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A Guide to Home Construction in Calgary: Terms and Definitions

Published August 16, 2021
Updated: March 7, 2023
Est. Reading: 5 minutes

Construction companies renovate and remodel houses every single day. Homeowners, however, usually get extensive work done just a few times during their lives. While the process can often feel overwhelming to the average homeowner, it’s old news for seasoned contractors and laborers.  

A 2019 survey by Sweeten concluded that 85% of homeowners find home renovation stressful (1), and there are many articles available detailing how to keep renovation from ruining a relationship. It’s not exactly inspiring.

The folks at Reborn Renovations never forget what it’s like to be on the other side of the home renovation process. To make sure you get just what you want in your home renovation, remodel, or restoration, we know good communication is essential. (2)

You should never feel out of the loop, and you should never feel like there is a language gap. One Consumer Reports article talks about “contractor speak” and says you have to “put aside any shyness or machismo and ask for an explanation.” (3) Sometimes, it’s easier said than done. Knowing where and how to start your home renovation project is easier if you know the lingo.

That’s why we’re getting you started with this guide to some common home construction terms, designed to answer the following questions:

  • What is the difference between renovating and remodeling?
  • What is the difference between a home renovation and a home addition?
  • What is a home restoration?

Home Renovation vs. Home Remodel

While often used interchangeably, there is a difference between these two terms. The simple explanation is that a renovation involves updating a space, while a remodel involves changing the structure of a space. (4)

Think of it this way:

Renovating a bathroom could mean changing out fixtures, flooring, paint, etc.

Remodeling a bathroom would be more like deleting a laundry space to add a bathtub or rerouting pipes to expand the floorplan.

Renovations are often the cheaper option, as these typically involve cosmetic work. Homeowners may choose to enlist a handyman or try to tackle renovation jobs themselves. As anyone who has watched a home improvement show will tell you, renovations can often lead to bigger jobs. If you pull up the flooring and find a wet spot, you’ll likely be calling in the pros. 

Worse yet, there may be a problem you don’t recognize because your eyes just aren’t trained for it. Maybe you miss some black mold or signs of termite damage. Someone who does this for a living will pick up on these. 

Remodeling is always pricier and requires more expertise. Remodeling is when you need someone on your side who knows about permits, plumbing, electrical, insulation, support beams, etc. (5) People say “knock out a wall” like it’s the easiest thing in the world, but there is a lot of stuff in that wall. 

Having a designer or architect on hand for a remodel is helpful, too. They can help you view a space in a different way or point out some consequences of an idea that you might have missed. Best of all, they can work with a contractor to develop solutions should any problems arise.

Home Renovation vs. Home Addition

Some homeowners are still unsure of where exactly a home addition would fit in. While it’s more than a renovation, it also seems like a completely different animal than a remodel. At Reborn, we call it a development. (6)

Building an addition is, in fact, considered a remodeling job. (7) Additions have their own set of permits that are entirely different from a new house construction permit. (8) If you have to demolish part of the building in order to do the remodel, then that would require a demolition permit.

A remodel is never considered new construction. And as we mentioned before, it might be a good idea to call in the experts before trying to sort out all those permits and regulations on your own!

Home Restoration

Restoration is separate from both remodeling and renovation, although it often involves a bit of renovation. 

Home restoration can involve taking a historic building and bringing it back to life. It can also be helping a family get back in their home after a disaster.

Art restoration involves repairing damage or years of wear and tear and making a piece look the way the artist originally intended. 

Antique car restoration means making a Model T look exactly the way it did in its heyday.

In short, Restoration is the process of putting something back the way it was before. (9) And it is always some of our most rewarding work. 

At Reborn, we get rid of mold, asbestos, and water damage. (10) We get people back in their homes and back to living in a clean, healthy environment. Thanks to our extensive knowledge and connections in the renovation industry, we have all the tools necessary to get your home looking exactly the way it was before—or better!

Clarity is Key

It’s important to communicate clearly with your contractor, whether you are looking for someone to spearhead a remodeling, renovation, or restoration project. Knowing the correct terminology will let your contractor know that you’ve done your homework and you know exactly what you want. 

Make sure you are on the same page, no matter who your contractor is.

Reborn Renovations is the award-winning company Calgary trusts for home improvement. Whether you’re looking to renovate a room, add a deck, or build a brand-new house from the ground up, we strive to make the process effortless while providing quality results.

Our experienced employees and associates can help with design, materials selection, and, of course, execution. 

If your goal is to transform your home into your dream home by changing the layout, we can do that. If you just want to get a good return on your investment by doing some minor updates, we can handle that, as well. And if tragedy ever strikes your home in the form of mold, asbestos, or flooding, you know who to call.

Contact Reborn Renovations to get a free quote on your home improvement or home building needs!


  1. https://sweeten.com/process-and-planning/renovation-stress-anxiety-survey/
  2. https://www.howtohome.com/contractor-communication-tips/
  3. https://www.consumerreports.org/home-remodeling/dont-let-poor-communication-ruin-renovation-or-relationship/ 
  4. https://www.realtor.com/advice/home-improvement/remodel-vs-renovation-whats-the-difference/
  5. https://www.cnbc.com/2020/01/03/when-to-renovate-your-home-and-when-to-move-according-to-the-property-brothers.html
  6. https://www.rebornrenovations.com/renovation-services/home-additions/ 
  7. https://www.bobvila.com/articles/renovation-vs-remodel/
  8. https://www.calgary.ca/pda/pd/home-building-and-renovations/additions.html
  9. https://www.designblendz.com/blog/building-restoration-or-renovation-or-remodel-whats-the-difference-and-which-is-best-for-my-project 
  10. https://www.rebornrenovations.com/renovation-services/flood-remediation/ 
    Photo by Anna Shvets from Pexels

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