Clayton Blog

Is a Modular Home a Trailer?

The word “trailer” still gets connected to manufactured and modular homes, and it can cause some confusion among home buyers who wonder “is a modular home a trailer?” The simple answer to this is a modular home may look like a manufactured home, but neither a modular home or a manufactured home is a trailer.  


In case you’re curious, I’ll go into the details about modular homes and what modular housing means.


Do modular homes look like trailers?

Freedom manufactured home modelHome model from the Freedom Series by Schult


Do modular homes look like trailers? If you’re using “trailer” to refer to a manufactured home, then in some cases, yes, a modular home could look like a manufactured home.


But it’s important to reconsider what you think a manufactured home typically looks like. Have you seen new manufactured homes lately?


Golden West Manufactured Home in Neighborhood

Golden West manufactured home model 


Manufactured homes no longer look like the old stereotype of flat-roofed, narrow mobile homes that look more like RVs than houses.


Preferred Plus single wide manufactured home exterior

Preferred Plus model by Clayton


What a Modular Home Is and Is Not

To clarify, according to various building codes and federal and state construction requirements, there is not an industry standard home that is considered a “modular trailer home,” or a “modular manufactured home.”


Oakwood Modular Home With Porch by Schult

The 2466 Oakwood Mod model by Schult


For a home to be classified as a modular home, it must be a prefabricated home that is built according to applicable building codes for the home site destination.


Modular homes are built to the version of the International Residential Code (IRC) that the local and state government has adopted. Manufactured homes are built to the federal building code called HUD Code. Mobile, manufactured and modular homes are all different kinds of homes that fall into the category of prefabricated housing.


In simple terms, the following is what modular housing means:

  • Prefabricated homes built to applicable state and local codes for their final destination
  • Value per square foot
  • An efficient building process
  • An affordable housing option that can be customized to fit your lifestyle



    Modular Homes vs. Double Wide or Triple Wide Manufactured Homes

Manufactured Home With Garage and Driveway

The GLE562F model by Golden West


Some people may still be wondering “Is a modular home considered a manufactured home?” because it’s manufactured indoors in a home building facility.  As I mentioned, modular homes are built to comply with different applicable construction codes than manufactured homes, so no, they’re not considered manufactured homes.



  • Both home types are built inside one of our climate controlled home building facilities using a building process that is typically faster than building a site built home
  • Modular and double wide or triple wide manufactured homes are both built in multiple sections
  • Both have pre-built sections that are transported to the final home destination where they are joined together during final on site construction
  • Manufactured double wide homes that Clayton builds can also be built as modular homes that comply with applicable state and local building requirements
  • Both are affordable, stylish and allow you to choose a home design that best fits the needs and budget of you and your family


The Key Difference

  • All manufactured homes are built to federal building standards, called HUD Code, while a modular home is built to conform to all state, local and/or regional codes applicable for the final location of the home, referred to as the IRC code, just like a new site built home.


Why should you buy a Clayton modular home?

Gaston Manor Modular Home Exterior

Gaston Manor model by Clayton


Each Clayton Built® home is constructed inside one of our climate controlled home building facilities, using quality materials that we purchase in bulk. This home building process allows our trained team members to be as efficient as possible, while also saving you money by providing affordable homes.   


Since all of our home building facilities use a similar, streamlined home building process, our manufactured and modular homes may look alike, but once installed at their final destination, both are often mistaken as site built homes.


Jamestown modular home model by schult

The 3549 Jamestown model by Schult


The advantage of prefabricated homes is that the home building process is typically faster than site built. Our home building process helps cut costs instead of using more time, resources and money to customize interior features, exterior styles and floor plans.


For those of you interested in modular homes, a knowledgeable home consultant at your local home center will be more than happy to help you. They’ll be able to tell you more about the options for  modular home foundations and about changing the roof pitch of your home if you want to enhance the home exterior.


A modular home is an affordable housing option that allows you to be creative with personalized features, options to improve home accessibility, an open floor plan design and more.




Check Out Modern Home Exteriors


Topics Modular Housing