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What are Stick Built Homes?

By Ken Black
Updated May 16, 2024
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Stick built homes are those homes that are built using a more traditional method of home building rather than a modular type. The term stick built may be somewhat of a misnomer, simply because they are not sticks being used but wood boards, at least most of the time. The name may lead some to believe the homes are not well constructed or sturdy, but this could not be further from the truth. The "sticks" mentioned usually refer specifically to the superstructure of the walls and roof.

The "stick built" concept is not a new one, and in fact, most homes that have been built over the years have been built using similar construction techniques. These homes are actually one of the most sought-after types of houses on the real estate market. Unlike manufactured housing, the structures tend to hold up well to severe weather events, especially tornadoes and hurricanes. Still, nearly any type of house can succumb to very severe weather. Most people regard these houses to be more dependable and sturdier than modular homes, although the modular home industry may debate this and make points to the contrary.

Most stick built homes have many of the same things in common. They are usually built with lumber, though it is possible to use metal poles for the construction as well. This is more expensive, more time-consuming, and generally harder for the homeowner to deal with once constructed. These homes also have many of the common features associated with most homes, such as shingles and drywall.

Such homes can come in many different styles, including ranch and multiple story models. While modular homes may also come in multistory models, the choices are usually very limited. In most cases, modular homes will only come in a single story model, though it may be possible to put them over a basement or partial basement as well. Therefore, those who are looking for greater variety may find themselves limited to considering stick built homes. Homes of this type are also more likely to be able to be customized.

Some of the disadvantages of this type of house include the construction process and the cost. The fact that the homes are built out in the elements, where weather could delay construction, could add to the unpredictability of the building process. For this, and other reasons, stick built homes may cost somewhat more than comparable modular ones.

HomeQuestionsAnswered is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By Feryll — On Jun 11, 2014

If you are having trouble financing a stick built home through a bank then you might want to look at a modular home as an option. Many modular home manufacturers also offer financing on their houses, so this makes the process of getting into the house easier.

By Sporkasia — On Jun 11, 2014

I like old stick built homes for several reasons. They are simply my preference when looking for a house. However, factory built houses are made much better today than they were 20 or 30 years ago. Sometimes it is impossible the tell that they are factory built unless someone tells you.

Also, as the article says, stick built house usually cost more because all of the construction is done on site. With a modular home, you can get an almost identical home to a stick built model for less money.

By Drentel — On Jun 10, 2014

I agree with the article that one of the best things about stick built homes is that they can last a long time. With a little maintenance, stick built homes can be passed down for generations. Where I grew up, there was a saying, tornadoes like mobile homes.

The reason for this was that whenever heavy winds or tornadoes passed through the area you could usually tell how strong the winds were by taking a look at the local mobile home parks. The homes in the parks were often damaged beyond repair.

Of course, the tornadoes didn't single out the mobile homes, but the stick built homes were better able to withstand the winds so they were less likely to be damaged.

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