Posted by Melissa Lynn Galland on Jun 13, 2018 8:41:27 AM
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If you have a narrow lot and are building a new home, there are some limitations to what you can do. The dimensions of the lot, especially when setbacks are taken into consideration, affect the design of the home. For example, you probably can’t build a sprawling ranch with an attached two-car garage. However, with smart design, you can build a new home with the features you desire, including single-floor living and ample parking and storage space.

Of course, you can also view a narrow lot as an opportunity for creativity. For example, even though your home might be limited to a width of 25 to 35 feet, with an open floor plan a limited width can still feel spacious and airy, especially if you can see the entire length of the house.

As with any other type of lot, you can build a new home using modular or stick-built construction methods. As you explore your options for modular vs stick-built homes, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of each approach.

Pros and Cons of Modular Homes for Narrow Lots

When searching for narrow-lot floor plans, modular options often arise because they are naturally narrow. Most modular boxes come in a width of 10 to 15 feet, so building a home with a maximum width of 30 feet is not a significant challenge. However, there are other factors to consider when deciding on a modular home.  

Pros of Modular Homes

Some of the reasons people decide to use modular construction methods include:

  • Factory production protects building materials from weather during construction.
  • Building time can be faster.
  • Depending on the design, modular homes can be more affordable.

Cons of Modular Homes

Although the narrow width of modular home might be appealing, there are limitations on how long each module can be. The trucks that move the modules can take boxes up to 60 feet long, so if you have a longer lot and want to maximize the footprint in both directions, modular might not be a good fit for you.

Modular homes also limit how much customization you can do because they must be designed around the modules. While this might work for some homeowners, if you have a specific dream that can’t be achieved through modular design, you might consider a stick-built home.


Pros and Cons of Custom Stick-Built Homes for Narrow Lots

Narrow lots are not uncommon, especially in urban areas, so many designers and builders have a great deal of  experience in this area.

Pros of Custom Stick-Built Homes

One of the greatest advantages of a stick-built home for a narrow lot is that you have much more design freedom than with modular construction. Although you are limited by the footprint size, you can include features such as:

  • Vaulted ceilings to maximize space and light
  • Open space running the entire length of the home
  • Loft-like bedrooms on the top floor
  • Front-facing or detached garages

Stick-built homes also allow for more complex design elements, including dormers, multiple roof lines, and other features that make a home unique.

Cons of Custom Stick-Built Homes

Stick-built homes are constructed on site, which means the process is subject to weather delays. In some cases, the crew can work on other aspects of the project during inclement weather, but sometimes a delay is unavoidable. With this construction method, construction crews are also on your site for a longer period of time, which could be disruptive to neighbors, especially in tightly packed neighborhoods. However, you can’t avoid this challenge entirely with either construction method, as a modular builder has to finish the home on site as well.


At Adair Homes, we offer customizable narrow-lot homes with a broad range of designs. Whether you prefer the stately look of The Jefferson, with the garage tucked in the back, or the charming, cottage-like facade of The Rhododendron, we have a design that fits your lifestyle. Contact us today to talk about your dreams for your narrow lot.

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Topics: Build a Custom Home