Getting a cabin can be an exciting process, but you have many options once you have some land. Do you want to build a cabin from the ground up? Are you looking into prefab cabins to have one shipped? Does it make a difference? What about the cost?
Here’s everything you need to know about prefab cabins, the pros and cons, and why you might want to consider a prefab cabin for yourself.
What Are Prefab Cabins?
First things first, what are prefab cabins? Prefab stands for prefabricated, which means that the cabin is built somewhere else before it’s installed. Many prefab structures are shipped to a location, either whole or in pieces, and then installed on a foundation as a permanent structure.
In some cases, a cabin might also be considered prefab if it was built somewhere else, taken apart, and then built on location again. This style of pre-fabbing works because it helps avoid shipping damage and gives the builders a chance to road-test the design before putting it up.
Why Choose A Prefab Cabin?
Many people are hesitant about prefab cabins, much like you might be hesitant about a manufactured home. After all, the two are very similar and have a very similar process.
But the truth is that there are a lot of advantages to prefab cabins. For one thing, prefab cabins can often be beautiful structures. A lot of care goes into the details of the cabin, and they are often more affordable than building a cabin from scratch. That means that you might be able to get a larger cabin or more features and functionality from buying a prefab cabin vs. building one yourself or paying a construction company to create one.
Prefab cabins are also a good option if you want to put a cabin somewhere remote. That way, you’re only paying to ship the cabin itself, not all of the materials and tools you need to build it. That can be a serious advantage if roads aren’t great where you want to put your cabin.
Buying prefab cabins is usually more straightforward than building one yourself or getting a construction company to create a custom design. That’s because the company manufacturing your cabin already knows how to build to that design, and it’s simple to make minor changes for customizable options.
Primarily, choosing prefab cabins is about convenience and making cabins as accessible as possible.
Pros And Cons Of Prefab Cabins
Of course, not everything about buying a prefab cabin is sunshine and roses. There are a lot of benefits to purchasing a prefab cabin, but there can be some downsides too. Here are some pros and cons to consider.
Pro, Prefab Cabins Are More Affordable. Most prefabricated cabins are 10-20% cheaper than having the same or a similar cabin built on-site.
Pro, Prefab Cabins Can Be Built Faster And In More Control. Most prefab cabins are built in a climate-controlled location. This means there aren’t any delays for bad weather or because the building materials are swollen to the wrong sizes and don’t fit.
Pro, Prefab Cabins Are More Environmentally Friendly. Prefab businesses work hard to eliminate unnecessary waste in the building process. That’s important because it means fewer scraps of materials and less garbage to clean up after your cabin is finished. It also means that there is a lower carbon footprint for prefabbed cabins.
Con, Shipping Can Sometimes Damage Your Cabin. One of the most significant risks of prefab construction is that you can’t guarantee your cabin won’t be damaged in transit. Unfortunately, while cosmetic problems can often be fixed before your cabin is finished, other issues aren’t immediately obvious. For instance, excess joint wear could lead to weak points in the construction. Or your insulation might settle and become less efficient in transit.
Con, Assembly Problems On-Site. If your cabin isn’t shipped whole, you might be able to avoid some kinds of damage. This doesn’t mean that shipping in pieces is a better option. Shipping lumber or other parts for assembly on site still comes with risks. For instance, if the interior lumber for your cabin gets wet, it might swell or warp on the way, which can make it unusable. Those kinds of problems can sometimes be overcome, but you’ll need to pay for and ship replacements… and risk that those materials will also be damaged.
Con, High Cost For Utility Hookups. The last big problem with prefab cabins is that it can be expensive to hook up essential utilities like water, sewage, and electricity. In some cases, you might not have the option to hook up certain utilities, and it can cost more to hook up utilities to a prefab cabin.
Ultimately the pros and cons of prefab cabins can be a bit of a wash. When you’re trying to decide what option is best for you, think about what features and costs matter most to you.
Maybe you’re alright with paying a little more for utilities if you can avoid some of the costs for construction and materials. Or perhaps the environmental benefits of a prefab cabin outweigh the limited options for customization. It’s all about what you need most and what you are and aren’t willing to pay for.
Are Prefab Cabins The Same As Modular Homes?
Modular homes and cabins are a kind of prefab, but not all prefab cabins will be modular cabins. A modular prefab is a way of making a building so that there are many different options you can choose from that can be put together in a custom design.
Also, modular cabins are often a little more expensive than less customizable prefab cabins. Still, you can also get a cabin that’s closer to your ideal design if you’re willing to pay for a modular option.
Where Can You Get A Prefab Cabin?
There are a lot of companies that make prefab cabins, and it might be worth seeing if there are any local options. If you buy more locally, you’ll likely save on materials and shipping costs.
But, if you’re looking to find reliable options or want to price compare, here are a couple of companies worth checking out.
BZB Cabins are an eco-friendy DIY prefab cabin choice
Zook Cabins is an excellent option if you’re looking for a modular cabin.
Gessato Cabins offers a selection of modern prefab cabins.
Hilltop Structures has some of the most sections and the widest variety of options.
Now you might have an idea about if a prefab cabin is a suitable choice for you. Next, you’ll need to figure out how you’ll design the inside! Check out our article Cabin Interior: 15 Ideas For Creating a Truly Unique Space for some inspo!