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Detached and Attached houses – Common types/styles in Canada

Detached and Attached houses – Common types/styles in Canada

From decades houses have been built in different styles using different materials around the world. In Canada too you can find numerous types of houses. But broadly we can divide them into detached and attached houses.

Detached House

A detached home is a stand-alone structure built on a plot of land. A detached house does not share any of its walls/floors with other houses unlike attached houses (semi-detached or townhomes) which are joined with other homes on one or both sides. A detached house can be built in different styles the common types that are popular in Canada are:


The bungalows have been popular since 1900’s due to their lack of staircase. In a bungalow dining area, kitchen and living area are all built on same floor. To build a bungalow with good square feet large piece of land is required. Due to the increasing cost of land 2 storey houses are now becoming choice of most people. With time bungalows are becoming sparse and mostly aging people or those who suffer from knee problems prefer to buy bungalows these days. There are variations in bungalows too:

  1. Ranch style- These are big bungalows with 2000 square feet or more area on one floor. The ranch style bungalows have big basements which can be used for extra rooms or storage. These types of bungalows are disappearing from new urban area developments due to their need of large piece of land. But they are still popular in rural areas.
  2. Bi-level/Split Entrance- These types of bungalows were designed to make better use of basements. In bi-level houses the entrance area is split between main floor and basement. This makes basement area higher giving room for bigger windows which helps bring in more sunlight and fresh air.

One and One half storey houses

In a one and one half storey house almost 60 percent of living area is on first floor which typically consists of a master bedroom, kitchen, washroom and dining area. In these type of houses ceilings are high and dormers are added, which give space to build bedrooms, storage or guest rooms upstairs. These houses give more internal space by using less land as compared to bungalows.

 Two Storey houses

Two storey homes are very popular nowadays and are mostly in trend. These type of houses provide same amount of space on upper level like main floor. Two storey houses don’t have angled ceilings like one and one half storey houses which make them more spacious. In a two storey house all bedrooms are on upper level and dining area is on main floor.

Split level homes

These types of homes were designed to provide ease of walking in the house by reducing the number of steps. The common types of split level homes are side-split and back-split. A split house can have as many as five levels which though provide easy movement to access different levels but this style results in so many staircases at different levels which can be annoying for many in terms of movement and design.

Attached houses

Attached houses have become quite popular from the past 50-40 years. The reason behind their popularity is the price benefit in comparison to a detached house having the same square feet area. An attached house not only saves building cost by wall sharing but also uses the lesser land area as compared to a detached house. In urban areas with a dense population where availability of land is an issue, among detached and attached houses the latter has gained more popularity.

Semi-detached house

A semi-detached house has one common wall which it shares with another semi-detached house. In other words, a house that is open from one side and attached from the other side is called semi-detached. It’s a great option for people who want a house similar in features with a detached house but at a lower price. Semi-detached can be built in different ways like one and one-half storey, two-storey, with built-in garage etc. The title of the land is under the name of the owner of the house.


Town homes are built in two ways –

  1. Row townhouses: Townhomes that are built side by side while sharing both sides of their walls with other houses called row house. One row consists of typically 5-6 houses townhouses. In a row townhouse, only corner townhouse has one common wall because it is an end unit with technically not enough space left on its one side to build another house. The price of a corner townhouse is a little higher than other townhomes because of its features which are similar to a semi-detached home.
  2. Stacked townhouses: Another type of townhome is stacked where houses are built on top of other houses along with where the ground unit is built as a single storey with another house on top of it. These houses share not only side walls but also their top or floor.

A townhouse can also be classified as a freehold or condo townhouse-

  1. Freehold townhouse-In a freehold townhouse the title of both land and structure is under the property owner’s name and the owner can make any change to the house as per municipal and provincial bylaws. A freehold house is usually a row house having two to three storeys.
  2. Condo townhouse- A condo townhouse comes with a regular monthly maintenance fee. In a condo townhouse, the property owner has ownership of the only interior property with external area or land being shared with other property owners as a common entity. Under the monthly maintenance snow removal, roof repair, common walls repair, maintenance of communal areas like a park or swimming pool are usually included.

Multi-family houses/units

A building which is built to provide accommodation to multiple families in form of separate units for each family is called multi-family house or an apartment/condominium. Based on number of storeys an apartment can be broadly classified in two categories:

  1. Low-density buildings- These types of buildings can anywhere between four to twelve storeys. These buildings are also called low rise buildings. Each floor can have approximately 12-20 units depending upon the land size on which the building is built. These types of apartments are mostly found in small urban cities with lesser populations as compared to main cities.
  2. High rise buildings- A high rise building has more than 12 storeys. These types of buildings are quite popular in metropolitan cities like Toronto. A downtown area of a big city is often identified from its high rise buildings. Due to lack of land and the need for closer amenities high rise condominiums are quite popular in busy cities. The tallest residential building of Toronto is named Aura and it has 78 floors. Aura is also Canada’s tallest residential building.

Apartments are becoming more and more popular in high sprawl urban areas due to their ability to accommodate a large number of people. People often opt to buy an apartment instead of a house due to a number of reasons:

Price- The cost of buying a condominium is way lesser than a detached or attached house

Low maintenance- In an apartment the title of unit is under owner’s name and common elements are shared between all the unit members. The building management charge a monthly maintenance fees from each unit owner to maintain the property. From snow removal, cleaning of floors, parking, lifts to other miscellaneous services like heat, air conditioning, repairs everything is managements responsibility.

Security- Most of the buildings especially high rise buildings offer lots of security features that cannot be found in a house. They have a fully secure entrance where strangers are not allowed entry without permission. High tech cameras are installed on every floor to monitor any suspicious activity. Many buildings also have security guards.

Amenities- Many buildings have an inbuilt gymnasium, swimming pool, recreation room, office space, rooftop patio etc. All of these are included within the monthly maintenance fee.

Location- Most of the buildings are built near the center of the city. They are close to major shopping malls, grocery stores, bus stations, subways which save a lot of time in commuting.

All these features have made condominiums/apartments quite an attractive option for people. From the younger generation who want to enjoy luxury items and save time in commuting to old age people who want small and secure space apartments have their own benefits. Still detached and attached houses have their own benefits and both are quite in demand depending upon individual choices and budget.

Houses have been built in different styles and forms from centuries depending on the needs of that time. Hopefully, this article will help you understand the current trends in relation to detached and attached houses and facilitate your decision making while buying a house.