Renovation vs. Remodel: What’s the Difference?

Home renovations. Home remodels. To most people, these words seem relatively interchangeable. But when it comes to planning your project accurately, there are actually several significant differences between remodels and renovations. 

If you’re planning an upcoming construction project, it’s important to get your terminology right before contacting contractors for estimates or quotes. Here are a few of the primary differences to help you determine whether the home improvement project you’re planning aligns more with a renovation or a remodel.

Difference #1: Renovations typically focus on updating the look and feel of a room, without altering the room’s function. Remodels usually involve altering the design and/or structure of a room.

To clarify, this means that giving your kitchen a facelift or updating your bathroom would be considered a renovation. But knocking out your linen closet to expand the guest powder room would be considered a remodel.

One note: Remodels don’t always have to involve major structural changes or appliance installation. Converting your spare bedroom into an office would also count as a remodel. Simply put, if the purpose of a space has been changed, the space has been remodeled. 

Difference #2: Renovations may not always require a permit. Remodeling almost always does.

Now that we understand that remodeling can mean more significant structural and functional changes, it’s probably no surprise that remodels almost always require permits. Because renovation can be as simple as swapping out floor tiles and painting the walls, renovation may not always require a permit. 

However, different states have different rules regarding permitting for specific project types. It’s never safe to assume you don’t need a permit! Fortunately, when you work with a qualified contractor, they should be able to coach you through the process of securing the correct permits for your project.

Difference #3: Remodeling is frequently more expensive than renovating.

Again—once we understand that remodeling typically refers to functional and structural changes, this makes sense. Adding plumbing or knocking down walls obviously costs more than ripping up carpet or installing new hardware. More professional labor is typically involved in a remodel, and the cost of supplies can be higher as well. 

While it’s technically possible for a renovation to rack up a higher bill than a standard remodeling project, remodeling typically requires much more work, much more time, and a much larger budget. 

Planning to Remodel or Renovate Your WV, VA, MD, or PA Home? Let’s Talk!

Whether you have renovation or remodeling in mind, the JC Smith team is here to help! With over a decade of experience, we have the experience and skill to help bring your vision to life. Get in touch with us HERE to request an estimate. 

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We love working on projects just like this one, so if you've got a project in mind contact us now and let's make it real.


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