Remodeling vs Renovating A House

Published by Handy Work on

After living in the same house for a few years, most people want to change something about it. Perhaps the paint is fading, the furniture has become shabby, or you want to increase the size of your house to accommodate a growing family. But what exactly is the difference between remodeling vs renovating a house? The answer depends on whom you ask.

We often use the two terms interchangeably, but they have distinct meanings. The critical difference between remodeling and renovating a house is that remodeling refers to structural changes while renovating refers to changes in decor or style.

Remodeling projects can be as simple as painting a room or adding crown molding or as complex as tearing out walls and putting in new plumbing. Meanwhile, renovation projects usually focus on improving your home’s aesthetics—replacing carpets with hardwood floor coverings, for example, or adding an extra bathroom.

In this article, we will discuss the differences between remodeling vs renovating a house. Read on!


Remodeling vs Renovating A House: A Ladder, Painting Tools, and a White Wall
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Remodeling is a general term covering all kinds of changes to a house, including interior and exterior work. Remodeling projects can range from small, simple tasks to massive, complicated schemes that involve extensive demolition and rebuilding.

People sometimes call remodeling “home improvement projects,” but it’s not the same thing as simple home maintenance. Home maintenance involves simple tasks like cleaning gutters, painting, and replacing broken appliances.

Homeowners themselves usually do these jobs or by people they hire to do the work. Maintenance involves minor projects that preserve your home’s value without dramatic changes to its original design.

In contrast, remodeling is an extensive process that requires significant changes to your house and its structure. Remodeling projects usually involve more than just cosmetic changes—they need substantial construction work.

For example, remodeling can involve adding a new wing to your house or changing the roofing material from asphalt shingles to clay tiles. In addition, remodels may install a new floor plan or repaint walls throughout a home.

Remodeling a kitchen or bathroom might involve completely gutting the space and rebuilding it from scratch with new materials and light fixtures.

Remodeling can be an extensive process that involves making significant structural changes to your home—or it can be as simple as installing new kitchen cabinets or carpeting a room.

The Goal of Remodeling

The goal of remodeling is often either to improve the quality of your home or to update its appearance. The focus of a remodeling project can be functional or aesthetic.

For example, remodel your kitchen to have more counter space or a better layout. Or install new cabinets and countertops to give the room a fresh, updated look.

Remodeling is often an essential part of moving to a new home. When you buy a new house, the previous owners may have left behind old appliances and fixtures in poor condition.

Or they may have made other changes that don’t suit your tastes or needs. In these cases, remodeling is often necessary before moving in and starting enjoying your new home.

Sometimes, the law requires remodeling. Many local governments need certain safety features in new homes, such as wheelchair ramps and fire sprinklers.

Remodeling as a House Update

If you built your house before the government passed these laws, you may need to bring it up to code. Remodeling is also common when homeowners decide to change the style of their home from one period or architectural style to another.

Take an example from Victorian to Colonial Revival or Craftsman style architecture. Here, remodeling can involve adding new siding, installing a new roof, and removing interior walls to open up the space.

Remodeling is also often necessary when historic homes need updates per modern standards. If you built your home before the 1980s, for example, it may not have insulation or wiring for smoke detectors or fire alarms.

Or, if you built your home before 1940, you may not make it with proper termite protection in mind. In these cases, remodeling is necessary to bring the house up to modern safety standards.

When you’re thinking about remodeling your home, consider whether the changes you want to make are purely cosmetic or whether they involve major structural changes as well.

The extent of your remodeling project will depend on your budget and how much work you want done.


Remodeling vs Renovating A House: Color Pallets
Photo by Free Photos on Pexels

The term “renovate” refers specifically to changes in decor or style rather than structural changes.

Renovating a house can include painting walls and floors, installing new flooring material such as hardwood floors or tile, replacing old appliances with new ones, and upgrading fixtures such as sinks and faucets.

Unlike remodeling projects that focus on improving the quality of a house’s structure, we usually focus renovations on improving the aesthetics of a house. The goal of a renovation is to improve the appearance of your home without changing its basic structure.

For example, you might decide to renovate your kitchen by replacing old appliances with new ones and repainting the walls and cabinets. Or you might decide to renovate your bathroom by installing new flooring and adding a new sink and shower fixture.

In these cases, the work is strictly cosmetic—it doesn’t involve any structural changes to the house.

Renovation Vs. Remodel

To understand the difference between remodeling vs renovating a house, you should know that remodeling often involves tearing out walls or floors or otherwise making major structural changes to your home.

Renovating typically involves small cosmetic changes, such as painting or installing new flooring material.

Another way to think about the difference between remodeling vs renovating is that remodeling refers specifically to structural changes, while renovating refers specifically to aesthetic changes.

For example, we would consider adding crown molding to a room remodeling because it involves changes in the physical structure (installing crown molding requires cutting into walls).

We consider replacing carpets with hardwood floors renovating because it involves aesthetic changes (hardwood floors are just as functional as carpeting).

You should also note that people sometimes use remodeling and renovating interchangeably. Most times, the terms describe the same process.

For example, many people call adding new appliances to a kitchen a “kitchen remodel” even though it’s actually one example of renovation since it doesn’t involve structural changes.

HandyWork works to help customers achieve their dream house look. As a client, you will get to request services from the best interior designers and other service providers, when you register on HandyWork. You will have the easiest time finding a service provider based on your location and the service you need.


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