prefab modular homes: Both shipping containers and the steel frames we use as the base for Connect Homes are roughly the same size: 40' L x 8' W. We mirrored the size on purpose, to make it easy to transport modules by truck from the factory to the build site.
But there are plenty of differences. Shipping containers only have openings on either end, with windowless metal sides. Repurposing a shipping container to add windows, doors, interior finishes, and created larger spaces than a single module can be very expensive. And shipping containers are often treated with toxic finishes to prevent corrosion when at sea, and these finishes are hard to safely remove during the remodeling process.
At first glance, building a container home might seem like a way to save money and the planet, but it can actually be more cost effective and Earth-friendly to build a Connect Home. Our modules are purpose-designed to become beautiful architecture and be optimized to your site conditions, without an extensive up-cycling process.
Want to chat more about the differences between mobile (manufactured) and modular, prefab and container? We’d be happy to!
Are you looking to build a large modular home, a tiny prefabricated home, or something in between? We’ve got you covered.