What’s the difference between remodeling and renovation? Aren’t they essentially the same thing? Both remodeling and renovating mean to make improvements on an existing building or home. However, they refer to two slightly different types of construction.

Renovation Definition: Renovation means “restore to a good state of repair.” In other words, dilapidated buildings or poorly maintained houses are sometimes considered to be in a state of disrepair. To renovate a house or building means to resurrect that structure from a state of disrepair.

Renovations can often be subtle, improving on the existing building or house. Or, they can be drastic, much like a remodel. Remember construction involving renovation often refers to “restoring” or “repairing” an existing structure, replacing the old with the new. So, a renovation of a bathroom, for example, might involve refreshing the tile and paint, possibly even removing and replacing the existing sink, toilet, and shower, but keeping the plumbing and electrical systems in their original locations.

Here are some work in progress photos of a local home renovation we just completed, which consisted of adding siding, repairing the front porch and railing, and exterior painting.

Remodel Definition: Remodel means “to change the structure or form of something.” If you’re looking to remodel your bathroom, you’re looking to change the appearance of it. If you’re looking to renovate your bathroom, you’re looking to repair or update it.

Remodels generally work to change the appearance, structure, or function of a room. In other words, a remodel works to improve upon or transform the existing design and layout of a room. Remodeling refers to “changing” or “transforming” a building or home. For example, the same bathroom project would qualify as a remodel if you, perhaps, moved the pipes to make room for a washer/dryer combo.

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.

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. 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, and not just focus on the structural elements.  We recommend padding your remodeling budget by 7% to 10% to be on the safe side. When deciding on your budget, you may also want to factor in the return on investment—or how much money you’ll recoup whenever you decide to sell your home.

Working with a custom home builder, like Chris Matthews Custom Homes, rather than a contractor gives you the benefit of a team experienced in all aspects of home construction. No matter how large or small your project scope, we will be able to provide the quality expertise needed to complete the job.  If you would like to discuss your remodel or renovation, call us for a Free Consultation. (210) 287-4220