July 18, 2024

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A stick-built home is a property with a wood frame, which supports the plywood and other building materials. These homes use lumber and often have a custom design that allows the owner to personalize everything from layout to amenities (like space for a double oven).
These homes are different from prefabricated homes, which are built in a factory and assembled on site. Instead, stick-built homes are constructed from the ground up on your plot of land. While many owners prefer the convenience and price points of a pre-fab home, a stick-built home may build more equity over time and allows for unique touches.
Let’s talk about what constitutes a stick-built home, what this type of home typically costs, and when there could be disadvantages to a lumber frame.

A stick-built home uses wood sticks, also called dimensional lumber, to create the roof trusses and walls. While some stick-built homes may use floor plans the builder has used before, most commonly the contractor will sit down with the homeowner and create a blueprint with their input.
Stick-built homes are constructed using the traditional, built-from-scratch method. This is different from manufactured or pre-fab homes which are created on a factory line and assembled on a plot of land in cookie-cutter fashion.
Stick-built homes are more expensive than mass-produced homes. This is because while a mass-produced house can be built quickly with few — if any — tweaks, a stick-built home takes more planning and time. It may also use more expensive materials.
According to Jennifer Spinelli, founder & CEO of Watson Buys in Denver, the average price per square foot for a custom/stick-built home is $100-$200, while the average price per square foot for a mass-produced home is $50-$100 in her area.
As far as resale values of stick-built homes are concerned, Ben Gold, founder of Recommended Home Buyers in Philadelphia, says “the prices are between $150 to $250 per square foot, depending on the style and updates needed.”

As we’ve mentioned, a stick-built home uses a wooden frame that is assembled on site. These properties can be constructed in a wide variety of orientations, based on the homeowner’s needs. On the other hand, a modular home is constructed using pre-built modules that operate like building blocks. These homes are not as customizable as stick-built homes because there are only so many ways to assemble the modules. Both stick-built and modular homes often meet the same local building standards and can have basements.
Stick-built homes are also more complex than manufactured homes, sometimes called mobile homes. A factory-built home made before June of 1976 is considered a mobile home, while a factory-built home made after that date is typically called a manufactured home. Unlike modular and stick-built houses, a manufactured home usually sits on concrete blocks instead of a standard foundation or a basement.


Stick-built homes remain the main standard for housing in North America. They are customizable and generally the least expensive way to get a custom home. But they do take more time and labor to build than modular or prefab homes.
Bankrate.com is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. Bankrate is compensated in exchange for featured placement of sponsored products and services, or your clicking on links posted on this website. This compensation may impact how, where and in what order products appear. Bankrate.com does not include all companies or all available products.
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