Bathtub in HDB
Picture this: You come home after a long day at work, pour yourself a glass of wine and soak your stresses away in a bathtub fizzing away with intoxicating bath bombs. It sounds like a tai-tai dream come true – but it might very well be within reach.
Bathtubs are often associated with staycations or vacations, but there’s no need to wait that long to be able to treat yourself when you can install one in your very own bathroom instead. With a few tips and tricks, it’s also not impossible for a smaller-sized HDB! Here’s what you need to know:
Check out our other bathroom-related articles:
- How to choose bathroom fixtures
- Luxurious bathroom fixtures to get
- How to get a boutique hotel bathroom at home
- Best HDB toilet designs
Check the measurements of your space
A typical bathtub measures around 1.52M x 0.8M, which can easily fit into the bathrooms of most 5-room and executive flats. But even if you’re working with a smaller HDB, there are still ways to work around the tight space:
Expand your bathroom
It may come as good news to most of us that it’s possible to extend your bathroom space outwards. With a permit from HDB, washrooms can be stretched up to 0.6SQM outwards to expand the space, as long as you do it 3 years after the completion of your block onwards.
While the extended area can only be used as a “dry” area – for things like sinks and shelves – it’ll unlock some extra wiggle room to play around with the interior design for your dream bath.
If you’re fortunate enough to stay in a HDB with both bathrooms lined back to back, there’s also the option of combining two bathrooms into one enormous master suite bathroom. Else, for the rest of us, minimalist space-saving furniture is a fuss-free alternative to open up those extra crannies.
HDB guidelines to know beforehand
There are plenty of rules to consider when it comes to renovation and plumbing. But where the bathtub is concerned, here are the main guidelines to abide by so you know what’s doable, and what’s illegal:
Placement of bathtub
Bathtubs can only be installed within the original bathroom space provided by the HDB – which might be a bummer for those of us hoping for a window-side bathtub, or one in our bedroom. But from a practical standpoint, dealing with water damage outside of the bathroom will be an actual nightmare – both for you and the neighbour downstairs.
Reinforced plastic bathtub
Image credit: Prodigg Bathrooms
Make sure your bathtubs are not too heavy when you’re picking one for your HDB home. The weight limit is set at 150KG/sqm, or 400KG for tub and capacity.
This means tubs made of heavier materials like marble or those fitted with hefty cast iron legs are out of the picture. While browsing your options, zoom in on lightweight materials like acrylic or fibreglass-reinforced plastic instead, which fall safely within the weight requirements.
Renovation of the bathroom floor
If you’ve just purchased a sparkling new BTO, ask your contractor if the bathtub you’re considering requires hacking out the bathroom floors.
It may not seem like a big deal, but this could, in the worst case, hold back your renovation plans for a couple of years. According to the HDB guidelines, any replacement of existing toilet floor finishes can only be done at least 3 years after the completion of the block, with a permit.
Otherwise, to get a bathtub ASAP, consider options that don’t require excessive renovation like standalone tubs and Japanese ofuros.
Choosing your bathtub
Choosing the perfect tub out of all the different designs out there is possibly the most thrilling part of the installation process. Below are 6 different types of bathtubs to choose from – including minimalist and compact options.
1. Standalone bathtub
For a bathroom that resembles one from a romantic boutique hotel, check out standalone bathtubs. Sleek and modern, they’re a simple yet eye-catching addition that’ll fit right into the aesthetic of most bathrooms. Not to mention, placement options are more flexible and hacking isn’t required for installation.
Cons: Takes up more space than a built-in bathtub. You’ll probably also need a separate shower space.
2. Built-in bathtub
Image credit: @kpconstruction
Also known as alcove or drop-in tubs, built-in bathtubs are the most common type of bathtub you can find in Singapore, with good reason. Where space is tight, these fit in seamlessly alongside your bathroom walls, taking up less room than other similar-sized options.
Cons: You’ll probably have to retile your bathroom floors.
3. Corner tub
Image credit: @diamondcontractyeg
Corner tubs are perfect for the awkward nooks of your bathroom because of their unconventional shape. For an overly boxy-looking bathroom, its rounded edge also adds an extra element of shapeliness to spice up the look of the place.
For young families worried about sharp corners for the kids, this is also an option that’ll make bath time extra-safe.
Cons: It may also be hard to work the other bathroom furnishings around the curved bath.
4. Japanese ofuro
Image credit: Apartment Therapy
Bring the experience of a relaxing onsen into your home with a Japanese ofuro, or wooden tub. Typically shorter in length, it’s a snug option to fit into small HDB bathrooms.
The walls of most Japanese ofuros also tend to be a little higher, reaching up to the neck area, so you can sink in and unwind without leaving your upper body cold and exposed.
Pro-tip: Avoid using detergent to clean the tub as it can damage the wood. Wipe it down after each use with a cloth instead.
Cons: Too deep for young kids. Good ventilation is also needed for the tub to dry properly to avoid mould.
5. Walk-in bathtub
Image credit: @debernardidevelopment
For seniors out there, climbing into a regular bathtub may be difficult but that doesn’t mean that the joys of soaking in one are impossible. Walk-in bathtubs come with a mini-door that you can enter through and then shut tight to fill the tub with water.
They also come with a seat, which makes it the perfect option for those with a fall risk to shower safely. For the rest of the family, this offers a comfy way to soak in the bath seated upright, making it lots easier to read a book in there or catch up on social media.
Cons: You’ll have to wait for the water to drain out before exiting through the mini-door.
Image credit: Singapore Bathrooms
Nothing completes a 5-star bathroom quite like a luxurious jacuzzi does. It’ll essentially provide a private spa experience that you can get on the daily – hop on in and turn on the jet streams after a long day to unknot all those tight muscles.
To feel like royalty, grab a home projector, and air your favourite Netflix show onto the wall or ceiling while you soak.
Cons: Chunkier design that needs more space for installation. Motors could also be noisy when they’re running.
Maintaining a bathtub
All good things come with a price and keeping a bathtub clean isn’t easy. With extra corners that bathroom grime can get stuck in, along with cracks that can form over time, you’ll often have to give the tubs a good scrub at least once a week – extra work to the already arduous task of cleaning the other parts of the bathroom.
However, if you want to reduce maintenance works, here are some tips:
- Get a bathtub with minimal design elements – those that come with grip handles or fancy tiling along the side will need more cleaning.
- Make sure your bathroom is well-ventilated to keep the area dry. Consider installing an exhaust fan too.
- Different materials require varying levels of maintenance. Fibreglass and reinforced plastic are easier to keep mould-free than wood.
- Fix tub cracks at home with a tub repair kits you can get on online sites like Amazon.
Where to buy a bathtub in Singapore
Hansgrohe x AXOR showroom
An interior designer will usually sort this out for you, but if you’re searching for one on your own, below are some bathtub retailers to look out for in Singapore, based on online recommendations and reviews:
- Hoe Kee – sells standalone and built-in bathtubs
- Bathroom Warehouse – has 4 showrooms across Singapore to check out bathtubs and other bathroom essentials
- Sim Xiang Choon – corner and spa tubs available
- Singapore Bathtubs – variety of chic bathtub designs
- Sansei – carries premium bathroom brands with minimalist tub designs
- Hansgrohe – luxury bathroom fixtures and tubs
- Toto – round-shaped free-standing bathtubs
Bathtubs in Singapore
“I hate bathtime” is something us adults hardly say. The bathroom is where we spend more time than we’d like to admit preparing for the day ahead or singing as if we’re Adele. If installing a bathtub will make it an even happier place that it already is, why settle for anything less?
If you’ve been dreaming of installing a bathtub in your HDB for that Pinterest-worthy bathroom, now’s the time to set out and make it come true. From design options to where to get one, you’ve now got the basics under your belt.
For more home renovation guides, also read:
- HDB renovation guide for a MUJI-style home
- HDB fixtures for that condo vibe
- Things to do before renovating your HDB
- Renovation tips to save money
Cover image adapted from: TheSmartLocal, Apartment Therapy