Wooden or uPVC Windows and Doors

Doors and Windows today are not just restricted to being made of wood, but are also done in UPVC and aluminum. When it comes to windows, in our experience, more and more people are opting for UPVC over wood. This post should help you get a quick sense for the plusses and minuses of one over the other.

UPVC Windows and Doors

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A shift from wooden to UPVC windows and doors is happening in India because UPVC tends to cost a little less and requires less maintenance over its lifetime. They are less susceptible to moisture, which also helps in our hot and humid environments. They are also fire proof and termite resistant to top it all off.

Where UPVC doesn’t score well is in their design and color selection compared to their wooden counterparts.

In terms of brands of UPVC windows and doors in the Indian market today, you’ll find Finesta, Encraft

Wooden Doors and Windows

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Wood is a good insulator, and therefore provides better protection from the heat and cold than other materials. Wooden windows are also eco-friendlier, given they use wood (natural) vs. PVC (manufactured) and also require less energy to manufacture. Most of all they tend to look better than UPVC windows and doors. If maintained well, wooden doors and windows tend to last longer than UPVC.

On the flip side they are more expensive to make, require more time and money to maintain, and under moist/humid weather conditions show more wear & tear. For your reference, our experience suggests that the cost of wooden doors and windows is around 50% higher than UPVC.

Repairing Old Doors & Windows

If you don’t need new doors and windows you could always consider the repair option. A good carpenter can fix up your old wooden window and frame, and the painters can help paint or polish it to make them as good as new.

Waterproofing the Walls and Floors in your Apartment.

When renovating your home one of the most confusing aspects to plan for is the waterproofing. It’s something that doesn’t seem to add much to the aesthetics of the room, but can actually have the biggest impact on a space by protecting it from seepage and preventing structural and health damages caused by dampness and mold. The worst thing about damage caused by seepage is that you won’t realize anything is wrong till it’s too late.

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There are several reasons that cause damp walls, some of the more relevant ones are listed below:

  • Cracks on the exterior wall that allow rainwater to seep in.
  • Gaps in the floor tiles allow water from bathrooms to seep through and damage adjoining walls.
  • Water collects in the balcony due to improper drainage and seeps into interior walls.
  • Cracks in plumbing pipes.
  • Insufficient air circulation in bathrooms cause buildup of moisture.

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Remember as a thumb rule that water needs to be guided out, which means wet surfaces need to be properly sloped and sealed.

Waterproofing requires a lot of demolition of walls and floors, so combine it with a larger home renovation project. Use a reputed company, like Dr. Fixit, Fosroc or Asian paints, for waterproofing and get a warranty even if it’s a bit more expensive. Ideally your waterproofing should last up to 10 years without damage if applied correctly.

Types of waterproofing commonly used in India

Floor Waterproofing

For floor waterproofing one suggests using URP chemical above the cement concrete along with a waterproof membrane under your floor tiles and turn the membrane up around 4″ up onto the skirting on the walls. Make sure you re-grout your tiles every 18 months or so, this will avoid any moisture going through to the substructure.

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Wall Waterproofing

In order to waterproof your walls, remove the existing plastering, add a layer of tapecrete chemical (approx. 2-3 mm thick) followed by the wall plastering and paint.

Hope you found these tips useful, do share your renovation experiences with us in the comments below.

 

New False Ceiling in your Home

If you’re remodeling an old house or apartment, you’re probably wondering what all the fuss is about false ceilings. False ceilings have become a central feature of modern homes today, and come in various shapes and forms. False ceiling, coupled with the right ceiling lighting helps give your space a cozier feel. Here’s a quick intro to the types of false ceilings out there today for homes.

POP False Ceilings

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Plaster of Paris false ceilings are typically found in residences today. The ornate patterns you see on some ceilings, and along the edges of ceilings are done using POP. It takes a good quality craftsman to make elegant/intricate patterns, so choose wisely. POP is applied to a metal mesh (murga jaali), and suspended from the ceiling on metal channels. POP ceilings allow a lot more options in terms of design as compared to Gypsum ceilings. The picture above represents one type of ceiling possible with POP. You can do many more, including the one you see below under Gypsum ceilings.

Gypsum False Ceilings

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Gypsum boards are manufactured by pressing gypsum between two sheets of paper or cardboard. Something you may not know is that Plaster of Paris is actually gypsum as well. Gypsum boards are easy to work with given they are light, and can be cut/drilled into easily. These boards are usually placed on a metal grid and fastened, and the joints between boards are filled and smoothened. The joints if not done properly can start to crack and give a shabby appearance some years down the road. Gypsum false ceilings are easier to construct, and take less time to dry and waterproof than POP ceilings but don’t allow the same range of designs that one can achieve with POP ceilings. So if your false ceiling design allows for both options, one would recommend using Gypsum boards over POP.

POP Cornice

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You may hear the term POP Cornice used and wonder what it is. It is the POP edging one sees usually along the edges of the wall & ceiling. Some part of these may be readymade and installed by a craftsman.

Wooden Panel False Ceiling

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Wooden false ceilings can give you a great look, however they are expensive not easy to maintain. As with most things wooden, they are prone to attacks by termites and other insects, and can wear out quickly in the presence of moisture. Regular termite protection is essential, and one must hope that the room isn’t prone to seepage from above.

Alternatively, if you’re just interested in a wooden look, you could consider High Pressure Laminate (HPL) or PVC options with a wooden finish. Both HPL and PVC ceilings will be cheaper and more resistant to bugs and moisture than wood. Between the two, HPL will likely be more expensive than PVC.

Other types of False ceilings include: PVC false ceiling (in other non-wooden styles), Glass false ceiling, Acrylic false ceiling, and Metal false ceiling. These are less common in residential spaces, and tend to be used in offices, shops, and other commercial establishments.

Interior design to match your personality

Interior design matters. After all, the environment you create for yourself ends up shaping you. So be mindful of what your preferences are. To help with this we have some suggestions on what interior design style will match your personality.

For the creative extrovert
The creative extrovert loves being around people. They relish change and use their imagination to solve problems. They don’t believe in To Do lists, and want everyone around them to get along. They also tend to avoid commitment.
Your interior design style
Your home should reflect your infectious enthusiasm. You are a risk taker, so use bold colors and forms to decorate, your space should excite you! Infuse your home with personal memories, photos, objects and maps that reflect your journey. Make sure to secure a command center to keep yourself organized, weather a desk or a room, have a space that’s just for you. Create multiple sitting areas around the house as you will most likely always have company.

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For the introvert who is in control
You love your ‘me’ time, have fact driven conversations and live in the present. Overall you tend to be task oriented and are obsessed with getting things done.
Your interior design style
You strive for tranquility, so choose peaceful colors and decor. Use heavy doors that make you feel secure. You appreciate structure and logic so arrange your furniture symmetrically and create a uniform theme for your apartment. Display pictures of loved ones to stay reminded of their presence. You crave for order so keep your interiors minimal and de cluttered.

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For the relaxed introvert
If you think a lot before every move, prefer one on one chats to large groups, are creative, sensitive and don’t get things done till the last minute.
Your interior design style
You like to decorate with unique pieces that reflect your socially conscious personality. You like to reflect on things by writing or sketching (or some other creative but quiet hobby) so make sure you have the right space for this. Your interiors need to be restful, so use neutral and subtle colors. You like uncluttered spaces and tend to prefer beauty over function, so go ahead and get that marble counter you love even if it’s more expensive and harder to maintain.

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For the extrovert who loves their to-do lists
You draw energy from larger groups, use common sense to get to practical solutions, base all decisions on facts and accept conflict as part of relationships and life. Generally you get things done on time.
Your interior design style
Your home should reflect strength, so keep things neat and organized. You love entertaining big groups so plan a large dining/ gathering area. A guest bedroom is key to maintaining your status as a great host. You aren’t an out of the box kind of person, so avoid crazy decorating choices as you won’t appreciate it. Stay on top of things with calendars, clocks and mirrors. Display your achievements for all to see.

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Hope you are able to find the right tips to suit your personality. Of course these are generalized assumptions that might not always hold true, but if nothing else this will get you thinking about design in a much more personalized way.

 

Renovation Project Estimation: Things Contractors Say

You’re starting to think about renovating your space, and like anyone who isn’t from the industry you might be wondering how to wrap your arms around the s#!^ contractors say to you during the estimation process. Here’s a brief guide on preparing yourself for your contractor conversations.

Your Project will cost <some unreasonable amount>

Money

This is always the starting point for any renovation discussion. Contractors will throw out a number just to try to anchor customers with a large figure and leave some room for negotiation. What you should do at times like this is get extremely analytical and ask them to break down the figures in detail so you understand what all goes into it. E.g. break it down by task, discuss measurements, unit rates of labor, products needed along with their costs (BOQ).

I will use the BEST quality material, don’t worry

Compromising on product quality is an area where contractors commit the most fraud. It’s an easy way for them to make more money because you aren’t monitoring them 24×7. Ask them to make a Bill of Quantities (BOQ), containing the product list and prices, for your project. This will allow you to buy products on your own if you find a large cost difference. Note that when you provide the material, wastage tends to be higher because workers care less about how much material is used (they aren’t paying for it).

I will deliver on time 100% guarantee

On Time

Contractors almost NEVER deliver on time, so you will need to do two things. First, ask them to make a written commitment on the schedule and accept a monetary penalty for each day of delay. They likely won’t be willing to do the latter but its worth a shot. Second, be prepared for a 25% extension of the timeline so delays don’t hurt you as much. Finally, try not to change the scope of work too often and let them go about their business. The more you micromanage, the more likely they are to miss the overall deadline.

I can do all kinds renovation work not just painting

Be very careful of this one. A lot of contractors who specialize in one area (e.g. painting) will try to take on complete projects to make an extra buck. They will then try to find people to do the other tasks. However, teams who have not worked together before are at risk of making more mistakes leaving you suffering. Ask the contractor about their last few projects, the kind of work they did, what went well, what went wrong, pictures from site, and references of clients.

This wasn’t in scope and will cost extra

Scope discrepancies can lead to major battles between you and your contractor. Its best if you write it all down on paper up front and make him sign it. Later on he cannot come and add on extra costs saying that something wasn’t included in the scope of the project.

Please give me money (payments every other day)

Unless agreed on before starting out your project, contractors will arbitrarily come and ask you for money – sometimes when they have a cash crunch on another project. Create a schedule and agree to milestone based payments, this will also incentivize them to achieve their milestones on time.

Budgeting your kitchen renovation

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It’s never easy to commit to a kitchen renovation. One is always concerned about the noise, disruption and the cost of renovating. While some disruption during the process is inevitable, at least when it comes to budgeting your project we can help. Here are a few tips on how to establish a renovation budget.
Identify what you want to keep
If looking to do the project within a budget one should consider re-using parts of their existing kitchen. Your oven, fridge, chimney and hob could be reused if in proper condition. If you are fine with the location of your water inlets and outlets then you can save on redoing the plumbing, and the same is true for electrical work. You might even consider reusing the original flooring.
Set priorities
What is the goal of the renovation? Do you want to Increase space, change the look and feel, or make it more functional for your changing requirements? Make a priority list of what you care about, this will help you pick and choose tasks when fitting the renovation into your budget.

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Modular Kitchen Renovation Cost Breakdown
Most modular kitchen companies will give you a rate that seems quite low, but one must note that they are only referring to the cabinets. When it comes to a holistic budget one needs to consider the cost of plumbing, electrical, tiling, painting etc.
The cost of renovating a typical 8’X 10’ size kitchen with branded materials and midrange specifications should be around Rs. 4 Lacks. The budget break down per task is as follows:
Modular cabinets: 40% (includes good quality hardware, and laminate finish)
Electrical: 17% (includes hob, chimney, fans and geyser)
Plumbing: 11% (includes kitchen sink and faucet)
Tiles: 7% (floor and walls)
Doors and Windows: 12%
False ceiling: 3% (includes recessed lights)
Kitchen Counter: 3%
Misc. civil work: 7% (includes demolition of existing kitchen, waterproofing, painting etc.)
Please note that this budget doesn’t include larger appliances such as a fridge, OTG or microwave oven.
Also it is always advisable to keep an additional 15% of the budget available for unplanned tasks that might come up once your old kitchen is removed.
This basic thumb rule guide should get you on the right track in terms of preparing a budget, you can go high end with your cabinet finishes if your budget allows it, or cut some costs down by choosing not to redo the electricals and plumbing as mentioned before.
And finally to avoid going above budget, stick to the plan
How much extra you spend is completely dependent on you, once you have decided on a reasonable number, stick to it. Making changes through the course of a project leads to cascading budget increases that will surprise you at the end.
Hope these tips help you plan your upcoming kitchen renovation.

Do I Need an Architect?

Being in the business of home renovations one often gets asked for architect recommendations. One of the first things we like to ask them is what is it that you’re really looking for. Most of the times it turns out that there is little need for an architect. So we thought we’d try to explain the difference between professionals in this space.

 

Architects

Architects are trained, certified and have a college degree (undergrad, or masters) to show for it. The main job of an architect is to conceptualise the space in terms of the structure (floor, walls, ceilings) and plan layouts. They tend to have specialists on their teams for structural evaluations, plumbing and electrical planning. If you’re constructing a new floor, or a building you need to get an architect involved to make sure the planning is sound. While its not their core skillset, some architects get involved with the interiors and take on things like floorings, walls, ceilings, and even décor & furniture.

 

Interior Designer or Decorator

Interior designers focus on the interiors of a space. They help you make your space more livable/usable by suggesting how your rooms should look, how can you organize your furniture, what color theme you could pick for your bedroom and so on. They can also help you pick things like the right tiles for your bathroom, the marble for the flooring keeping in mind the overall chosen look and feel.

 

Contractor

The contractor is the one who gets the work done – i.e. the demolition, civil, plumbing, painting etc. There is a category of contractors called the general contractors who have teams, either on payroll or as affiliates who can help execute all your requirements. Then there are specialist contractors who only execute one type of task (e.g. painting contractor). Whatever your project involves, you will have a contractor on site. Even if a designer or architect says they do turnkey projects they will be working with a contractor to execute.

 

Project Manager

A project manager is someone who keeps track of your project and makes sure work is proceeding on time. It is their responsibility to firefight in case of issues, remind you when certain product decisions need to be made by, and push the contractors when their teams are not showing up on time. As with PMs in any organization, a good construction PM is an extremely useful resource during the execution of the project.

Maximize your bathroom storage

While bathrooms are usually the smallest room in the house, they tend to have a lot of stuff in them and usually this leads to clutter, everyone would love a little more space in the bathroom, but most of us don’t have the luxury of a large apartments with ample square feet available. Here are some ideas on how to maximize storage space in smaller bathrooms and make them feel more functional and spacious.

Use narrow cabinets to fit into wasted spaces, maximize every square inch.

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Add a shelf above your sink, this can be used for placing items that are needed often.

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Use spice racks for makeup and toiletries.

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Hang your towels behind the door, why waste wall space when you can use the door.

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Increase the hanging rod space.

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Stick shelving above your door, another space that is usually wasted.

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Maximize the area above your toilet, don’t neglect this space.

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Medicine cabinets are a classic space saving item, there are quite a few designs available in the market.

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Add a long cabinet to your bathroom vanity, if you have a little space after your sink dont waste it.

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We hope these tips will help make your bathroom experience more pleasant! Let us know if you have some innovative ideas to maximise bathroom storage in the comments section.

Design Visualization for Your New Home

 

What is design visualization for your home?

Design visualization is an important part of any home interiors project today because it helps customers see what their space might look like before they start their project. No longer do you need to start your project blind, and discover that you don’t like it once its complete.

Options for home design visualization

Today there are a few different types of design visualization modes out there.

2D Home Views

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These are the line drawings, or architectural drawings of your space that help you understand the dimensions and layout of your floor. They are also typically done for woodwork, such as wardrobes, modular kitchen, and TV cabinets.

3D Home Models

3D models are built to help you see your space in a way that’s as close to real as possible. It starts out as a 3 dimensional rendering of your space, on top of which layers such as walls, flooring, furniture etc. can be added. These models aren’t usually shared with customers because they require rendering software to be able to see and navigate through them.

3D Home Views

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Given 3D models are complex to work with, usually designers and architects offer you 3D views of your 3D models. These can be thought of as snapshots or photographs of your virtual space, which you can print out if needed. Each view tends to be charged at anywhere from Rs. 2,000 – 5,000 or more depending on the modeling complexity of your space.

VR Home View


VR in design and architecture is relatively new, and is starting to change the way we visualize new spaces. Our 3D models serve as the starting point in a series of steps that then allow us to view our space in the VR world. Imagine putting on a VR headset and looking around every corner of your new room. What’s more, you can navigate (or walk) from room to room and experience every detail as if you were there.

Why does this cost money?

Visualization of your home requires a combination of design, modeling, and technology professionals to work on your space to give you the views you want. Additionally the technology systems to host these models, and view them (VR headsets) are also quite expensive. Therefore, someone charging you to see these models is not an unreasonable ask – it costs them money to produce. You can reduce the number of rooms you want to visualize to lower costs. However, in the grand scheme of things spending 2-3% extra to see your space before you invest all that money in redoing it is totally worth it at the end of the day.

How real is my image?

Visualization is not perfect, it is after all a virtual image/model that you’re looking at. The quality of renderings is constantly improving though, and sometimes its hard to even tell which one is real and which is computer generated.

Can you tell from looking at these two?

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Source: RonenBekerman.com

(The one on the right is real)

Bathroom standards to keep in mind

Bathrooms are important to get right, a badly designed bathroom can get you off on the wrong foot each and every day. Keeping this in mind here are a few things you must incorporate into your next bathroom remodelling project.
Bathroom Colors

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Pick the right colors to reflect your personality. Weather you go for a contemporary charcoal and white palette or a Mediterranean blue theme take the time out to research your color choice and if possible find the right reference image to start with.
Bathroom Clearances
Make sure basic standards are met. Here is a list of things that you must make sure of:
WC location – Minimum 20 inches is recommended from the center of the toilet to the nearest wall or obstruction.  This means a span of 40 inches is recommended for the toilet.  The recommended clearance in front of the toilet is 30 inches.
Toilet paper holder – The standard placement is 8-12 inches from the front of the toilet seat to the center line of the toilet paper holder, at a height of 26 – 30 inches.
Standard washbasin height – Standard vanity height or washbasin height starts at about 30 inches high and goes up to say 43 inches.  At the lower heights most people will have to stoop to use the sink. Standard vanity cabinet depth is 2 ft.
Standard Shower dimensions – The minimum recommended size is 32 x 32 inches. If you can fit in a rectangular shower of 36 inches by 48 inches or larger you’ll be more comfortable.
Note: Shower enclosure door should open outwards (for unobstructed entry and exit into the wet area)
Bathroom Lighting

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Good bathroom lighting needs to be a combination of overhead and task lighting. Use a mounted or recessed light overhead for general illumination. You’ll also want to light the vanity area with some excellent task lighting, which can be a fixture above the mirror or sconces on either side. Additionally, you need to light the shower area with a dedicated overhead light.
You also should avoid light pointing directly down on your head because it will be harsh and unflattering. Instead, position your ceiling light over the walkway area so you’re lit from behind rather than directly in front of the vanity.

We hope these tips will help you with your next project. If you have any suggestions or opinions on this please do share your comments with us, we would love to hear your renovation stories.