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Differences Between Modular Homes and Manufactured Homes

Manufactured homes are similar to modular homes in that they are both built in a factory. However, modular home and manufactured home are significantly different in many ways.  People involved in the modular home industry usually will get offended if you can their modular home a manufactured home, because you are downgrading their product. They view manufactured homes as the low end home, and their modular home as the upper end home.



Typically, the title “Manufactured Home” is used to describe a home that is built in a factory, AND is designed according to HUD Code and not according to the local building code.

HUD Code Standards

  • construction
  • fire code
  • design
  • insulation/energy
  • structural requirements

Many manufactured homes that you see today, were built prior to 1976, which was a very popular and affordable option, due to the easy of construction/manufacturing.


The differences between modular and manufactured housing are quite substantial. Manufactured homes are built only to preemptive federal codes governed by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), which among other things require that manufactured homes be constructed on a non-removable steel chassis so the manufactured home can be movable, or moved at any time. Also, state and local zoning regulations significantly limit where manufactured homes can be erected.  Manufactured homes do not have many design options, as they are all built very similar.  Modular homes provide you with the opportunity to customize the floor plan, much more than a manufactured home.


Modular homes, on the other hand are built to meet a more stringent local and state building codes, such as the International Residential Code, IRC, or the International Building Code, IBC. Modular homes must have a foundation such as concrete or reinforced masonry to meet local building code requirements.

For manufactured home information please click here.