Remodel vs. Renovation – What’s the Difference?

posted by Chris Valentine

When it comes to home projects, it pays to know what you are getting into. Often people get mixed up when they are considering a remodel or renovation. It is not surprising as they share some similarities, that the end goal is a product which should be seen as new in its state of being. The dictionary would disagree though, that these are two different actions.

Remodel is defined as changing the structure or form of something, while a renovation is described as restoring something to a better state or form. So, as you can see they share some similarities in the sense that something is being worked on, but it is important to know the distinctions between the two before you embark on your home project, whatever that may be. It may sound confusing that it is both the same but different, but I will distinguish the important details that set them apart.

So, what is the difference between a remodel vs. renovation? Let’s take a look:


Renovation is to revive or repair something that has been broken, worn down, or had its physical state changed in whatever way. Usually this is on the cosmetic level, and involves the surface level detail. Something like a window that has had the paint cracked or chipped. The renovation would involve just that window frame, which means on a budget scale, it is considerably cheap. Not only is it cheap in the sense of budget, but it takes a significantly less amount of time to renovate the visuals of a house, rather than remodel the structures that they exist in or on. Remodeling is much more expensive because of the inherent understanding that you are changing that structure. Structural changes take more time, more materials. For example, if you were to remodel a chimney in your home, you are altering much more than just the look of the chimney because you would need to be gutting parts of the wall and roof to change the structure. Goes without saying expensive that can be.

Level of work

As I mentioned earlier about the difference in cost, the level of work needed to be done is drastically different. Changing the paint or altering the physical, surface level look of something in a home is a renovation. This is a way to repair and restore parts of your home, not the whole thing. Remodelling is changing the actual home or building. So the amount of work that is required for each is completely opposite. While the basic idea is that you are changing something, the difference is that the level of change is significantly different. If you are renovating, the amount of time required to fix something is not that taxing. Painting something, polishing, sanding, switching out a vinyl siding piece, these are all quick fixes that change that cosmetic look of your house. Remodeling is an entirely different beast. As it was mentioned previously, changing the structure of the house requires more advanced work to complete the task because of the challenges it presents. Remodeling can involve electrical wiring, foundational changes, and work with highly specialized equipment. Structural changes on your house take much more effort than simply painting something. Level of skill required to remodel is also much higher, because of the increased work needed to change the original form.

What is your purpose

Knowing what purpose you have for what you want to do is also a difference you should know when deciding between a remodel or a renovation. If you are planning to buy property and sell or rent, remodeling is usually the way to go. You want to flip a house, which is exactly what I just described, buying and maintaining the property so it can be then resold after it was in a state of disrepair and damage. Flipping a house is a big project, so it is generally pretty clear that you are going into it with a big goal for yourself on the back end. Changing the appearance of something for remodeling purposes also means changing the appearance but in a much more complex way than a renovation, like polishing pads for a renovation of a floor versus changing the flooring entirely. It can be confusing, making sense of the differences and similarities of these two distinctions, https://carrdiamondpolishingpads.co.uk is a good place to understand how renovation versus remodel applies. Renovation also requires less of a commitment to something. Renovating parts of a house is usually done after the hard work of changing the look of the house is done. A bathroom reno is simply sprucing things up that already exist, possibly a personal project. Remodeling a bathroom is creating an entirely new bathroom, not just some repairs here and there.

Depending on your project, consider what kind of job you want done. Renovation and remodeling both share some characteristics, such as the changing of the look of something. Renovation is changing the look on a cosmetic level, while remodeling is changing the look entirely by changing the original into something new. These differences mean that projects you undertake will need you to ask what you plan on doing.

Renovation can be for personal use or after you buy a house for renting, while a remodel is usually done when you buy an older or cheaper house, so you can sell that house as an entirely new product. The amount of work required for these projects also means a dramatic difference. Renovation takes significantly less time because of the change in cosmetic look, while remodel means you are changing something from a foundational or structural level. With that amount of work, you will need to know what costs are. As mentioned, the more work and the level of extensiveness that this work demands, also means higher costs. Paint or polishing pads for a renovation project is pretty cost effective, but changing a house’s flooring will require a bigger budget.

Now that you know the difference between renovations versus remodels, it is time for you to get out there and get your project done!

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