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Remodel or Renovate?

You may not know, but there is a distinct difference between remodeling and renovating. We are here to break it down for you, so that you can understand the difference, and how it might impact your own home or one you may purchase in the future.


According to the Merriam Webster dictionary, renovation means to “restore to a better state (as by repairing or rebuilding)”. In other words, dilapidated buildings or poorly maintained houses are sometimes considered to be in a state of disrepair. To renovate a house or building means to revive that structure from a state of disrepair and bring it into a better, or more beautiful and functional, state of repair.

Renovations can be small, like when you improve on an existing building or house. Or, they can be drastic, like when you gut your home and improve on it greatly. Remember, construction involving renovation often refers to “restoring” or “repairing” an existing structure, replacing the old with the new.


Again, according to Marriam Webster, remodeling means “to alter the structure of”. If you’re looking to remodel your kitchen, you’re looking to change the appearance of it. If you’re doing a kitchen renovation, you’re looking to repair and update it (think, new cabinetry, rather than simply painting it).

Remodels generally work to change the appearance, structure or function of a room. In other words, a remodel aims to improve upon or transform the existing design and layout of a room. Remodeling refers to “changing” or “transforming” a building or a home.


Let’s say you’re looking to make some improvements to your bathroom.

In a bathroom remodel, you might paint the walls, buy and install a new mirror, change up the door handles and the toilet paper roll holder. You might even go all out and buy a stunning new shower curtain and bath rug. Set up some candles around the edge of the bathtub and you’ve got yourself a newly remodeled bathroom oasis!

With bathroom renovations, on the other hand, you’re looking at a more complex undertaking. That leaky faucet? Switch it up for a nice new energy-efficient and auto-temperature-controlled one. Install a fancy new toilet with a bidet function. Sure, you’ll paint the walls, but not until you’ve gutted them to make the bathroom a little bigger. And while you’re at it, why not install that snazzy new light fixture? Replace the tub entirely for the latest model of shower-tub combo.

Why is this important?

Why is it important to know the difference between a renovation and a remodel? You’ll want to be able to accurately communicate with your general contractor what changes you want to make to your home or building. As you can tell from the above example, there is a huge difference between a remodel and a renovation, which means there are certain costs associated with each type of construction. Finally, now that you know the difference, you can make an informed decision when you are looking for a home that has either been recently been renovated or remodeled.

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