Think you’re paying too much for your renovation? Here’s an estimate of how much it’ll cost to turn a four-room HDB apartment into a cosy nest.
You’ve bought your new property and can’t wait to turn it into a dream home. Exciting as that sounds, it can be a costly affair. Some new homeowners wipe out their savings or take renovation loans (usually up to six times of one’s monthly salary or $30,000, whichever is lower).
When planning your budget, be realistic. If you want marble flooring and imported kitchen cabinets, factor that in. If you have a strict $30,000 budget to keep to, be prepared to manage your expectations and adjust your choice of materials.
Generally, renovation for a condo apartment costs more than that for a HDB flat of a similar size, due to higher manpower costs caused by shorter working hours. Renovation can be carried out only on weekdays from 9am to 5pm, and 9am to 12.30pm on Saturdays and the eve of public holidays. Pressure from, shall we say, more fussy condo residents can lead to even more stringent rules, while HDB neighbours tend to close one eye, especially in new estates where every other household is renovating.
One condo resident was stunned to learn that her condo management prohibited her contractors from working after 3pm, after her neighbour complained that it disrupted her baby’s nap time. Another complainant at a luxury condo proudly shared that she hounded the management to ensure that her neighbour’s hacking and drilling could be done only between 10am and 12pm, and from 2pm to 4pm. In such situations, it would require the team more days to complete the work. In addition, condos generally have higher ceilings than HDB flats, so all related costs, such as built-in cabinetry, the painting or tiling of walls, false ceilings, and even curtains, will naturally cost more.
Here’s a rough estimate of the cost of a typical four-room HDB apartment renovation. Prices vary based on material and labour cost fluctuation.
The cheapest material is cement screed, which starts from $3psf for the basic, old-school type, to $15psf for the glossy and coloured variety.
Laminate flooring starts from $4psf. Vinyl starts from $6, parquet from $7, ceramic tiles from $11.50, homogeneous tiles from $12, and timber floor from $16. The prices of marble ($12 to $30psf) and granite($14 to $35psf) can vary widely, depending on quality. Expect to pay between $5 and $12psf for the installation.
Plastering starts from $4psf. Wallpaper can be as cheap as $2psf. Set aside at least $1,300 for painting for a four-room flat. Timber wall panels, depending on the design, can set you back $15psf and above. Or go fancy and pick a marble feature wall, from $25psf.
Depending on the complexity of the design, a TV console and display cabinet cost $2,000 and up. Bedroom wardrobes cost from $310 per foot run. A customized bed frame and side tables cost $2,000 upwards, while a study table fit for a professional executive can cost $1,000.
A good wooden bedroom door starts from $800 onwards, or from $1,200 for pivot doors. Tempered glass doors for a study or kitchen start from $750, and from $1,000 for sliding doors. A fire-rated front door costs at least $1,400.
HACKING, CEILING, ELECTRIC WIRING
Hacking an entire four-room flat costs about $4,500. Plaster ceilings cost $4psf and up. Overhauling the wiring and lighting starts from $4,000.
Good to know
A renovation loan doesn’t typically cover the cost of furnishings, and it shouldn’t be included in the application when seeking loan eligibility.
One condo resident was stunned to learn that her condo management prohibited her contractors from working after 3pm.
Plumbing costs between $1,000 and $4,000, depending on the complexity of your kitchen and toilet works. Kitchen cabinets start from $250 per foot run. Depending on your choice of tabletop, solid surface is the most affordable at $50 per foot run onwards; quartz starts at $80 per foot run; and stone tops like granite or marble begins at $90 per foot run.
Ceramic tiles start from $11.50psf. As for toilet doors, they start from $500; bi-fold aluminium doors cost about $550 onwards but they save space compared to a full swing door. A shower screen will set you back at least $650, but it will keep the rest of your toilet nice and dry!
It is easy to get carried away when renovating your home so do set a budget and keep to it. Factor in a little extra, in case of unforeseen costs. You want to start your new life in your new home on a good note.
Don’t be stuck in such terrible debt that you have a showhome-worthy kitchen, but can’t afford to fill your empty fridge!
It is easy to get carried away when renovating your home so do set a budget and keep to it. Factor in a little extra, in case of unforeseen costs.
Home & Decor’s property columnist since 2011, Stella is a polytechnic lecturer-cum-writer with over 25 years of experience in publishing. She bought her first home at 23 and loves sniffing out good property investment deals.
The expert says
Interior Designer or Contractor?
Depending on how elaborate your renovation plans are, you can hire an interior design (ID) company that will handle everything from your space planning to design and execution, or shop around and directly hire the cheapest carpenter, electrician, plumber, etc. You may not necessarily save much, though. ID companies give greater volume of work to trusted contractors and are thus offered lower prices which may not be available to consumers. Of course, ID companies do mark up their prices in return for their design and project management services. How else will they pay their staff and for overheads? To sidestep the middle man and hire the various vendors, you must be prepared to put in major effort to coordinate everyone’s schedules. This may work for small, simple jobs but, if you are a newbie at this and intend to overhaul the look of your home, you may be better off hiring a professional ID firm that has an eye for design and will settle all the painful nitty-gritty details of project management.
text STELLA THNG illustration KAFFY TAN