So you have made your first visit to the market to decide on your interiors, visited @Home, HomeStop, Hometown, Home Center, Nolte, Veneta Cucine, checked out the neighborhood Modular Furniture & Kitchen Wala, spoken to the carpenter who did the house of so and so…….etc. etc……..Means that you are now more confused than you were when you started off, well…. welcome to home making :).

In my earlier posts I have tried to help sort this very confusion offering inputs around
1. how to create a budget (Read Here)
2. the technical aspects when making specialty artifacts like a sliding wardrobe & a modular kitchen. (Read Here)
3. good & reasonable places to shop for interiors in Bangalore (Read Here)

Last week while answering a number of customer queries I realized that I have yet failed to answer one of the fundamental questions that home makers have i.e. with all the choice available in the market, what is the right material to use for one’s woodwork?

So this post is dedicated to answer just that … lets start with the Kitchen:

Kitchen Carcass or The Boxing

If you are someone who does not plan a 3 year “refresh” of your kitchen then the only choice for the Kitchen carcass is Warterproof Marine Ply (Technically called BWP IS 710 Grade Ply….ISI Marked mandatory). Many not so scrupulous will talk about using “Water Resistant” Ply, Laminated Particle Board, Marine Ply in wet areas and Particle board in dry areas etc. etc. for the carcass but trust me anything other than Waterproof Marine Ply means that you giving birth to something that will not last beyond its 3rd birthday, it is another matter that from a price perspective using Waterproof Marine Ply will lead to approx. a 20-25 % increase in the overall cost of the kitchen. Steel Carcass has also emerged as an option in the Bangalore market, I am however not a big fan as it as a perfect shutter alignment is always an issue when marrying a wooden shutter with a steel base and the fact that all the steel inside makes it feels like a railway compartment

The interesting thing to know however is that while the Waterproof Marine “Ply” will be “Waterproof”,  the (white) “laminate” that you put on top of it will still come off if one continuously pours water on it.
The intelligent amongst you will then ask – “So if even Waterproof Marine Ply carcass will eventually spoil (laminate coming off) due to high moisture, why use it at all” ???

The answer is that (1) The weight of the entire kitchen – Hardware, Drawer Channels, Kitchenware, Wall units etc. rests on the Carcass (Both Bottom and Wall unit boxes) and the bolts & screws that hold all this together need a pretty strong “base” to dig into. (2) Waterproof Marine Ply (ignore the laminate) is simply the best “base” that is available in the market that stays good even in the worst of moisture conditions. (3) Using any other “base” is simply amounts to compromising the life of your Kitchen.

Kitchen Shutters

For the Kitchen Shutters any of MDF, HDHMR or Plywood works fine. You will ask “Why is Marine Ply NOT recommended here too”??…well remember we said that anything (even the laminate on the Marine Ply) will spoil in high moisture conditions, so the assumption is that we are not using the kitchen as a bathroom. Secondly….the shutters do not hold the entire Kitchen weight, only their own. Hence for regular use Kitchens (Not Industrial Ones) the MDF / HDHMR, Regular Ply OR Marine Ply options work well. Particle Board however is still not recommended.
Use of MDF & HDHMR also allows additional finish options such as acrylic or lacquered glass as some of these finishes are not available on Plywood. Choosing the finish is however another topic in itself and is discussed in more detail in a separate blog post here

Wardrobes & Other Storage Units

The Carcass for the above can be made with any material as in most cases the carcass has wall support from 2 or more sides. Hence if budget is a constraint and there is good wall support then even MDF or HDHMR works here. I will still not recommend particle board unless the budget is an extreme constraint.

The shutters are key in case of wardrobes and need specific attention
The recommended material to use for the shutters in Wardrobes & Storage Units depends entirely on the size of the shutter that you planning. If it is a regular 7 feet height swing shutter then it is ideal to use blockboard as the base. For 8 feet or a 9 feet tall shutters (Sliding OR Swing type) it is best to use metallic frames with wooden panels or glass as that helps control its tendency to warp and also brings down the weight of the shutter. Also remember to keep the panel width higher than 3.5 feet for tall shutters else they tend to wobble specially sliding doors
For shutter heights less than 7 feet, anything will work.

That covers it I guess….will welcome any bouquets and brickbats

Happy Homemaking


PS: The discussion above assumes that the material being used is from reputed brands – nowadays, for example, BWP Ply is available at 30 Rupees psft all the way to 120 Rupees psft – the one at 30 rupees is actually worse than Particle Board