Panelized Homes – What is a Panelized Kit Home and How Do They Work?

Panelization is all about framing. A panelized kit home can provide a much quicker and easier way to frame a home on site. But, there are important issues I want you to be aware of.

Sometimes panelizing creates more problems than it solves. Let’s take a look at a few of these potential problems before I get into their benefits and the preparations you need to make:

  • Panelization doesn’t guarantee quality framing
  • Sometimes the shipping costs can add significant up-charges
  • Panels can be damaged in shipping
  • Measurements of panelized sections can be faulty. Even a little bit hurts
  • Panels can be “out of square” or crooked (requiring time-consuming repairs)
  • Important nailing patterns can be in error

Any one of these can cause delays and costly repairs as well as test the capability of the supplying company to supply immediate reparations.

What is Panelization?

Put simply, a panelized structure is a house or building that has been pre framed in the factory prior to its arrival at the building site. It’s important to note that it has not been fully framed in a completed condition. It has been framed in panels (or sections) of varying lengths.

These framed panels must be connected on site by an experienced framer who knows how to read blue prints, square and level the panels and the entire framework, connect them to each other and to the floor/deck of the home, and verify all measurements, connectors, and nailing patterns. Naturally, this takes time and money.

What Are the Most Common Potential Benefits of Panelizing?

In truth, practically every experience framer “panelizes” as he frames. He will build a section horizontally first then tilt it upright and nail it in place. With factory panels, all this “horizontal” work is done. All that is left is to tilt them up in place and connect them.

Here are some of the potential benefits of purchasing and using factory panels.

  • Can reduce the need for highly experienced on-site framers and the cost associated with this
  • Can cut on-site framing time by 50{823ee7c0eba0898fb29b07c380fe9d57eedb27ae7904b52342d0b3a1c98ef280} or more
  • Can provide a higher quality and more consistent framing job
  • Can lower the cost of on-site framing labor
  • Can allow a do-it-yourselfer to provide more labor
  • Can provide for a higher quality, more consistent framing job

Is it Worth Paying Extra to Get Panelization?

You’re going to pay for framing labor one way or the other. Either you pay factory workers or on site journeymen. But, factory panels can allow you to hire fewer highly skilled carpenters on site.

So, is it worth it?

YES: If it’s included in a full kit home package that is priced right and makes your complete home building job easier … then yes!

NO: I would say that if you have access to a highly trained framing crew at a very fair price, then no, don’t purchase panelized framing sections.

YES: If you are an experienced do-it-yourselfer and framer or have one to help, and if you can get inexpensive hands to help out, then yes, I’d do it.

NO: I wouldn’t do it if the supplier was more than 500 miles away. You’ll have extra shipping charges as well as potential difficulty in getting customer service.

Get professional advice from a home building coach. Do your own research and always check references before you deal with any professional.