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sustainable building — prefab is anything but a one-hit wonder

We don't need to convince you that the lifespan of a house is important. After all, houses are more than just four walls. You grow up in them, you invest in them for your future and one day you hope to pass them on to your children. So if you want to build a prefab home, you want to be sure that your choice will pay off for decades to come.

So it's no wonder we often get the question: how long will a prefab home last? We understand that many people have questions about the lifespan of prefab homes, but don't worry, we're happy to guide you through all your questions.

what is the lifespan of prefabricated houses?

You cannot simply answer this question for all prefabricated houses. This is because the lifespan of a house does not depend on the construction method. It depends on the quality of the work and the building materials which were used. Solidly built prefab houses will last for generations, just like traditionally built houses.

The word prefab refers only to the construction method. Parts of the building are pre-assembled in a workshop and then transported to the building site. You can have houses prefabricated in all kinds of materials. At Skilpod, we choose timber frame construction. Wood is a sustainable material, both in terms of ecological impact and longevity.

The quality of the work is also a choice of the construction company. How good are the designs? How accurately do the employees and machines work? How carefully are materials handled? Are there extra checks on electrical and plumbing installations? At Skilpod, you are always welcome to visit our workshop to see that we pay extra attention to quality.

does timber frame construction last as long as a house made of bricks?

Wood is an organic material and will therefore react differently to its environment than bricks. However, we tend to underestimate wood as a material. The oldest houses in Belgium often contain wooden structures, and some remains of wooden structures are almost 500,000 years old. So wood can certainly last for generations.

But as with a traditionally built house, the quality of your construction does go hand in hand with the quality of the builder. The builder can ensure that the wood in your house is extra well protected from outside influences.

At Skilpod, we build your entire home in our workshop so that the structures remain dry and shielded from the outside climate. Some companies build their timber frame houses on-site. But if proper precautions are not taken, the house may be left in the rain for a long time and the wood may rot. We only transport the house to the site once it is completely finished. During transport, it is additionally protected against the weather and on site, it is finished watertight as soon as it is installed.

In addition, we take many measures to keep any moisture out of the structure of our prefab houses and ensure that the load-bearing wooden elements never come into contact with the outside world. Only if you opt for an exterior finish in wood, you will need additional wood maintenance.

is a prefab house sturdy?

Yes, you can even build them so sturdy that they survive a hurricane. Just take a look at these prefabricated timber frame buildings in Florida. In Belgium we have our own standards, tailored to our weather conditions. Any house for permanent residence that you build here, regardless of the construction method, has to meet those standards. Even prefab homes.

At Skilpod, we build our prefab houses in 3D modules that are picked up in their entirety by a crane. So for such prefab installation, the house has to be very sturdy, otherwise the modules would collapse like a house of cards when you pick them up.

the way to extend the lifespan

So what is a determining factor in the longevity of your home after it’s built? A lot depends on how well you maintain it. Just like a brick house, you will have to refurbish a prefab house every few years: clean the façade and roof, install a new kitchen... So you will have to take the same care of a prefab house as a traditionally built one. Then it will certainly last long enough for you, your children and grandchildren.

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