Redoing your bathroom? Is it a remodel or a renovation? People use the words interchangeably but they’re not the same thing. And it can matter to the County Assessor’s office, the permit department, property appraisers and realtors selling your home.
A dictionary definition of remodel is to reconstruct; make over. While the definition of renovation is to restore to good condition; make new or as if new again; repair. (dictionary.com)
A remodel denotes that the original model has been altered or changed. You’d call it a remodel if the square footage, wall placement, height for your bathroom changed. Remodels have to take into account plumbing, electrical and mechanical changes occasioned by the work of construction. And that means proper permitting for the work to be performed. Building codes are generally inclusive rather than exclusive. This means in any given situation the code tends to include whatever your doing to require a permit. Also if your remodel is extensive, e.g. the whole house is changed, the assessor may reassess the home and your property taxes go up. And, if you are going to sell your house, your house will get appraised and an appraiser values a remodel differently than a renovation.
A renovation is typically less expensive than a remodel. It’s bringing the condition of the build back to a good level of repair. Renovating means bringing up to date, cleaning, painting, refacing cabinets, replacing sink fixtures. If it’s a renovation it likely will not require permit fees. And a renovation doesn’t increase the value of your home like a remodel does.
As an architect I do mostly remodels for my clients. Because of the scope of work, design parameters must be set, codes must be complied with and plans must be prepared. The end result hopefully will be a beautiful home with more value. So if you’re going to fix up your bathroom and it goes beyond paint and changing cabinet knobs you’re remodeling.