What is the Difference Between Remodeling and Renovating a House?

Understand what's the difference between remodeling & renovating your house? Learn how each one adds value & ROI when selling.

What is the Difference Between Remodeling and Renovating a House?

Renewing a home can be a daunting task, but understanding the difference between remodeling and renovating can help make the process easier. Essentially, the difference between them is that a renovation refers to restoring something to a previous state, whereas a remodeling refers to creating something new. In a renovation, a kitchen is still a kitchen and a bedroom is still a bedroom, but repairs and upgrades are done. This usually includes things like painting, installing new floors, and changing items like cabinet knobs and faucets.

For example, if rotten wood elements are discovered, they will be removed and the area (wall, subfloor or ceiling) will be rebuilt with new wood. Remodeling usually works to change the look, structure, or function of a room. In other words, a remodel works to enhance or transform the existing design and layout of a room. Remodeling refers to “changing” or “transforming” a building or a house.

For design and construction professionals, the words “remodel” and “renovate” have two very different meanings, although they are used interchangeably. When it comes to adding value to your home, renovations are often more cost-effective than remodeling projects. While a remodel is changing the shape of something (adding a new shower to an existing bathroom), the renovation is more focused on restoring something old to good condition (fixing a creaking floor, for example). If you are looking to update some aesthetic areas or increase the value of your home in time for a sale, a quick renovation may be your best option.

However, if you've started gutting, adding or removing walls, raising ceilings, or expanding the square footage of your home, you've crossed into remodeling territory. Like your renovations, the remodel you opt for may not add value to your home, especially if it's something specific to your needs. If you open a dictionary, you will discover that the definition of renovation and the definition of remodeling have some important differences. If you are planning to sell your home, a newly renovated home means something different to the buyer than a newly remodeled home.

Remodeling Magazine publishes an annual cost-value analysis for common home improvement projects, noting that renovation projects such as replacing a front door or garage door or residing a home will generate approximately 75 percent, 98 percent and 76 percent ROI respectively when you sell a house. General contractors obtain building permits, recommend finishes and materials, and propose solutions to renovation challenges. Some people don't want to renovate at all and are looking for new construction where they don't need to change anything. It may involve tearing off a wall to expand a bathroom and reconfiguring the kitchen layout so that cabinets, refrigerator, sink and stove are in different locations.

Renovating a room in your house - if it is the kitchen - will make the space attractive and add value to the house. Usually more professional labor is required in a remodeling project and the cost of material is often higher as well since many remodeling projects involve constructing new additions.

Kristin Durley
Kristin Durley

Wannabe tv practitioner. Professional pop culture evangelist. Lifelong creator. Unapologetic twitter nerd. Infuriatingly humble zombie expert.

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