Raising Quality & Excellence to New HeightsGeneral Contractors

Building Restoration vs. Renovation vs. Remodel

In the building industry, many construction terms can be confusing to those outside of the industry. For example, building restoration, renovation, and remodel are often used interchangeably but are different types of construction projects. You may be wondering why it matters?  It comes down to one word – communication. It affects everything from the initial concept to estimating costs, and delivery. The more accurately you describe your project to the contractor, the more likely you will achieve the desired results. 

Restoration Construction Project, Orlando FLRestoration

In its simplest form, building restoration is returning the structure to its original condition. The goal of a restoration project is to keep as much of the original components as possible and restore them to a like-new condition. We see this quite a bit with historic buildings, but any outdated building that is structurally sound can be restored. During a restoration project, as many repairs are made as possible to existing walls, fixtures, flooring, and other surfaces. However, the electrical, plumbing, elevators, HVAC, and other systems are replaced with new modern equipment. Energy-efficient windows, lighting, painting, and other retrofits may also be necessary. Restorations are often subsets of a larger building renovation project.

In Miami Beach’s iconic Art Deco district, many older hotels were restored to their former glory, including the $1B restoration of the Fontainebleau Hotel in 2008. The impressive restoration includes the original bowtie parquet tile floors, the Lapidus staircase, and the crystal chandeliers, to name a few. 


A building renovation entails a complete modernization of the existing structure that replaces old and outdated features and fixtures with entirely new components. It usually involves removing everything down to the studs. In addition to new walls, flooring, ceiling, and other fixtures, renovations may also include floor plan reconfigurations. 

In 2012, Hollywood’s most famous landmark, the Capitol Records Tower, underwent a major renovation that transformed the weary structure into a gleaming tower. Initially constructed in 1954, the 13-story landmark building was the world’s first circular building and the first in Hollywood to have central air conditioning. Its renovation included new windows, flooring, and other features while preserving the individual theme of each floor and roof-top spire. 

Hotel Remodel, Lake Buena Vista, FLRemodel

Remodeling is an exhaustive effort that physically transforms the appearance of a building or space. It may be as simple as remodeling an office suite in an office building or as complex as converting the structure into an entirely different use, like from a factory to a shopping mall.  

Vacant for nearly ten years, the 52-story First National Bank Tower in downtown Dallas is being remodeled into a mixed-use retail-residential building with apartments, hotel rooms, office space, and retail. The extensive remodeling effort also includes restoring its original marble façade. It is currently the largest urban project of its kind.