Daily Archives

May 10, 2019


Foundation of a home


I have a 7.30am class tomorrow but I’m still awake. God forbid I wake up late tmr.

I’ve been looking at gorgeous homes and decor on Instagram and Pinterest for so long – but who knew that this part of the process, looking for an ID and trying to make my budget work, would actually be such a royal pain?

Things I didn’t take seriously when buying an old resale HDB:

#1 Their choice of tiles

Whether their tiles are the ones i like or if they are even in good condition – because flooring works are insanely expensive and I should’ve used their old floor and wall tiles as a bargaining chip.

Wall tiles!! Why did they have to tile their kitchen walls?! I now have to pay for hacking them!

I remember walking around the unit with the idea that I would just remove everything they’ve done and I’d start from scratch. A blank canvas. Easy.

What was I thinking?

Perhaps that hacking meant just bringing a sledgehammer and some drills and going to town with them. Apparently not.

Removing a single thing like a cornice (I now know what a cornice is) costs money. Hacking tiles in the kitchen cost money. Hacking tiles in the toilet costs money. Hacking tiles in the living room costs money.

Why couldn’t the previous owners (though very, very nice people) have chosen broken marble or something more neutral than the patterned brick orange Italian tiles that cover the entire house?!

#2 Old units and their windows

I thought I’d just replace their very old windows. $7,000. Ka-ching!! That’s a shitload of money. And it’ll be even higher because I want soundproof windows at the foyer and the study, both are facing the main road, and directly facing a traffic light. $10,000? Possibly.

So I’m left with decisions as to whether I should refrain from hacking the floor and to overlay vinyl planks where I can (Bedroom, study, storeroom?) and to overlay tiles on top of the existing tiles in the kitchen and bath.

I’m not even sure if that’s possible. What if the bottom tiles are hollow or what if they pop?

And I don’t know if the existing tiles are level and even enough to vinyl over without feeling lumpy. Ughhh.

And do I forget about soundproofing? Or do I keep the old windows?

But these are the foundations of the house. Making changes to these later on would incur even more costs and a much larger mess and headache once everything else is done and once we’ve moved in.

The problem is that tiles are forever and my parents clearly want me to tile. Vinyl, though much improved what with advancements in technology, is still less durable and less hardy (dents under heavy furniture, scratches).

Any hope of keeping reno costs down, dashed!!

2.47am I’d better get some sleep.

2.56am Just spent the last few minutes trying to figure Dayre out and got sucked in reading some posts. Is this why nobody blogs on Livejournal, Tumblr or WordPress anymore? I’m amazed at the community, and how big it seems to be. I’d still keep cmf.org but this seems like an easy way to write throwaway thoughts and things. I guess it works more like a journaling of events than a diary but could work either way. Let’s see.

K, really going to sleep now.


I managed with less than 5 hours of sleep. C slept earlier than I did and he’s still in bed doing what babies do best. 😒

This morning, Vinyl wins. By afternoon, I’m sure Tiles will find a way to catch up.

The Case For Vinyl:

Most cost and time efficient

Softer underfoot, not as hard to step on as tiles

No ugly grouting issues to maintain

Some faux wood designs provide texture and depth

Newer technologies, might actually last for 25 years

Against Vinyl:

Warmer underfoot

Not sure if our tiles are level and flat enough for good installation

Dents under heavy furniture

Not proven to last yet and changing flooring in the future would incur more costs and headaches

Overlaying means less height

Decided to get Clif with me to visit a Vinyl showroom. Felt like we had to see if we could be convinced by the material. FloorXpert was just a 5 min drive away!!

We were impressed by the look and the textures of the Belgium LURF planks. They even looked better than some pixelated faux wood tiles I’d seen.

FloorXpert seemed to deal with IDs and contractors a lot more than homeowners directly, and we were quoted $8.30/psf for the higher end vinyls that were from Belgium.

(Update 01/10/2019: $8.30/psf is a damn overpriced quote. We did not pay that amount in the end because my ID had a contact within FloorXpert.)

Because we’re concerned that the existing tiles are uneven and not leveled, we asked the salesperson what the process was. She mentioned a cement screeding on top of the tiles will help, and that the Belgium ones came with a better underlay than the Korean ones.

There was an area in the ground that felt uneven and we asked her about this. She told us it was because it was a showroom and they didn’t cement screed it. ?! Shouldn’t it being a showroom be a reason to install it well??

I’d have thought that making sure your product didn’t show any issues would be key to convincing customers about installing it.

Especially if they’re not traditional options like tiles, marble, laminate or parquet.

But sure.

I called my mother down to visit (she was 8 mins away). If anyone needed convincing, it was her. She is, after all the one offering us a sizable renovation loan.

She was super apprehensive. Asking questions on their product warranty (25 years for the Pulse range, lifetime workmanship warranty), how long their company had been in the market (since 2010), how long the manufacturers had been operating (since 1990).. her takeaway was that the company hadn’t been around long enough to receive complaints about its lifespan.

Fair enough. Though for its price point.. I can choose to replace the vinyl in the 10 years and it’d still be cheaper than tiling.

She was still leaning towards tiles.

C seemed a little exasperated that she didn’t understand that we didn’t want to go over budget if we can’t afford it.

Decided that it would be best to try and get a quote for tiles to see how much of a price difference it was and if it was “worth it” or not.

We made a stop at a tile showroom that her friend works at. (We’d be able to get a decent discount on materials from here) There were some gorgeous porcelain tiles that looked like marble.

But porcelain cracks. And I had to remind her more than once that the price seen here is only for the material cost and doesn’t include hacking and tiling labour costs..

Still would be good to find out how much this costs. Let’s see then.

At least now I’m good with either. Vinyl doesn’t seem so bad after all. Just depends on the final number.

Look! This was a staggering $6.3/sqft, and this slab basically costs $113.40.

We thought labour costs for this would be better since it was just one large piece but apparently not because it would take 3 people to install! Haha you learn something new everyday.