Sunday, June 10, 2007

Remodeling vs. Renovation

You see it everywhere, books on remodeling, renovation guides, and TV shows on how to fix up your home. When searching through the multiple listing service, I constantly see description notes stating that a home has been "completely remodeled" or "newly renovated". It got me thinking...just what is the difference between the two?

The Webster Dictionary defines the two as:

Renovate : to restore to a former, better state
Remodel : to alter the structure /use of

If I was to say I am going to "remodel" something, I would be changing the use of it. So if I had a floor plan that wasn't working and needed to reconfigure the whole thing, than I would be "remodeling". If I was just taking the current floor plan and adding new floors, new sheet rock, paint, etc, then I would be "renovating" as I was just replacing the old with something new.

Case in point, we looked at a home this weekend that was built in 1957. The MLS said the home had been remodeled. What we found was a basement, originally a cinder block underground space, that had been converted to living space. So it had been "remodeled", as the basement function was altered.

A good example of a "renovation" would be converting a multi-unit historic home, back to its original single family status.

It can get really confusing on the proper term to use because so many people use the two words interchangeably. I think it might be better to equate renovation with rehabilitation, but I am not a dictionary. I am of the nature that words mean something so I try and use the right term when needed. But with so much emphasis on housing the last four years, I doubt anyone will care or notice the true difference between the two words.

What do you think? Do you find yourself using the two words as one?