Renovation Singapore: Costs, guidelines, and everything else

21 February 2022

It is nothing less than a feat to own a home in Singapore due to the high prices. Hence, you would want to renovate it to keep it forever beautiful. But renovation can be another costly undertaking because of the involvement of different types of costs and strict guidelines. To make sure you don’t falter or feel overwhelmed, you have to be aware of all the variables and the possible amount of expenditure you could incur.  For example, type of home you own, its age and condition, revamp requirements, choice of materials, and the vendor you hire – all these are going to bear upon your budget.

To elaborate, the cost of modifying an HDB flat, landed property or condominium with or without fittings can increase or decrease your overall expenses. Similarly, the sum you may need for renovating a new BTO will be massively different from what you would require for an old flat. Do you wish to demolish the entire existing structure or change a few things here and there is one more aspect that can hit your budget. Some homeowners pursue lavishness by including parquet flooring and marble countertops in their interiors. Therefore, you cannot afford to overlook any factor regardless of the time and attention it demands from you.

For convenience, you can check how much you may have to pay for renovating a four-room HDB flat in Singapore. The figures will be mostly in the ballpark. So you must prepare yourself for adjusting the costs.

Renovation Singapore Cost Calculation

Four-room HDB flats constitute almost 32% of the homes in Singapore, and their average size can be nearly 90 sq m. Depending on whether you want to implement minor or major refurbishing jobs, the costs can vary between $4,888 and $1,10,000. However, if you need an average estimate, then be sure that it can cost you approximately $53,000 to $55,000 at the least. For further cost analysis and dissection, you would need to study a few critical areas – renovation components, material quality, and interior designing styles.

Renovation components

Demolition, electrical wiring, appliances, plumbing, floor and tiles, paint, and carpentry work are the main areas that can determine your overall renovation expenses to a great extent. If you demolish 120 ft of space, it would cost nearly $4,350. Plumbing charges for an average size bathroom and kitchen can be $630.  You can imagine your overall electrical wiring work to cost you somewhere $2,900. The expenses for flooring and tiling can be $8400, paint $972, and appliances $5,400, etc. However, the one area which can beat everything else in the matter of pricing is the cost of carpentry that can be anywhere near $17,278.

Just note that prices can further go up or down based on your decisions and the nature of the work.

Flooring and countertop materials

When measuring the material cost for home renovation Singaporeyou can distribute the requirements into two types – for floor and countertops. Ceramic tiles, vinyl, lamination, marble, and hardwood are pretty standard choices for flooring. The range can oscillate from $5.50 to $70 PSF depending on what you choose. Vinyl flooring can be the cheapest choice, while marble and parquet can be on the higher side.

Likewise, granite countertops can cost you a bomb compared to laminate or any other materials, including stainless steel, ceramic tiles, quartz, etc.

The renovation dos and don’ts for HDB homes

When renovating your HDB home, you have to abide by the rules of Singapore’s housing and development board. Here is a quick insight into a few of them.

Approval before demolition

You cannot change, shift, or remove some load-bearing walls, beams, slabs, and columns. The floor plan represents them through solid grey or black shades. At the same time, you cannot touch the walls that have concealed pipes and wiring. To know what board allows and what it doesn’t, you should submit your detailed renovation plans to it.

Floors and walls of BTO bathroom

As per regulations, you cannot do anything with the floors and walls of your new BTO bathroom for three years. It involves the risk of damaging the waterproofing system. If you don’t obey the order and it leaks, you will have to cover the entire repairing cost. However, laminating or overlaying the floor with tile is possible.

Kitchen and bathroom pipes

Exposed pipes in bathroom and kitchen can look unsightly. But you cannot hide them permanently. These should be easily accessible to service and repair.

Ready-mix cement screed

You can face another restriction with the type of cement screed that you can use. HDB strongly recommends that you should buy ready to mix cement screed for walls and floors in your living room and bedroom areas for a smooth finish. However, the challenge is their high price.

Front doors

You can change the front door of your flat under HDB renovation rules. The door has to be fire-rated to avoid the risk of spreading of smoke and fire to lobbies and staircases. A large number of HDB front doors exhibit this feature.

Windows and grilles

You cannot do anything with HDB railings or grilles made for the safety of the people. The windows are replaceable, but you cannot change ones that are ¾ in height or full-length. The same applies to the bay windows. Also, if you modify windows on the corridor side, make sure they don’t open outside. Besides, you have to keep the sliding doors in your balconies as is.


Since HDB recognizes the act of caring and responsible behavior of the neighbors for a peaceful community living, it has imposed restrictions on the time of renovation work too. The rule says:

  • You can carry out any renovation task within 9 am to 6 pm only on weekdays as well as Saturdays
  • You should not schedule any tasks for Sundays and public holidays
  • You have to complete the work within three months from the date of obtaining permission from the HDB
  • You can do noisy repairing and renovation jobs only from 9 am to 5 pm on weekdays. Weekends and public holidays are a strict no-no.

Hiring decisions – interior designer vs. contractor vs. design and build companies

Renovation needs meticulous approach. You have to keep an eye on every aspect of it. Hence, the choice of the vendor cannot go overlooked. Who you want to appoint for this job – contractor, design and build company, or an interior designer? All of them can do massive lifting thing. But you have to take a call based on their additional services.


They can be the cheapest resources. But the problem is you cannot expect any help from them beyond heavy lifting. Their payment depends on the cost of the materials used in construction. If you are super ready to supervise the work from end-to-end and clear about all the specifications, then you can choose them. Remember, working with them also means you may need to adjust your office timings. They are only construction specialists; you will have to take full charge of the design and scheduling tasks.

Design and build company

They handle construction as well as design part too. They charge for materials only and not for consultancy. However, their mainstay is construction. So you cannot have any major expectations from them in transforming the look of your home. If your budget doesn’t allow an interior designer, then you can pick them as an option. Make sure you are clear about the design part of the work.

Interior designer

Another option can be an interior designing company for HDB renovationYou can look into 3D designs of your flat before giving a green signal. From the choice of furniture to furnishings and fittings, they can do all the necessary job of researching and finding out the best materials for a reasonable price. You can entitle them to manage the whole renovation business in alignment with the contractor. Generally, you don’t have to involve yourself much. The only hitch can be their expensive package.

If you take into consideration all the factors, you would realize that getting an interior designer on board can be the best solution. After finalizing the deals and designs, you can engage with them occasionally to see the progress. It is undeniable your stress and anxiety will be very less.

Additionally, it is critical to ensure that you give a contract to an accredited company only to avoid the chances of scams and frauds. You can verify their background with agencies like CareTrust, which is a public trust for real estate investment. If you wish, you can reach out to us also for any interior designing requirements.

Renovation can be tedious due to the complexity of the work, but the excitement of witnessing the transition of your home into your dream home will always be incomparable.

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