At first glance, the terms ‘home renovations and remodelling' sound like they're one and the same thing. However, there are very slight differences between them that can make a significant impact on your next home facelift.
Both terms describe making improvements to your existing home, but renovation means to restore your home while remodelling is used when you want to change its form or structure.
For example, if you say you want to renovate your current kitchen, you're really saying that you want to repair or restore it, whether that's making it look as new again (restoring it to its former glory) or being a bit more dramatic and replacing old and tired appliances with new technologies.
You're not moving critical items in your kitchen or bathroom – that is, you're not moving the sink from one side or the room to the other. And you're not changing its function, either – it will still perform as a place to cook and eat.
By contrast, if you’re remodelling your bathroom, you might be knocking down walls, moving the cabinetry and plumbing around, or relocating it to another part of your house entirely. You could be wanting to expand your floorplate with an extension, add walls, raise your ceiling or need significant new plumbing work done. Even some forms of heating and cooling require remodelling work rather than a simple renovation.
Renovate or remodel. Which is right for me?
Here are some questions to help you determine whether you should do a home renovation project or remodel completely.
- How much do you want to spend? On a broad scale, house renovations are often cheaper than remodelling, which tends to be a complicated construction job regardless of the size of your project. With a remodel, expect to pay around ten per cent of your home’s total value. You may also need to factor in extra services such as those of an electrician or plumber, and you might need to pay for a permit from your council before commencing work. And you'll also need to factor in the added value to your home – will you recoup your investment should you wish to move in the future?
- Does your current space meet your needs? Because remodelling requires a lot of expensive construction work, it's essential to know why you're doing it. Is your home lacking the necessary components needed for a comfortable contemporary lifestyle? Are there areas that just don't function properly and need to be wholly transformed to be useful to you and your family? In that case, you’ll need to undertake a remodel. If you like your space as is, a renovation might suffice.
- How much time do you have? Do you have a strict deadline for work to complete? Examples can include a baby on the way, a timeframe for putting your property on the market or getting it ready for tenants. Renovations are a quicker proposition than remodelling, which may take many months to finish – typically you should allow five months to complete a kitchen and bathrooms, and living rooms can take around three months from the planning stage.
Once you have worked out which approach, speak to your local builder to determine the next steps.