Renovating a house - costs to consider

Costs for a house renovation

The expense of a house renovation depends on various factors, such as the starting condition of the property and the desired end result. Then there is the scale of the actual work to be carried out during the house renovation. Read on to find out more about costs for renovating a house.  

What factors do renovation costs depend on?

What is the difference between renovating, modernising and refurbishing?


Renovating more or less means a makeover. The aim of a renovation is to improve the appearance. Renovation works rectify signs of wear and tear and are “cosmetic repairs”.

Mandatory requirements for cosmetic repairs by tenants are specified in the rental contract. For example, you will need to paint living areas regularly and rectify minor defects yourself. Renovation costs are the responsibility of the tenant. Renovation measures are not essential in purely technical terms, but they do influence the homeliness of a property. Do-it-yourself enthusiasts will be able to handle a lot of renovation work themselves.

Typical renovation work includes putting up wallpaper and painting, or laying carpets. 


Roofer repairing a roof

Refurbishing a house means carrying out repairs to restore the house to a fully functional condition. If you are wondering when a house needs to be refurbished, the answer is: there is always a specific reason for a refurbishment in the form of a defect that could potentially cause serious damage to the property. This could be a leaky roof or a wet basement wall.

Refurbishment restores the property to its original condition. Specialist knowledge is required for a refurbishment and specialist tradespeople will therefore be involved. If you are refurbishing a house, you will generally need to dig deeper into your pockets.

Typical refurbishing work includes, for example, draining walls, removing mould or repairing a damaged roof. 


The term modernising means improving a property. The house or apartment is brought up to the latest technical standards.

An energy modernisation, for example, means installing state-of-the-art energy technology that will reduce operating costs over the long term. Modernisation work increases the value of a property.

Some typical modernisation measures include replacing windows, installing a new heating system or a photovoltaic system.  

How much are renovation costs?

If you are planning an extensive internal renovation of a property, you should estimate costs of 500 to 700 euros per square metre. This budget will cover drywall installation and cut-outs, new flooring, painting walls and ceilings, wallpapering or tiling, replacing bathroom ceramics, installing a new kitchenette and new internal doors. If you do a lot of this work yourself, you can reduce the square metre price by up to 200 euros. 

If your house also needs extensive refurbishment and modernisation work, this will be a costly undertaking. The average square metre price will then easily double. With a budget of 1,000 to 1,500 euros per square metre, you can plaster walls, replace water installations, install new electrics and a new heating system, including replacing radiators. Handling a lot of these tasks yourself will realistically allow you to reduce the average square metre price by up to 400 euros. With regard to heating technology, there is a wide range of costs due to the great variety of available heating systems. The purchase costs for gas condensing heating will be between 9,000 and 15,000 euros. Heat pump technology or a pellet heating system will cost significantly more, somewhere between 20,000 and 35,000 euros. 

As described briefly at the start, the costs for renovating a house will depend on the starting condition. Bearing this in mind, the following cost estimates provide a guide, shown as price ranges. The list divides costs according to the scale of the work and sorts them from renovation through to refurbishing and modernisation work, in other words, from cosmetic repairs to maintenance of the building fabric and improvements to increase the property value. 

Costs (estimated) Renovation (RN)
Refurbishment (RF)
Modernisation (M)
Replacement of individual tiles for aesthetic reasons 100 to 500 euros RN
Painting drainpipes and gutters 50 to 100 euros RN
Replacing the roof 50 to 150 euros per square metre RF
Insulating the roof 60 to 280 euros per square metre RF
Insulating the ceiling 35 to 70 euros per square metre M
Loft conversion 1,000 to 3,000 euros per square metre M
Painting the
facade 10 to 40 euros per square metre RN
Replastering 60 to 100 euros per square metre RF
Insulating 50 to 250 euros per square metre M
Windows and doors
- maintaining and possibly cleaning, as well as minor repairs 30 to 80 euros per window/door RN
Sanding, replacing fittings and seals, repairing, repainting or coating 100 to 150 euros per window/door RF
Installing sun shields 200 to 400 euros per window M
replacing 500 to 8,000 euros per window/door M
Draining the
basement 300 to 500 euros per square metre RF
Insulating the basement ceiling 30 to 100 euros per square metre M
Basement conversion 1,000 to 2,000 euros per square metre M

The costs for complete refurbishment of a house vary greatly. If you are completely refurbishing a house, you will also need to check the electrical wiring and possibly even install new electrics, which will mean additional costs. You should allow a budget of between 100 and 180 euros per square metre. A complete refurbishment is a good opportunity to install a photovoltaic system. If you combine both projects, you could save costs overall.

What does a complete refurbishment cost?

The costs of a complete refurbishment vary depending on the costs of materials and specialist trades. Depending on the target efficiency profile for a house, modernisation and refurbishment will cost between 600 and 1,600 euros per square metre. This price range is broad and you should clarify in advance the measures that are most urgently needed, as these are the ones you can then start with. Shop around for materials within your budget and obtain quotations from several building companies. This will give you an overview of prices in your region. You can then look at financing. Find out about any state grants that will help to reduce your costs.