Home Remodeling? Home Renovation? Are these words interchangeable? What do they actually mean?

Oftentimes, people refer to remodeling and renovation as the same thing, and use them interchangeably when discussing their home improvements. That’s understandable. They certainly exist in the same field, as they both involving changes and improvements upon a structure and they both involve construction.

However, one involves structural changes, and one involves superficial changes.

What Is Remodeling?

Remodeling is the process of changing the structure or form of a thing.

The aim of remodeling is to change the use and functionality of something altogether. For instance, this changing can be removing a wall between the kitchen and dining room to open up more space in your house, or moving a wall to enlarge the master bedroom.

Remodeling is more a process of changing the structure of your house than simply updating it. Generally, remodeling involves tearing things down, moving things around, or adding to an area. After a remodel, you may stand in a space that used to be very familiar and feel like it is completely new.

What Is Renovation?

Renovation: the process of restoring a thing that is in disrepair.

This is not a redesign, or a structural change. This is simply repairing and replacing old parts of a room with new ones. For instance, in a kitchen renovation, the old, simple color scheme of the room gets replaced with a new, much sleeker one. The old appliances get removed, and updated to match the new feel of the room. Flooring, countertops, and cabinets can get replaced or refurbished, restoring the “new home” feel to an otherwise old part of the house.

Renovation is a faster process than remodeling, referring to restoring rooms so they can once again be put to good use. The focus isn’t change, it’s restoration.


Why Differentiate?

One reason it is important to differentiate between remodeling and renovation is because remodeling involves complex design considerations as well as construction, electric, and plumbing expenses, it typically costs more than renovating.” Due to the fact that remodeling is a more drastic process, it will also involve higher costs.

Another reason to know the difference is so that you can properly communicate to your contractor what you are looking for. If you are doing a remodeling project, you want it to be done right the first time, so it is important that your contractor understands completely what you want and to builds and construction workers, these terms mean very different things.

With renovation, the space keeps its structure, but changes its characteristics, giving it a more subtle change.


Why not both? Talk to your contractor to make sure you know what you want to change in your house, and he can help you decide whether a remodel or a renovation is best suited to your project. 

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