Tips and Guides

Renovation 101: Getting Started

How far can your budget take you? Keep these handy hints in mind when considering a renovation project


The need to renovate the home is commonly realized by the changing demands of the family or individual who inhabits it. Some of these include: new family members which calls for the need to expand living spaces; a new style preference which leads to the desire to repaint or refurnish; or maybe life events that require new space functions which may lead to knocking down walls or raising the ceiling.

If you’re thinking of renovating your space, it’s helpful to know the basics. Here are some handy tidbits that you need to know when the time for an upgrade comes.

What is renovation?

In many ways, renovating is similar to “customizing.” It involves altering spaces that are no longer efficient in order to serve a specific, personal function.

Why do we renovate?

The reasons differ. Renovations are done according to taste or need.

How much will a renovation cost?

Customized spaces, like customized products – tend to be costly because of the level of “personalization” involved. The current structural state of the house must be considered, too. Another important consideration to keep in mind is the size of the area to be renovated.

If for example, I have P100,000 to work with – how far will this amount take my renovation project?

To be able to get an idea of the scope and type of renovation this amount can cover, it helps to be aware of the current market prices of commonly used construction materials. Below are just of the materials you’ll need:

*Some of the materials you'll need include:

A gallon of paint (that can cover about 25sqm surface area): P600 = P3600 for three coatings of paint when repainting a small bedroom

A sheet of 3/4 –inch thick marine plywood – the kind used for kitchen cabinets: P1200 each

Gypsum boards used for interior walls or ceilings: P380 (1.20m x 2.40m panel)

Ceramic tiles: P150-400 per piece

With these prices in mind, depending on your chosen design – replacing the cabinets, shelves, and drawers of an average-sized kitchen means using 10-15 sheets of plywood (around P18,000) and tiles for a 50sqm area (around P56,000).

*Prices may vary depending on the supplier

Aside from the materials, are there additional costs that I need to consider?

Yes, labor cost is an important consideration. Skilled workers – carpenters, painters, masons, plumbers, electricians, welders – may charge around P400-650 per day, depending on experience and skill level.

You may also want to tap non-skilled workers – helpers, cleaners, site assistants. They would charge about P300 per day. So if you’re hiring a carpenter and a helper for two weeks (14 working days), it means spending around P13,000 on labor.

Here are additional reminders to keep in mind when considering a renovation project:

-You may source from different suppliers to inquire about prices. For starters, you may visit for a list of suppliers.

-Once you have a clearer understanding of the prices of the materials and of how much of these a renovation will need, you may not set practical renovation goals.

-Minor renovations include: repainting, re-varnishing, re-tiling of small areas, replacement of damaged fixtures, cabinet refurbishing, electrical/plumbing repairs, and other non-structural alterations.

Keep in mind that: the larger the floor area to be renovated, the higher the cost will be – even for minor renovations.

Ready for your renovation project? Stay tuned for the second part of our renovation story!

Architect Ivy Tablante is part of Structura Architects - an architectural design studio based in Manila, specializing in Residential, Commercial, Office, and Retail Projects. They provide full professional design assistance, from conceptualization to construction.


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