Renovation vs. Remodel: Which One is Right for You?

Are you thinking about starting a home improvement project this year? You aren’t alone. As many as 58% of Americans are also thinking about putting money into a project this year.

The question is, what will you do? How do you decide between a renovation vs. remodel? Are they even different?

While these two terms get thrown around interchangeably, they are indeed different. We are going to help you know the difference so you can decide what type of project is best for your home and budget.

Renovation Defined

Renovation Defined
A renovation is when you restore something that it older into a new form. Think of this as freshening up what is already there but not making any serious structural changes. You’ll fix that creaking floor, repaint, or patching the holes.

Remodel Defined

According to the dictionary, a remodel is when you change the form of something. You take what is already there, and you expand upon it. A good example would be adding a shower to a half bath, or extending the square footage of the kitchen.

Who Do You Hire?

When it comes to renovations, you can hire an experienced handyman to do the work. Since this is glorified repair work, a handyman will have the knowledge and skills to bring your home back to life.

However, when it comes to renovations, you should leave this to a general contractor. Another good option is a design or building company.

They have the knowledge necessary to ensure your additions are structurally sound and comply with the local codes. They will work with an engineering company or architecture firm to assist in the design phases.

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The Difference in Cost

The Difference in Cost
As a general rule, a renovation will be cheaper than a remodel. This is because they typically require fewer materials and labor.

If your renovation work is cosmetic, then it is considered minor. It can be done pretty cheaply and quickly.

Renovations are pretty straightforward with surprises being less common. This means that it will be easier to stick to your original budget.

Remodels tend to be significantly more expensive. There are more materials, increased labor, and permits required. Depending on the extent of your project, permits can cost $500- $1,000 or even more.

You also need to think about the additional costs of surprises once the contractor starts working on your home. There are always surprises that will increase your budget.

Then you need to think about the additional costs that your contractor won’t include in their bid. This includes new appliances, flooring, or paint.

It is best to pad your remodel budget by 7-10%. This will cover the unexpected.

Which One Is Right for You?

Take a look at your home and decide what you want and what you need. Would cosmetic changes solve your problem? Or do you need to change your home to make it more functional structurally?

An Example

Let’s consider an example to help illustrate the decision. One of the most common project rooms for people is the bathroom.

If you need to renovate, your bathroom probably looks like it has seen better days. The pipes are rusting; maybe there is a crack in the tub or the tile. The sink might leak every time someone turns it on.

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If this is the case, a renovation will solve your problem. You would replace the cracked tile and tub. Then repair the rusting pipes. Finally, you would either fix or replace the sink so the leaks would stop.

Now if your bathroom is in decent condition, but you want a separate tub and shower. Then you’d like to add a window on one wall.

This will require a remodel. It is less about improving the function of your bathroom and more about enhancing your enjoyment.

It will require a contractor to come in and rework the plumbing to accommodate your new shower. Then they will need to cut a hole in your wall and install a new window.

There’s a Third Option

If you are looking around your home and thinking it needs significant work, it may be out of your current budget. Maybe there are major structural problems, or the entire home is outdated.

In this case, it may be smart to skip the renovation vs. remodel debate. In this case, it may make more financial sense to sell your home and buy new.

Just make sure you don’t make any of these mistakes with your new home.

How to Decide

How to Decide
Figure out what the cost would be to renovate or remodel your current home to get it to the condition that would make you happy and comfortable. Then consider the amount of time and effort it would take to achieve the necessary projects.

Will all of this investment be worth it? Compare the amount of investment with the increase in home value. You may find that the investment isn’t comparable with the value increase.

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If the financial, emotional, time, or labor investment is more than you are willing to commit to, then selling and buying new may be the smarter option for you.

Renovation vs. Remodel Which Will You Choose?

Which One Is Right for You
When it comes to deciding between renovation vs. remodel, the right choice depends on your budget and goals. If you are only looking to freshen up a room, then a renovation may be the way to go.

However, if you are looking to make a significant change or structural addition, then a remodel is the way to go. Both are great choices and will increase your enjoyment of your home.

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