What’s the difference between stick-built and modular homes?

Get the pros, cons, and best cases for these different home types

If you’re in the market for a new house, you’ve most likely heard the terms “stick-built,” “modular,” “manufactured,” or “mobile.” But what’s the difference between them all?

Keep reading to find out!

Stick-built (Sometimes called Stick Frame or Site Built Homes)

This is the most traditional method of building a home, utilizing a wooden frame and roof trusses made of lumber. Steel can also be used, although this is less common. They’re built onsite, piece by piece, on a permanent foundation or slab.

Best for: Homeowners who want a unique house suited to their lifestyle and choices made with quality natural materials that stand the test of time. Trilogy builds only stick-built homes in either our custom or semi-custom Palisades Homes lines.
Lifespan: 100+ years


  • If you use wood, it’s easier to renovate down the line 
  • Stick-built homes are easily customizable for a unique look
  • You can watch it being built and be involved in the process
  • Construction corrections and design modifications can be made more easily than in a manufactured home
  • If cared for and properly maintained, they’re a good investment and hold their value
  • Semi-custom options like Trilogy’s Palisades Homes can be the perfect solution for those wanting a unique house with a custom feel but with a lower cost and faster building time


  • Weather and other conditions can affect onsite builds
  • Natural materials like wood can be affected by fires and floods

Modular Homes (Sometimes called Manufactured Homes):

Unlike stick-built houses, modular homes are constructed in sections off-site in a factory. They’re engineered using different materials such as metals or wood. They’re shipped in sections and fully assembled onsite, usually to permanent foundations.
Lifespan: 50+ years
Best for: Homeowners building in a remote or challenging area, or for those looking for a lower-cost, lower-fuss option that looks great without all the decisions.


  • Less expensive to build than stick-built homes
  • Can often be built more quickly than stick-built homes
  • Most modular homes these days have very good aesthetics and designs


  • Depending on how far your site is from the factory, the delivery cost could be very expensive
  • Although modular homes are generally slightly lower value than stick-built, their prices do fluctuate with market demand. If built on a strong foundation, the homes have a long lifespan and generally hold their value

Mobile Homes:

While many people confuse mobile homes with manufactured homes, the term “mobile homes” actually refers to a certain type of unit constructed before 1976, created after WWII to meet the demands of a booming population and the growing need for housing. Instead of being built on a foundation, they’re constructed on a metal chassis.

Bonus Fun Fact: Did you know 3D printers can now print a home? There is an entire housing development being built using a giant concrete 3D printer!

The similarity between stick-built and modular homes 

Despite their differences, stick-built and modular homes all have something in common—they’re required to follow specific local and state building codes and comply with the HUD code.

  • Stick Built: Required to follow Title 24 code
  • Modular Homes: Required to follow Title 25 code

While these codes have similarities, there are clear requirement differences for the type of home. Title Code 24 (stick built), for example, requires fire sprinklers no matter what size, whereas Title Code 25 (modular) requires sprinklers if the build is over 1,200 sq ft. Similarly, Title Code 25 allows generators as a sole power source for modular homes, but Title Code 24 requires stick built homes to have alternate sources.

Learn more about these codes here.

Trilogy builds quality homes

Trilogy is proud to have constructed countless stick-built homes since 1967. After learning about the difference between stick-built and manufactured homes, it;’s easy to understand why. We take pride in crafting unique homes for our clients from the ground up. If you want something special built tailor-made just for you, contact Trilogy today. 

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