What is a Prefab House?

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  • Written By: Paulla Estes
  • Edited By: Niki Foster
  • Last Modified Date: 10 October 2019
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A prefab house is shortened name for a prefabricated house, which is a home that has components manufactured in an off-site industrial facility. They are sometimes referred to as factory-made or modular homes, although there are some differences. In this type of house, the walls and wall units are made in a factory, whereas modular homes have entire sections of the house build off site. By manufacturing the parts of the house off site, waste is reduced and less time and energy are expended during construction. In addition, the slab put in for a prefab house is much easier to arrange than the foundation of a traditional home.

The benefits of buying a prefab house include ease of mobility, speedy construction, and fewer expenses. These houses are usually less expensive to build and can be put up in only a few days, complete with wiring, heating, and plumbing. The only thing buyers must provide is a plot of land on which to put the house.


The history of the prefab house goes back to the birth of America. Many of those escaping religious persecution in England took apart their homes before they left and brought them over on the boat to be reassembled in the new land. During the gold rush of the 1840s and 1850s, house kits were shipped to prospectors in California. In the early 20th century, mail-order prefab homes were shipped to people all over the country in thousands of pieces. Owners could put the houses together themselves, like a giant puzzle, with each piece numbered.

Prefab housing has advanced considerably since then, but the basic idea remains the same. Prefab home manufacturers usually offer a variety of different floor plans, but many will work with buyers to create unique designs. Walls and wall sections are built off site, which allows them to be made under controlled conditions. The pieces are then shipped to the building site, where the home is assembled. It still takes time and effort to assemble a prefab house, but usually considerably less than a comparable stick-built home.

The modern prefab house is often crafted to appeal to futuristic aesthetics. The newer, upper-tier prefab houses look just as well-constructed as a traditional home built with studs. Now, more than half of all the homes built in the United States use at least partial prefab materials.


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Post 6

@win199 - The truth now is that many prefab house designs are looking more and more like a "regular" home. Or a home with a cement foundation, whatever you would call it. These houses have come a long way from the traditional "mobile home" that every one has a negative association with for some reason....

Post 5

@win199 - While there are several downs to Prefab house construction the truth is that there are a lot of positive things as well. Mostly that these types of homes are more affordable than any other "made from scratch" foundation home as we are all referring to it. A "normal" home might have good insulation and such, but the primary reason for buying a prefab home is for convenience. Convenience of moving, convenience of price, and convenience of being able to choose size and a floor plan without having to wrack your brain for a free form or from scratch floor plan.

Post 4

Prefab house plans are much like a foundation home. While, yes, they ARE easier to move from one location to the next, a lot of people don't like that they are not a foundation home... especially if you live in the south or on the coast where hurricanes and such can hit - they are not a good idea. Another issue people often have is the insulation factor and the lack of it basically.

Post 3

Prefab homes are becoming more popular with people who already own land but can not afford to buy or build a home from scratch. Lots of companies have a prefab modular house brochure you can browse through and they will usually cut you a deal if you already own your own land, which is great.

Post 1

"The new web steel Modular home" - New construction of web steel prefabricated building

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