Exploring the Different Types of Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)


Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) offer homeowners a versatile solution to accommodate additional living space on their properties. Whether you want to provide housing for family members, generate rental income, or simply maximize the use of your land, understanding the various types of ADUs is essential. In this blog post, we will delve into the different types of ADUs that can be built, ranging from detached structures to interior conversions.

  • Detached ADUs: Detached ADUs are standalone structures separate from the primary residence. They are typically built in the backyard and offer the highest level of privacy and independence. Some common types of detached ADUs include:
  • 1) Backyard Cottages: These are small, self-contained dwellings often designed as miniature houses. Backyard cottages can vary in size and layout, ranging from compact studios to larger units with multiple bedrooms.
  • 2) Converted Garages or Sheds: Existing garages or sheds on the property can be transformed into functional living spaces. With proper insulation, ventilation, and utility connections, these structures can serve as comfortable ADUs.
  • 3) Tiny Houses: The tiny house movement has gained popularity, and these compact, mobile structures can be considered as detached ADUs. They offer a minimalist and eco-friendly living option, perfect for those seeking a simplified lifestyle.
  • Attached ADUs: Attached ADUs are integrated into the primary residential structure, sharing one or more walls. They can be created by converting existing spaces or building additions onto the main house. Some common types of attached ADUs include:
  • 1) Basement ADUs: Unfinished or underutilized basements can be converted into separate living units. Basement ADUs can have private entrances, kitchens, bathrooms, and living spaces, providing comfortable accommodation for residents
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    2) Garage ADUs: Similar to basement ADUs, converting an existing garage into a living space is a popular option. By repurposing the garage, homeowners can retain the structure's footprint while creating additional housing.
    3) Attic ADUs: Converting an attic into a livable space is another way to add an attached ADU. Attic conversions can offer unique architectural features and can be designed to provide ample natural light and ventilation.
  • Interior ADUs: Interior ADUs involve converting an existing part of the primary residence into a separate living unit. These ADUs are cost-effective and ideal for homeowners who desire extra space while maximizing their property's value.
  • Some common types of interior ADUs include:
  • 1) Spare Bedroom Conversion: Underutilized bedrooms can be transformed into self-contained units with their own entrances, bathrooms, and kitchenette facilities. This type of ADU is often suitable for families seeking to accommodate elderly parents or adult children.
  • 2) Basement or Lower Level Conversion: Utilizing the lower level of a multi-story house can create a spacious interior ADU. These conversions may require modifications to ensure compliance with local building codes and safety standards.
  • 3) Studio Apartment: Creating a separate studio apartment within the primary residence is a popular option. This involves designing an open living space that combines the bedroom, living area, and kitchenette into a single room.

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) come in various forms, each offering unique benefits and design considerations. Whether you prefer the privacy of a detached structure, the integration of an attached unit, or the space optimization of an interior conversion, ADUs provide homeowners with flexibility and additional housing options. Understanding the different types of ADUs empowers individuals to make informed decisions when considering the construction or conversion of living spaces on their properties. By embracing ADUs, homeowners can create functional and diverse housing solutions that cater to their specific needs and contribute to the diversification of housing options in their communities.

SKS Construction can assist in plan check, permitting, and even build of your new ADU, making the process a breeze. As an engineering, and construction firm, SKS Construction was established in Los Angeles, California, in 1987.

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