Why We Chose A Deltec Prefab Tiny House vs A Fully Custom Build
When you hear the word “prefabricated” most people think of manufactured mobile homes. Although this is true there is a lot more out there. There’s a whole spectrum of prefab homes. We starting digging into prefabs when my brother Mark’s girlfriend Annie told us about a company called Deltec homes. She mentioned they build them in Asheville, NC and they can ship the shell in panels to anywhere at a reasonable price. Then we went down a rabbit hole with the subject. I thought the concept was really cool and started looking at other manufacturers that build homes like this.
The more we looked into prefabs the more we started to realize the quality built into a lot of these homes. They are well thought out and are created with craftsmanship comparable to custom home builds, if not better. A company like Deltec takes their home and fine tunes as much detail as possible on the structure. They have been doing this for the last 50 years. Having only a couple different models allows a prefab builder to continuously improve on the quality of the material and structural design of the home. This makes the home like a well crafted beer. Just like the tiny houses on wheels builders have their own niches they are known for, the same can be applied with prefab home builders.
Deltec’s niche is strength and durability. Since nothing is hurricane proof they are constantly referred to as “hurricane resistant” homes . The graph below shows you the percentage of success for the last 10 years of large hurricanes their homes have gone through. Due to our post about our experience with Tiffany and Irma you can imagine we like these numbers. 😍
How do they achieve this? Let’s start with the wood.
Wood is broken up into categories based on quality which breaks down to hardness of the wood. Deltec uses a “diamond grade” wood for all their builds. When you’re able to see more and more rings on the side of the cut wood this helps create a stronger and denser piece of wood. These are the same rings you are able to use to see how old the tree is. This is the hardest and highest quality of wood you can buy from what we are told. Machine rated 2400 psi framing lumber is used in trusses and walls are twice as strong as typical framing material. This helps assure that when they are building our home they are able to handle a lot of force and don’t bend and flex as easily. This material is not something you can just go to the store and buy. They have a single source for their wood and it comes from Georgia (best sunsets I have ever seen in my opinion). They use the same source because they know they can get consistent cuts and quality as well as wood delivered without any warping. This allows them to have 99.9% of their material made in the US. Deltec is an Eco friendly manufacturer so they also like that their source plants two trees for every one tree that is cut down. 🌲🌲
Next is how they cut their wood. Their wood is all cut by a computer ran saw 🤯. The saw knows how much lumber is in stock, loaded with the models and projects that it has to complete. From this data its able to calculate different parts in the build vs the lumber to help cut down lumber waste when cutting pieces for the home. Typically construction build has about 25% wasted lumber from cut pieces. With the system Deltec has put into place, they are able to divert 80% of their waste away from landfills. A perfect example of this is when framing a window typically a builder will place plywood around the window frame and would have to have three - four different pieces of plywood to cover the frame. The computer is able to calculate and cut a hole in a single piece of plywood so its all one piece with no gaps. This helps with efficiency and strength. Since the computer is doing the actual cutting there is less error you will have compared to a typical cut by a human. This leaves a nice, clean, straight and precise cut so all the pieces matches up perfectly with no air gaps or errors.
We opted for a termite treated wood option where they put the wood into a pressurized air chamber. This forces the treatment deep into the wood to help protect it from those pesky termites we have here in Florida.
The siding was our second thought about termites. We love the look of the wood siding on Tiffany but needed something that gave it a little extra durability. Of course Deltec has thought about this and their siding is a combination of concrete and wood mixture to create a highly durable product that is weather resistance as well as termite resistant. This allows them to offer us a 50 year warranty on the siding if painted at the factory. 💪
Now with all this quality materials how do we actually get the home since its all manufactured in Ashville? Deltec pre-builds the home into panels in a closed space so weather does not affect the wood. Their facility is 100% ran on renewable resources in order to operate environmentally friendly. They were eco friendly before it was “cool” . A ton of detail and attention into labeling each piece and panel in order for a quick assembly of the shell of the home, our home will take approximately 4 days to build the main structure. That's pretty remarkable.
By now you’re thinking, "Cool Tim, I get it. They seem like they know what they are doing. But why round? "
The structures unique shape is a huge advantage for us. For our home, they take the eight panels and to create an octagon shape. This allows high speed winds move around the home not allowing winds to build up pressure on just one side of the home. Along with the roundness of the home they have an optimum roof pitch (6/12) for wind deflection and reduced lift on the home. AKA come at me hurricane season!
The roof system is called radial engineering. This acts like spokes on a wheel and works together like a system to help with high wind condition. This acts as a self supporting roof system so this eliminates the requirements for any load bearing walls. Because of this we are able to have a completely open floor plan to design however we like.
To say the least, I am fascinated by the design and engineering of these structures. With all the quality and thought by Deltec, this will be the strongest tiny house on the planet. We are so excited for this build on Shellmate Island.