These days, prospective homeowners have more choices than just your typical stick-built homes. You can choose traditional homes, manufactured homes, or modular homes. Because modular homes are situated on a permanent foundation, much like stick-built homes, many people opt for those instead.
But, as with any choice in life, you need to consider every aspect before committing to one option. One of these considerations is a modular home’s dimensions. How big or small can your new home be?
Typical modular home sizes range from 400 to over 2000 square feet. But mostly, people choose modular home sizes starting at 900 square feet. So, it depends on your and your family’s needs.
Main Dimensions of a Modular Home
Knowing the average floor sizes of modular homes is one thing, but what about the other dimensions? What about the height, length, width, and weight? Of course, those are important aspects that will determine the transportation logistics and the size of your lot and foundation.
Because modular homes are partially constructed in a factory, they need to transport the ready-made pieces safely to your lot. And to do that, the builders can’t overcome certain dimensional restrictions. Of course, it will vary depending on the manufacturer you choose.
Modular Home Height
Your modular home needs to reach your lot’s destination safely. They will place the different parts on a truck and head to your location. But, they have to consider the route the truck will take. Highway overpasses mainly restrict the modular home height from the factory to the lot.
The maximum shipping height is 14 feet and includes the truck. On average, a modular home is usually 11 feet tall. Any taller than that, you risk your home getting transportation damage at overpasses, like bridges.
Of course, you can opt to build a double-story modular home if you want to go for height. All they’ll do is construct two separate one-story modules and assemble them into the double story on the lot.
Modular Home Length
Like the height, transportation will restrict the maximum length of the modular home. It also depends on the manufacturer you choose to build your home.
Most manufacturers have a maximum modular home length of 60 feet. However, they can vary from 60-72 feet long.
Again, you don’t have to let those restrictions stop you from designing your dream home. You can always add a few modules to get the desired length. You should be good to go if you remain within your zoning laws and Homeowner’s Associations (HOA) guidelines.
Modular Home Width
In reality, you can make your modular home as narrow or wide as you want, but the width of a single module restricts you.
Typically, a single module will be 12-15.9 feet wide during construction. But most homeowners opt for a wider design and add two modules together, making the home width 30 feet.
Of course, the wider you want your home, the more modules you can add to the plan. The beauty lies in the personalization of your home.
Modular Home Weight
Because the prefabricated panels of your home should be transported to your lot with a truck, they can’t exceed a certain weight. Otherwise, it might cause catastrophic events, like a burst tire, which will damage your investment overall.
Usually, the weight of a modular home is 35 pounds per square foot. So, if your home is 900 square feet, it shouldn’t exceed 31,500 pounds.
Luckily, the factory will figure out the math, so you won’t have to. But it is an interesting fact and consideration to keep in mind.
What is the Smallest Modular Home?
Some people want to go bigger and better while others prefer smaller homes. But how small can you make your modular home? And what are the smallest modular homes on the market?
The smallest modular homes are usually between 226-282 square feet. It depends on what functions you need your modular home to have and where you’ll buy it.
Here are a few examples of tiny modular homes and their manufacturers:
- The DROP box N-240 by In-Tenta is 226 square feet and has a kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, and living area.
- The Solo Mini by In-Tenta is 256 square feet and offers the amenities of a functional and independent house unit.
- The KODA Loft by Bay Modular is 282 square feet with the amenities of a functional unit and has double open spaces.
So, if you’re looking for a home with everything you need but don’t want to use up too much space on your lot, consider a tiny modular home.
What is the Largest Modular Home?
While smaller modular homes are becoming popular, they are usually built as big as possible to get the most out of the transportation cost. But what is the biggest modular home you can get?
The largest modular homes vary from 5,200-8,500 square feet. These larger homes are perfect to suit the needs of big families. However, it is already considered large if the surface area is 4,000 square feet or more.
With these dimensions, you can expect a home with approximately three bedrooms and three bathrooms. And, of course, you can customize the sizes of the rooms to suit your individual needs.
Here are a few examples of large modular homes and their manufacturers:
- The Calistoga Custom by Method Homes is 5,200 square feet and offers indoor-outdoor wine country living.
- The Custom Colonial XX by Method Homes is 6,250 square feet, and you can have as many as six bedrooms and 6.5 bathrooms.
- The Truckee, CA by Design Build Modular is 8,500 square feet and gives you up to six bedrooms and five bathrooms.
As you can see, you can go quite large with your modular home. So, suppose you have a large family or want many different rooms for various activities, like a theatre room and a gym. In that case, you can customize it into your modular home design.
Why Modular Home Dimensions Vary
With so many options available to homeowners, considering the size you want your home to be is essential. But you might wonder why there are so many different modular home sizes or why there aren’t standard sizes countrywide.
Modular home sizes vary from one manufacturer to another and depend mainly on the customer’s needs. Each manufacturer has a standard modular unit size that falls between the dimensions seen above under “Main Dimensions of a Modular Home.”
Then, you can put together as many units as you’d want to meet your and your family’s needs. Of course, there are other size constraints you need to consider.
Constraints to Modular Home Sizes
Unfortunately, you can’t design a mansion of a modular home without considering the constraints of building larger homes. A few factors impact how big you can make your home. These are:
- Manufacturer’s setup: Your modular home is made in a factory with various people and assembly lines to get the job done quicker. It also allows houses to be more cost-effective without skimping on quality. But, to optimize this, most factories can only build standard-sized modules and aren’t equipped to make larger singular modules. In this case, you can consider adding more than one module to get your desired size.
- Safety of the structure: Every modular home structure should be safe, especially after it is assembled. It should hold the weight of foot traffic and indoor contents. At the same time, it should withstand weather conditions and deterioration. This structural safety depends on the size of the home, materials used, transport tremors, or extreme weather conditions on the day of transportation. Larger units are at higher risk for transport damage, so smaller units are usually safer from a building perspective.
- Shipping concerns: The road to your lot is a massive consideration for the size of the modular home. For example, if the road has low bridges, narrow paths, or obstacles, it would determine what size truck can transport the units. The more obstacles, the smaller the truck they can use, and the smaller the single modules they can build.
- Transportation limitations: Typically, manufacturers use flatbed trucks to transport the modular units to your lot. So, they must ensure that each part fits on the truck to reach your destination safely.
- Zoning laws and HOA considerations: The final restriction is the zoning laws and Homeowners Association (HOA) regulations. In some cases, the zoning and HOA have size limitations applicable to modular homeowners. So, it’s best to research your lot’s local zoning laws and HOA regulations to ensure you’re within the acceptable size range with your house.
The Bottom Line
Prospective homeowners buying a modular home must consider the size they want. While it’s one thing to want a specific size, the question is whether you can get the dimensions you prefer.
So, knowing the typical modular sizes, how small or big you can go, and the usual size constraints are all factors that might influence your decision. And it’s as essential to consider the local laws and regulations to prevent future problems.
Luckily, you can customize your size by having builders assemble more than one unit on your lot. So, whether you want the smallest modular home for a relative or a large modular home to fit all your family members, there is an option available.
Amos Christen graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from Drexel University — Philadelphia, PA. Since 2003, Amos has worked with top interior design professionals in this area, including architects and interior/graphic/lighting designers. As a skilled interior designer, Amos Christen is highly versed in fine arts and crafts and uses that to supplement his main area of expertise. He often publishes articles related to home décor on several websites, including Sprucetoilets.com, Sprucebathroom.com, and Mybesuitedhome.com. He also contributes to leading interior design magazines.