Know your finishes

Know your finishes

Do you know that the materials contribute to more than 65% of the cost of your interior work? If you do a work for 5L, the materials contribute to around 3.25L. It is imperative that you have a fair knowledge about the materials to make sure you are not taken for a ride. There are materials ranging from x to 2x in the market, so beware of what you are quoted and what is being used for the work.

1. First off, Plywood

We all know and have heard about plywood, it is often one of the most common terms used when it comes to woodwork. But what is plywood and what is it made out of?

Thin sheets of wood also known as wood veneers are bonded together with an adhesive to form a plywood.

There are two types of plywood that are mainly used:

  • Commercial Plywood (MR): MR stands for Moisture Resistant. This type is used when the area/furniture doesn’t come in contact with water or isn’t close to one that does. It is also known as interior grade plywood. The grade of MR plywood is IS: 303.
  • BWR Grade Plywood (Marine ply): BWR stands for Boiling Water Resistant. BWR is usually preferred in kitchens due to its water resistant properties. They tend to be more expensive than MR plywood but the grade is just the same as MR plywood.

Note: In India, BWR grade is commonly referred to as Marine Ply though there is a distinct difference between these two. Marine ply is used for heavy duty exterior works (boats, woodwork in ships) and is not usually used for furniture at homes. The grade of marine plywood is IS:710.

There are a variety of brands available for plywood - Though the known brands such as Century and Sharon are better than the unknown ones, the difference in the quality is overrated. As long as the ply is an IS303, there is not so much of difference in terms of strength and durability. Be aware that there are a lot of instances in the market where the vendors will stamp superior logos/brands on substandard plywood.

There are other specialized varieties of plywood that are not of any particular use in home interiors for the most part.

2. Laminates, finishing and protecting your work

In India, laminates are synonymous with Sunmica, the most popular brand of laminates available (The same way in which photocopy is synonymous with Xerox). Laminates is a type of overlay for wood.

Laminates are synthetic products made out of paper and plastic (of the thickness 0.6-1.5 mm). Resins are used to make the paper hard and brittle, the very defining characteristic of laminates. A design pattern is printed on the sheet for a decorative look. The costs of laminates depend on the brand and the quality of the material.

3. Kitchen Counter Tops

Kitchen Counter Tops come in a variety of materials and each kind cater to a particular aesthetic and budget.

They can be made out of granite, quartz, acrylic solid surfaces, marble, laminate, wood, stainless steel and even tiles. The most commonly used and most viable options are granite and quartz.

  • Granite: Granite is the most obvious choice in this list and can be considered ‘standard’ to kitchen countertops as it is the most popular one. Granite has a very high scratch resistance, sustains large amounts of heat, and is of a permanent nature. It comes in a wide range of colors and thus, can match your specific kitchen look. But do note that the price would vary with every color.
  • Quartz: Quartz is known for its hardness and thus proves itself to be an excellent choice as a kitchen counter top. Unlike granite, it requires no maintenance (no sealing required) though it provides for all the needed qualities like scratch and stain resistance. However, this is not a very common choice for middle-class Indian kitchens.
    Kitchen Baskets and Telescopic Channels

4. Kitchen Baskets

Kitchen baskets are basically storage trays for your kitchen cabinets. There are many types, sizes, and qualities to choose from, and they are categorized by their purpose. For example, you can have one particularly designed to store cups and saucers, one for plates, big vessels, pressure cookers, etc.

5. Other Hardware

Telescopic Channels: Telescopic channels are hardware parts and assist in attaching and holding, for example, kitchen baskets in cabinets. Higher quality of the channels ensures smooth movement of the drawers.

Hinges: Hinges are essentially similar to telescopic channels in their nature of use. Hinges connect two objects together, like the cupboard and its door, and allows for a limited movement between them. They come in different thickness and finishes and these are usually determined by where the hinges are used.

Handles: Handles are pretty self-explanatory, they are used to provide a grip of doors and drawers. There are primarily two forms of handles that are common.

Knobs: Simple and takes less space and can be made using various materials.

Pulls: Larger and hence, takes up more space but provides a better grip. Available in a variety of materials as well.

Edge Band: Edge bands are basically narrow strips of material, usually made out of PVC. Post the overlaying process, there is a chance that some parts of the woodwork are left exposed without overlay. This is especially common when a post-formed laminate hasn’t been used. These strips are placed on the exposed side of the woodwork to protect it and also to provide a cleaner, smoother look. This process is called edgebanding. PVC is most commonly used because of its durable nature and its versatility when it comes to colors and textures. It is also more water-resistant than wood. A variety of materials can be used as edge bands, including PVC, melamine, acrylic, wood etc. They are usually available in the form of tapes.

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