Renovate vs. Remodel – What’s The Difference

difference of remodeling and renovating your property

Avoid being assessed penalties and fines when you want to renovate or remodel your property. By knowing the difference and implications of renovating vs. remodeling, you can make informed decisions when it’s time to upgrade your property. gathered the following information to help you determine whether you need to remodel or renovate and what each one entails.

The Definition of Renovate

To renovate a room, house, or building is the process of restoring it to a good state of repair. During a renovation, rooms and other spaces maintain their structure and essential purpose. The following are activities that may take place during a renovation:

contractor replacing hardwood floors

• Refinishing walls and/or ceilings
• Painting
• Structural repairs
• Carpeting or flooring repairs and replacement

Renovation can be defined as restoring or repairing an existing structure without altering the function of the space being renovated.

The Definition of Remodel

To remodel a room, house, or building is the process of improving, transforming, or altering the purpose of the existing layout and design of that space. The following activities may occur during a remodel:

wood studs during home bedroom remodel

• Transforming a garage into a bedroom
• Making a bedroom into a home office
• Relocating a sink or toilet to optimize bathroom space
• Adding wheelchair access features to entryways
• Structural changes

While a renovation keeps the existing structure and purpose, a remodel changes or transforms it into something else.

Which Is Cheaper – A Renovation or A Remodel?

Typically, a renovation is much cheaper than a remodel. Here’s why:

Renovations – A renovation in many cases can occur as a DIY project or one that requires little material or labor.

roofing contractor performing roof replacement

Roof replacements are very expensive and considered a renovation project because the design and function are not changed. Permits are required, however, since the poor installation of a roof can cause significant damage to the property’s structure.

Another example of an expensive renovation requiring a permit is the replacement of rotting wood within the structure of the property. Since the purpose of the structure is not being altered, this is considered a renovation.

Remodeling – Remodeling projects are much more involved, as they may include changing the physical structure of the property. When remodeling, wiring, ductwork, and plumbing must often be reconfigured to serve the new layout/format of the structure. The following are expenses that increase the cost of a remodel:

floor plan blueprint for a home remodel

• Professional labor (Always verify the credentials of contractors)
• Higher material cost
• Permit application fees
• Creation of new (updated) blueprints and floor plan

Remodeling almost always requires that you apply for a permit while renovating seldom does. An example of a renovation requiring a permit is a roof replacement.

Tip: Before beginning any renovation or remodeling project, evaluate the cost by getting quotes from contractors or researching material costs. With this knowledge, you can spread projects out over time (according to your budget) and avoid incomplete or unfinished work.

Pros And Cons of Renovations And Remodels

While gaining extra space or updating your property may seem like an excellent investment, there are some pros and cons to take into consideration:

Pros of Renovating:

new fixtures in kitchen renovation

• Updated appearance
• Fix structural problems
• Updated fixtures
• Inexpensive (in most cases)
• Many renovations can be DIY projects
• Can increase curb appeal
• May increase the value of your property
• Renovations are generally tax-deductible

Cons of Renovating:

• Most renovations are cosmetic in nature and may hide more significant issues
• Some renovations can come close to, or equal the property value (roof replacement and extensive structural damage repair)
• Increasing your property value may cause property insurance premiums to increase

Pros of Remodeling:

• You get to reconfigure or redesign your space the way you want
• If you create office or workspace, this new or repurposed space may qualify as a business tax write-off
• May increase the value of your property
• Most remodeling projects are tax-deductible

Cons of Remodeling:

home building permit for remodeling

• Can be substantially more expensive than a renovation
• Almost always requires a building or construction permit
• Construction may last for weeks (or longer in some cases)
• Increasing your property value may cause property insurance premiums to increase

Note: If your intent is to increase your property value, beware of the investment you make. In the majority of renovations and remodels, the increase in property value is substantially less than the amount invested in the upgrade.

Tip: Hire a property appraiser to inspect and evaluate your property’s value before renovating or remodeling. Then inquire about which areas of property improvement offer the best ROI (Return On Investment). With this information, you can prioritize which projects to invest in.

Tip: Visit your city’s website or call them to inquire about their permitting procedure and application cost.

Renovate or Remodel

decide to remodel or renovate your property

In this article, you discovered differences between a renovation and a remodel, their financial implications, and their pros and cons.

By knowing the difference between a renovation and a remodel, you can better communicate with and direct the work of contractors working on your property.

When you initiate a project including remodeling without knowing what is needed, you may be subjecting yourself to substantial penalties and fines imposed by your city’s building authority.


Happy Hearts Fund Mexico

interior decor structureDec 2012

For the Happy Hearts Fund Land of Dreams: Mexico Gala, Domestic Construction transformed the space to allow guests to experience the sights of Mexico. Featuring a Chichen Itza, a jungle, a Mexican classroom, a replica of the underwater sculpture museum in Cancun, and a replica of the Soumaya Museum; it was an incredible and unique event. If you plan to replicate this install outdoors, bring these must have landscaping tools, you will need them for this install.

New York, NY

Happy Hearts Fund

Event Produced by Empire Entertainment

Allison Chomer pattern

Allison ChomerAug 2012

Domestic Construction designed a pattern exclusively for fashion designer Allison Chomer’s Fall/Winter 2012 collection.

New York, New York

Northside Festival Installation

festival exterior designJun 2012

For the Northside Festival in Williamsburg, Domestic Construction created this colorful installation, which hung above the streets of the festival.

Brooklyn, New York

Tennessee Williams Weekend

tennessee event constructionJun 2012

Domestic Construction hosted and helped create the set for “This Property is Condemned,” a weekend of Tennessee Williams theater put on by The Pedestrians. The shows took place in design.plot.

218 India Street
Brooklyn, New York…

Langhorne Slim music video

stage constructionMay 2012

Domestic Construction created this rustic boxing ring set for Langhorne Slim’s music video “The Way We Move.” Everyone had a blast shooting the video in our studio!

Check out the video here:

For more info about the band visit:

Video directed by Maria Gigante
Director of Photography: Steve Ware
Editor: Lawrence Kim
Set Design and Art Direction: Domestic Construction

Filmed at: Domestic Construction
218 India Street
Brooklyn, New York

For more info on using Domestic Construction as a location for your production email us at:

mtv tr3s upfront

interior built structureMay 2012

Domestic Construction was called on to style an event for MTV Tr3s. In collaboration with Empire Entertainment and Capital Scenic, the space was transformed into a festive Latin experience, complete with a taco stand, dulce shop, and a Chiva bus.

New York, New York


landscaping frameMay 2012

Domestic Construction has been keeping busy with our ongoing project: design.plot. We’re turning this formerly empty lot into a community garden and event space. Design.plot is open to the community for farming workshops, film screenings, art exhibitions, and pure enjoyment.

You can continue to follow the growth of design.plot here and on facebook

hand dyed wedding

interior custom dyed decorApr 2012

There is nothing we love more than helping to create an event that celebrates the heart, family, and the future. A wedding is a day like no other, and when someone in our family gets engaged we immediately start dreaming of how to make it special!

For Trish’s sister Carrie’s wedding DC headed down south with bags packed full of hand dyed fabrics, wedding goodies, and excitement! All of our family and friends then joined the DC crew and helped to cut, tie, and wrap to create an earthy, festive world for Carrie and Joseph’s big day. It was truly the day of love we had been dreaming of for months!

Mount Pleasant, South Carolina
Design/Fabrication/Florals: Domestic Construction
Photos: Chia and Hon Photography:
Save the Dates/Invites: Cleanwash Letterpress:

hayseed’s big city farm store

custom shed constructionApr 2012

In collaboration with Brooklyn Grange and Brooklyn Homesteader, Domestic Construction launched and built this pop-up farm shop in our studio. In addition to selling farm and garden supplies, there are weekend workshops, classes, and events running from April through June.

Come visit us:
218 India Street
Brooklyn, New York

Hayseed’s Big City Farm Store:
Brooklyn Grange:
Brooklyn Homesteader:


flooring matsMar 2011

grounded: a unique flooring alternative

each mat is digitally dyed with an original hand cut paper design from the girls

please visit our construction shop for more product info:

Fit for Habitation

Aug 2009

“Fit For Habitation brings together 5 artists working in fields of fine art, design, and interior design. Fit for Habitation questions the idea that four walls make a home and explores interior and exterior spaces as well as more abstract conceptions of home through video and installation.

These five artists have collaborated to create their own interpretations of home through a shared installation, using both traditional and non-traditional property design and construction, materials, as well as following formal and informal conceptual movements taken from interior design and fine art.

The idea of opposites has also come to be an integral part of the exhibition. The concept of real versus fake is brought into play, by combining real materials with materials the artists have created to appear real and questioning whether we as people need the reality of a “home” or simply the illusion of comfort and safety. The exhibition further plays with the viewer’s concept of reality by bringing the outdoors inside, as well as creating additional interior spaces within the larger space of the gallery.” – live with animals

collaboration with sarah gates, cecilia elguero, sarah eberle

dc’s tepee and surrounding area is shown.

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