bathtub in hdb what to know

Do you live in a HDB flat and really want a bathtub? Good news! Here’s what you can do — make space for one by enlarging the existing bathroom, or combining two adjacent bathrooms to get a bigger one. However, note that there are HDB regulations surrounding any form of bathroom extensions.

Ready to fix a bathtub in your HDB flat? Let’s hear from what the experts have to say:

HDB bathroom should be 66 sq ft

Interior designer Annie Tan of The Interarch Design recommends having at least 66 sq ft (6 sqm) for the whole bathroom, if you install a bathtub in addition to a standing shower.

You can renovate your HDB BTO toilet only after three years

Also, take note that you can only do alterations to your bathroom three years after the completion date of the block, and you still need to obtain a permit from the HDB.

Few would extend an open concept to their washroom, but the couple don’t find it embarrassing since it’s in their bedroom.
Few would extend an open concept to their washroom, but the couple don’t find it embarrassing since it’s in their bedroom. Interior design by Fuse Concept

Install bathtub in HDB regulations

Enjoying a soak in a tub isn’t impossible, as long as you follow the regulations stipulated by the HDB during your bathroom renovations.

  1. If you extend your bathroom into the living area, the maximum width and area of extension must not exceed 60cm and 6.5 sq ft respectively.
  2. The new part of the bathroom (which was previously part of the living area) can only be used as a “dry area” (e.g installation of washbasin or shelves). This means that both the bathtub and shower area have to fit within the footprint of the original bathroom.
  3. The extension cannot be done around the flat’s gas riser and its branch pipe.
  4. If you are doing hacking works and changing the floor finishes, pre-packed waterproofing screed and waterproofing membrane are to be used and the total thickness of finishes and screed must not exceed 5cm.
  5. The total weight of your bathtub, including the supporting structure, shouldn’t be more than 150kg. This is so that the structural integrity and safety of the building isn’t compromised. Verify especially the weight if you are considering heavy models like freestanding clawfoot cast iron tubs.
  6. There has to be a void underneath the bathtub. Do not fill up the space underneath with cement mortar or other materials to support the tub.
  7. The floor slab must not be tampered with at all — no raising or lowering it to accommodate your built-in bathtub.
Although not a full-sized bathtub, a soak tub offers a similar pampering treatment in a smaller space.
Although not a full-sized bathtub, a soak tub offers a similar pampering treatment in a smaller space.

2 Common Types of Bathtubs in Singapore

Renovating your HDB toilet and want to install a new bathtub? Make sure you know which type suits you and your space best.

In general, there are two types of tubs, freestanding and built-in. There are a variety of designs available in the market for each type of tub, so you definitely can get one that will suit the look of your bathroom.

The freestanding pedestal bathtub looks has a sculptural appeal in this minimalist bathing sanctuary (interior design by D'perception Ritz).
The freestanding pedestal bathtub looks has a sculptural appeal in this minimalist bathing sanctuary (interior design by D’perception Ritz).

Freestanding Bathtubs

A freestanding tub is one that stands alone and can be placed anywhere in the bathroom. Types include clawfoot tubs —which have “legs” and “feet” and channel a vintage look — and pedestal tubs — which have solid bases rather than legs, making them more minimalist and sleek.

Freestanding baths look best when they are positioned at least some distance away from the walls. It is recommended to have a separate shower, rather than use the tub as a daily shower – especially if your freestanding bath is positioned in the middle of the bathroom.

This is to prevent having a constantly wet bathroom.

The wife had her heart set on a clawfoot bathtub, so they found one that fit into the shower space.
The wife had her heart set on a clawfoot bathtub, so they found one that fit into the shower space. Interior design: Space Sense

Pros of free-standing baths

  • Often becomes the focal point of the bathroom, as designs highly take into account the aesthetics.
  • Provides additional visual space to make the bathroom look roomier, as the tub does not have an enclosure.
  • Installation does not rely on a supporting structure, so structural alterations are not necessary.

Cons of free-standing baths

  • Generally more expensive
Glass panels allow a full view of the master bedroom from the bathtub. Interior design by Altered Interior
Glass panels allow a full view of the master bedroom from the bathtub. Interior design by Altered Interior

Built-In Bathtub

These are ready-made tubs that are designed to be housed within an enclosure. 2 Common types of built-in bathtubs include alcove tubs (which have 3 sides, and take up minimal space), and drop-in bathtubs — which are fitted within and appear to be suspended in raised platforms or decks.

A built-in alcove tub is the best solution for saving space, as it is meant to be situated in a corner or on one side.

As its installation process involves hacking and wet works, check that your contractor does proper waterproofing. Make sure that your contractor provides an access panel that isn’t obstructed for future maintenance.

An interior window by the bathtub makes the bathroom appear roomier than it is. The homeowner can pull down the shade for privacy. The master bathroom may be small, but its luxurious, hotel-style finish makes up for the lack of space. Interior design by EJ Square Design

An interior window by the bathtub makes the bathroom appear roomier. The homeowner can pull down the shade for privacy. Interior design: EJ Square Design

Pros of built-in baths

  • More compact in design, making it ideal for smaller spaces.
  • Will allow you to install water jets and air jets to enhance your bathing experience.
  • Generally more affordable.

This article was originally published on Home & Decor. Part of this article was first published in The Peak.