Studio Brunstrum

Difference Between an Update and an Overhaul

May 21, 2019

What's the difference between an update and an overhaul when it comes to renovating your home? Why is it important to know before starting a project? Find out below!

What’s the difference between an update and an overhaul in your home? Often, when a project is initially discussed, the difference isn’t thought through from a cost and timing perspective or a lifestyle disruption factor. Determining the scope of your project (including making all the selections in advance and ordering product in a timely manner) can be key to eliminating headaches and frustrations.

Updating is much less comprehensive- usually you can live in your home when making an update change. I consider an update a “small” project and it is purely aesthetic.  An overhaul, on the other hand is considered a “large” project or a renovation. An overhaul revises the functionality of a room or the entire home. You can’t live in your home during an overhaul- at least I STRONGLY advise against it. Usually the difference lies in the scope of work and if you have the resources and space elsewhere within your home to live throughout the construction. An overhaul involves much more time and money and is exponentially more disruptive to your daily life than an update.

Examples of an update: kitchen or bathroom countertops, fireplace mantels and surrounds, painting, wallpaper, crown molding, interior doors, door hardware, cabinet hardware, plumbing accessories (TP holder, towel bar), exterior light fixtures, hallway light fixtures and chandeliers, tile floors, refinishing of hardwood floors.

Examples of an overhaul: completing all the above as one project, moving walls or taking space from one room and using it in another, kitchen or bathroom cabinetry, changing entrances, doorways, windows and or exterior elements.

When considering an overhaul or update, think through the disruption factor and how it will affect your day to day lifestyle. Living through a kitchen or master bath overhaul is a PIA and a mess… not just for you, but for your contractor. Living on sight during an overhaul elongates the project. It throws off the contractor’s schedule as he/she must adapt to the needs of your daily life, instead of focusing on the strategic schedule, adding extra days and dollars to the total project cost. Consider checking into a hotel, renting an apartment or staying in your vacation home if you have one!

To best manage your expectations, ask your contractor and designer how extensive your project is.  Is it truly just an update or is it an overhaul?  Re-think the timing of your undertaking, make sure you can work with the disruption to your daily schedule before the project starts and remember to always communicate throughout the process for a successful collaboration and a home you want to be comfortable in.

Susan Brunstrum
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