REDwire Granny Flats: what to do when the in-laws want to move in with you

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Granny flats are self-contained units acting as an extension of a main residence, which typically shares a common backyard or back patio.

Don’t let the term granny flat fool you: while the name may sound like a form of type casting, granny flats are not only meant for those living in their golden years. Family relatives (such as in-laws), urban travellers, friends, even young adults who are first-time renters all benefit from the affordability and security of living in a granny flat.

Granny flats are the name given to modular constructions built on the same lot of a main house, usually occupied by the parent(s) of an adult child and their spouse who live in the primary residence. These flats are self-contained units acting as an extension of the main house typically sharing a common backyard or back patio.

Developed as a means to keep more their children close (and their in-laws closer), mature parents opt to live in granny flats during their retirement years, or because of the greater mobility living in a one-floor dwelling (rather than vertically in an apartment hi-rise).

Granny flats also provide older parents support, companionship and comfort in close proximity to family members, all while offering privacy and independence. The advantage of a built-in babysitter only a mere few steps away is also a big bonus.

Before grandma and grandpa pack their suitcases to move in, take an inventory of granny flat essentials so when they shout “honey, I’m home” you can confidently welcome them to their new safe, secure and humble abode. For more detailed specifications and construction options beyond this brief primer, contact Canadian Portable Structures (1992) Ltd.

Granny flats come equipped with generous spaces similar to a regular sized home, including a spacious living room, full sized kitchen and bathroom along with a master bedroom. Complete with all the fixings, granny flats are made to be accessorized to the unique tastes of its future tenants with a wide selection of interior and exterior finishes

Consider how much size is needed: flats are constructed for either single of multiple occupants. From the floor to ceiling, decide on the type of insulation desired such as fibreglass.

Also, think seasonal: do you live in a heavily rainy climate or perhaps you’re accustomed to snowy winters? Choose between a flat or sloped roof construction and what type of material is most appropriate, whether tar, gravel, metal or roll roofing.   

Other specifications to ponder are lighting options, as well as heating and electrical components.

Recessed and emergency lighting with dimming controls safeguards occupants’ safety during potential power outages.

Keeping warm and staying in cool all year long is critical to wellbeing of living in enclosed space: centralized heating and cooling systems should be industry grade, along with fire protected wood and doors or non-combustible steel framing systems construction to ensure overall enjoyment of the home for years to come. 


Canadian Portable Structures (1992) Ltd.

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