Not sure how to get started on ren­o­vat­ing your bath­room, or how much it’ll cost? Here’s a handy check­list to run through be­fore em­bark­ing on your re­design.

Home & Decor (Singapore) - - Contents -

Not sure how to get started on ren­o­vat­ing your bath­room or how much it’ll cost? Here’s a handy check­list to tick off be­fore em­bark­ing on your re­design.

What are some of the bath­room’s ex­ist­ing prob­lems?

Be it re­sale or Build-to-Or­der flats, it’s im­por­tant to check for leak stains or spalling on the ceil­ing, as well as hol­low tiles and punc­tured grouts that may re­sult in tile pop­ping. Your flush and taps should have good wa­ter flow and drainage holes should not be clogged. Wa­ter must drain quickly, too – your bath­room floor ought to have a sub­tle slope that helps wa­ter move eas­ily into the drain. Know­ing these flaws helps de­ter­mine the works and cost needed, and who should fix them.

How do I de­cide be­tween built-in or stand-alone bath­tubs?

Built-ins are eas­ier to clean and more space-sav­ing, while most stand-alone tubs – due to ex­posed fit­tings – are eas­ier to ser­vice. De­cide on which model you want early on, to plan for the stor­age or wall niches sur­round­ing the tub as well as cal­cu­late the ex­tra tiles re­quired to clad the builtin tub. In­for­ma­tion on the size and shape of the tub is nec­es­sary for any re-pip­ing, too. “When choos­ing a stand­alone tub, you must con­sider its bath filler. Wall-mounted and free-stand­ing fillers need ex­tra pip­ing along the wall or un­der­neath the floor,” says Gani At­madiredja, man­ag­ing di­rec­tor of W. Ate­lier.

What door and wall op­tions do I have?

A typ­i­cal bath­room will re­quire one main door and per­haps a glass shower screen. Frosted or tinted glass doors and screens of­fer more pri­vacy, while lou­vre doors en­sure ven­ti­la­tion. Small spa­ces ben­e­fit from mir­rored, bi­fold and/or slid­ing doors. For bath­rooms with glass walls, in­stalling blinds means more pri­vacy.

Tile-cladded walls are the most com­mon and easy to main­tain, though many home­own­ers opt for mois­ture-re­sis­tant wall­cov­er­ings and paint, too. “For glass, stone and man-made ma­te­ri­als such as quartz or Fenix NTM (the wa­ter- and scratch­proof nan­otech ma­te­rial by lo­cal brand EDL) large pieces are re­quired; this gives you a sleeker look, but is costlier,” says Adrian Heng of Ot­timo Spazi.

What does it mean to wa­ter­proof a bath­room?

As bath­rooms are con­stantly wet, it’s cru­cial to pre­vent leak­ing to the neigh­bour be­low you. Water­proof­ing, where a wa­ter-tight rub­bery ma­te­rial is ap­plied to the con­crete, pre­vents wa­ter from seep­ing through. Some ar­eas may even re­quire mul­ti­ple lay­ers for ex­tra pre­cau­tion – the thicker the bet­ter! Water­proof­ing is done be­fore tiling and grout­ing, and on both floors and walls. The lat­ter is es­pe­cially im­por­tant for bath­rooms with con­crete walls, as too much mois­ture will cause crack­ing.

Is hack­ing nec­es­sary?

If your bath­room is leak­ing to the floor be­low you, or the old tiles are fall­ing apart, hack­ing is nec­es­sary. The bath­room will re­quire re-water­proof­ing, re-tiling and re-grout­ing. “To en­sure your tiles last a long time, in­vest in qual­ity ma­te­ri­als. The sur­face area of most bath­rooms is small, so the ex­tra cost will not be too hefty,” says Adrian.

Hack­ing walls is also re­quired when ex­pand­ing bath­rooms. Pri­vate-prop­erty own­ers can ex­pand both wet and dry ar­eas, pro­vided they are ad­e­quately wa­ter­proofed. “HDB home­own­ers can have larger bath­rooms, too, but the ex­tra space can only be used as the dry area – for sinks or shelves. Sinks can also be re­lo­cated out­side the bath­room, but that re­quires (charge­able) re-pip­ing,” says Adrian.

Is my bath­room suitable for a wall-hung WC?

There are two types of WCs: A floor-stand­ing model and a wall-hung model. Many pre­fer wall-hung mod­els for its sleek look and con­cealed cis­tern, though not all bath­rooms can ac­com­mo­date one; wall-hung WCs strictly re­quire a P-trap – the term used for drainage out­lets lo­cated on the wall in­stead of the floor. If you do not have a P-trap, and can only choose a floor-stand­ing model, you can con­ceal its cis­tern be­hind a false wall or ledge. Whichever the model, en­sure there is enough dis­tance and walk­ing space be­tween the WC and opened doors.

How much will one bath­room cost?

“An 80sqf bath­room may cost you $6,000 and above. This in­cludes stan­dard cab­i­netry, tiling, and wet works – in­clud­ing the costs of tiles and re­moval and reat­tach­ment of an ex­ist­ing sink. The price will dif­fer de­pend­ing on the type of tiles, whether you need false walls and ceil­ing, re­lo­ca­tion of the sink, and a de­signer fee,” says Ray­mond Seow of Free Space In­tent. Ar­jan Twil­haar of Ai­den T adds: “For the av­er­age four­room BTO bath­room, the tiling work – based on a $4 tile – will cost be­tween $4,000 and $4,800. Hack­ing of ex­ist­ing tiles may cost up to $1,500, though this can only be done af­ter the fiveyear warranty. Box­ing up of pipes and ceil­ing works are about $300 each, while a van­ity cabi­net and coun­ter­top costs $900.”

How do we keep costs down?

Hexag­o­nal, sub­way and mo­saic tiles re­quire a more labour­in­ten­sive in­stal­la­tion, so save money by opt­ing for 30cm by 30cm, or 30cm by 60cm tiles. The more tile vari­a­tions in one bath­room, the costlier it will be. Over­lay­ing of tiles and ex­posed plumb­ing do not re­quire hack­ing or plumb­ing works, and are more af­ford­able.

“Many home­own­ers look for more eco­nom­i­cal fit­tings. Since these items are not eas­ily re­placed, it is good to buy qual­ity prod­ucts that will last many years and save you the has­sle of con­stant re­pairs,” shares Ar­jan.

What are some com­mon bath­room prob­lems, and how do we avoid them?

Reg­u­larly clear­ing the floor and sink fil­ters of hair and gunk will pre­vent your drain from clog­ging. Next, avoid mould and mildew by let­ting fresh air and sun­light in; keep your bath­room win­dows open – frosted glass win­dows in­crease pri­vacy – or in­stall a ven­ti­la­tion fan. Al­though wip­ing down the coun­ter­top and floor help keep the bath­room dry, you can min­imise splash­ing at the sink by en­sur­ing the right dis­tance be­tween tap spout and sink. These de­pend on size, depth and where both tap and sink sit, which are cho­sen based on your us­age and aes­thetic pref­er­ences.

Hans­grohe and Axor are two brands that of­fer guide­lines for users to see which of their mix­ers will match basins from man­u­fac­tur­ers.

Lastly, to avoid wa­ter from spilling out into the liv­ing room or bed­room, there needs to be a 2cm drop (at the least) in the bath­room floor­ing. Home­own­ers can also in­stall an ad­di­tional kerb to con­tain wa­ter.

What are some safety pre­cau­tions to note?

“Sock­ets are not al­lowed in HDB bath­rooms, but pri­vate-prop­erty own­ers can opt for an 110V point for shavers and builtin hairdry­ers. All glass screens should at least be tem­pered, or even bet­ter, lam­i­nated. I pre­fer wa­ter­proof ma­te­ri­als, too, from light­ing fix­tures to the mois­ture-re­sis­tant cal­cium sil­i­cate board for drop ceil­ings,” says Ar­jan.

If your wa­ter heater is pro­duc­ing wa­ter that is hot­ter than usual, or the pres­sure re­lief valve is leak­ing, these are signs of a de­fec­tive thermostat and valve.

Ad­di­tion­ally, even though your heater switch is out­side the bath­room, bad wiring may still cause elec­tric shocks. En­sure elec­tri­cal works, in­clud­ing the in­stal­la­tion of wa­ter heaters or re­plac­ing of switches, are done by a li­censed worker. Check with the En­ergy Mar­ket Author­ity through its web­site (

It’s im­por­tant to check for leak stains or spalling on the ceil­ing.

Built-ins are eas­ier to clean and more space-sav­ing.

Frosted or tinted glass doors and screens of­fer more pri­vacy.

Sinks can be re­lo­cated out­side the bath­room.

63 All glass screens should be tem­pered.

There needs to be a 2cm drop (at the least) in the bath­room floor­ing to avoid leaks into rooms.

Avoid mould and mildew by keep­ing your bath­room win­dows open.

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