The terms renovation and remodel are often interchangeably used when discussing home improvement. However, there is a distinct difference between the two terms, so if you’re planning to carry out work on your property, you should know whether you’re renovating or remodeling it.

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What is a home renovation?

Renovation means to restore something old into good condition so that it is like new again. So in the home, this often looks like repainting walls, fixing chipped floorboards, or replacing old windows. Another typical example is a bath renovation involving removing an outdated bathtub and replacing it with a modern spa bath.

Although many people think of home renovation as a drastic change, it’s more minor adjustments. In short, renovating is about tweaking, fixing, or updating certain fixtures rather than changing an entire room’s design.

What is a home remodel?

A home remodel is a much larger job that alters the construction of a property. Unlike a renovation, a remodel can make a room look entirely different than before. Remodeling means changing the layout, structure, and style of a room rather than just updating certain fixtures.

For example, if you undertake a kitchen remodeling project, you might knock down a wall to turn it into an open plan kitchen and living space. Alternatively, you could remove all the current cabinets and replace them with new ones while fitting the sink in a new location. In contrast, if you were to renovate your kitchen, you would be more likely to fix or replace broken cupboard doors and update old appliances.

Which costs more: renovating or remodeling?

As remodeling is a much larger project, it is also a much more expensive home improvement job. Some homeowners can carry out home renovations themselves. However, with remodeling, you’ll need to call in professionals. While this can be relatively pricey, investing in custom remodeling by a reputable company can completely transform the look of your home and significantly increase its value.

Which takes longer: a renovation or a remodel?

Remodeling involves complex design considerations, so it is a much longer process than a renovation. What’s more, as you change the property’s structure, remodeling requires construction, electric, and plumbing work, which renovation typically does not.

Of course, the extent of the renovation or remodel will determine the timeframe too. For example, changing only one room will be a smaller and quicker job than making changes to the entire house. As remodeling prices can range from $5,000 to $150,000, it’s essential to get quotes from various companies before committing to the project.

Do you need a permit to remodel or renovate your home?

This is an important question and another reason why it’s essential to get clear on whether you’re renovating or remodeling. Typically you’ll need to obtain a permit for a home remodel as you’ll be making changes to plumbing, electrical, or structural components. However, you’ll rarely need one for a renovation. However, remember that permitting requirements vary between states, so check the laws and regulations in your state beforehand.

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