Prefab Homes

Prefabricated homebuilding in the US dates back to 1908 when Sears began shipping its home kits to customers by rail.  These homes have outlived many of their contemporaries and are prized for their quality and charm.  


The prefabricated home market today is more advanced and widespread than you might imagine. Large homebuilders today rely on prefab components to consistently beat their competition.  Prefab can be “panelized”, where wall and roof panels are factory built; it can be “modular” where entire modules are factory-built, or it can be “manufactured or mobile”, where basically the entire home comes in one piece. Tiny homes would fit into this last category.

Sheeflee relies on the first two methods:  panelized and modular; however, we have the skills and interest to build tiny homes as well.

Why Prefab?

Computer-aided design and advanced processes make it possible to have truly custom homes constructed largely in the factory.  Now that it is possible to build your dream home as prefab, here are some of the reasons why you would choose this:

More durable

Modular homes are carefully engineered to withstand the stress of transportation. They have heavily reinforced corners that are lag-bolted together, and include framing components which are glued as well as nailed or screwed together. Studies by FEMA have shown that modular homes withstand earthquakes and hurricanes much better than stick-built homes. Can you imagine a typical stick-built home being picked up by a crane and transported down the Interstate at 65 Miles per hour?

Higher quality

The process controls of a large modular and panelized factory operations are more sophisticated than for stick built homes. A design center and rigorous engineering processes help ensure that the houses are built to the highest standard. Conditions are closely monitored in the factory throughout construction. This leads to higher quality and durability. For example, the person who applies insulation around electrical receptacles has learned how to do it very efficiently. Items such as this are less likely to be skipped as they may be in stick-built construction where fewer people must wear many more hats and work in more adverse conditions. Factory inspections inspections cover all aspects of building and independent third party inspectors perform impromptu inspections. This is more rigorous than for houses built in the field and helps ensure higher quality.

Better insulated

In a factory, the people who apply the insulation can do so more consistently and accurately than in the field. Their work is also better inspected. This prevents small gaps in insulation and improves a home’s energy performance. Modular and panelized exterior walls, such as used by Sheeflee, are by standard 6” thick and more highly insulated than compared to 4” walls of production builders. Modular, is also more sound-insulated. The ceiling and floor for one room is part of a distinct module. The floors above and below have their own modules. Ceilings and floors do not share the same rafters as in stick-built and therefore conduct far less sound.

Better for the planet

Factory-built homes involve significantly less waste. The economies of scale and factory orchestrated processes allow purchasing exactly the materials needed and not more. When wood is cut, the remainders are often reused for different parts of the same home or for other homes rather than discarded as in the field.

Quicker construction

After a house is ordered from the factory, it can arrive in about 8 weeks. Amazingly, six of those weeks involve ordering of materials and engineering, with the physical construction being performed in less than two weeks. Such is the size and throughput of a large module and panel factory. Afterwards, delivery and setting the modules and panels take just a few days. Then the in-field construction will take another 2-3 months depending on the complexity of the home. This is compared to 10-16 months for a typical custom home.

Lower cost

Properly designed prefab homes are more cost-effective to build than stick built. Volume-purchasing and efficiency in a factory reduce costs. Employees work in climate-controlled conditions focusing on certain areas allowing them to work more efficiently. For example, a carpenter can come work for a 8 to 4 job and work without the distractions of lengthy commutes, without worries of rain, and without having to climb to difficult to reach spaces. Pneumatic tools and precision jigs are easily accessible. This allows the employee to save time by working more efficiently. Importantly, a reduction in building time reduces financing costs. Sheeflee can build a custom prefab home for significantly less than others build custom stick-built homes. The cost savings are even greater when considering long-term cost of ownership. Because the factory-built components are built with greater precision and quality, maintenance costs are lower. Sheeflee’s energy-efficient designs and materials and our use of solar further reduce cost of ownership through energy savings.