Wardcraft modular homes, while shipped on trailers, don't look at all like trailers
Whether to build a home from a modular package or from a kit involves both cost, design, and ease of assembly considerations.
Since most of the components for modular homes are built offsite – including interior and exterior finishes, the primary onsite design factors involve foundation, water, sewage and how the structure will be powered. Kits will require a considerable labor investment.
A standard modular home package that is shipped by road can measure anywhere from a 300 square foot cabin to a two-story home. Wardcraft Homes, based in Clay Center, KS, and with other plants in Minden, NE and Fort Morgan, CO, ships a standard pre-manufactured unit or box, measuring 15’ x 60’. Martin Schneider, a project manger, says two such units, when married together at the final destination, will provide a three-bedroom, two-bath, ranch home.
All Wardcraft modular packages are shipped with exterior and interior finishes, including, lighting, plumbing and HVAC. Unlike one predecessor to modular homes — the trailer – there are many attractive design options.
“If you’re comparing stick-built to modular homes, there’s not much difference in cost,” says Schneider. “The savings you’ll find is the efficiency and the quality (factory, computer-controlled manufacturing).”
He adds there is also a lower cost on construction financing, due to the quicker assembly turnaround. Stick-built construction financing is generally planned for 12 to 18 months. Modular home construction normally runs 180 days.
This structure was built from a Shelter-Kit package. Photo: Shelter-Kit
Aside from modular options, there are also pre-manufactured kits. A Tilton, NH-based company, Shelter-Kit
, has been shipping ready-to-assemble home and barn packages for over 40 years.
The company sells a number of small size custom post and beam barns, sheds and buildings. Shelter-Kit president, Dave Kimball believes his company provides its customers with substantial benefits over the average pre-built shed sold at many big-box home and garden retailers. The choices in small buildings are versatile, both aesthetically and functionally.
The company’s first product – the Unit One cabin, a 12’x12’ structure – is still sold and has even been made into a backyard office. Other customers have purchased additional units so the can add on to the original structure. This kit is priced at $10,700.
Today, Shelter-Kit’s customizable barn-style buildings start with a compact 16’x 16’ and are available in larger sizes, up to 36’ wide. They are created individually for each customer with high quality wood materials and hardware (of substantially better quality than what is found in most “standard” sheds). Most kits include roofs but no HVAC, plumbing, or electrical packages.
Shelter-Kit products are designed to be buttoned up quickly and easily – they can be assembled by only two people in 3 -15 days, depending upon the size of the structure.
Shelter-Kit Sugar House. Photo: Shelter-Kit
’The Do-it-Yourself’ nature of our product allows customers significant cost savings, but with the ability to maintain exceptional quality,” says Kimball. “There are no added expenses of contractors and builders, plus since all of our products are manufactured at our facility, there is significantly less waste.”
Next, we will report on green considerations about modular’s and kits.