Found: The Best, Low-Cost Materials to Use for Your Reno

October 11, 2018
BOOKMARK

A renovation may be made up of many components like design and labour, but one particular aspect that often takes up a big (if not biggest) chunk? Materials! Well, no output without input, as they say.

But with areas like flooring often costing up to mind-boggling, five-digit figures, it’s no wonder homeowners are constantly looking for cheaper alternatives to stretch their renovation dollar. So, to save you the trouble of scouring everywhere for answers, we have done the homework for you with our list of the most affordable materials for every area of the house.


For Wall Finishes: Traditional Matte Paint

Cheapest Materials for Flooring, Countertop, Tiling

Interior Firm: Metier Planner

Most of us are probably well acquainted with painted walls. After all, they are the go-to choice for wall coverings in Singapore against more labour-intensive (and pricier) wallpapers.

Cheapest Materials for Flooring, Countertop, Tiling

Interior Firm: Aestherior

But, note that there are different types of paint – and some might still cost significantly higher than others. In particular, paints with air-purifying, anti-bacterial or odourless properties tend to be costlier (about $80+ for a 5-litre can), compared to traditional matte paint, which costs about $50+ per 5-litre can.

Cheapest Materials for Flooring, Countertop, Tiling

Interior Firm: Jubilee Interior

If you don’t really see much value in the ‘healthier’ option – a normal matte finish gets the job done just fine. And if you don’t mind the extra set up and physical labour on your end, consider doing a DIY paint job which will set you back a couple hundred dollars – compared to a paint package which typically costs about $1,000+ for say, a 4-room flat.


For Flooring: Vinyl

Cheapest Materials for Flooring, Countertop, Tiling

Interior Firm: Charlotte's Carpentry

Likewise, vinyl has been a popular choice with homeowners lately for their pocket-friendly prices and comfort. Usually costing about $4.50 - $8.50 per square foot, that makes it a more feasible option for an entire home, compared to other materials like parquet or stone tiles, which can go beyond $10 per square foot.

Cheapest Materials for Flooring, Countertop, Tiling

Interior Firm: Tid-Plus Design

Even better, vinyl tiles or strips can be laid over existing tiles – which means less hacking costs! Other pros? Vinyl floors are largely water resistant, fire-resistant and soft underfoot, great for homes with kids or elderly members.

Cheapest Materials for Flooring, Countertop, Tiling

Interior Firm: Design Plus

On the downside, they can be easily dented, scratched by sharp objects or furniture. Also, each vinyl piece needs to be carefully aligned and installed well, if not there might be gaps in between that can make the flooring susceptible to water damage.


For Kitchen Countertops: Laminate/Kompacplus

Cheapest Materials for Flooring, Countertop, Tiling

Interior Firm: erstudio

When it comes to pure cost – laminate or Kompacplus countertops are by far the most economical option, followed by other countertop materials like solid surface, engineered quartz and natural stone. Most laminate tops are basically a plywood slab finished with a laminate covering, though Kompacplus tops forego the 'body' altogether, with its 6mm-thick panel for a slim look.

Cheapest Materials for Flooring, Countertop, Tiling

Interior Firm: Schemacraft

The upside to laminate countertops is the sheer variety of designs homeowners are able to choose from. Stone-effect or wood-effect, both laminates and Kompacplus panels can look eerily close to the real thing. And if taken care of, both can last for decades, just as well as its more expensive counterparts.

Cheapest Materials for Flooring, Countertop, Tiling

Interior Firm: Authors Interior and Styling

That being said, if you plan to do some heavy-duty cooking, we advise getting a hardier material like engineered quartz. Laminate/Kompacplus tend not to be very heat-resistant. Also, pay mind that once its surface been damaged or if its sealant (to keep it resistant to water seepage) has been broken, the countertop cannot be resealed again, and you will need to replace the entire piece.


For Carpentry Finishes (External): Solid, Matte Laminates

Cheapest Materials for Flooring, Countertop, Tiling

Interior Firm: Authors Interior and Styling

Unless you’re planning to go au naturel, your bare, carpentry carcass would require some cover to spruce up its look! Compared to other options like wood veneers and melamine, laminate finishes are a popular choice thanks to its affordability and sheer variety.

Cheapest Materials for Flooring, Countertop, Tiling

Interior Firm: Absolook Interior Design

Generally, solid colours and matte finishes cost less than those with prints (woods, marbles, etc.) or embossed and textured finishes, says laminates supplier EDL. Similarly, laminates with special features, like EDL’s Fenix ETM which is made from a nanotech material and is anti-fingerprint plus scratch-resistant, will come at a premium.

Cheapest Materials for Flooring, Countertop, Tiling

Interior Firm: Design 4 Space

On average, one standard laminate sheet (2.4m x 1.2m) costs about $30+ for solid colours, and $40 - $50+ for wood/marble effects, EDL shares. But considering how one sheet is enough to clad multiple cabinet doors, the difference isn’t much in the larger scale of things.

For Carpentry Finishes (Internal): White PVC

Cheapest Materials for Flooring, Countertop, Tiling

Interior Firm: 9Creation

In terms of the internal colouring, PVC and polykem are two common materials used. Thanks to economies of scale, white PVC is often the most affordable choice, followed by coloured and polykem.

Cheapest Materials for Flooring, Countertop, Tiling

Interior Firm: Black n White Haus

Most designers would include white PVC, though some might also offer coloured PVC as part of their basic renovation package. While PVC is durable and scratch resistant for the most part, they can be damaged by high heat and moisture and (especially for white PVC) can discolour over time.

For Bathroom Tiling/Backsplashes: Ceramic

Cheapest Materials for Flooring, Countertop, Tiling

Interior Firm: Tab Gallery

Widely used, hardy and impervious to moisture, ceramic tiles can cost anywhere from $3 - $15 per square feet. Even so, ‘ceramic’ actually refers to broad category of clay-based sufaces, which may include homogeneous, porcelain and ceramic tiles.

Cheapest Materials for Flooring, Countertop, Tiling

Interior Firm: Charlotte's Carpentry

Generally, homogeneous/porcelain tiles are hardier and less prone to moisture absorption than ceramic tiles due to a higher firing temperature and kaolin percentage - making it good for high-traffic or outdoor areas. And unsurprisingly, they are also slightly costlier than ceramic tiles. Do note that prices may vary, depending on the tile’s design and manufacturing origin (e.g. Spain, China).

Cheapest Materials for Flooring, Countertop, Tiling

Interior Firm: Aart Boxx Interior

However, with tiled backsplashes, grout cleaning might be an issue as food spills and grease can easily trap in the grout lines and are tough to remove. So, if you're an avid cook, a seamless, glass panel might be a better choice.


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Whatever your budget and style, we can match you with the right interior professional to help bring your dream interior to life. Request for a free quote here, and we can connect you with 5 interior designers based on your renovation requirements. This service is free and we do not accept commissions.

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