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[Super Budget] Renovation On A Shoestring

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I'm renovating a relative's very run-down 40-yr old HDB flat to liveable condition. As such, I'm trying to stretch my dollar as much as possible for the following items and will appreciate any feedback from fellow shoestring renovators.

1. Main gate replacement: The cheapest I've found so far is $280 (Wellmax)/$300 (CNS Metal), inclusive installation (their $188/$158 prices on the Straits Times ads are for supply only, not install). Although forum reviews have been poor, I'm not really concerned as this flat may not even see beyond the next 5 years. Are there any cheaper alternatives to these wrought iron gates? At these prices, I'm tempted to just remove the gates and do with just a front door.

2. Replacement of window to sliding window: What's the cheapest psf for sliding windows seen? Unipac does it for about $13 psf, any cheaper?

3. Laminated flooring: Got a few quotations between $2.30 to $2.80 psf. Will this be the cheapest way to redo the flooring or is there any cheaper option? I guess cement screeding for the whole house will cost only about $600-800 but given that this is a 50sqm flat, spending just over 1k on nicer-looking flooring seems more plausible.

4. As this is a very old flat, there only seems to be 1 water outlet point so currently there's only 1 90cm metal sink, no porcelain sinks for brushing teeth etc. Is it possible to create another one? What's the rough cost? Also, the sink looks really tired, what's the cheapest supply and install for a metal sink available?

5. Kitchen. The present kitchen is just a long table with an induction cooker. Not really inclined to change anything. I did see a $995 kitchen from IKEA, anyone used that before and found it decent? My current kitchen area is about 7.6ft long. What's the cheapest per foot run for a kitchen that you've seen?

6. Painting. Likely to DIY to save costs, what's the cheapest paint available? Really don't need quality, super budget is the key!

Thanks in advance for reading this. Might seem funny for those of you who strive to get the nicest or most-value-for-money renovation done, when this thread is purely about the cheapest available option.


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Join 46,923 satisfied homeowners who used renotalk quotation service to find interior designers. Get an estimated quotation

I replaced the sink in my parents' old flat to a very nice and big porcelain one. It is attached directly to the wall, no cabinet below. I found it at a shop at Jalan Besar, and the shop recommended a contractor for me who hacked the old sink and installed the new sink. Total cost including installation and sink is about $500.

I also saw some metal sinks at IMM Sim Siang Choon. I cannot remember the price, but I think it is cheaper. I also bought a porcelain sink from this shop and have it installed in my bathroom.

For a very cheap kitchen cabinet, you can go down to Ikea kitchen section, look for a kitchen table with stainless steel legs, stainless steel shelf and Ikea countertop. I bought one of these and I am surprised at how durable the NUMERAR countertop is, not a single scratch and looks brand new after 2 years.


You can buy Ikea stainless steel shelves at $29 a piece. I have lots of those at home.

I actually have an Ikea kitchen at home but I chose the most expensive doors and LG Hi-macs countertop so it is very nice. I don't recommend getting the cheapest Ikea kitchen cabinets because they give you the cheapest doors and countertops.

I was also on a very tight budget when I first renovated my flat 12 years ago. So I totally understand how you feel.

I also painted the whole flat myself ! My hubby paid for the paint so I don't remember how much it cost.

You can definitely do without a main gate. I lived in a house without main gate for many years when I was a child.

Edited by frostyapple

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Thanks, your reply is very much appreciated! Actually the reason for this super tight budget is because the flat is really old and we don't know how long more before it will go enbloc, so we really don't wanna spend too much to spruce it up for tenants. But the condition is so nasty now that we can't even get people to rent haha.

Think I'll remove the main gate first and see how it looks!


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Enbloc is not announced yet, but I guess maybe by 10 years cos it's already 40+ years old? It's not really in good condition now, so need to renovate to rent out.


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Just an update of this super budget renovation.

1. Installed a wrought iron main gate for $280 from Homely @ Geylang.

2. Decided to stick with current windows.

3. Might be difficult to do laminated flooring for kitchen due to washing machine. Still thinking through the options - homogeneous, laminated or cement screed?

4. Contractor has said it's possible to create multiple outlet points, small problem. Also decided to get a wall-mounted kitchen sink so as not to have to build a sink support!

5. Sticking to current config of a simple long table as kitchen.

6. Painting will be done last for the house, so haven't really ventured into it yet.


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