Posted by Dan O'Malley in Home Building Industry

Searching for a new home can be exhausting—we’ve all been there. With the information overload you go through during this search, it’s important to separate facts and fiction. When it comes to townhome living, there are quite a few of mythical concerns I hear time and time again, so I thought it’d be best to put a rest to these concerns once and for all!

Here are the top 3 concerns I hear whenever making a townhome community recommendation.

Myth: I’ll have no privacy sharing walls with a neighbor; I don’t want to hear them, and I definitely don’t want them hearing me!

This is probably the most common concern I hear when recommending a townhome community to homebuyers. “What’s the difference between a wall between my two bedrooms and a wall between my bedroom and my neighbor’s bedroom?” many of you ask. And hey, ask away—that’s why I’m here!

The framing between two “homes” in a townhome building is different than the framing between two rooms within the same home. Let’s break it down:

Within your townhome (or even in a single family home, for that matter), we frame our walls with 2” x 4” wood studs, insulate, and put up drywall.

Between your townhome and your neighbor’s home, it becomes a bit more complex. In order from your neighbor’s drywall to your drywall, we have: drywall, insulation, wood studs, a fire-shield shaftliner, wood studs, insulation, and drywall. Quite a few more layers here than between your own interior walls!

Now, you may be wondering what in the world this “Fire Shield Shaftliner” is, and here is my best explanation: Incorporating a shaftliner in-between units does reduce noise and vibrations amongst neighbors, but actually it has a more practical value to it as well. With a 2-hour UL fire rating, the shaftliner helps prevent a fire from spreading from one home to the next.

So, myth BUSTED! Not only does your home have a sound-canceling barrier, but that barrier prevents the spreading of fires.

Myth: There are so many restrictions with townhomes. Some don’t even allow pets!

This common misconception is actually more of a renting vs. owning issue. You’re correct in saying that some leases do not allow you to have pets in the building, but when you purchase a new home, you own it! You’re allowed to have your fur-children in the home with you.

Actually, there are amenities for you and your pets alike in our townhome communities! Bring your dog on the walking trails and sit down at the gazebo for a water break.

Myth: There are so many stairs in townhomes; they all have 3 stories!

While M/I Homes does offer award-winning rowhomes, we also offer 2-story townhomes! Some of those townhomes have first-floor owner’s suites. Don’t eliminate townhomes from your new home search based on this myth; rather, check out a few of our floorplans that break the stair-stigma.

So there you have it: our most common myths regarding townhome living, busted!


Dan O'Malley
Dan O'Malley


Dan O’Malley is the Vice President of Product Development for M/I Homes.With over 30 years of expertise in residential architecture and design, Dan has been overseeing the product needs of the company's 16 divisions located throughout the Midwest, Southeast, Nashville and Texas for the past 12 years. Before joining M/I Homes, he was a partner in the Chicago office of BSB Design, a national residential architectural firm, for 14 years. Dan is an expert in all aspects of single-family and multifamily design and has received several awards for his successful projects. He is also a popular speaker at various industry events, including the International Builder’s Show, Midwest Builder’s Show, and Multi-Housing World.

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