Friday, October 4, 2013

A low cost solution for Cabinets and Wardrobes

The requirement for wardrobes, cabinets and any closed enclosure will laterally grow up with time.
 
Thanks to our (Indians) habit of keeping everything we bought, even after their prime usage. Some of the materials which we store are the hardboard cover of our shoes, Television sets, grinder, mixers, damaged toys, damaged fans, old steel rims of cars, those big containers which we never take out for cooking etc thinking that we may find it useful at a later stage.
 
In our home we also grew shortage of closed cabinets and I began hunting around for material options to make one. The options I found, their pros and cons, our choice and its implementation is shared here.

This might be useful for those who are on the look out for the same.

Mind you the cost savings are huge, if you are concerned only with the usefulness. In my case it was around 300 %. Read on to know more.

Our requirement is to make  a cabinet with partial glass covering and partially fully covered having an outer dimension of 6ft x 5ft x 1ft (height x width x depth)
 
MDF - Medium Density Fibreboard
 
9 years back when we constructed our home, we used MDF for kitchen cabinet and for wardrobes. It was based on the recommendation of our carpenter. As is the case of many keralites, by the time the finishing stages of house construction is reached, we had severe financial constraints.
 
Pros
This is cheap
Has a reasonable good finish
Available aplenty
Very easy for the carpenter to work on
Can be painted to suit the ambience
 
Cons
If it comes into contact with water, its gone. (believe me, after direct contact with water it will soak
like a newspaper)
If you regularly use wet hand to open, the area near the handle will start to decay
 
Verdict
Not at all advisable for bathroom
OK for kitchen, but be ready to replace it within 5 years
For wardrobes in bedroom, yes. But you have to compromise on the finish
 
Our decision
We are not going to use it again. Also we are contemplating replacing our exisiting kitchen cabinets made using MD with some other material.
We did not even bother to get a quote using this material.
to read about the technical specification or how it is manufactured visit this link http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Medium-density_fibreboard
 
 

The ready made wardrobe configurators
We have seen some big advertisments daily about sleek kitchen, agnikone and the like.
Went to see in person.
I call them configurators, because they got some ready made modules using which they configure the system according to our need
 
Pros
Excellent finish
These people has done lots of installation. Hence quality is guaranteed.
Variety of colors to choose from
Will used teak, rose wood if we want to.
Fast installation
 
Cons
I am still not sure whether the material is multiwood or MDF with a glossy coating on the outside.
very very costly.
Got a quote for the cabinet. Rs. 60000 for
 
Verdict

Very much advisable if one can afford it.

Multiwood
 


Even though the name has a wood in it, this material is not wood. It is some form of PVC. To know more tech specs read this http://www.multiwood.in/aboutus_multiwood.php
 
Pros

Finish is good. As good as the ready made configurators
Color options.
completely water proof (as per their statement and assuming that it is fully PVC)
Flexibility in design
Ready made modules are available. Ready made doors looks cool. Can be a good cost saving if we use this for inner doors since we can save a lot on wood
 
Cons

Costly
Don't know about the long term experience
Got a quote for the cabinet. Rs 45000

Solid wood (teak, rose wood)

Didn't check out the malaysian teak or other imports. Only the tried and tested ones
 
Pros

Needless to say, durable (will last generations)
Looks classy (depends on the worker skill and imagination)
Ready made ones are available (but may not fit our size constraints)
 
Cons

Costly (it costs a bombshell)
If custom made, it is labour intensive
Might look bad, if workmanship is bad
May not look trendy or stylish
We didn't ask for a quote as we saw a ready made cabinet less than the size of our requirement, costing upwards of Rs. 60,000.
 
PVC

All the aluminium fabricators around are into the business of making cabinets using PVC aluminum combo. Got in touch with one such person in the vicinity
 
Pros

Durable. All our bathroom doors are PVC (Read my tips on bathroom construction, click here  ). They are still as good as new.
Water proof
Very light weight
Very cheap
Fast installation (depends on the person you choose)
 
Cons

Finish not as good as multiwood or the Ready made fabricators
That upmarket look is missing. you cannot create those funky or trendy designs as you may call it
The edges can be sharp, since aluminium frames will be used as frames if you go for fancy PVC material as doors.
I am not sure about their thermal properties. Hence cannot be recommended for usage in kitchen, especially near the stove.
Price quoted for our cabinet. Rs 18000.

Our choice and implementation
 
The quotes we got varied from Rs. 60000 to Rs 18000 for a relatively small cabinet which we need.

The durability of PVC doors was already known to us and since fit for usage was driving us more than the show off factor we chose to go for PVC.

Implementation method
 
First fix the aluminium frames. The frames are screwed to the walls and to the ground. While fixing the frames, if the dimensions of frames cut are not correct then gaps will appear between the frame and the wall/floor. Correct this at this point of time.
If we want to cover the back side walls for the complete look, we have a range of PVC panels to chose from with different designs. They are relatively easy to cut. It can be glued to the wall.
See our frames and the wall panel at the back




 
 
Door frames are made. Door can be glass, thin PVC panel (like the one used for wall panel) or thick PVC panel (like the one used for PVC doors)
If it is glass or thin PVC panel, then the door frame has to be of aluminium. If it is thick PVC, there is no need for aluminium frame. The dimensions of door frames has to be correct for avoiding gaps between frames.
 
We used a combination of glass (sliding frames of aluminium) and thin PVC with aluminium frames.
The end product is here.
 
 
This work took exactly 3 man days.
Happy with their work we also made a shoe rack underneath our fixed seat in the sit out area.
 
 
 
 
One word of caution, we made a similar one using another person. He took 3 months to complete the work. He didn't come on all days. His workers lacked imagination, reworked a lot, was finding it hard to avoid panel gaps and made a lot of mistakes.
 
While searching for PVC workers I saw many shops in Chalai (in Thiruvananthapuram) which had ready made PVC doors with glass panelling, designs etc suitable for bedrooms and bathroom. If opted we can save a lot of money (no wooden frame, no painting, durability etc).
 
If you find this useful or if you have any doubts please do comment.

12 comments:

Reena said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Reena said...

nice post..i am thinking of using pingoda(cheru thekku) for kitchen cabinets..any idea whether it is long lasting ?recommended by many as original teak is much costlier .

stephenn richardsonn said...

Very Nice post!! Thanks for sharing.



Wardrobes & Cabinets

Womenz Modular Designers said...

Good blog with useful information. Thanks for Sharing. Check out this
Modular kitchen designs Hyderabad & Wardrobes Hyderabad

K Jayakumar said...

What about using plywood for cabinets and MDF for doors only?

Indian News said...

We deal with all types of carpentry works in hyderabad, quality is our motto and good service. We are the Best Carpenters in Hyderabad

Institution Furniture said...

It give knowledge to everyone's rights. Kindergarten Furniture

Anonymous said...

what about marine ply with laminated finish?

Venkat Raghavan said...

Can you share the contact number of the person who did this for you...
As I am in immediate requirement of the same

Anonymous said...

What about sintex kitchen area around 100 sq ft quote is 40000 pl advice

Bud Furn said...


Thanks for sharing this great info with us.

Home Interiors Chennai

Seema Shukla said...

QUITE HELPFUL ARTICLE TO DECIDE WHICH MATERIAL IS USEFUL AND COST EFFECTIVE

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