Remodel vs Renovate: What’s The Difference?

‘Remodel’ and ‘renovate’ are often used interchangeably and while they both refer to construction projects, they’re not synonymous.

We explain the key differences between remodelling and renovating so you can make the right choice for your fitout project.

Renovation: what is it?

A renovation is essentially a building ‘glow up’. It’s when you refresh a building or property by fixing, improving or adding to what’s already there.

Renovations tend to be cheaper as you generally keep the foundation and structure or only make minor changes to it. Instead, a renovation predominantly focuses on aesthetics, such as:

  • New appliances, fixtures or furnishings
  • Upgrading lighting or building technology
  • Re-painting, replacing or fixing fixtures and fittings

For example: renovating a restaurant kitchen. The layout might remain the same, but key appliances are replaced (oven, stovetop and dishwasher); new downlights are added; and the store room/pantry is reconfigured. The structure hasn’t changed, but the kitchen will feel brand new.

Remodel: what is it?

A remodel changes the structure of a room or building. It’s more extensive than a renovation, and often requires architects, shopfitters and engineers.

Remodelling projects can include:

  • Removing or adding walls
  • Expanding the square footage
  • Adding a level or story
  • Changing the electricity or plumbing of a building

Remodels are generally more expensive as they require specific skills, materials and more time.

So what’s the difference between remodeling and renovation?

In short: a remodel transforms and changes the form, purpose and/or structure of a space, while a renovation fixes or refreshes a space without changing its purpose.

Should you remodel or renovate?

Think about the purpose of your fitout project. Do you want to simply give the space a fresh look or are there building issues to fix? Are you wanting to change the layout and purpose of the room?

Mark Nashaty, from Total Fitouts Sunshine Coast North, recommends: “outline why you’re embarking on the project and what you’re trying to achieve first, as that will help decide whether remodelling or renovating is best.”

Ask yourself:

  • Purpose – what are we trying to achieve?
  • Project scope – what’s in scope and what isn’t?
  • Budget – how big is your budget?
  • Timeline – is there a specific deadline for your shopfitting project?

Typically you should only remodel if there’s functional necessities or needs – or you’re deliberately gutting the space. As remodelling runs at a higher cost, you’ll want to ensure your budget covers it – including a buffer for if things go wrong or there’s unexpected delays. If you’re just wanting to make cosmetic changes and the structure of your space is good, renovating is the way to go.

Of course, it’s always good to get an expert opinion before deciding. Want to chat to us about your remodel or renovation? Chat to us today