Renovating and Remodeling on Sanibel

Oftentimes the two terms renovating and remodeling are used synonymously – and incorrectly. So what’s the difference? And what’s it to you?

Renovations: When you update a current space in your home, without changing the usage of the space, you are renovating that area. So, for example, you buy a house with original 1970’s kitchen cabinets and you want to update them while keeping the space as “a kitchen” – this is considered a renovation to your home.

Renovating-and-Remodeling-on-Sanibel-new-kitchenRemodels: When you update a current space in your home, and convert or combine its use as a new space, you are remodeling that area. For example, if you tear down the original 1970’s kitchen and decide to create an open kitchen and dining room concept – this is considered a renovation – and a popular one in today’s housing market.

There are a number of homes on Sanibel that have original kitchen cabinets, windows, doors and more. While some of these original pieces are still in immaculate shape after 30 and 40 years, it doesn’t change the fact that they are out of date and probably not your favorite style. With a little TLC, these homes can be updated to your taste with either smaller renovation projects to certain areas of the homes, or larger renovation projects to make the space fit your needs.

Renovating-and-Remodeling-on-Sanibel-old-stoveHow do you go about starting these projects?  Usually contacting the City of Sanibel.

The City’s Building and Planning Departments may require that you obtain a permit before breaking ground on a reno and remodel project.

What Projects Require City Permits?

There are two types of permits required for most improvement projects on the island:
A Development Permit is needed from the Planning Department to ensure compliance with the City’s Land Development Code and Zoning regulations.

A Building Permit is needed from the Building Department to ensure compliance with the City’s Building Code.

Renovating-and-Remodeling-on-Sanibel-planningIt’s best to contact Sanibel’s Planning Department directly to see if your renovation or remodel project will indeed require a permit, but here are a few example cases the City has provided that explain what is required for some of the common projects they see:

Building a new single family home, redeveloping an existing home, making repairs or alterations or additions to an existing home, adding a pool, pool enclosure, deck or patio often requires BOTH a Development and Building Permit from the City.

Common cases where only a Development Permit is needed include: installing fences, driveway pavers, and wastewater disposal systems.

There are certain cases when only a Building Permit is needed including: roof repairs or replacement, installing lawn sprinkler systems, outdoor lighting, bathroom and kitchen remodeling, and electrical or ventilation improvements.

Renovating-and-Remodeling-on-Sanibel-lawn-sprinklerHopefully this helps to give you an idea of which category your renovation or remodel project will fall under. Again, you should always start by calling the City or Sanibel or visiting them online at


Tiffany Stokes About Tiffany Stokes

Meet the Marketing Secret Weapon at McCallion & McCallion. In 2015, Tiffany traded the beltway traffic of Washington, DC, for the sandy, two-lane streets of Sanibel and she hasn't looked back since!