Infill vs. Renovation: What Is the Best Choice for You?

Jul 27, 2022 | Blog

With the current housing market, you may be weighing your options of whether to do an infill vs. a renovation. Chances are, there are characteristics you love about your home and ways it needs to be improved.

So, the question becomes, is it better to tear down your home for an infill or to renovate your existing home? Before you decide, consider the pros and cons of infill homes compared to renovations.

Infill vs. Renovation

An infill project involves tearing down the existing home and building a new structure on the current lot. Your current home would be demolished, and the property would be cleared and restructured to host a new home. This means you are starting from scratch, and you can design a completely new home. The only thing that stays the same is the land you build your new house on.

A renovation to your home refers to giving your existing home a “makeover” without a full demolition of the structure. This can include removing or adding walls and rooms, and it could even involve redesigning the floor plan within the current framework of the home. Each type of construction project has its own limits, costs, building legalities, and benefits


Renovation: The scope of a renovation project will be the deciding factor in whether or not your project is budget-friendly or cost-prohibitive. You’ll need to demolish some aspects of the home (e.g., walls and flooring), remove debris, obtain the proper permits, and get an inspection by a licensed architect. Older homes will likely need to have the electrical and plumbing updated to meet present-day industry standards. With a renovation, there is also the concern of uncovering unexpected problems, which could add to the costs (e.g., replacing wiring, pipes, boards, or structural framework due to age or damage). For the most part, however, the materials and labour costs are lower with a renovation.

Infill: Looking at the cost of an infill project, there are more factors that come into play than with a renovation. The existing housing structure needs to be demolished, the debris needs to be removed, and the property needs to be resurfaced. In addition, you might also need to expand the foundation and get an inspection by the proper authorities. On top of that, you’ll also have to pay for the cost of materials and labour to construct the new home. And then of course, most homeowners will want to start fresh with updated appliances and furnishings for the entire house.


Infill: Like in all businesses, in construction, time is money. An infill project can take several months or up to a year to complete, depending on the extent of the rebuild as well as the time it takes to get special permits and inspections. In addition, tearing down and building a new structure requires the coordination of many subcontractors. An issue with one aspect, such as the electrical, can delay the completion of the plumbing and vice versa.

Renovation: Depending on the scope of work, renovation stake anywhere from a few months to 6+ months to complete. It really depends on the amount of work being completed. Acquiring special building permits for the renovation can also cause delays. When renovating older homes, the expected timeframe can get pushed back if the original plans need tweaking r sudden modifications need to be made. While a kink in the plans can increase the cost and project timeline, renovating generally takes a fraction of the time it takes to do a new build.

Location and Neighbourhood

Infill: With an infill, the location and neighbourhood does not change; just the physical structure on the property changes. In order to conduct a rebuild, you’ll need to abide by the limitations set by your municipality and the neighbourhood zoning regulations. You’ll also need to consider the size of the property and whether it can accommodate a new (oftentimes, larger) home and still stay within the bounds of the neighbouring properties and structures.

Renovation: Just like an infill, the location and neighbourhood doesn’t change with a renovation. Also, the exterior of the home can remain the same (with the exception of a few minor cosmetic changes if desired) and instead increasing the existing living space entails interior modifications. This type of restructuring can also have limitations in accordance with the local zoning bylaws.

Inspection and Other Approvals

Infill: When applying for a building permit for an infill build, there are several inspections that are required. These legalities can take time, money, and involvement from governing officials. The rebuild process must follow the rules and regulations of the Ontario Building Code, industry standard codes, municipal zoning by-laws, and other related approvals.

Renovation: It is important to understand that while a renovation is contained within an existing structure, this type of project also requires permits and approvals. Depending on the scope of the project, separate permits for the plumbing, electrical, and alteration of framework may be required.

Why Is a Renovation the Best Choice For You?

This really depends on the project itself and what your ultimate goals are. With the present cost of lumber and other building materials, a home renovation may be the best choice for most homeowners.

It’s all about having good bones. A reputable contractor will have the knowledge, insight, and expertise to revamp your existing living space into your dream home without actually needing to start from scratch. Whether the project involves restoring an older home to its former glory or updating the design layout to adapt to a family’s growing needs, a renovation is a great solution.

Contact Elite Construction and Renovations for Renovations in the GTA

For the finest workmanship in the industry, talk to the experts at Elite Construction and Renovations. Our certified subcontractors and project managers work with you to rebuild or redesign a home that fits the needs of you and your family. We offer a two-year workmanship guarantee and honour all partnering manufacturers’ warranties. Contact us today to learn more about our renovation services!

Jay McDonald

Jay McDonald

Jay McDonald, general contractor and owner of Elite Construction & Renovations, has over 20 years of construction experience. He has completed various Ontario Building Code and Business Management courses from George Brown College and has managed over $50 million-dollars-worth of construction in his career.