One of the most difficult decisions to make when trying to upgrade a property you own or plan to purchase is whether to renovate it or knock it down and start from scratch. 

Whether you have inherited the property from a family member, found an older home located on a good piece of land, or are just considering ways you can improve your living situation, below are some ways to help you figure out which route to take. 

Consider How to Finance the Project 

Renovating a property may seem like a minor investment, but it can require a significant amount of money depending on what you want to do. Cosmetic changes can sometimes be paid for out of savings, but larger changes may require small loans—begging the question, is it better to just rebuild completely?

For instance, if a property has been seriously damaged or has structural issues you will be looking at a decent sum of money in the end. A complete renovation can actually be more expensive than a rebuild because you have to strip everything out before putting it back. So rebuilding from scratch may actually cost less, depending on your plans and materials. 

Equally, demolition of an existing home, no matter how small, can be a major undertaking and take significant planning. When knocking down an existing property, you will also have to pay for demolition costs and rates vary substantially. 

Either way, it is important to do your homework and figure out exactly how much the job is likely to cost before you commit to anything. Builders like ourselves can typically give you an accurate quote on a range of renovation projects as well as new build developments in Cornwall and other parts of the UK. 

We recommend you get as much advice as possible so you can figure out how to finance the project and achieve the results you want. 

Energy Efficiency and Sustainability

It’s true that demolishing and rebuilding a property requires more energy than renovating it, but you could make long-term energy efficiency and financial saving gains by rebuilding. This is often because older buildings can be draughty and may lack the same level of insulation as new builds. 

There are so many ways to upgrade an old house, but the process is slightly different and careful consideration needs to be made about how new materials work with old structures. For instance many Victorian brick houses do not have a cavity wall and will not offer the same heat retention as a new build property. 

You can add insulation onto the inside of your wall, however, this can cost more and will also reduce the total size of your rooms. 

When rebuilding, you can also explore the usage of more sustainable materials and even reclaimed or recycled materials for your property. We recommend making a plan with your building contractor to determine the viability of achieving good energy retention and sustainability levels with any renovation or new build developments in Cornwall. 


Sometimes the only way to get the location you really want is to buy an old property and to do it up. Yet, if local planning permission is granted, knocking it down and building something new is also possible. 

If location is a major factor for you, make sure you check what it’s possible to do with the property before you purchase it (if you have not done so already). 

Inquiring with reliable builders in Cornwall or your local area is the best first step in understanding the limitations of your project. 

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