Renovation vs. Remodeling: What’s the Difference?

Many people think renovation and remodeling are one and the same. They aren’t. If you are planning a project to your home, it is imperative to know the difference between renovating vs. remodeling so you can know what to expect.

What is a Home Renovation?

Renovating a home is the process of making improvements without changing the structure or design of it in order to bring it to a good state of repair. A home can be renewed by changing light fixtures, re-facing cabinets, or through laying new flooring. Painting, wallpapering, and fixing a chip in the wall are also considered home renovation projects.

What is Home Remodeling?

Remodeling is the process of changing the functionality and the design of an area. It may involve tearing out a wall to expand a bathroom and reconfiguring a kitchen layout so the cabinets, fridge, sink, and range are in different locations. Constructing an addition to your home would also be considered a remodel.

Differences between Renovation and Remodeling

While renovating and remodeling are similar in some aspects because they improve your home and add value to it, the differences are many. Which is right for you – renovating or remodeling?

DIY Considerations

If you are looking to do all or much of the work yourself, renovating your home is the better option. Remodeling tasks typically require licensing. Most communities frown on or forbid homeowners to do such things as electrical wiring, pouring a foundation, or plumbing installation without having a license to do so. But, wallpapering, painting, hanging doors, and installing flooring are all acceptable improvements laymen can make on a home.

Return on Your Investment

You might think that because it is a bigger deal to remodel that it has a bigger return. That’s not true. Renovating generally costs less yet serves the purpose of updating a home’s basic features and so there is typically a higher return on the money you put into it. While remodeling does increase the value of your home, you must take into consideration the money you invested in the material and the labor.

When Remodeling Pays Off

If your home is lacking in a certain area that will greatly decrease the value of your home and you are thinking about selling it, you may want to consider remodeling. Single bathroom homes are typically harder to sell because the market leans to two or even three bathrooms. Or, if you have to walk through a bedroom to get to another bedroom, you might want to remodel because the layout is not conducive to selling your home.

There are also times that you intend to stay in your home but won’t be happy there unless a remodeling project is done such as adding a room for a new child in the family or an ailing parent.

Rules and Regulations

Not only are some tasks forbidden by non-professionals, some improvements are not allowed in certain situations. If you have a historical home, only renovations are permitted. Some communities forbid certain things as well like room additions or tearing out walls. It is always advised to check with your community and your city for any codes, rules, and regulations that may be in place.

Renovating vs. Remodeling…It’s Your Call

The best way to decide between renovating or remodeling your home is to take your personal situation and do the math. Consider why you are going to do the work. Are you planning to sell? Is the improvement for a need your family has? How much money can you afford to put into the work and what do you expect to get back out of it? When all the facts are on the table, you will be able to see more clearly which direction is best for you.