Step-by-step: Building a prefab house 

Watch how a prefab house is assembled, step-by-step―from the foundation to the final details

Prefab concrete foundation

Aaron Jones

Week 1

After three frustrating months spent getting permits and finding a contractor willing to take on the job, Jones is finally able to pour the concrete foundation.

Full story: Diary of a prefab

Prefab frame

Week 2 

A few days after the slab is poured, the house arrives on a flatbed, and Jones rents a forklift to unload the components. The frame goes up in four days.

Prefab siding

Thomas J. Story

Weeks 2–8

The windows go in. The copper-colored siding goes up ― very slowly. "The siding was probably the biggest problem in the whole process," Jones says. Most subcontractors weren't familiar with it and balked at the idea. 

Prefab countertop

Thomas J. Story

Weeks 4–10 

For most of the interior finishes, Jones strays from Romero’s specifications, instead installing Ikea cabinets and epoxy floors, and pouring his own concrete countertop (left). He also designs and fabricates a barn-style sliding-glass door for the bathroom. 

Prefab door

Thomas J. Story

Weeks 10–11

The final touches ― including ductless air-conditioners and a sliding-door mechanism Jones made using an old alternator pulley (left) ― are installed.


Prefab finished

Thomas J. Story, styling by Miranda Jones

Week 12

It’s done. Total cost: about $150 per square foot.

Would he do it again? "It was kind of painful, but it could have been just as painful to build conventionally," says Jones. "I’m really happy with how it came out."

More: Diary of a prefab

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