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Modular Siding Solutions for Today’s Modular Homes


Source: Contempo Builder

When designing style-savvy modular homes, the materials you work with are important. Homeowner clients understandably want a custom look, along with long-lasting, low-maintenance finishes. Architects, interior designers, fabricators and contractors want materials that integrate well with the design and system. And it’s important that the marriage lines of the modular assembly are managed thoughtfully in the finishes. 

Modular homes have made a resurgence in the last few years as this type of design can help meet the schedule, budget and site demands of the modern homeowner. Modular home fabricators can create stunning results when they work closely with the right materials and building product manufacturers.  

Prefab home construction is more sustainable, efficient, cost-effective and safe than traditional site builds. And it’s a great way to deploy more housing quickly in the form of DADU’s (Detached Accessory Dwelling Units) and Backyard Cottages in states like Oregon, Washington and California where building departments have streamlined permitting. 

It’s a trend that’s here to stay. 

The Modern + Modular Home

The construction industry has seen design trends come and go but prefabricated building design, used in Japan for over three centuries and popularized in North America by the Sears Modern Home program over a hundred years ago, is experiencing a renewed acceptance. Part of this resurgence in demand for modern solutions is due to the inefficiencies of site-built construction and supply chain. 

Modular construction — sometimes called pre-fabricated or offsite construction — means the building parts (the modules or wall, floor and truss panels) are partly or mostly assembled in a factory. Those modules are then delivered to the construction site, set and assembled according to design specifications.  


This modular strategy makes it possible to design and install the building components to best suit the needs of the owner. A modular building project also saves time and money during construction, which is why more commercial building developers, custom builders and homeowners are turning to this innovative, prefabricated solution for their designs. 

Some of today’s building materials manufacturers have met this demand for modular construction by offering products and services that support a more efficient building process. 

“In many circumstances, reducing friction for your customer involves reducing the number of players in the middle, which adds unneeded cost and turnaround time for each step of the conversation,” according to the Smarter Building Materials Marketing podcast. “The cost of time is big, so even shortening the time it takes to get a quote helps.”

Solutions for Modular Home Construction

Modular home design is popular across the globe, and in countries like Japan, it’s the norm. “This approach to construction is becoming almost mainstream in many parts of the world — from Sweden to Germany to Australia. But the world leader in prefabricated housing is undoubtedly Japan,” writes Nate Berg for Curbed, who reports that more than 15% of the new homes built globally in 2016 were modular. 

Modern residential building with small windows and Nichiha concrete series panel EmpireBlock

Nichiha Japan has been one of the leading manufacturers for fiber cement cladding integrated in modular home design for years. Thanks to this success overseas, the company’s U.S. team is now operating from a proven blueprint for home exterior solutions to help fabricators design their high-performing, high-design modular home exteriors with confidence. 

Fiber Cement: Modern Protection for Modular Design

Fiber cement siding offers homeowners many benefits, and (spoiler alert) it doesn’t just offer outstanding exterior protection. It’s grown more popular in all types of home design, from transitional to traditional to modern styles, because it offers homeowners an affordable but highly versatile exterior solution with plenty of curb appeal. 

Modern home in Japan featuring Nichiha’s dark faux wood fiber cement panels RoughSawn in color Espresso

Fiber cement siding comes in a wide range of finishes and styles, so homeowners can design their exterior with a look they’ll always enjoy. Because fiber cement board siding is durable and offers weather and fire resistance, it comes with the benefit of long-term dependability. 

One of the benefits of modular construction is that it’s a more sustainable building process. “When building in a factory, waste is eliminated by recycling materials, controlling inventory and protecting building materials,” according to the Modular Building Institute

Fiber cement panels from Nichiha will also help homeowners guarantee a more sustainable modular home construction since the panels come with a green certification and can even qualify the project for LEED credits. 

Fiber cement, like Nichiha’s Architectural Wall Panel rainscreen system, comes in several profiles, sheens, colors and textures, such as architectural concrete, brick and stone which are normally impossible to do prefab because of the mortar. 

Panel cladding systems like this support a quicker construction process since installation isn’t dependent on weather or seasonal changes (like traditionally wet scopes of work with brick masonry or stucco) and can be done seamlessly in a factory. It’s an ideal solution for modular construction, which also speeds up the project timeline. 

“Because construction of modular buildings can occur simultaneously with the site and foundation work, projects can be completed 30% to 50% sooner than traditional construction,” according to the Modular Building Institute.

Looking Forward in Home Design

Small modular home with vertical blue custom color Illumination panels in a variety of shades

Source: Ed Massery

Homeowners, architects and builders alike can expect to see more modular home construction in the coming years, and there are sure to be even more options for offsite building as it grows in popularity. When homeowners choose fiber cement siding, they can support their modular home design, since it’s such an efficient, versatile and durable exterior product that is fast and easy to add to a modular home offsite and as it’s assembled on-site. 

Modular home construction is a tried-and-true solution for thoughtful, sustainable home design. Want solutions for your modern, modular home? Click here for Nichiha’s Modern Homes Lookbook for some inspiration. 

Or use Nichiha's estimator for pricing on your modular home building project. 

Categories: Trends
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