Renovation vs remodeling
Updated: Aug 28, 2019
Sometimes you need a change around the house. And, up until now, you might have heard people use the words “remodel” and “renovate” interchangeably to refer to this process.
While the terms remodel and renovation are used interchangeably all the time, they are actually very different types of construction. So exactly what is the difference between a remodel and a renovation?
The key difference is how deep the changes go. A renovation means you’re updating an existing structure with cosmetic changes, whereas a remodel involves changing the structure through demolition and construction.
Remodel vs. renovation: what’s right for you?
You need to be able to articulate the differences between the two types of construction so that you can better advise your contractor (or the friends who are helping you out). This is because the costs and timeline of each project are very different.
It’s also important to know this distinction if you want to sell your home. As your real estate agent will soon tell you, when considering remodel vs. renovation, there are significant differences in both the pricing and advertising of both kinds of homes. A recently remodeled home is very different than a recently renovated one.
Remodel vs. renovation: What’s the difference in cost?
In general, renovations are the cheaper route, because you're only altering surface details. “Most minor cosmetic work for a renovation can be done quickly and on a budget,” says Betsy Bingle, associate broker at LintonBingle in Jackson Hole, WY. Renovations also typically entail fewer surprises, since the materials and labor costs are much easier to estimate, given the limited parameters of the project.
The bigger changes of a remodel, on the other hand, tend to be more expensive—plus, you may also need to obtain permits, which can run you between $500 to $1,000 and much more, depending on the extent of the project. Also know that when getting a bid for a remodel from contractors, you should also make sure to factor in items like appliances, flooring, and paint, which many contractors leave out as they focus on the structural elements, says Larson. He recommends padding your remodeling budget by 7% to 10% to be on the safe side.
What does it mean to renovate a house?
Loosely defined, to renovate something means to “restore it to a state of good repair.” A building that is not in good repair could be an old building, an abandoned building, or simply one whose owners can’t maintain it properly.
When you decide to renovate one of these houses, you are taking a look at it and want to make it structurally sound and aesthetically pleasing. Renovations don’t always have to be huge undertakings. You might simply make small tweaks to a structure to make it better. However, sometimes the state of repair is so bad that a renovation can be very dramatic, much like a remodel.
The key thing to remember about renovations is this: renovations are mainly concerned with restoring or repairing a structure that already exists. You are not trying to make it better, per say, you are just trying to fix it so that is functions correctly or looks how it’s supposed to.
Renovation is all about replacing the old and worn out bits of a structure with newer, better ones.
What does it mean to remodel a house?
The rough definition of remodeling means to “change the structure or form of something.” So, when you are remodeling something, it just means that you don’t like what it looks like and you want to change it. Remodels function to update or change a room’s physical appearance or function.
Remodels are unlike renovations in that they are not fixing a structural problem. When you remodel something, it’s typically completely structurally sound; you just don’t like how it looks anymore. You are building on the existing design of a room, not completely redoing it.
Here’s the key thing to remember about remodeling: it’s all about changing the physical of function aspects of a building or transforming the look of a space.
Why is it important to know the difference? You’ll want to be able to accurately communicate with your contractor what changes you want made to your home or building. If you’re planning on selling your home, a newly renovated home means something different to the buyer than a newly remodeled home. There are also certain costs associated with each type of construction.