Tips For Renovating An Older House in Malaysia

Are you planning to renovate an older property in Malaysia? Don’t know where to start? You’re in the right place! This article provides useful tips and advice on navigating through the renovation process and ensuring your property is safe and up to standards. Get ready to get your hands dirty with these essential tips!


Renovating an older home can be an exciting and challenging experience, especially in Malaysia, where older homes are often not equipped with modern amenities and require significant upgrades for them to be liveable.

When renovating an older home, it’s important to consider the potential architectural elements that could be part of the renovation or restoration. You should research the history of the home and its unique features, investigate current building codes, understand needed permits and a range of other details that are important when renovating or restoring any kind of property.

Additionally, there are special considerations when undertaking a renovation or restoration project in Malaysia. From assessing cultural significance to obtaining multiple permits from local authorities, it’s important to know the specifics involved in completing your project successfully.

The tips provided here will help you plan out your own successful restoration project and become knowledgeable about the unique aspects of Malaysian home renovations:

  • Research the history of the home and its unique features.
  • Investigate current building codes.
  • Understand needed permits.
  • Assess cultural significance.
  • Obtain multiple permits from local authorities.

Related: Skillsets and Expertise of Foreign Workers in Malaysia’s Renovation Sector


When preparing to undertake a renovation project on an older house in Malaysia, it is important to consider the style of the house and its current condition. Consider talking to a structural engineer about assessing the suitability of any proposed construction and extensions for structural soundness.

Prior to embarking on renovations, it is also important to identify any existing issues with the house such as dampness or rot. If either of these have been identified, you may need to fix them before beginning any renovations so that they do not disrupt your project. Additionally, if working with exterior walls, make sure there are no loose or broken tiles that need repair before starting work.

You should also check for wiring needs prior rennovation as older buildings in Malaysia are often not able to handle more modern systems such as those run by central control systems. This can significantly delay renovation projects if you are unaware of existing wiring issues prior to starting renovation works.

Finally, it may also be beneficial to look into government and local authority regulations for making changes or additions that could be applicable for your specific project. Comparing these regulations with your desired building result will ensure successful completion of works and accurate execution of code compliance.


Budgeting is one of the most important elements to consider when renovating an older house in Malaysia. Before you begin remodelling, take some time to decide how much you can afford to spend on the project. Your budget should include all renovation costs from the renovation materials and furniture down to labour costs associated with design and installation.

In order to accurately allocate your budget for renovation projects, it’s important that you research the materials and features for each project to accurately estimate how much money will be required. It’s also helpful if you break up your total budget into categories like:

  • Electrical and plumbing
  • Interior finishes
  • Fixtures
  • Furniture
  • Color schemes
  • Decorations

This will enable you to easily identify where most of your money is being spent during the planning phase of the project. As with any large undertaking, it’s important that you stay within a reasonable budget; otherwise, it can be difficult or even impossible to satisfy all of your requirements without cutting back in other areas or going over-budget completely.

Choosing a Contractor

Renovating an older house requires extensive planning, especially when it comes to choosing the right contractor. When assessing potential contractors, it is important to assess price and quality of services rather than just price alone. Therefore, research contractors with experience in dealing with older houses in your area, as they may come with more knowledge of the unique needs that an older home entails.

It is important to talk to other owners who have employed a particular contractor you are considering in order to hear their honest feedback on the contractor’s reliability and quality of work. Also, interview multiple contractors before deciding on one – compile a list of questions that each contractor must answer in order for you to compare and contrast their experience levels and services offered for the project.

Additionally, do not be hasty when signing a contract or making payment requests from your chosen contractor as these are legally binding documents. Ask for hard copies so that all parties involved can review contractual terms clearly. Furthermore, ask your chosen contractor whether they carry professional liability insurance as this could potentially cover any damage should something go wrong during construction work or if materials used turn out substandard later on down the line.

Understanding Local Building Regulations

Before starting any renovation work, it is recommended that you research the local building and safety regulations in Malaysia. Each state has different laws with varying requirements for approvals, permits and inspections. To ensure compliance, bear in mind some of the general dos and don’ts:

  • Do obtain approval from the relevant local authority for all construction projects (including minor repairs).
  • Don’t proceed without approval as penalties exist for non-compliance or failure to follow regulations.
  • Do engage professional consultants such as architects, engineers or surveyors if necessary to advise on project specific requirements.
  • Don’t perform major renovations such as rebuilding walls unless approved and supervised by a professional consultant.
  • Certain building works such as structural alterations or extensions may require structural calculations by an engineer and be certified before work can commence.
  • Be mindful that additional documents may be required depending on the scope of the project (e.g. hazardous substances survey for asbestos).
  • Ensure that the plans comply with all applicable building regulations to avoid delays in construction process due to non-compliance issues e.g., fire rating, party wall agreement etc.

Selecting Materials

When renovating an older house, it is essential to ensure that the materials also blend in with the existing interior décor. With a wide range of options available, selecting appropriate materials can be overwhelming. Here are some tips to help you make an informed decision:

  • Determine your design style and pick materials that fit within it. For example, if your house has a classic theme, consider replacing wallpapers with wooden panels that provide a rustic look and feel.
  • Know your budget beforehand so you can set a spending limit for materials. It’s easier to select affordable options when you have your budget in mind.
  • Consider using sustainable materials when possible. Using recycled or natural products such as composite wood, bamboo flooring or stonewall cladding can add a unique touch to the overall design of your house while also helping reduce its environmental footprint.
  • When selecting tiles for the floor or walls, choose colors and patterns that go well with the furniture and other elements of the home’s interior décor to create a cohesive look across all rooms in the house.
  • Look at materials in real life before making your purchase decision or installation appointment; buyer’s remorse is often caused by selecting colors and textures based on pictures seen online which may not match perfectly with reality when they arrive home or finished product installed looks different from what was expected by homeowner due to contractor mistake during installation process.

Managing the Renovation Process

When renovating an older house, a carefully managed process is the key to success. In order for the project to run smoothly, you should start by creating an overall plan and timeline, as well as determining your budget.

Once you have established these parameters, it’s time to move on to selecting contractors and ordering materials.

  • When hiring contractors, check references before making a final decision. Ask questions such as: How long have they been in business? Do they carry insurance? Are their workers licensed and insured? Get several estimates – never hire any contractor who demands cash up front or insists on working without a detailed contract.
  • Ordering materials can also be tricky when it comes to renovating an older house in Malaysia. Make sure you find reliable suppliers who will work with your timeline and budget and know exactly how much material you need so that you can create an estimated cost breakdown for the project. Be aware of any custom charges or taxes that may apply.

It’s important to stay organized throughout the renovation process so that tasks don’t pile up or fall through the cracks. Make sure everyone involved knows their roles and responsibilities, stays in touch regularly, communicates effectively and meets deadlines so that none of your hard work goes wasted!

Final Touches

To get the perfect results for your renovation project, a few final touches can make all the difference.

A finishing touch on older houses in Malaysia should consider blending your renovation with the style and architecture found in this beautiful region.

Before you move into your new home, it’s important to add accessories such as light fixtures, curtains or blinds to complete the look. When choosing these items, keep materials like wood and brick in mind which are common in Malaysia’s historical housing architecture. You might also consider hanging art produced by local artists or traditional wood carvings which will truly bring a unique look and feel to your home.

When fitting out external doors and windows, choose retro styles for best effect. To protect against Malaysia’s humid weather and potential extreme weather events, opt for climate-resistant materials like vinyl siding or aluminum frames to ensure a strength lasting many years into the future.

By adding just a few finishing touches with an eye on regional influences and preference, you will soon be walking through your renovated house with pride!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: What materials should I use for renovating an older house in Malaysia?

A1: To ensure a strong foundation for your renovation project, use high-quality materials that are designed to stand up to the tropical climate in Malaysia. Materials like concrete blocks, steel, and aluminum are all good choices for the foundation. For the walls, use stucco, hardwood, or stone for a classic look.

Q2: What safety precautions should I take when renovating an older house in Malaysia?

A2: When renovating an older house in Malaysia, it’s important to take the necessary safety precautions. Make sure to inspect the electrical wiring and plumbing to ensure they are up to code. Check for any signs of termites or other pests, and have them dealt with as soon as possible. Additionally, be sure to wear protective gear, such as gloves, when handling hazardous materials.

Q3: How do I prepare the house for renovation?

A3: Before starting the renovation process, you’ll need to prepare the house. First, remove any furniture and personal belongings that you don’t want to get damaged. Next, cover any areas that you don’t want to get dust or debris on. Finally, inspect the house for any signs of moisture, mold, or damage before beginning the renovation.