Recently we built a custom modular T-Cape for one of our customers. The plan is the Wiltshire, which is also available as a one-story with a lower pitched roof.
Here is the modular Wiltshire T-Cape elevation:
Here is the modular Wiltshire T-Cape floor plan:
The standard modular Wiltshire T-Cape has 1,900 square feet, three bedrooms, and two baths on the first floor.
Click here to see several photos of our custom modular Wiltshire T-Cape.
As the photos show, the three front facing gables along with the center A-dormer add character and charm to the exterior of the home. The entry porch is practical yet ornamental. The floor plan is set up for easy entertaining. The kitchen, which opens to a large dining room and gorgeous living room, features a gourmet chef’s granite center island along with plentiful cabinets. The distinctive hardwood floors and Italian tile add beauty throughout the home. The master bedroom suite is well-equipped with dual lavatories, an oversized shower, and a generous walk in closet. The other two bedrooms are comfortably sized, while the laundry room provides ample and attractive cabinetry. The unfinished second floor offers abundant additional room for future expansion, such as for another bedroom or two, a home office, playroom, or storage.
Here’s a risky way to save money building a modular home. Select a modular dealer and contractors who are not properly insured.
Imagine that a neighbor’s child is seriously hurt when he falls into your cellar hole before your modules are set on the foundation. Imagine that one of the trucks delivering your modules strikes your neighbor’s car causing serious damage. What if the crane company drops one of your modules rendering it unusable? What if a member of the set crew is seriously injured or killed when he falls from your roof? Or what if the plumber fails to securely connect a pipe, which causes severe water damage before the leak is discovered?
Accidents and mistakes can happen when building a home, regardless of the type of construction. Since the right insurance can mitigate the damages, you need to ensure you’re thoroughly covered.
Require Everyone to Obtain Construction Insurance
This is best done by requiring everyone involved in building your home to have insurance. (Here’s a previous blog that elaborates on the insurance you need.) Making this a requirement won’t prevent disagreements about who is responsible for coverage, but it will increase the likelihood that one or more of the insurers will take on this responsibility, which is a lot better than you being saddled with the liability.
Verify Construction Insurance Coverage
Making insurance a requirement, however, isn’t enough. You need to verify that each party has a current policy with sufficient coverage. To do this you need to insist on receiving a “certificate of insurance” directly from each party’s insurance agent. Getting a copy of the certificate directly from the insurance agent will protect you against being duped by a dealer or contractor whose policy has run out, since it is not difficult for someone to doctor a photocopy of an expired certificate. You might be surprised how often this happens, mostly because builder insurance is expensive. There will be no sympathy from the insurance company, however, if you file a claim against a policy that was not renewed. After receiving the certificates, you should ask your own agent to review the coverage. They should be able to determine if the coverage includes sufficient liability insurance and workers compensation insurance.
Secure Your Own Construction Insurance
Since you need to have coverage from everyone working directly on your project, you also need to follow the same procedure with any subcontractors you directly hire. In addition, you should obtain either a “builder’s risk” policy or its equivalent for yourself, since this will provide better coverage against theft and vandalism than an ordinary homeowner’s policy.
The Home Store has partnered with SolarCity to include solar power with its modular homes – at no extra cost to you. Our homes, which already are very energy efficient, will now generate electricity to help you save money and protect the environment.
To make this happen, SolarCity and The Home Store will help you design your home so it’s “solar ready” and then install the solar system so it’s functioning optimally. This is your chance to save for years to come.
Electrical Rates Locked In for 20 Years
Your solar system from The Home Store will generate its own clean, affordable energy at a lower rate than you’d pay the utility company. In addition to being energy efficient and energy secure, your home will be protected from unpredictable rate hikes. A SolarCity system lets you lock in low, predictable rates no matter how much utility rates rise. Imagine paying $1.11 for a gallon of gas. That’s the price you’d pay if you locked it in 20 years ago! You can’t go back in time, but you can lock in low energy rates until 2035. You can literally watch your savings grow over time.
Green Solar Energy
In addition to the financial advantages you’ll enjoy with your solar system, you’ll also feel pride in knowing you’re helping to protect the environment. Solar power is one of the cleanest sources of energy because it doesn’t emit any greenhouse gases or other pollutants when it’s produced or consumed. Unlike generating electricity from fossil fuels, creating electricity from sunlight slows global warming.
Solar energy is inexhaustible, unlike fossil fuels, so it will never run out. It also provides a measure of energy independence since no one can buy the sun or turn sunlight into a monopoly.
Sleek Mounted Solar Panels
One of the reasons The Home Store decided to partner with SolarCity is the attractive look of its solar panels. As you can see in the photo of our sales center’s two-story model home, the solar panels sit low to the roof in a sleek, modern appearance that enhances the curb appeal for savvy, energy conscious buyers.
SolarCity Takes Care of Everything
If you order early enough, your solar system can be installed by the time you move into your new modular home. SolarCity will provide the equipment, permitting, installation, and interconnection, again at no cost to you. They will even cover your system’s insurance. They will also continuously monitor your solar system to ensure everything’s running smoothly and provide limited warranty coverage. In the rare event that problems arise, they will complete the repairs at no added cost.
What You Need to Do
You simply lease the solar system for a low monthly fee that’s less than you would pay the utility company. SolarCity guarantees your solar system will produce as much electricity as they promise or they will pay you the difference. The savings can add up to thousands!
SolarCity Service Area
SolarCity serves almost the entire area where we build modular homes, and they are continually expanding their coverage.
Who Is SolarCity
SolarCity is the largest installer of solar panels in the United States with a 35% national market share. It has disrupted the century-old energy industry by providing renewable electricity directly to homeowners, businesses and government organizations for less than they spend on utility bills.
Benefits of a SolarCity Installation on Your Home Store Modular Home
You start saving on Day 1.
No additional cost to lease and no increase in your mortgage amount.
Frees up money for other option purchases.
Guaranteed low, predictable rate for the next 20 years.
Insurance and warranty provided for the 20 years.
Lease is transferable to next homebuyer for no additional cost.
Reduces dependence on fossil fuels and slows global warming.
Installing a Foundation for a Modular Raised Ranch
In my last post, I talked about the advantages of a modular raised ranch. Now I’d like to discuss what your general contractor (GC) needs to do to “button-up” one.
Let’s start with what your GC needs to do to create a “split” entry at the front door. Since this requires that he elevate the main floor above “grade” (ground level) at the front of the home, he will need to install a 4’ tall concrete foundation below grade and a 4’ tall wood framed “kneewall” on top of the concrete. This will make the total height of the foundation 8’ at the front door. When the set crew places the modules on top of the 8’ wall, the main floor will be 4’ above grade at the front door. This will leave the basement floor 4’ below grade and place the entry halfway or split between the main and basement floors.
The foundation walls for the other three sides of your home will also be 8’ tall from the basement floor to the bottom of the modules. Depending on the lay of the land, the top of the foundation for each of these walls may be set at grade, 4’ above grade, or elevated a full 8’ above grade. Any walls 8’ above grade can either be concrete or wood framed. Either way, they will sit atop a 4’ concrete “frost” wall that will be installed below grade, making these walls 12’ tall. Since the basement floor is at ground level for these 12’ tall walls, the GC can install full sized windows, which will brighten any rooms finished in the basement. The GC can also install an exit door, which is why these walls are known as “walkout” walls. If you build a drive-under garage in your basement, the foundation walls will also be 8’ above grade.
Completing the Split Entry of a Modular Raised Ranch
The completion of the split entry of a modular raised ranch requires a bit of work on-site by the GC. After cutting the temporary rim joist installed by the modular manufacturer to strengthen the home for delivery, the GC must build the entry landing, install the front door, and construct the stairs up to the first floor and down to the basement. The walls framed on each side of the stairs, combined with a door at the bottom, will close off the first floor and stairway from the basement. This step is required by the building code, unless you immediately finish the basement. You will have to instruct the GC whether you want him to finish the split stairwell with a railing or half wall. If you select a railing on the first floor overlooking the foyer and the manufacturer does not install it, the GC will have to do so.
The electrician must wire the foyer light so it can be turned on from the top of the stairs, the front door, and the bottom of the stairs. He should wire the front-door light to be turned on from the top of the stairs and the front door. The modular manufacturer should wire the home to facilitate the electrician’s work with both lights. The electrician should also add a receptacle at the landing, and the HVAC contractor will need to bring some heat to the foyer.
Completing the Exterior of a Modular Raised Ranch
On the exterior of the home, the GC will need to install the siding on the kneewalls and walkout walls. If you cantilever the top modules over the basement, the GC must insulate and cover the exposed area under the overhang. Non-perforated vinyl soffit can be used as the cover.
My wife and I bought our first home a year before I learned about modular homes and became a builder. It was a raised ranch built in the 1960’s. It had everything we needed: three bedrooms and two bathrooms on the main floor and a drive-under garage, family room, and third bathroom in the basement. It also had a lovely yard framed by an attractive stone retaining wall.
Like any raised ranch, our home was a one-story built with a split-level entry on top of a raised foundation. The entry was “split” in that it was built halfway between the first floor and the basement. A platform at the front door connected two sets of stairs, one going up to the first floor and one going down to the basement.
To make the bi-level design work, the foundation was elevated 5’ above the finished grade at the front of the home. The back of our raised ranch had a wood framed walkout with a slider and some full sized windows.
Why You Might Want a Modular Raised Ranch
There are several reasons why you might want to build a modular raised ranch. Elevating the foundation out of the ground can solve problems caused by a high water table. It is often easier to minimize excavation costs on a sloped property by building a raised ranch. Also, if the property has sufficient slope, the low side of the basement can be used for a drive-under garage, which is considerably less expensive to build than an attached or detached garage.
In addition, a raised ranch, like a Cape Cod design with an unfinished second story, offers you a chance to affordably expand your living space. The raised foundation allows you to finish the basement with larger windows. In addition to providing good natural light, the larger windows allow you to build bedrooms in the basement while meeting the building code requirement for egress.
In designing a raised ranch, you will need to decide whether you want the front of the house flush with the front of the foundation or cantilevered over the top of the foundation. A cantilevered home, which is often preferred for its look, will have a foundation that is a foot or two narrower than the main floor, which means it provides less usable space in the basement. You will also have to decide if you want the front entry to be flush with the front of the house or recessed. An advantage to a recessed entry, in addition to its appearance, is that it provides some overhead protection from the weather for anyone entering the front door.
When thinking about the basement floor plan of your raised ranch, pay attention to where the split-level stairs are located. This is particularly important if you are building a drive-under garage, since the stairs should not intrude into the garage.
Modular Split Level Homes
“Split-Levels” are usually T-shaped ranches that are composed of a ranch on one leg of the T and a raised ranch on the other leg to create a tri-level design. They offer some of the advantages of a raised ranch, although they do not work well on a flat lot with a high water table unless the ranch wing of the house is built on a crawl space. As with a raised ranch, split levels can also be built with either a flush or a cantilevered front and a flush or a recessed entry. And they can often accommodate a drive-under garage.