May 14, 2021

What is Gut Remodeling?

Generally speaking, gut remodeling means taking a home down to the studs and building back up from there. In this way, the “guts” of the home – its plumbing, electrical, insulation, heating and cooling systems, etc. – are exposed and may be easily updated without altering the structure of the home itself. 

That said, gut remodeling may mean something slightly different for each home. Why is this the case? Every home is unique, and so should be the approach taken to remodel it. For example, one home may be poorly insulated and have drafty windows, so a gut remodel would entail replacing the insulation and windows to improve heating and cooling efficiency; another home may have solid windows but shoddy insulation and plumbing that’s at the end of its lifecycle. Because of these variables, a gut remodel may look slightly different for each home. 

The Benefits of Gut Remodeling

Particularly for historic regions, the benefits of gut remodeling are manifold. Boston is known for the classic appeal of its period homes, some of which were built as early as the end of the seventeenth century. While the historic charm is magnetic, the age of Boston’s homes means that internal systems frequently need to be updated.

Plumbing may be corroded or close to leaking, electrical wiring may be unsafe and not up to code, and you may be running up high heating and cooling bills from relying on outdated HVAC systems and poor insulation. Gut remodeling virtually gives you a new home while retaining the beauty and character of the existing structure. In the long run, you’ll also enjoy added comfort and cost benefits due to improved energy efficiency. 

The Challenges of Gut Remodeling

Gut remodeling does present certain challenges. Usually, these challenges are related to the variables of each unique home. As we observed earlier, not every home needs a complete replacement of all internal systems – but many do. Remodelers can never be 100% certain about everything they will uncover during demolition. But that said, there are methods for ascertaining what you’re likely to encounter. At New England Design and Construction, we carefully ascertain the unique needs of each home during our pre-design phase to enable strategic remodeling and accurate cost estimates, eliminating major surprises. 

Why Bostonians are Gut Remodeling

There’s a misconception that aesthetic appeal and practical needs are at odds. Gut remodeling gives you the best of both worlds: the sophisticated artistry of older architecture alongside the comfort and convenience of modern construction. Gut remodeling as an approach proves the homeowner with certainty as to the quality and condition of the home’s structure and core systems–while allowing the interior layout and finishes to be designed and crafted exactly to the owner’s taste.

General Remodeling Cost Factors for Boston and 2021

So just how much does it cost to do a gut remodel in Boston? Let’s preface our numbers with a quick review of the state of the market in 2021. The home renovation industry saw a significant increase in the cost of materials throughout 2020, partly due to more people taking on home improvement projects while sheltering in place. So far, 2021 hasn’t seen a marked drop in these numbers, and many industry experts don’t expect that we will see a price drop for materials in the near future. Naturally, this corresponds to a proportional increase in gut remodeling prices.

In Boston, another factor to be aware of is that there’s a high demand for remodeling services due to the lack of new homes the city can accommodate–a key factor. With this in mind, let’s take a look at remodeling cost averages across the U.S. and then compare these with the Boston area.

Gut Remodeling Cost Averages in the U.S.

According to the Remodeling Cost vs. Value report for 2021, these are the following national averages for some of the most common remodeling projects. Keep in mind that these numbers are for area-specific remodeling projects and may not encompass a full gut remodel (taking the house down to the studs and replacing systems). 

A mid-range bathroom remodel costs approximately $24,424, while an upscale bathroom remodel costs $75,692. A major midrange kitchen remodel comes in at $75,571, while a major upscale kitchen remodel costs $149,079. An upscale bathroom addition is estimated at $103,613, and an upscale master suite addition costs $320,976. For details on the size and scope of each project, please visit the full report here. Remember, these numbers are U.S. averages and are not specific to the Boston area.

NEDC Gut Remodeling Projects with Cost Breakdowns

Now let’s review hard numbers for actual Boston gut remodels by NEDC. Please note that the following projects are described in detail, with pictures included, in the full NEDC Cost Guide below, which you can download for free.


Our first example of a whole home remodel cost a total of $738,400. This encompassed remodeling the home’s entire interior. The original footprint of the house measured 1,128 square feet, and New England Design & Construction completed a full remodel at $300 per square foot, which amounted to $338,400 total. Beyond this, we added a second story addition to expand the overall size of the home. This 500 square foot addition costs $450 per square foot for a total of $225,000. In addition, we completed a gut remodel of the powder room for $25,000, a gut remodel of a bathroom for $65,000, and a gut remodel of the master bathroom for $85,000.


Our second whole home remodeling project example cost a total of $604,650. This price included a kitchen remodel costing $175,000; a master bathroom remodel costing $90,000; a 350 square foot addition costing $166,250 ($475 per square foot); an interior remodel of 428 square feet costing $128,400 ($300 per square foot); and a roof deck costing $45,000. 

NEDC’s luxury design and whole home remodeling projects cost between 1 and 5 million. Download our cost guide for additional details. 

About the Cost Guide

We recognize that cost and value assessments are key to our client’s decision-making processes, so while we bring a unique approach to every home we remodel, we have created a cost guide detailing our previous projects to provide price transparency. In addition to the whole home remodeling costs cited above, you’ll find details on kitchen renovations, bathroom renovations, laundry mudrooms, additions and basements, and more.

 Download your copy for full details!


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Published May 14, 2021 | By

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