remodel home

Should You Remodel or Gut Your Home?

There’s something appealing about a fresh start. Completely gutting and remodeling a home is one way to update a dated home with a nonfunctional floor plan, while a remodel project is typically done room by room, while leaving the current structures in place. But, should you just remodel or gut your home?

We’ll look at the differences between a remodel and a gut and remodel project. What are the pros and cons? Which choice is right for you and your home?

Gut My Home or Remodel It? Help!

remodel home

Remodeling a home generally means the interior structure is left intact. The goal is to improve the aesthetics or function of the home, without a lot of demotion or restructuring. Often, a remodel will happen one room at a time, like in a bathroom or kitchen.

Many homeowners choose a remodel due to cost, convenience, or both. A one-room renovation project is generally less costly than a complete gut. It is also much simpler and less invasive to remodel one room at a time. Often, you can live in your home during a remodeling project, and work around the construction area. This may be a little more challenging if you work-from-home now.

What is Involved When You Gut Your Home?

Everything goes when you gut your home. Walls, insulation, floors, wires, plumbing, and ductwork. You are starting over from the inside out. The home is now open to you and your architect’s creativity. You can completely redesign the entire interior however you wish. 

A gut and remodel is a way to redesign the interior of the home to fit your needs and aesthetic. Typically, this kind of project requires an architect, building permits, an interior designer, a contractor, and a project manager.

Pros of Gutting Your Home

As with any design choice, there are benefits and pitfalls on both sides. Evaluate your choices to determine if remodeling or gutting your home is the right option for you.

You Can Redesign to your Specifications

Think about the flexibility of a blank slate. The only limitations are the exterior walls. You can push a few out within the building parameters of your city and county.

Flexible Financing is Available

Renovation financing is available for most home remodeling projects. There are multiple options if you don’t have cash on hand, such as a second mortgage, cash-out refinance, or, with good credit, a home remodel loan.

You Don’t Need to Move

If you want a brand new home without the purchase process, gutting and remodeling your existing home is the way to go. Location is often a deciding factor when it comes down to whether to move or remodel.

Many homeowners are looking for old world charm in an older home. Gutting and remodeling are a way to restore and update an older home to match a modern lifestyle.

While there are many historic homes in the Bay Area, the original floor plans are typically divided into small, separate rooms. Modern homeowners are looking for open floor plans with great flow. Gutting and restoring these historic homes is a way to retain their old world charm, and improve functionality.

The city has strict policies in place to retain historic architecture. An experienced Bay Area architectural team will understand these regulations, and be able to work with them. For more information, check with the San Francisco Department of Building Inspection.

Cons to Gut Your Home

It Can be Expensive

Tearing down and starting over comes with a price tag. The national average cost to gut a house is estimated at $2-$7 per square foot. However, construction prices in San Francisco tend to be on the high end of these averages. The current labor shortage, and increased price in construction materials will also play a part in the final cost.

The price of demolition also varies room to room. Rooms with plumbing, such as a bathroom, kitchen, or laundry room are more complicated to gut, so will be more expensive.

There May be Hidden Issues

Who really knows what is hiding behind your walls? If you have an older home, asbestos and lead paint may pose a safety hazard. Safe removal and disposal of hazardous materials will add time and expense to the project.

Wiring, plumbing, and ductwork form an unseen network in our homes. Once the walls are gone, complications with internal systems are often exposed.

There is no Guaranteed Return on Investment

Completely gutting and renovating a home can be a costly investment. Is this your forever home? Do you plan to stay put for at least 5-10 years? If so, it may be worth the time and money to shape your home to your specifications, whether or not you will get a return on investment.

If your goal for your home is to renovate for a resale, completely gutting the space probably will not be worth the time, effort, or cash.

You Will Need to Relocate

Consider alternative, long-term housing arrangements during a complete renovation. The home will most likely be uninhabitable while it is gutted. The project could take anywhere from a couple months to over a year to complete.

At Drafting Cafe Architects, we can take you from a fixer upper to your dream home. Whether you need a simple room remodel, or a complete gut and renovation, we can create your plans for any size job. Our team of architects, designers, and project managers will help you evaluate your options and make the right choice for your home.


Get in touch with us. We would love to help you get your project off the ground