Asian woman choosing wall color after knowing the average cost of her HDB renovation

While there are plenty of things one can consider doing while currently in quarantine, some people have been rather keen on recreating their space. Amid the pandemic, it has been proven more and more residents are trying out HDB renovation Singapore while locked inside their nooks.

However, many cannot afford big projects like this without applying for a home renovation loan. These are types of loan wrapped into a mortgage loan for renovating, remodeling and repairing a house. It can be in the form of a refinance of your current mortgage with a cash payout for improvements, a home equity loan, HELOC, credit card and/or a personal loan.

We’ll talk you through the possible range of the Housing Development Board HDB renovation in Singapore to aid you in making that future and immediate upgrade possible.

How Much Is the Average HDB Renovation Loan in Singapore?

There are many factors taken into consideration in determining renovation costs. These vary from the home type, age and condition, the materials that will likely be used and more importantly the firm you will choose to be working with. According to renovation portal Qanvast, the average HDB renovation cost falls nicely in the middle of the two extremes: $53,000. For a clearer view of how much home renovations could amount, here is an estimated renovation budget for a 4-room HDB:

From Qanvast’s excellent renovation calculator and with some hypothetical scenarios here’s a rough estimation of how much it will be:

1. Living and Dining Rooms renovation costs in Singapore can be cheap:

Renovation Component Light Moderate Extensive
Hacking $100 to $400 $400 to $700 $700 to $3,900
Masonry $200 to $1,300 $1,300 to $3,000 $3,000 to $22,000
Carpentry $200 to $3,400 $3,400 to $6,100 $6,100 to $23,700
Ceiling and the partition $200 to $800 $800 to $1,200 $1,200 to $3,200

2. Expected costs for bedrooms (price is per room):

Renovation Component Light Moderate Extensive
Hacking $100 to $600 $600 to $900 $1,000 to $5,200
Masonry $200 to $1,300 $1,300 to $2,800 $2,800 to $8,800
Carpentry $200 to $4,400 $4,400 to $7,500 $7,500 to $33,700
Ceiling and the partition Nearly up to $600 $600 to $1,100 $1,100 to $5,000

3. Kitchen renovations are likely to be costly depending on its size:

Renovation Component Light Moderate Extensive
Hacking $100 to $500 $500 to $900 $900 to $3,200
Masonry $200 to $1,300 $1,300 to $3,900 $3,900 to $11,300
Carpentry $200 to $4,300 $4,300 to $6,900 $6,900 to $17,900
Ceiling and the partition $100 to $200 $200 to $500 $500 to $1,700

4. Bathroom renovation costs would also vary depending on its space:

Renovation Component Light Moderate Extensive
Hacking $100 to $500 $500 to $1,000 $1,000 to $6,800
Masonry $200 to $1,500 $1,500 to $5,700 $5,700 to $17,500
Carpentry $200 to $1,200 $1,200 to $2,100 $2,100 to $9,000
Ceiling and the partition $100 to $400 $400 to $800 $800 to $3,900

Listed below are other overall costs in your remodeling:

Renovation Component Light Moderate Extensive
Electrical wiring $300 to $1,700 $1,700 to $3,200 $3,200 to $7,700
Painting $200 to $1,400 $1,400 to $1,800 $1,800 to $4,100
Windows, doors & grilles $400 to $2,600 $2,600 to $5,100 $5,100 to $13,800
Disposal and the cleanup $300 to $1,100 $1,100 to $1,700 $1,700 to $13,900
Plumbing $100 to $200 $200 – $500 $500 – 1,700

What Else Affects the Cost of Renovation?

As mentioned earlier, there is a wide range of things that can make your fixes expensive. It is worth noting that the type of finishes/materials you choose for your walls, floors and other surfaces like kitchen countertops could impact your finances. Here are other factors (flooring materials) that can affect your budget:

Flooring material Cost
Ceramic tiles $10 to $12 PSF (including labour)
Marble $40 to $70 PSF
Vinyl $5.50 to $6.50 PSF
Hardwood (e.g. parquet) $30 to $50 PSF
Cement screed (polished) $15 to $30 PSF
Laminate $6 to $8 PSF

As it is deemed one of the biggest areas to put attention on, the kitchen is highly likely where most of your budget is placed. Here are materials contributing to the cost of your fix:

Kitchen countertop material Cost
Wood $20 to $150 per foot run
Granite $55 to $175 per foot run
Laminate $8 to $20 per foot run
Ceramic tiles $30 to $80 per foot run
Solid surface $55 to $70 per foot run
Stainless steel $80 to $125 per foot run
Engineered quartz $90 to $105 per foot run

Assuming you have a budget of 40,000 for a 4-room apartment upgrade: You’ll spend:

1. $4000 for hacking a wall
2. At least $15,000 for the carpentry
3. Nearly $10,000 for masonry
4. $6,000 for the windows and grilles
5. $2,000 for electrical and lighting fixtures
6. $4,000 for the floor finishing

This sums up into $41,000 total expenditures, which although is just a thousand higher than what you have expected, is still over your budget.

HDB Renovation Rules: What Can and Cannot Be Done?

While HDB has a lot of rules and regulations for public housing, are guidelines to take note of when you plan your renovation:

  1. Submit all plans to HDB for approval before hacking: Some walls, columns, beams and slabs are load-bearing and cannot be removed, moved or altered. (On your floor plan, these are usually shaded in solid black or grey.) Other walls, though not load-bearing, hide important wiring and piping and cannot be tampered with. To play it safe, make sure to submit all plans to HDB for approval before any hacking begins.
  2. Pre-packed cement screed: HDB now makes it compulsory to use pre-packed cement screed on dry areas (i.e. walls and floors of bedrooms and living room). This gives a more uniform finish but also costs more than regular cement.
  3. BTO bathroom floor & walls cannot be changed for 3 years: There’s a 3-year restriction period on renovation work on the floors and walls of your new BTO bathroom. That’s because they are coated with a waterproof membrane to prevent water from seeping to the unit below. If you choose to disregard the restriction and there’s seepage, you have to bear the cost of fixing the damage to your neighbour’s home.
  4. Exposed pipes cannot be permanently concealed: You feel the urge to cover up the exposed pipes in your bathroom or kitchen. As much of an eyesore as they are, pipes cannot be permanently concealed. In the case of clogs, HDB must be able to access the pipes to investigate.
  5. Restrictions on household shelter: They aren’t the prettiest and you’ll be tempted to do something about them. But here’s what you CAN’T do to the shelter:
  • Cover or remove the notice posted on the door
  • Modify or remove the door
  • Lay tiles, spray wall finishing such as cement sand finishing or put wall plaster on the interior walls
  • Lay tiles or skirting over its existing floor tiles
  • Hack on the external walls of the shelter to mount panels or lay tiles
  • Install anything that requires power tools on the interior walls
  1. The front door needs to be fire-rated: If you want to replace your front door, you can, but just make sure the new door is fire-rated. Most HDB front doors are designed to contain smoke and fire within the unit so they don’t spread to staircases or lift lobbies.
  2. Restrictions on changing the windows & grilles: You absolutely cannot remove or tamper with the safety railings or grilles installed by HDB. You can replace the windows… but full height, ¾ height and bay windows are all not allowed. For windows facing the common corridor, you cannot install windows that open outwards.
  3. Renovation timing reminders:
  • Before 9 am and after 6 pm on weekdays and Saturdays
  • On Sundays and public holidays
  • For more than 3 months from date of the HDB permit

For noisy renovation work, you can only do it when your neighbors are at work – from 9 am to 5 pm on weekdays only (except the eve of major public holidays).

What Are Your Renovation Loan Options?

Borrowers can consider choosing banks if they plan to avail Credit Card or Personal Loans for their renovation projects. It is worth noting that some of them do not offer HELOCs or Cash-out refinancing unlike licensed moneylenders in Singapore.

Raffles Credit Personal Loan has been deemed one of the most flexible deals available in Singapore. Most borrowers use this plan for their home renovation projects.

To avail its personal loan, you must only be an 21 years old Singaporean/PR resident who’s a regular employee with a source of income above $2,000 monthly. While, for Foreigners/Expats working in Singapore, you must have regular employment or a source of income above $3,000 per month.


Whatever the type of Renovation Loan a borrower is likely to avail, it will all boil down to whichever best fit and ideally caters to their demands and needs. This will depend on each interest rate/s, repayment and loan tenure.

While it is given to spend a huge amount of money for the fixes and upgrades, it is vital to be mindful that these would all be worth it if an owner successfully increases its property value upon renovation.

Moreover, if you’re interested in availing Raffles Credit’s Personal Loan for your future house upgrade and remodeling, you can easily apply by reaching them at 6235 1788. An online form can also be filled out from the website. Upon confirmation of your application, you will be asked to come to Raffles Credit’s office to customize your loan plan.

You can instantly get your borrowed cash as soon as the loan agreement has been discussed and signed!