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15 HDB Renovation Terms You Should Know Before Starting Your Journey - Megafurniture

15 HDB Renovation Terms You Should Know Before Starting Your Journey

If you're considering or already starting an exciting journey of renovating your HDB flat, it's essential to familiarise yourself with some common renovation terms. After all, diving into home improvement sometimes means deciphering some unfamiliar language! 

We're here to shed some light on those often-confusing renovation terms. From understanding the difference between renovation and restoration to delving into concepts like wall hacking, ABS trimming, and HVAC systems, we'll cover it all.

Let's unravel the nitty gritty of HDB renovation together.

HDB Renovation Terminologies in Singapore

HDB Renovation

HDB renovation

HDB renovation refers to modifying, improving, or altering your HDB flat in Singapore. This typically involves interior design, construction, and installation work.

HDB renovation projects can range from simple cosmetic upgrades, such as repainting and changing fixtures, to more extensive renovations that involve structural changes, such as combining rooms or altering the floor plan.

Interior Designer

HDB interior designer Singapore

An interior designer is your go-to expert in bringing your HDB renovation dreams to life. Interior design firms in Singapore are your creative partners with expertise and artistic vision to transform your HDB space into a stylish and functional haven while considering your budget and practical needs.

Renovation Contractor

HDB renovation contractor

A renovation contractor oversees and manages the entire HDB renovation process. Contractors work closely with homeowners to understand their reno goals and bring them to life.

This is the tricky part. While both an interior designer and a renovation contractor play vital roles in the process of HDB renovation, their areas of expertise and responsibilities differ. 

Ultimately, the interior designer's focus is on conceptualising and executing the overall design vision, including selecting furniture, finishes, and decor elements. A renovation contractor, on the other hand, specialises in the technical aspects of construction and renovation, including handling structural modifications, electrical work, plumbing, and other technical installations. 


HDB renovation sub-contractor

Sub-contractors are the pros who focus on specific tasks in a renovation. They work under the main contractor and handle electrical work, plumbing, carpentry, or painting.


HDB renovation wall hacking

This refers to removing or modifying existing walls in your HDB flat to redefine the space and layout. Hacking can involve demolishing non-structural walls to create an open floor plan or altering the HDB layout to accommodate specific functional requirements. 

Hacking requires proper planning and compliance with HDB guidelines to ensure the structural integrity of your flat.


HDB renovation masonry

Masonry involves installing, repairing, or modifying walls, partitions, and other structural elements using bricks, blocks, or stones. 


HDB renovation carpentry

While masonry deals with materials like bricks, blocks, or stones, carpentry uses wood to build interior design elements like cabinetry, built-in features, and furniture.

Optional Component Scheme (OCS)

OCS HDB renovation

The Optional Component Scheme (OCS) allows HDB homeowners to customise their flats by offering a range of optional features and finishes. 

Under this scheme, homeowners can select from various upgrades such as flooring materials, sanitary fittings, kitchen cabinets, and more. The OCS lets you personalise your HDB flat and create a unique living space that suits your lifestyle.

Defects Liability Period (DLP)

HDB renovation inspection

The Defects Liability Period (DLP) is a specific duration after completing your HDB renovation. During this period, the contractor is responsible for rectifying any defects or issues. 

The DLP is typically stated in the renovation contract and provides homeowners with an assurance of quality artistry. It's always essential to document and report any defects promptly to the contractor for timely resolution.


ABS Trimming

HDB renovation ABS trimming

ABS trimming is a technique used to enhance the durability and appearance of laminate surfaces. It involves applying a high-quality thermoplastic material called ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene) to the edges of laminated surfaces, such as kitchen cabinets or tabletops. 

Furthermore, ABS trimming can be customised in terms of colour and texture, offering design flexibility to match various interior styles.


HDB wall skirting

Skirting serves both practical and aesthetic purposes in your HDB flat. It conceals gaps between the wall and floor, providing a neat and finished appearance. Additionally, skirting can enhance the visual appeal of your home, acting as a design element that complements your interior style.


HDB cornices

Cornices are decorative mouldings that are installed at the junction between walls and ceilings. 


double and single HDB door

When it comes to doors in your HDB flat, you'll often come across the terms "single-leaf" and "double-leaf." A single-leaf door refers to a standard door consisting of a single panel, while a double-leaf door consists of two open independently. 


HDB window casement

Casement windows are hinged on one side and swing open like a door. These can be strategically placed to maximise airflow and create a bright and airy atmosphere within your home.

Fluted Surface

HDB fluted surface

A fluted surface refers to a textured pattern of parallel grooves or ridges. It is often seen in architectural elements such as columns, walls, or decorative panels. 


Renovation vs Restoration: What's the Difference?

HDB renovation vs. restoration

Renovation and restoration are two distinct approaches to improving and revitalising HDB flats, each with its own objectives and processes.

HDB renovation involves making significant changes or improvements to a space to update its appearance, functionality, or both. For HDB flats, renovation often refers to transforming an existing room to suit the homeowner's preferences, lifestyle, and design aesthetic. These projects can range from minor cosmetic updates to extensive structural modifications.

During an HDB renovation, homeowners may modify the layout, replace the flooring, upgrade fixtures, install new fittings, change wall finishes, or update electrical and plumbing systems. The focus is on creating a fresh, modern look and enhancing the overall functionality of the space. 

Ultimately, renovation allows homeowners to personalise their HDB flat, adapt it to their changing needs, and incorporate new design elements and technology.

Restoration, on the other hand, involves preserving and bringing back the original character and charm of a space. It emphasises the historical or cultural significance of the property and aims to retain its authenticity. For Singapore homes, restoration may be undertaken for older or heritage units to maintain their architectural integrity and historical value.

Restoration projects typically involve:

  • Repairing and refurbishing original features, such as preserving original flooring.
  • Restoring vintage fixtures.
  • Reviving traditional design elements.

The focus is on maintaining the space's historical context and unique identity while ensuring its structural stability and functionality. Restoration requires meticulous research, attention to detail, and adherence to conservation guidelines to preserve the original character of your home.

So, what are the key differences between the two?

The Objective of the Project

HDB renovation aims to update and improve the space according to the homeowner's preferences and modern design trends, while home restoration focuses on preserving the original character and historical value of the space.

Changes Made

Renovation involves making significant changes, including layout modifications and incorporating contemporary elements. Restoration, on the other hand, focuses on repairing, refurbishing, and retaining original features.


Renovation projects can be extensive, involving various changes to the space. Restoration projects often focus on specific areas or features, ensuring their preservation.

Design Approach

Renovation allows more flexibility and creativity, permitting HDB homeowners to explore different design styles and incorporate modern materials and technologies. Restoration requires a more historically sensitive approach, adhering to the original design aesthetics and using traditional materials and techniques whenever possible.

Transform Your Home Sweet Home

HDB renovation Singapore

Knowing these terms will not only help you communicate better with your contractors and designers but will definitely empower you to make informed decisions about your HDB renovation project. 

With Megafurniture's wide range of quality furniture pieces to choose from, you'll find everything you need to bring your vision to life. Visit our showroom or explore our online furniture catalogue to discover the perfect pieces that will elevate your HDB renovation.

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