Renovate or rebuild: an in-depth comparison on which one is a better option

Lorem Ipsum has been the industry's standard dummy text ever since the 1500s, when an unknown printer took a galley of type and scrambled it to make a type specimen book.

We all love our houses, but there are times when the ones we live in are no longer sufficient for the growing needs of our family. The number of bedrooms might no longer be enough, or the living room has become too small. Your storage space may no longer suffice because of all the items your family has accumulated over the years, or the house looks outdated. At this time, homeowners can choose between renovating their existing home or building a new one. This article will discuss all you need to know about these two options, so you’ll be able to decide whether to renovate or rebuild.

What’s the difference between renovating and rebuilding?

Renovating a building or a house involves improving the existing structure to make it more liveable or suitable for your family’s needs. You can replace or upgrade some parts or components of the house you are renovating. However, most of the structure remains unchanged. Renovating is different from remodelling because remodelling changes the way a building or room functions. 

For example, renovating a bathroom might involve replacing the floor tiles or upgrading the bathroom fixtures. You can renovate a bedroom by adding a walk-in wardrobe or redoing the ceiling. When you convert a bedroom into a home office or a family room, you are remodelling it because you’re using it for a different purpose. 

Rebuilding a house means demolishing the original structure and building a new one from the ground up. After a rebuild, you have a whole new structure where the old one used to be. 

What are the advantages of renovating?

Less expensive

Renovating a building is cheaper because you are working on a small portion of the entire structure. You use fewer materials during renovations. Renovations also require less human resources, so the labour costs are also less expensive. 

Less disruptive

A renovation causes fewer disruptions compared to rebuilding. Most of the time, a renovation centres on a specific area like a bathroom or a kitchen, so your family can use the other areas of your house. The renovation works will produce noise and debris, but all in all, your family can go on with their daily activities with minimal inconveniences. 

Less time-consuming

Renovations require less time to complete because renovating involves working on a smaller area of your house. This means that your family can get back to their normal daily routines in a short period. It also means that your family can quickly enjoy the home renovation benefits. 

What are the disadvantages of renovating?

Design limitations

When choosing whether to renovate or rebuild, one of the considerations is the number of changes you want to see in your home and renovating your house limits the changes you can make. You can change the floor, ceiling, or wall materials during renovations. You can even add new fixtures or perform minor layout changes. However, you are constrained by the load your house can safely carry. Adding newer and heavier materials can strain the foundations of your house, may weaken it and endanger your family. In these cases, rebuilding your house is a safer option. 

What are the advantages of rebuilding?

You have a completely new structure

Rebuilding gives your family a fresh start because you’re tearing down the old house you were living in. This allows you to design a new house or building with the facilities your family needs. You can carefully plan the design of your new home to include features that were lacking in your previous home to make the most out of your house rebuilding. 

Before talking with your draftsman, it will be better to speak with your family and reach a consensus on the design or theme you want for your new home. This can help ensure that your new house has all the amenities that family members need. Uncovering your family’s needs can also help prevent unnecessary and costly renovations to your new home in the short term.

It can keep your family safe

A well-built new house can be safer for your family because it is stronger than an old house. No matter how sturdy a house is, its foundations will weaken as the years go by and renovating it may not be enough to fix structural defects. 

Rebuilding your house is also the best time to take note of the structural inefficiencies of your previous house. For example, if you notice that your old house easily gets flooded, you can raise the foundations of the new house to prevent water damage. 

It can help you save money

Although starting a house from scratch is more expensive than renovating an old house, you can rebuild a house to save money in the long run. You can make your new house energy-efficient to conserve water and electricity and reduce utility bills. 

While it is true that you can make your house energy-efficient with renovations, these will depend on the house you are working on. For example, you can make your HVAC systems more efficient through renovations, but you won’t achieve maximum results if your house’s orientation results in poor thermal properties. 

What are the disadvantages of rebuilding a house?

More expensive

Rebuilding your house is more expensive because it requires extensive building work and more materials. When rebuilding a house, the contractor must demolish the existing structure and lay down a new foundation before building the new structure. You also have to think about your new house’s finishing, exterior, and interior design. 

Invasive and longer to complete

Rebuilding a house is more invasive or disruptive than renovating because you need to temporarily relocate during the construction. This may mean living in an unfamiliar environment for several months. It can be challenging, especially if you cannot find a temporary home near your workplace or your children’s school. 

Rebuilding also means you need to adjust your schedule because you need to periodically monitor the construction of your new house. This is one advantage of hiring a project manager to take care of the construction. A project manager can handle all construction-related issues so you can concentrate on your work or business without worrying about every aspect of your house rebuilding project. 

Which option is cheaper?

Money is one of the biggest factors in deciding whether to renovate or rebuild and rebuilding a house is the more expensive option. If you plan to build a house, expect to spend at least $473,000, depending on your new house’s size and the type of materials you want to use. 

Another factor is the complexity of the house you want to build and the number of rooms it will have. The total cost will also depend on the exterior and interior design, plus the landscaping cost.

With renovations, it will depend on the extent of the renovations and materials you will use. For example, expect to pay around $20,000 to $28,000 to renovate a bathroom. Renovating a kitchen will set you back around $17,000 to $21,000 depending on the work you want and the type of fixtures you want to install. 

Disclaimer: Please note that these are mere estimates. The exact cost will depend on your location and design idea.

To give an idea of how much the project will cost,  take advantage of the free quote we’re offering for all registered Superdraft users. We can provide you with a detailed design quote for your project, created based on your location and design in mind.

When do you rebuild a house?

Although rebuilding a house is expensive, there are instances when it is the most viable option. For example, if the existing house sustained considerable damage either because of natural causes like floods, earthquakes, or fire or because of the age of the house. 

Rebuilding a house is also in order if renovating your house will not result in the improvements you are aiming for. For example, if you want to add a storey to your house but the foundation cannot support the additional weight. 

If you are unsure whether to renovate or rebuild, consult an expert. A building design expert can help you decide whether to renovate or rebuild by assessing your current house and checking for all available options. You can also hire a structural engineer to check your house for structural issues and advise if you can renovate or rebuild your house.

Do they require the same permits?

Rebuilding a house requires permits including but not limited to demolition permits, planning permits and building permits. The number and types of permits depend on your state, so check with your local council to avoid construction delays or penalties.

A home renovation may or may not require a permit, depending on the renovations. For example, you don’t need to secure a permit if you want to replace the floor tiles in your living room or if you want to update your bathroom fixtures. However, you may need to secure a permit if the renovations involve your house’s electrical system, like adding circuits or installing an electric water heating system. A permit is also required if you are changing the structure of your house, like adding a driveway, deck, or garage. Consult your local council to be on the safe side. 

Conclusion: Sign up to Superdraft to start your renovation or rebuild project

Renovating or rebuilding a house can give your family a more liveable home. Both options have advantages and disadvantages, so discussing them with your family is paramount. Whether you choose to renovate or rebuild your home, what is certain is that you need to hire experts to help you achieve the best possible results. 

Superdraft can connect you to an expert building designer to guide and assist in your home improvement project. You can get a free design quote to get a clear idea of how much your project will cost. Sign up to Superdraft today, and we will help you design a home your family will love. 

Start planning for free

Find more articles, guides and inspiration in the planning dashboard. Save them to your dream board, and start planning your dream space today.

You may also like

Join our design community

Forgot your username or password?

Download our '5 crucial things you must know before starting any build project' guide for free today

Simply fill in your details below and we’ll send a copy straight over to you

See how much you could save with a free, no-obligation quote today

Simply fill in your details below and we’ll be in touch to discuss your project

  • Drop files here or

Download The Free Guide Now

Fill in the below to get instant access: