Renovations and Remodels: Yes, there’s a difference!

Are you planning to make changes to your home but unsure of the difference between remodeling and renovation? Although these terms are often used interchangeably, they have distinct meanings. In this article, we'll dive into the key differences between the two and help you determine which is the best option for your home renovation project.

Understanding Renovation

Renovation is the process of restoring or updating a space that is already in use. The goal is to make the space more modern, functional, and aesthetically pleasing without making any major structural changes. Renovations are usually less expensive than remodeling and are a great way to update your home without breaking the bank.

Structural Changes

Unlike remodeling, renovation typically involves minimal structural changes. Renovation projects may include repairing existing structures, updating outdated systems like electrical wiring or plumbing fixtures, or giving a room a facelift with fresh paint and new fixtures.

Focus on Refreshing and Renewing

The main focus of a renovation project is to refresh and renew a building or room with updates and replacements. Renovations are intended to improve the appearance of a space and bring it up to modern standards while retaining the function of the space. For example, a bedroom stays a bedroom after a renovation project.

Retention of Function

One of the key features of a renovation project is that the function of the space remains unchanged. Renovations are intended to make the space more modern and functional without changing the way it's used. This means that a bathroom renovation will still be a bathroom, and a kitchen renovation will still be a kitchen.

Understanding Remodeling

Remodeling, on the other hand, involves making changes to the functionality of a space. Remodeling projects can be more extensive and may require major structural changes. A remodel is all about making changes to the layout and function of your space.

Changes to Functionality

The focus of a remodeling project is to change the functionality of the space. This means that the space may be repurposed or used for a different purpose than before. For example, a remodel might turn an attic into a bedroom or convert an old bathroom into a walk-in closet.

Adding or Removing Features

Remodeling projects may involve adding new features that don't exist yet or removing existing features that are no longer needed. This could include adding a new room onto your house, removing a wall to create an open floor plan, or adding a deck to your backyard.

Moving Things Around

Remodeling projects can also involve moving things around to create a more functional space. This could include moving walls, doors, or windows to create a better flow between rooms. By changing the layout of a space, a remodeling project can make the space more usable and better suited to your needs.

When to Choose Renovation

Renovation is a great option if you're looking to refresh and renew a space without making any major structural changes. Renovation projects are often less expensive than remodeling and can be completed more quickly. If you're happy with the layout and just want to give a fresh look renovation is the way to go.

When to Choose Remodeling

Remodeling is a better option if you want to change the functionality of your space or create a new layout. If you're looking to add more space or reconfigure your home to better suit your needs, remodeling might be the way to go. Keep in mind, however, that remodeling projects tend to be more expensive and time-consuming than renovation projects.

Can You Combine Renovation and Remodeling?

Yes! In fact, many renovation projects include both renovation and remodeling elements. For example, you might choose to renovate your kitchen by updating the cabinets, countertops, and appliances while also remodeling the space by adding an island or changing the layout.

The Cost Difference Between Renovation and Remodeling

As mentioned, remodeling projects tend to be more expensive than renovation projects. The cost of a renovation project will depend on the scope of the project, but generally, a renovation will cost less than a remodel.

Remodeling projects may require major structural changes, which can be expensive. For example, adding a new room onto your home or moving a load-bearing wall will require the expertise of a structural engineer and may require a building permit. These costs can add up quickly.

Hiring a Contractor for Renovation or Remodeling

Whether you're planning a renovation or a remodel, it's important to choose the right contractor for the job. Look for a contractor who specializes in the type of project you're planning and has a good reputation in the industry. Ask for references and check them before making a decision.

DIY vs. Professional Help

If you're handy and have some experience with home improvement projects, you may be able to tackle a renovation project on your own. However, if you're planning a remodel that involves major structural changes or extensive electrical or plumbing work, it's best to hire a professional.

Permits and Regulations

Before starting any renovation or remodeling project, make sure you understand the local building codes and regulations. Depending on the scope of the project, you may need to obtain a building permit before you can start work. Failure to obtain the necessary permits can result in fines and legal issues down the road.


In conclusion, the difference between renovation and remodeling comes down to how deep the changes go. Renovations are focused on updating and refreshing a space without making major structural changes, while remodeling involves making changes to the functionality and layout of a space.

Both renovation and remodeling can be great options for improving your home, and in many cases, both can be done together. It's important to carefully consider the scope of your project and your budget before deciding which option is best for you.

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