What Are The Differences Between Remodeling And Renovation?

What Are The Differences Between Remodeling And Renovation

“Renovate” and “remodel” are the two words that we often misunderstand. They may sound synonymous, but these words have different meanings with real estate contracting and interior design professionals. So, it leads us to the question: what are the differences between remodeling and renovation?

Renovation means restoring a previous state, while remodel is more about creating something new. For example, remodeling includes changing the form of your existing bathroom or kitchen. But if you want to make some good repairs to a creaky old floor, then you’ll need a renovation.

It is easy to look at the dictionary or look at the meanings on the internet. So, why do you need to know the differences between remodeling and renovation? As a homeowner, it is best to communicate with your contractor and nail down the project that best suits your home. So, here are the key differences that will help you keep the terminology straight.

Defining Renovation

Renovation is more about modification or altering to comply with a new or revised standard. When it comes to house building, “reviving” can mean anything from repainting, rebuilding cabinetry, and installing new light fixtures. You can also include additional finishes and fixtures. 

The original design is never significantly changed, regardless of the task at hand or project needed for renovation. A custom renovation, for example, not only improves the aesthetics of a room. But it also gives a warm sense of personalization. 

Renovating your kitchen gives it a more customized aesthetic feel, making it look more comfortable and welcoming. More minor and less expensive renovations will significantly boost the chances of a successful resale while also providing a desirable return on the investment.

Here are some examples of renovations:

  • Repainting
  • Refacing cabinets
  • Installing new light fixtures
  • Replacing windows
  • Updating appliances
  • Adding new hardware
  • Replacing tiles or flooring
  • Replacing outdated systems

Renovating may require a permit, but remodeling almost always does.

The permit ensures that you and your contractor follow all building regulations in your area. Communities set their laws, although it’s typical for a local building authority to demand a permit for any changes to a structure. It includes building an addition to a house or tearing out and reconfiguring inner walls.

Painting and putting on new carpeting are simple renovations that don’t require permits. You may ask yourself, how come repairing a roof is an example of renovation? It’s because you won’t usually need to change the design and function of your roof.

Meanwhile, most towns require permits for reroofing. It’s because if a new roof isn’t put correctly, it could leak and cause damage to the home’s structure and damage to others. Thus, most cities demand permits for reroofing.

Renovating is more suitable for DIY enthusiasts. 

Consider renovating rather than remodeling if you have the skills, time, and desire to do the work yourself. Unlicensed homeowners should not run electrical wiring or install plumbing in most localities. Only experts shall do these works. 

But if the renovation only includes painting, wallpaper installations, and other trimming works. Unlike remodeling, these tasks do not require constructing a new foundation or building walls and rooflines.

Renovating offers a better return on investment (ROI).

Renovation projects typically cost less and entail fixing and modernizing a home’s core elements. So, homeowners will likely experience a higher return on investment than remodeling projects when they sell their homes. Unless you are remodeling to force appreciation of your real estate and get it ready to sell. 

You may spend a lot of money upgrading your home to add a large three-season room to the back. But if your roof leaks and your furnace doesn’t function, buyers will look elsewhere. 

Renovations like replacing an entry or garage door or re-siding a property will yield a 75 percent, 98 percent, and 76 percent ROI, respectively. On the other hand, a large kitchen remodel will only return approximately 60% of the investment, while adding a master suite to the home will only return about 50%.

Open a dictionary, and you’ll see a vast difference between remodeling and renovation. So, it leads us to…

Defining Remodeling

Consider the meaning of “remodel” in the dictionary: “to alter the structure of something.” Unlike renovations, which are “revivals” of past states, remodeling a room is more of a complete “remake.”

So you’re remodeling a space when you take on a project that entirely changes the plan, structure, and style. In other words, you’re significantly altering the appearance and layout of the room rather than simply updating or tweaking it. Similarly, if you want to change the layout of your home, you’re remodeling!

For example, to create a more contemporary and open-concept layout, you can decide to merge your kitchen and living area. You’re planning a remodel, not a renovation. On the other hand, if you want to put in a kitchen island to increase your cooking space, you’re redesigning a room.

Here are some examples of remodeling projects:

  • Combining two rooms into one
  • Installing a kitchen island
  • Removing walls
  • Raising ceilings
  • Changing the layout of a room

If the project entails a significant change to a space that breathes new life into it while also giving it a completely new look and feel, you can know it’s a remodel, not a renovation!

Remodel means altering the structure or the design.

Remodeling is the process of modifying an area’s functioning and appearance. For example, it could entail taking down a wall to extend a bathroom or rearranging a kitchen plan so that the cupboards, refrigerator, sink, and range are all in different places. 

A makeover would also include the construction of an addition to your home. However, remodeling does not always require significant structural changes; it can be as easy as converting a guest bedroom into a home office. It has been remodeled if the area’s purpose has changed.

Remodeling is a better solution for poor home design.

Renovations will not fix problems if the water supply lines to your kitchen sink are installed in an outside wall and freeze practically every winter. Unfortunately, remodeling is often the only option for rebuilding a home that has a bad design. 

Which Costs More Between Remodeling or Renovating?

A remodeling project will almost always be more expensive than renovation. It’s because remodeling usually entails a lot more complicated architectural concerns. It may also include a lot of construction, electrical, and plumbing costs.

Since you will be changing a home’s physical structure, it may include reorganizing the wiring, plumbing, and ducts. Thus, it makes the project more complicated and costlier than renovating. 

Remodeling frequently necessitates more expert work, as well as higher material costs. It is because many remodeling projects entail the construction of other additions. But the ultimate cost depends on the scale of the job and the quality of the materials used.

Before getting too engaged with your project, you should consult an experienced contractor or architect. After all, if you’re serious about repairing or remodeling a space, you’ll want to make sure the job is done the first time correctly.

Ready For The Next Step?

After learning the difference between remodeling and renovating, the following step is to decide whether to renovate or remodel. Choosing whether to renovate or remodel your home might be difficult. You’ll need to consider your budget, time, and the property’s long-term goals.

A home makeover, whether renovation or remodel, should be flawless. Of course, you don’t want to lose your hard-earned money for poor designs, right? But, if you’re ready to improve the aesthetic aspects or boost the value of your home, we’re here to help you.


Golden Star Home Remodeling

(408) 317-7412

1172 Murphy Ave #208, San Jose, CA 95131

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