Cost Comparison—Renovation vs. Teardown and Rebuild

Cost Comparison—Home Renovation vs. Teardown and Rebuild

You’ve heard the old adage: Location! Location! Location! With Toronto real estate in an unrelenting, upward trajectory, many homeowners are opting to build on the property they already own. Which begs the question, do you renovate or tear-down and rebuild? With either option, you get to build a dream space that truly reflects who you are and how you want to live, with the added benefit of staying in the neighbourhood you’ve grown to know and love. The decision to add on or teardown and rebuild is typically a financial one. This article outlines the cost comparison between a home renovation and a teardown and rebuild, along with some of the advantages to each approach.

Renovations are the most popular choice when people decide to substantially upgrade their homes.

From the start, renovations tend to be less expensive because building permit requirements are less onerous, so architectural and building permit costs tend to be lower. Another feature of renovations is the ability to maintain existing setbacks. In tight Toronto lots, maintaining a portion of the original footprint allows you to keep exterior wall positions and maximize the size of the home. Existing structures, regardless of age, almost always have value. 

One of the biggest advantages of a renovation is the cost savings related to the demolition and disposal of materials for the existing structure. There is also an added benefit of keeping disposal material out of landfills. 

A great example of an efficient renovation is a second floor top up with basement underpinning.

Demolition expenses for this type of project can cost about 35K, compared to demolition expenses for a new build, which can cost about 64K. For this project, the entire structure is utilized. Not only do you gain a second floor, but you can also create a better family or entertainment space in the basement. Building another level and repurposing an under-utilized level, can provide a more preferable space for your unique needs. 

The cost for a home addition can range anywhere from 200K to 800K as a starting point, depending on the size and complexity of the build. The more space impacted by the build the higher the cost. And renovations do not come without their complications as issues can arise around how new structural work connects to existing. This could lead to unexpected costs and scope creep in order to bring the entire structure up to current standards. But as long as structural connections have a defined cut off between the old and new, these costs can be controlled.

Are you a candidate for a teardown and rebuild?

There is no specific formula to identify whether your home is a candidate for a teardown and rebuild. Many factors impact your home’s value and potential. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Is your house structurally unsound or in poor condition making a whole house renovation necessary?
  • Is your home smaller than average and outdated in its current neighbourhood?
  • Is the plumbing or electrical wiring sufficient to handle a substantial addition?
  • Are you simply tired of the house and want to rebuild from the ground up?

A new build is typically more expensive than a renovation because the project is often larger in scale usually starting at 900K to 1 million dollars. Building permit requirements are more extensive and must include all supplementary permits from the start such as a grading plan, HVAC design and new underground plumbing services. A new home must also receive new site servicing for water, electrical and natural gas, which may not be required during a renovation.

A new build is more efficient and predictable because they are built without any consideration for an existing structure.

The scale of the project tends to be more appealing to vendors and subcontractors because of the project size and cost. Pricing is easier to acquire and budget for because quantities and labour costs are more straight forward to calculate. Everything is built to current standards and building codes, while Tarion warranties provide additional peace of mind for many years after the build. 

Both options have numerous benefits to consider before proceeding.

While a teardown-and-rebuild is likely the more costly of the two, the long term benefits of building new especially if you plan to stay in your home long term is an attractive proposition. 

With good design and thorough planning, it is possible to gain all you could want from the home you already own. Since you spend so much time at home, it makes sense to update in ways that are relevant and add enjoyment to your life every day. Regardless of how you choose to build, the investment is always well worth the effort in the end! 

Love your home again

Dan is happy to meet with you, listen to your ideas and provide you with a free site quotation no matter where you are in the renovation decision process. No charge…with no pressure, no obligation and no strings attached. We promise. We simply want you to have all the information you need to make the best decisions related to your Toronto home renovation or addition.






Dan Robinson
Dan Robinson Construction Management

Considering a home renovation or addition?

Whether you want more space for your growing family, or crave a space that reflects your vision better, Dan Robinson is here to help transform your dream into a reality.

Regardless of where you are in the process, contact us, and we’ll call to arrange a no-obligation consultation at your convenience. We will come to your home, discuss your vision and begin the process of helping you love your home again.