Rehab, Renovate or Remodel?

Is there a difference between Rehab, Renovate, and Remodel?



Do you know the difference between rehab, renovate, and remodel? More importantly, do you know when each term applies? While they’re all terms that get thrown around in the building world, it’s easy to use them interchangeably. But in a real sense, they are different.

This article will help you understand the differences between these terms and help you choose the best option for your home improvement project. Ready? Let’s roll.


Rehab is the first step in a home’s transformation. It’s defined as any work necessary to bring a property to local building codes and basic habitability standards.

This can include installing a new roof, replacing broken windows, fixing faulty wiring and plumbing. Additionally, it can involve cosmetic upgrades, such as new flooring or painting.


On the other hand, renovation is restoring something to its original condition. It is often used when referring to property restoration, including buildings, monuments, and residences.

A renovation project could be as simple as painting the walls and repairing the floors to replacing old pipes, electrical wiring, and HVAC systems. It can also include repairs on foundation or reinforcing beams to specifics like replacing countertops and appliances in kitchens and bathrooms.


Remodeling could be as simple as removing a load-bearing wall between two rooms or as complex as building an addition to your home.

Remodeling usually involves changing the layout of an existing space — removing or adding walls, for example — rather than just updating finishes.

While renovations and remodeling may sometimes overlap in scope, rehabs are more invasive than either of those processes. A rehab intends to take a dilapidated house and make it livable again.

Rehabs are typically done when a house has been neglected so long that it’s no longer habitable.

Bottom Line

Ultimately, the important question is what you want out of it. If you’re trying to sell your home and want to give it a facelift, a remodel best serves you by remodeling. But if you’d like to make it truly your own space and renovate what you can, this is likely your best option.


Ultimately, rehab will work the best after a disaster since it will make your home livable.

However, either way, we hope we’ve made it easier for you to make the right decision for your next DIY project.