- Solid wood
Nothing beats Solid wood. The rich natural textures and the durability of solid wood, especially when treated to prevent termites, cannot be compared to any other type of building material when it comes to doing your home interiors.
Designs which require hand carving or any other work on wood usually use solid wood.
We have taken the various advantages as well as categories of solid wood in detail since a small sub-category cannot explain the beauty of solid wood.
Plywood is the most common material used for making wardrobes, lofts as well as other cabinets in our house. This is even commonly used for making beds and lot of other furniture. A clearer detail of what is plywood is given below and can also be checked in a linked blog post.
As the name suggests, it consists of several layers of ply (number varies with thickness). These ply are pressed and stuck together with alternating grains perpendicular to each other. This makes the ply strong and durable.
Plywood has several advantages over other materials:
- Price is good.
- Nails and screws can be easily “grounded” into the ply providing a strong support.
- Ply is durable.
- Finishing materials like laminates and veneers can easily stick on ply.
- Block board
Blockboard is usually used along with plywood for making doors and shutters. Unlike plywood where thin sheets of wood are arranged in layers to make plywood sheets, blockboard sheets consist of blocks of wood arranged side by side and then finished with a thin top and bottom layer of wood.
This helps in preventing the board from bending which is an essential feature for doors of wardrobes. Since block board is not as strong as plywood, it is not recommended for frames.
Price of block board is usually slightly more than plywood but the difference is not significant. Also, blockboard doesn’t come in BWP grade. ISI standards for block board are different from plywood.
One thing which defines quality of blockboard apart from the kind of wood used to make the boards is the gaps between adjacent blocks of wood. Obviously, lower the better. Unfortunately unless the board is cut, it is not possible to figure out these gaps.
MDF is also called Medium Density Fiber boards and is being used by a lot of “modular” companies along with Particle board for making cabinets. HDF or High Density Fiber is a little denser product made in the same way.
MDF basically consists of wood fibers or small pieces of wood which are pressed together and compressed. Strength of the wood is dependent on the strength of the glue used as well as the compression. Unfortunately, neither of these are clearly defined by any manufacturer.
Due to the way MDF is made, it is difficult for a screw or a nail to get grip in MDF. Hence, ideally, MDF should not be used in areas where screwing or nailing is required which includes doors and shutters. Continuous opening and closing will make the screws loosen the fiber around them resulting in wobbly or falling doors.
Compared to plywood, MDF is also not as strong and hence it should be avoided for a frame as well.
In spite of its major flaws, lot of factory finished work happens in MDF. The reason is that the surface of MDF is not porous unlike plywood and hence less glue is required to do the same work. In addition, since MDF is not as hard, cost of blades is also reduced and work can happen faster.
Due to the above factors, MDF can be used in areas where interiors need a certain design element. Areas like wall panellings or CNC cuttings which need duco or PU finish can have MDF. In the projects of 100Krafts, in all such cases if polycoat or PU or duco has to be done on doors, we actually put a thin MDF sheet on top of plywood or blockboard.
- Particle Board
Particle board is basically a version of MDF with particles and “dust” of wood compressed with glue. A top and bottom “facia” sheet usually made of MDF is fixed to give it a smooth finish. This makes the wood cheaper than any of the ones mentioned above but comes with its own baggage. It also makes it the easier to work with and hence is the preferred wood for making “modular” wardrobes and kitchens.
Particle board also comes as PLPB (Pre Laminated Particle Board). This is actually particle board with thin laminate of patterns glued in a factory. It ensures clean finish and easier and faster work.
Both particle board and MDF are not long lasting and hence not really suitable for Indian households for a simple reason that when we do woodwork, its supposed to last a lifetime and not for 3 to 4 years.
Surprising fact: While most modular work is being done in particle board (or PLPB) or MDF, simply because of the way these material are made, they should not be used in modular fittings. In India, we do not change houses as often. When we do, we do not carry our kitchens with us. Hence the purpose of “modular” does not really hold ground in India. Also, there is no standardization of kitchen sizes and an older “modular” kitchen cannot be plugged elsewhere. Modular has become a term used more for a certain look which is misused by most “modular” furnishing companies to sell low quality PLPB and MDF at ridiculous prices.
A very good kitchen made in plywood with the same or even better “modular” finish is possible at the same prices. Check once with us if you want to see the huge number of options.