A modular home is a house that is built section by section (modules) in a factory setting. Once all of the modules are complete, they are taken to the home site to be put together to construct an entire home.

When the home modules have been set on the foundation, usually the manufacturer’s job is complete. It is now the general contractor’s job to finish the task of putting the home together. This is a process known as “buttoning up.” The term comes from the early days of the modular home industry when individual parts of a house could literally just snap together. Though the term is still used today, it is a much more complicated process and there are detailed steps that must be followed to ensure that the “buttoning up” process runs smoothly and properly ensuring security and safety.

Here are the procedures that go into the modular home “buttoning up” process:

Connect the Modules

Of course, one of the most important steps is fastening the modules together. However, this is accomplished in ways that are much more structurally sound than they have been in the past. Each module comes with plumbing and wiring installed but now they must be connected to each other. The general contractor will hire specialists such as plumbers and electricians to ensure that all utilities are connected properly throughout the home.

Repair Shipping Damage

It is not uncommon to find cracks and dents in drywall as a result of transportation and delivery of modules. These defects have no effect on the structural integrity of the home, but the cracks may need to be covered with grout and paint. It is also possible, though less common, that damages to cabinetry or other interior spaces may occur. In this case, the general contractor will decide if the problem can be fixed on site or if the manufacture needs to ship a replacement.

Interior Finishing

Interior elements that are attached to a home such as sinks, showers and dishwashers will usually already be set in each module. However, appliances like washers, dryers and refrigerators may need to be shipped from the manufacturer and installed by the general contractor.

Unfinished Areas

Homeowners may choose to have the general contractor finish certain rooms or other aspects of the house instead of having it done by the manufacturer. Some parts of the home such as basements or porches will have to be completed by the general contractor regardless of homeowner preference as they cannot be completed ahead of time. These projects usually will not take place until the standard buttoning up is finished.



As a contractor who completes modular home button ups, you may find that it is a great way to fulfill your passion for building homes while saving some time and energy along the way.

As the demand for modular homes increases, a greater number of trade professionals who are adept at building the homes, preparing the site and maintaining the structure will be needed. Learn more about modular homes and if this is an untapped market that will grow your business.

At trades.org we want your business to succeed, grow and support your family. We’ll help you make sense of the requirements to become a contractor or subcontractor for building modular homes and establish a marketing plan so you find the perfect customers for your skill set. Find out how we help your business grow, establish a stellar reputation and hone your marketing strategies.