Remodeling Cost Per Square Foot

By Meg Escott

I thought a page on remodeling cost per square foot as opposed to new construction cost per square foot would be useful.

remodeling cost per square foot

It may come as a surprise to learn that remodeling cost per square foot is usually more expensive than construction cost per square foot.

  • Remodeling costs per square foot can be more expensive for several reasons:
  • The builders have to unpick any unwanted parts of the current property with care rather than demolish with abandon.
  • They have to build around the current property – again requiring more care and time.
  • There can always be unknowns in projects on existing homes, particularly old homes. This element of uncertainty adds to the cost.

Definition of remodeling cost per square foot

When it comes to remodeling cost per square foot it’s important to define the term remodeling.

Renovation and Remodeling can mean different things for different projects. When you’re asking about the cost of your project, make sure you're being clear about the scope of your project.

  • For some projects it means completely redecorating - new floor, new paint, new built-in furniture, new light fixtures and new light switch and outlet covers.
  • For some projects it means gutting your home, moving internal walls and re-doing the plumbing, wiring and insulation.
  • For other projects it's somewhere in between.

Your remodeling cost per square foot will be heavily dependent on the spaces you’re renovating.  A kitchen or bathroom remodel is going to cost vastly more than renovating spaces such as living space or bedroom space which because they have far less fixtures and fittings.

How to find your remodeling cost per square foot

The best person to ask about costs is a general contractor.  As I mentioned above, you’ll need to be clear about the scope of your remodel for them to be able to give you a cost per square foot.  It may in fact be easier for them to give you a quote for the job rather than a cost per square foot.

If you’re planning to hire the trades yourself, rather than seek a cost per square foot, it’s best to put your time and effort into assessing what needs to be done and then seeking quotes for each job.

understand remodeling cost per square foot

Remodeling costs per square foot for different projects

Let’s say that remodeling means that you’re moving the interior walls of your home in order to repurpose your square footage and perhaps adding an addition.
Costs for your remodel and/or addition will depend on what you’re planning to do.  For example...

  • Finish the basement
  • Dig out a basement
  • Convert the attic
  • Convert a garage
  • Build a ground floor addition
  • Build a two-story addition
  • Build a second story on top of your current ground floor space
  • Build a room in your yard

Discuss different strategies with your designer and builder to establish which will represent the best value for your project.

More construction costs...

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