Home Renovation Costs by Type of Home

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A big question we always get is cost, so let’s talk about the costs of common types of home renovations here on Long Island. Please remember we are talking square footage numbers which are not to be taken as exact pricing but as a ballpark cost for your renovations. An sq ft price is a good baseline on where you’re going to start. Here’s why; let’s take a simple 1000 sq ft project.

Option 1: a simple box dormer, no gables, one bath, carpet, vinyl windows, and vinyl siding. This would be considered a basic renovation.

Option 2: a dormer with inset walls, double gables, arch top windows, 2 baths, laundry room, oak floors, open staircase, and Hardi board siding. As you can see, this is a semi-custom project.

So how can both of these jobs start out at the same sq ft price. They can’t. This is why sq ft pricing is only a ballpark or a baseline. In order to truly know a price, you need to break down each project individually and add costs of additional items. This is why no two projects are alike. Unless of course, they are truly the same! So, let’s jump into basic costs.

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Which home is the easiest to renovate?

That’s easy, let’s start with a simple Levittown Cape made famous by Mr. Levitt himself. Why? Because with this style of home renovation clients can continue living in their home on the first floor and/or basement (if they have one) during construction. This makes it less of a financial burden on clients with a family since they would not have to relocate and spend on housing rental costs, as well as commuting children to and from school for the duration of the construction.

With the cape we can use the existing floor system and stairs or what we call in the industry “jumping the box” which is essentially a new floor system over the existing ceiling beams and added new stairs, giving us the ability to cantilever the front and back of the home approximately two feet which adds about another 140-160 square feet to the second-floor layout. This creates more room at the top of the stairs and gives you the ability to make larger bedrooms and baths.

Budgeting for second-floor additions on a cape starts at $170 per square foot plus as noted above. When paired with a first-floor gut renovation, the first floor would start at $80 per square foot plus as noted above.

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What is the hardest type of home to renovate?

Now let’s move to the split level. It’s the hardest type of home to renovate but this style also has the most rewards. The different types of split-level homes are listed here:

Front to back: This is the hardest to re-design but we make it look easy. This home has a small living space when you walk into the first level. The kitchen is off to one side and the family room is in the back or the basement level and all the bedrooms on the second floor back of the house. We have come up with designs to maximize the space in these homes. If you don’t mind stairs these homes can be packed with space. Usually, these homes wind up with variance because to make the kitchen work you need to push out the front of the house a bit, sometimes you may have enough side yard space to expand to the side yard too. We can also add a third floor across the front of the house to provide a master suite, home office, and often even a laundry room.

Side to side: This model even has two different styles, the models differ on the first-floor level mostly. The difference is one model has a 16-foot wide first floor and the other has a 20-25 foot wide first floor. Both styles can get ample space but as you can already guess the model with the wider first floor is the best model to work on for space. I’m going to generalize on renovations including both models.

With the side to side the job we most often do would be a full gut renovation of the first floor with a new kitchen and wide-open floor plan, leaving the second and ground floor as-is. Maybe only changing floors, doors, and trim. Then adding a full third-floor dormer which can add a new private master suite with a bath and double walk-in closets.

On the wider model, we have been able to add home offices and gyms (or Peloton rooms) which has been a common request lately. As well as nice-sized laundry rooms. Our split-level renovations are always accompanied by a full front exterior makeover and a large portico and stoop. Concerning budgeting, the split requires more time, materials, and sometimes larger beams and steel. So, the split is going to cost more than any other type of home when it comes to remodeling. When pricing a split, it’s hard to rely on square foot pricing because there are so many factors and different ways to approach the remodel. Be sure your contractor has a lot of experience renovating split levels because costs can skyrocket if you use a contractor that is not familiar with this type of renovation. Fortunately, we have been labeled the split-level king by clients and it’s a name we are not afraid to take on. As a design and build team, we love the task of remodeling these homes and the rewards of a happy client when we are finished.

As we’ve said square foot pricing is difficult with this renovation. However, as a rough guide, budgeting for renovations on a split start at $225 per square foot plus as noted above. When paired with a first or second-floor gut renovation each floor would start at $80 per square foot plus as noted above.

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What is the difference between a Cape and Ranch renovation?

Ranches are as easy to work as the Cape. They have the same benefits for clients who can remain in the home during the renovations. The only difference is unlike the Cape the Ranch needs to make room for a new staircase to the second floor. Sometimes it’s as easy as stacking over the basement stairs but sometimes it’s not that easy. Not only must we move the basement stairs, but we need to use some space from an existing bedroom to get the first-floor layout to work, or to create the famous center hall colonial everyone wants with that beautiful clear-story foyer. Ranch homes usually have a large first-floor layout making it very easy to dormer over the whole top. This will result in a lot of square footage. And with the right design, you can have beautiful roof lines and setbacks to increase the home’s curb appeal.

Budgeting for second-floor additions on a ranch starts at $200 per square foot plus as noted above. When paired with a first-floor gut renovation the first floor would start at $80 per square foot plus as noted above.


What if I want to combine aspects of a Split-Level and Ranch?

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Then the “Splanch” is the type of home for you! This refers to a type of split-level home that’s a 2-story home with a front door in the middle of two floors; the first-floor level is usually half underground like a basement. These homes are more popular in areas where the properties are hilly and the house will look like a 1-story home from the front but will be two stories in the back. Most splanches have 2-car garages on the first level under the second-floor living space.

With this type of home, you don’t have the option to add another story like a traditional split-level because both the left and right sides are considered two floors and are at the same height. So, your only option is to add a 2-story addition to either the sides or the back depending on township and setbacks allowed for building. Most Splanches end up either with a whole first or second-floor gut renovation depending on what we are adding or how we need to re-design space. Square footage prices will be higher due to foundation work needed for the addition; with Capes and Ranches, you are building over existing space so new foundations are not needed.

Budgeting for 2-story additions on a splanch starts at $240 per square foot plus as noted above. When paired with a first or second-floor gut renovation each floor would start at $80 per square foot plus as noted above.

How Noah Construction & Builders can help!

Noah Construction & Builders are experts in home renovations of all types. We will be happy to meet and discuss your renovation needs to provide you with the home of your dreams. For more information, please call 631-750-2837!

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