Stick-Built vs. Prefab Homes: What’s the Difference and Which is Better?

Home builders working on a new home construction site

Stick-Built vs. Prefab Homes: What’s the Difference and Which is Better?

When you decide to build a new home, will you choose to build a stick-built or prefabricated home?

A stick-built home is built right on-site. It the type of new home construction that most people are familiar with. Built from the ground up, these reliable homes can be designed and customized the way you want for a completely unique house.

On the other hand, prefabricated homes, otherwise known as modular or prefab homes, are built in a separate factory rather than on-site. Homes are mass-produced in a controlled environment then later assembled on the home lot.

While both stick-built and prefab homes have their pros and cons, when you look at some of the inherent differences between the two, you’ll begin to see how prefab doesn’t always live up to its hype.


Why Stick-Built?

What draws many people to prefab homes are their seemingly lower costs and faster construction schedules. Prefab homes avoid surprise setbacks like weather delays by building the home indoors where production can be maximized. But prefab isn’t all that it seems upfront.

Here are a few areas where stick-built and prefab homes differ, but where stick-built comes out on top.

Cost for building a stick-built home

Overall Cost

Companies that specialize in prefab homes claim that such homes are cheaper to build. This makes sense when you look at their mass-production alone. However, those aren’t the only costs involved.

You’ll also have to pay for delivery costs and crane fees. Those fees add up the further away your lot is from the factory. Some architects will also charge you more, especially if you do want certain unique features for your prefab floor plan.

While production may be cheaper, additional costs make prefab homes an expensive route. On most prefab projects, you also will have to pay for the entire project before construction is finished. This can make financing your home difficult.

With stick-built home builders, you don’t have to pay for factory manufacturers and on-site labor, or for delivery costs and extra designer fees. Plus, the cost doesn’t have to be paid for entirely before the home is finished! Overall, stick-built quickly becomes a more affordable route without all those additional hurdles.

Customizing stick-built home, drafting custom home plans


You can make a few decisions when it comes to the style and floor plan of your prefab home. But if you’re looking to build a home that’s entirely unique and custom-made for your needs, then prefab is not for you. Because prefab homes are mass-produced, you are limited as to the customizations allowed.

By opting for prefab and what appears to be a cost-effective plan, you sacrifice your freedom to customize your dream home, something that makes building a new home so appealing in the first place.

Stick-built homes allow you to customize as you please. This makes them a much better fit for meeting families’ needs and creating that dream house plan.

Sold stick-built house with great resale value

Resale Value

Numerous factors go into determining the resale value of your prefab or stick-built home. With all those factors, it’s hard to calculate the home’s value initially. Much of that value comes down to features beyond just the construction of your house.

Generally, though, prefab homes give off a negative perception for people looking to buy. More traditional, stick-built homes are what people are familiar with, often making them easier to sell than prefab homes.

That being said, if there are more prefab homes being built in a certain location as opposed to traditional stick-built, then the resale value shouldn’t be too different. Just keep in mind that in most places, the resale value of a prefab home can suffer in favor of stick-built.

Custom home builders working on a stick-built house

Finding the Right Home Builders for You

Prefab homes can be a good option for homeowners, but unfortunately they aren’t always the best option. At first glance they seem to be cheaper than stick-built homes. But with the cost for the land, on-site and off-site labor, delivery and other additional charges that beginning price bumps up dramatically. But you’ll also be limited when it comes to customizing your home. In addition, the overall resale value of your home could take a dive if homebuyers in your area view prefab homes negatively.

Prefab comes with pros, but its disadvantages are hard to ignore, making stick-built the better option more often than not.

Find a team of custom stick-built home builders that will create your dream home at less cost, but with greater customizations and value! If you’re building a new home in Dover, DE or surrounding Delmarva areas, call H&H Builders, Inc. We offer both drafting and construction services, for stick-built homes made with the finest quality and craftsmanship. Contact us today for a free estimate!