Renovation and remodeling are often used interchangeably, but they refer to two different things. Before talking to your contractor, it’s best to understand the difference between the two and be specific if you want a renovation or a remodeling.

Basically, renovation includes improving the functionality and aesthetics of an existing structure without altering the original plan of the structure. This includes new window installation, flooring replacement, improving plumping and electrical systems, or installing new kitchen cabinets.

On the other hand, remodeling involves immense changes to a structural plan. This may include changing the floor plan and layout, extending the square footage, or completely changing the entire project.

This article will guide you in distinguishing the difference between the two terms.

Renovation is just bringing a room or an entire house to its former glory. You may paint or replace broken fittings or walling. The overall outlook will remain the same, but the functionality will be improved.

With remodeling, you may add extra space to your kitchen, like a pantry or dining area, or convert your patio into a home office. Ultimately the house’s design and functionality are altered. The house may even be extended to create extra space. 

  • Cost

Renovation can be much cheaper because you are replacing a few areas of the building. In remodeling, you’re altering the previously existing structure, which means you will also need to interfere with the original plumbing and wiring. All these changes will add significantly to the remodeling cost and may require a professional’s services.

Depending on the overall scope of work, remodeling is costlier than renovating because of the alteration to the original design and several structural additions. If you’re considering remodeling, familiarize yourself with the tips to upgrading your home on a budget

  • Return On Investment (ROI)

Due to the high remodeling cost, homeowners have a more significant ROI when selling renovated homes because the price is based on simple upgrades of the buildings’ features. It may seem like a good idea to spend money building extra rooms, but buyers will not be interested in your house if the furnace is faulty or the roof leaks. 

All of these problems will reduce the value of your house, which means it will sell for a lower price than you originally intended. To avoid this, consider a remodeling project that will increase your home’s value while improving its comfort level. If you plan on selling your home eventually and want to make sure it’ll sell for a high price, renovate instead of remodel.

  • Permits

One of the ways local authorities or communities ensure strict adherence to a particular code of building is by demanding you have a permit before you embark on your building projects. You may require a license with renovations, but it is optional for some projects because the changes might be minimal. 

However, it would help if you always had a permit for most of your remodeling projects. Renovations like carpeting and painting don’t require any permits. If you need a roof repair, get a license first. A roofing job that isn’t done correctly will result in leaks that could damage the structure and possessions inside that building. 

Some homes are built on historic sites, and remodeling to change the overall look is prohibited. In such areas, you can only replace home parts with newer but precisely the same designs.

  • Rectification

You may encounter poor design when buying a home, like having to go through one bedroom to get to another or having the kitchen sink’s water supply on exterior walls so it freezes every winter. When this is the case, you need a remodeling plan.

Poor design is common in older homes and can only be remedied through extensive redesign work. Remodeling gives you design flexibility and customization even though it’s mainly aesthetic more than functional.

  • Do-It-Yourself Projects

Do-It-Yourself Projects

If you are on a string budget but want to change your home look, a renovation instead of remodeling will work for you. Provided you have the time and skills, renovating is more DIY friendly. Some communities allow you to install trimming, wallpapering, and painting work but insist homeowners get professionals for plumbing and electrical work. 

Remodeling may not allow DIY work because most of the work requires hiring a licensed contractors. A professional can only do a job like pouring a foundation or roofline addition.


Remodeling and renovating may look almost the same, but knowing what works for you, depending on your taste, preference, and budget, is critical to achieving a new look. With a renovation, a bedroom will remain a bedroom after renovation but with a different look and feel. But with remodeling, a bedroom can be turned into a walk-in closet or partitioned into two rooms, depending on your plan. Know your objective and plan accordingly.


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