A group of beige chairs is centered in a plain-walled room with three lights hanging from the ceiling. Photo by Jean-Philippe Delberghe.

In the real estate and interior design worlds, remodeling and renovation are often thrown around as interchangeable terms. But there are many differences between these kinds of home improvement. In this article, we’ll compare and contrast the meanings of remodels and renovations, and how you can decide if either is right for you.

Renovation: What it is

In essence, a renovation is taking a pre-existing structure and revamping it to look newer or more modern. It does not usually require much construction, if any, and focuses more on replacing or repairing existing parts in order to make them shine a bit brighter.

Remodeling: What it is

In contrast to renovation, remodeling does require the creation of new structures, parts, and pieces. You can think of it as a synonym for the word “remake.” Because it often requires builders and designers to start from a more minimal baseline, this process can often take longer and cost more.

Renovation: The Benefits

The benefits of renovation depend on what you as a homeowner are looking for. If you’re happy with the layout of your property but think that perhaps the walls look a bit shabby or the furniture seems too faded to be “vintage” anymore, then a renovation is most likely in order.  Just as you can think of remodeling as a synonym for “remaking,” you can equate a renovation with a revival of your home’s life force.

You may be surprised to learn that renovation is just as diverse and open-ended as remodeling, even though the latter involves starting from scratch and the former involves working with existing materials. But it’s true! Renovation includes a wide variety of upgrades and updates, from installing new wood cabinets to repainting the porch to power-washing the masonry exterior. If you believe your home has a fantastic foundation but could use a facelift, a renovation is your best bet. Not only will it enhance the aesthetic appeal of your house, but it will increase the property’s market value and raise the likelihood of your success if you attempt a resale in the future. 

On top of all this, renovation tends to be much less expensive than a remodel because you don’t need to buy new parts. You merely need to enhance what’s already there!

Remodeling: The Benefits

Remodeling provides you with a blank slate from which you can rebuild your entire home — or even add a second unit! When differentiating remodels from renovations, it can be helpful to imagine remodels as complete overhauls, and renovations as partial alterations. 

In any case, remodeling will offer the most benefit to homes with serious structural issues, whether that refers to natural decay of foundation, weather-related erosion of building parts, an unexpected visit from termites, or — heaven forbid — a case of toxic insulation material or gas leakage. Then again, you might decide to remodel for no reason other than that you would like some fresh surroundings. If you have the budget and desire, by all means go for it! 

Whether you build an entirely new structure or merely knock down a wall to create an open-concept layout, you’ll be amazed at the changes that result from a remodel. 

Renovation: The Drawbacks

If you aren’t familiar with many interior design concepts, the thought of renovation may be daunting. Without a concrete plan of action and a good visualization of a final product, it is far too easy to overspend and under-produce during a renovation. For instance, you may think that a set of teal tiles will look great as a kitchen backsplash, but find that part-way through the installation, you’ve laid out the ceramic squares in a crooked line with uneven caulking. 

You might say, “Well then I’ll just hire a professional to do it, and that way I can be sure it will get done right!” While there are certainly many talented installers, keep in mind that if you hire a professional to do the installation but not a professional design conceptualization (an added cost), you still risk creating a heinous room, even if the materials were properly placed.

Remodeling: The Drawbacks

Remodeling, as mentioned, is almost always more time-consuming and expensive than renovation. This is because a homeowner must not only consider the construction and cost of new spaces, but the demolition of the old ones as well. From tearing down original structures to installing new plumbing, from running electrical wires to painting patios and carpeting floors, there is a plethora of processes that go into the composition of a new home. 

Just as renovation can suffer from a lack of interior design skills, someone without considerable knowledge in construction, engineering, architecture, and electrical work will surely have a difficult time trying to remodel without hiring professional help. 

Renovating versus Remodeling: Which Route is Right for You?

No single home will perfectly suit two different people’s domestic preferences. In the same way, renovation will be a better option for some people, while remodeling will better suit another’s needs. 

If you are considering one or the other and are ready to learn more, Daniel’s Design & Remodeling specializes in both. You can read more of our informative blogs here or go directly to our contact page with one easy click.

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