Townhome vs. Duplex: What’s the Difference?

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August 3, 2018

Townhome vs. Duplex: What's the Difference? Featured Image

As you’ve been searching for affordable home options to suit your budget, you’ve probably come across a few townhomes and duplexes. At first glance, you know these two types of homes are similar in that they share a wall with another unit, but there are still some key differences between the two. So, if you’re stuck between deciding on a townhome or duplex, here’s a little more information to help you decide which one is right for you. 

Shared Walls

As we mentioned, what separates townhomes and duplexes from the more traditional detached home style is that they share walls. Modern duplex homes are side-by-side homes, meaning they share only one wall between two units. In most cases, the floor plans on the inside of these two homes are mirror images of each other.

Townhomes, on the other hand, are usually rows of four or more homes connecting at the walls. The townhomes on either end of the row only share walls on one side, but any of the homes in the middle will share walls with another townhome on either side.

The Outside Look

Townhomes have a distinct look that makes some people refer to them as “row houses.” The homes in the group have a similar aesthetic that keeps them looking classic and picturesque. Most of the time, there is a driveway or garage in the back to preserve the quaint style of the front.

Duplex homes, on the other hand, have the look of a traditional detached home. Many have the front attached garages people love for their convenience. At first glance, a duplex home may even look like a large single-family home, but when you look closer, you’ll see there are separate entryways at either side of the building.

Townhome vs. Duplex: What's the Difference? Kitchen Image

The Inside Look

Modern townhomes and duplexes have a lot in common with two-storey detached homes. The main living area is on the first floor, and usually includes a kitchen, living room, and dining area. Some duplex floor plans might even include an extra den or formal dining room and you can opt to add extra living space by finishing the basement.

The biggest difference between when it comes to the interiors is townhome styles tend to be rectangular in shape, while duplex homes may be a bit wider with a shape nearer to square.

Your Neighbours

With either home style, you’ll share at least one wall with your neighbours. Current building techniques prevent sound from travelling through the walls, and, with your own yard space, they feel just a private as detached homes. 

Duplexes and townhomes are also a great way to keep your family connected. The children and grandchildren live on one side, while grandparents live on the other. This is a great arrangement for those who want to maintain close multigenerational family relationships and still have a sense of autonomy. 

Townhome vs. Duplex: What's the Difference? Main Floor Image


Townhomes and duplexes are generally more affordable than detached homes. In most cases, townhomes even more so because sharing two walls means sharing the cost of materials for the exterior. The townhomes at the ends of the row tend to cost a bit more due to more windows, square footage and, occasionally, yard space.  

However, the cost of any brand-new home also depends on the choices you make on the inside and where you choose to live. If you include a lot of upgraded features, the cost of your townhome or duplex could start to approach the cost of a detached home without upgrades. Opting to live in a bedroom community like Spruce Grove or Stony Plain may also mean you’ll save on your overall purchase. 


While this will vary depending on which builder you choose, Sterling townhomes and duplexes all include the land they sit on. Both styles also include popular design features, such as open-concept floor plans, ensuites in the master bedroom, and high-end materials like quartz countertops. When you build your own home, you have the ability to make all of the design choices, and a certified interior designer can help you create the right look.

Both townhomes and duplexes are affordable solutions for those who want a comfortable home. You should now have a good sense of the difference between the two styles, but there’s nothing quite like seeing those differences in person. Come by to have a tour of our showhomes, and you’ll see just how versatile these two home styles can really be.

Still not sure? Check out our previous posts, 6 Advantages of a New Edmonton Duplex and 8 Advantages of a New Edmonton Townhome for further information!

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