Connecticut Valley Homes

Connecticut Valley Homes

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Modular vs. Manufactured Homes – What are the Differences?

When looking to build a new home, you’re immediately faced with making decisions. Build the home on-site? Build it in a factory? What is the difference? What are your options?

When thinking about factory-built homes, make sure you choose the one that is right for you. Modular homes and manufactured homes are both built in a factory offering value, time efficiencies, and quality control to name a few. Both are then transported to your building site. That is where the similarities end. So how are they different?

Building Codes:

  • Modular homes conform to the same state and local building codes as site-built homes and often exceed the international residential code (IRC) that all new homes built in the U.S. must follow.
  • Manufactured homes, formerly known as mobile homes, are not built to the IRC code, but to a less stringent code that is defined, maintained, and enforced by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. Now also known as a “HUD” home, “HUD” requirements are set to a lower standard than the IRC code and were created to offer low-cost home ownership to more people.


  • Modular is a method of building, not a type of home. It is custom-built in sections called “modules” offering design flexibility and can have multiple floors. Plans are approved by a structural engineer and must meet the more stringent requirements of the IRC code. Modular homes can be built in any style from traditional two-story colonials with multiple roof lines to modern styles with beautiful rooftop decks. Since modules are built entirely indoors, materials are not subjected to the elements of outdoor construction like weather, vandalism, theft, etc.
  • Manufactured is entirely factory-built usually in one to three sections. Each section is built on a permanent steel chassis to support the frame. A manufactured home is all one level since the chassis is unable to support more weight. Because the steel frame is part of the structure and acts as part of the foundation, far less lumber is required during construction and it is much cheaper to “install” at the site.

Transportation/Site Set-Up:

  • Modular - Wrapped in weatherproof material, loaded onto truck beds, then transported to the building site. Each module is then picked up by a crane, assembled by skilled set crews onto a permanent foundation and finished by local builders.
  • Manufactured - Built on a non-removable steel chassis and transported to the site on its own wheels which can be detached after towing and can or may not be placed on a permanent foundation. Multi-section homes are joined at the destination and little work is required on site.

Home Inspection:

  • Modular building inspections are done at the factory and by local inspectors on-site making sure the structure meets local requirements and that finish work is done properly. Quality inspections are also done at the factory which typically does not happen with homes constructed on site.
  • Manufactured structures are checked by building inspectors for the work done locally such as the electric hook-up, but they are not required to approve the structure.

Cost and Resale Value:

  • Modular homes will increase in value much like its site-built counterpart.
  • Manufactured homes are generally less expensive than modular and tend to decrease in value. A manufactured home may be more difficult to refinance since it is not attached to a fixed foundation. Also, keep in mind that there may be residential zoning restrictions for manufactured homes in your area so placement in certain neighborhoods could be difficult.

Modular homes and manufactured homes both share the same efficiencies and value that factory-built homes offer, but since they are constructed differently and designed to meet different code requirements, they are built for two very different home buyers. If choosing a manufactured home, be sure to make the right choice.

If you would like to learn more about modular home styles, floor plans, and modular construction, please visit our website

In business since 1981, we have built over 1,550 homes throughout Connecticut, Rhode Island, Block Island and Fishers Island. We specialize in designing and building custom modular homes to fit your location, needs, and budget whether it’s coastal or inland.

Our philosophy is to “build a well-designed, quality constructed house that is a joy to live in.”

Friday, March 16, 2018

Demolish and Rebuild: It Is Possible to Stay Put and Live In Your Dream Home

If you love your neighborhood, your surroundings and your location, but don’t love or even like the
home you live in, consider starting over. The experts at Connecticut Valley Homes make dreams come true and have helped hundreds of customers demolish their old house and replace it with a well designed, up-to-date home.

Imagine this, a brand new home in your current neighborhood:

  • Finished on time and within your budget 
  • With a floor plan that makes sense for your current lifestyle, fits the footprint you have to work with and highlights views and outdoor living spaces where you can make your future memories with a sense of security and pride

Your new Connecticut Valley Homes residence will feature:

  • Fabulous kitchens and baths with solid surface countertops
  • An open concept or traditional layout
  • Loads of closets and storage space
  • State-of-the-art modular construction technology featuring tighter construction tolerances, plus “green” features like high-performance doors and windows that lower energy consumption and reduce outside noise
  • Almost any type of customization in design or decoration

Building a Connecticut Valley Modular Home is faster and especially advantageous for those who wish to demolish their old house and replace it with a new up-to-date dream home.

Call or visit and explore the possibilities. Contact the knowledgeable team at Connecticut Valley
Homes and learn more about The Smart Way to Build™ 860-739-6913. To view floor plans, photos, and videos visit:

Monday, November 27, 2017

Consider Modular

Consider Modular Home construction, the popular new trend in home building.

A modular home is simply one that is built in a factory setting to the same building codes as a site-built home. The same traditional wood frame building methods are used, but the indoor location allows for the use of state-of-the-art equipment and climate-controlled working conditions. The efficient and precise factory construction methods elevate the home building process to a higher standard.  Modular construction is also a faster way to build, allowing the owners to move in and enjoy their new home sooner. 
Those looking to build often wonder if a modular home will look boxy or unappealing.  And if the interior finishes will meet their expectations. Dick Wildermuth, president of Connecticut Valley Homes in East Lyme, says, “Come look for yourself; our homes are beautiful inside and out. Standard features include solid surface countertops, kitchen tile backsplashes, cabinets with dovetail drawer construction, and much more.  We design and build beach homes, colonials, single story ranches, homes on piers and everything in between.  Our customers tell us that they saved money or were able to build a better home with more features than expected.”

To decide if modular construction is a good choice for your family home, Wildermuth suggests doing your homework. A good place to start is our website,, which is filled with floor plans, photos, and valuable information about designing and building a new home. 

Connecticut Valley Homes has model homes in East Lyme, plus design centers in Fairfield and Westerly, RI.  Call 860-739-6913 for new home building information.  Connecticut Valley Homes has built over 1550 modular homes and has an A+ BBB rating.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Modular Home Minute® Greenwich FAR Zoning Change

Hi everyone. This is Dave Cooper from Connecticut Valley Homes and this is the Modular Homes Minute. I'm coming to you live from Fairfield, Connecticut at our Fairfield design studio. The reason I am down today is I have been spending the last few days in Greenwich trying to understand the new zoning and FAR rules. I'm going to explain the best I can what the rules are. It's mainly going to apply to several jobs I am currently working on.

What is FAR? 

So with that said, what is FAR? FAR is Floor Area Ratio. What does floor area ratio mean, right? It's a mathematical calculation based on the zone and based on the size of your land that you own. There's a calculation that they use to come up with your floor area ratio, which is basically your allowable living space within the four walls of your house, in layman's terms.

In past times, if I were to maximize my floor area ratio in my living space, first floor if it's a ranch, first and second floor if it's a colonial, I would not be allowed to have any attic space. The town would tell me exactly what type of truss system I had to use in my attic. In other words, all the support would come down to the center of the floor, therefore making the attic uninhabitable or really not good for storage, maybe some small boxes and your mechanicals could go up there.

Now, first week of August, this all changed. The new rule came into effect, so for the zone that I'm in, I have some happy customers, I'm pleased to say. We can now use the attic for habitable space or storage space. The way the zone reads, or the way the rules reads in the new zone, I'm going to read it to you and then try and explain it to you.

What do these new regulations mean for me?

Under these new regulations, you would calculate the attic area for the R6 through RA1 zone at 40%, and the RA2 and RA4 at 50%. You calculate the same method as before the regulation change. All heights seven feet and over and dormer heights five feet and over in the attic are calculated. If the area of those heights are less than the required percentage, that 40 or 50%, you don't have to count any area in the attic and it is considered a half story.

If these areas exceed the maximum percentage allowed, you would then have to count the entire gross floor area of the attic out to the plate. The attic would also count as an entire story, so it would not be a half story, it would be a full story.

In my instance, I'm allowed 40% in my zone so I can have habitable attic space or storage attic space so long as my attic space and the seven foot or higher mark, and I'll try and explain that to you, is less than 40% of my total floor area ratio of the floor underneath. So in this case, the second floor, I'm allowed to have 40% of that second floor, floor area living space to calculate what I can have in the attic.

In my particular instance on one home, I think I'm only at 28% so I'm well within. So, how do you get that number? Your attic ratio number comes from that 40%, right? So if you have a typical gable roof, you would follow from the floor at the top plate, you'd follow that roof rafter from the heel all the way up until you hit seven feet. That seven foot mark on this side and on this side, everything in between that area that is above seven feet, in other words you're not going to bang your head if it's above seven feet unless you're really tall, would count in this 40% range. As long as you are under the total 40% or 50% calculation based on your zone, it doesn't count towards your FAR.

You can use the space however you'd like to use it whether it's seven feet, eight foot, in that area it does not matter. So again, it's different for everybody. There's more to it than this basic explanation. It has a lot to do with grade planes, foundations above grade, under grade, so this is what I've found out that's working for the  jobs that I have going on right now. It's going to help my customers, but you need to look into your own individual situations.

Download a PDF File of the Greenwich FAR Zoning Changes here

Have Questions?

Please, if you have any questions, shoot me an email. Hit me up on YouTube, Facebook. As always, check us out at CT Valley Homes if you're considering building. Modulars are great options. Download the 25 Questions to Ask a Builder and also ask us those questions as well. I'm Dave Cooper and I'll see you next time. Thanks.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Narrow Lot; Broad Potential

As the number of people wanting to live along the shoreline increases so does the need for new homes designed to fit the smaller building lots found in the quaint communities along the Connecticut and Rhode Island coast. 

With some creative ingenuity, the smaller and narrower building lots can be the best of all worlds combining a desirable location with a beautiful new home designed to perfectly fit the building site.

The expert designers and builders at Connecticut Valley Homes pride themselves on their ability to capitalize on the potential of challenging lot sizes.  Code restrictions and lot limitations are used to advantage by inspiring clever and imaginative solutions to what others may consider insurmountable problems or undesirable nuisances. The design team at Connecticut Valley takes full advantage of a narrow or smaller building site to create a beautiful, functional and fun home designed to maximize space within the overall footprint.

Pre-designed or Custom Narrow Building Lot homes from Connecticut Valley Homes and Rhode Island Modular Homes include a wide variety of space and style options.  

Homes range in size from the cute and cozy single-story Brookfield home, which features two bedrooms and a full bath in 1124 square feet, to the expansive and impressive two-story Jamestown design, which boasts three bedrooms and two and a half baths in 2810 square feet.  The optional wrap-around porch, if selected, offers a possible second-floor deck fully accessible from the spacious loft area.

A variety of home styles are also available.  

For families who love to entertain and have guests, the magnificent McCook Point plan delivers the consummate in charm and craftsmanship.  The 2008 square feet of living space includes six bedrooms, four baths, laundry room, sunroom, and optional decks front and back. Your home will be where friends and family gather and memories are made. This home, like most of our homes, can be built on the piers shown or a foundation.

The Somerton design features the finest in relaxed living. The family chef will appreciate the butler’s pantry and open concept kitchen, which allows for warm hospitality and conversation with others over the raised bar while preparing drinks and hors d’oeuvres or meals.  Its 2096 square feet includes a large master suite, two additional bedrooms, and two and a half baths.

For those who would like to take full advantage of a magnificent view, the Abington plan provides first floor bedrooms and second-floor living space.  The living space on the second floor includes a great room and a den, as well as a beautiful island kitchen and dining room.  The first floor completes this three bedroom, two and a half bath home.

Whatever you need and desire in a narrow lot home, our experienced, award-winning design and build team can help.  

For more information about building a pre-designed or custom modular home in Connecticut, Rhode Island, Block Island or Fishers Island, contact us here.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Cottage Chic: A Custom Designed Cozy Retreat

The classic cottage style home complete with its charming look and warm, comfortable interior continues to be a favorite of those individuals seeking to build a traditional home.

Generally thought of as a small space with rustic character and cozy proportions, today’s cottage combines style with modern design, addressing current demand for things like open floor plans and improved energy efficiency.

Even the exterior finishing touches inspire a calming daydream:  white picket fence or low dry-stack stone wall with an iron gate?  A pea gravel walkway to the front door, welcoming friends and neighbors, or a rocking chair and ice cold lemonade on the front porch?  Pots of wildflowers or a rose trellis defining the elegant entryway?

Inside, the choices are all yours! Well-designed built-in cabinetry to showcase cherished found objects or organize treasured collections?  A vintage inspired claw foot soaking tub or relaxing steam shower complete with teak bench and a tiled shampoo niche?  Hardwood floors or soft plush rugs underfoot?

Your dreams become reality with Cottage style home plans from Connecticut Valley Homes. 

Consider the comfortable “Riverbend” plan featuring two master suites, a galley style kitchen with a raised bar and an optional fireplace in the great room, all within 1257 square feet.

At 1444 square feet the 2-story Little Compton” plan features a welcoming great room, an open kitchen, and a spacious master suite with an optional private veranda.

Or consider the "Niantic," an expansive cottage with vaulted ceilings, spacious kitchen and living room, and a first-floor master suite.  Almost 1800 square feet, this two-story home has three bedrooms upstairs and loft open to below.

A cozy cottage atmosphere replete with classic beauty and elegance awaits you in your cottage style home from Connecticut Valley Homes.  Whether you prefer a cozy retreat with well-designed spaces or a more modern twist on the traditional, the experienced team at Connecticut Valley Homes can create a custom design to suit your way of living. Visit or call 860-739-6913 today for more information.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Connecticut Valley Homes Builds More than Homes with Al’s Angels and LIVFREE

The team at Connecticut Valley Homes is passionate about building.  

We build homes designed to fit our customer’s lifestyle and budget.  We choose to build modular because we believe it is a smarter way to build:  our homes are built efficiently and securely in a weather-controlled environment.  We take pride in our craft and often hear from our homeowners how proud they are of their new home.

Recently, we had the opportunity to experience pride on an entirely different level.  

With many other local businesses in Fairfield, CT, we sponsored the first ever “Skating on Sherman Green.”  Hosted by Al DiGuido of Al’s Angels, a charity providing meals and toys for families in need at the holidays and LIV FREE, a nonprofit that supports children with cancer and rare blood diseases, it was a true Winter Carnival.

Despite the spring-like weather, a synthetic ice skating rink welcomed community members along with the Fairfield Prep hockey team and costumed characters.  Ice skating, music, and food were enjoyed by all, especially the wheel-chair bound skaters.

Money raised by Al’s Angels and LIVFREE goes to local families who are battling pediatric cancer.

LIVFREE was created by Daniel and Katrina Vieira after their toddler, Lauren, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia in 2015. Thankfully, two years later, Lauren is now in remission from her cancer! After facing all the hospital stays, chemotherapy, medications, blood transfusions, and obstacles to living a normal life that comes with having a child with cancer, the Vieira family began LIVFREE to support other parents that are now living through what they have endured. 

Al DiGuido created Al’s Angels because his heart was broken the first time he personally had contact with a child with cancer. He asked himself: what if it were my child? Now he works to raise money for families who have exhausted their financial resources helping their child survive cancer or other hardships.

Connecticut Valley Homes would like to thank LIVFREE and Al’s Angels for all they do for children in need.