Here’s Why You Should Go The PVC Way


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THE POWER OF PVC

By S.RADHA PRATHI

Abraham Lincoln once said that the best way to destroy enemies is to make a concerted effort to befriend them and then there will be no enemies left.  When we look around the world the one common enemy of all mankind happens to be plastics. It has been declared as the most destructive villain of the twenty first century. We have been told in all kinds of manners to shun it like plague. So we should. On the other hand if we give the material a fair chance and use it properly then it is quite possible that we can subjugate the villain and use his pluses to serve our purpose.

The concrete jungles are thriving skywards. The imminent need to use light, strong and sustainable materials is becoming increasingly valid.   Nowadays plastic doors are flooding the building marts. To begin with, we Indians have kindly considered the use of these doors as best solutions for bathrooms, toilets, balconies, terraces, door partitions, half door’s for children’s rooms especially in apartment complexes. Novelties like folded or sliding doors have become more feasible because of the enviable nature of the material to mold into any shape and size without ado. Industrial properties are also increasingly considering these plastic doors as a cost effective and low maintenance option.

So Poly Vinyl Chloride aka PVC is the latest buzzword in the world of builders, architects and environmentalists alike.

So now let us take a look at how this labeled baddie can be made out into a hero of sorts and put into use, so that he does not prove to be an impediment to our beloved planet.

Water Proof

The material is longer lasting than conventional wooden or metal doors because it is water proof. Hence it is non corrosive and has very low chances of gathering moss. Since the surface is non porous, it cannot absorb moisture, leading to expansion and contraction of volume during damp and dry weather conditions, even if they are exposed to the elements of nature.

Termite Proof

How many times have we not seen old doors made of lofty wood like sandal, teak oak or rose wood housing termites an other insects as they age. This is because these natural materials have a tendency to reveal crevices which many have been covered during the carpentry. Besides the layers of wood give way to new crevices while weathering and not much can be done about it with the exception of monitoring the door with pesticides from time to time. PVC doors will never give room for such anxieties given its synthetic and non porous nature.

Light Weight

Unlike traditional doors that flaunt their strength in proportion to their weight, PVC doors are opposite by nature. They are strong but they are not heavy. In fact they are about one tenth the weights of regular doors. Their lightness has proved to be a boon in disguise in high rise buildings which have to be super strong without being weighed down by their own mass.

Hassle free Installation

Installation of doors is no mean activity. It takes a skilled carpenter to fix a door that fits perfectly into its frame. As for PVC doors, any novice can do it hands down provided he has all the tools and screws. Even  if you are planning to install new PVC doors on old wooden or metal frames, it is possible to get a door custom made and fit it into the slot without too much trouble.

Scratch Resistant

PVC doors are highly scratch resistant. Since they are not and need not be painted there is no question of them succumbing to abrasions and peeling. Homes with pets and little kids need not worry about pawed doorways when they go with this option. One can happily put up posters, stickers and pin ups on this door without causing any damage.

Acoustics and Temperature

If PVC doors seem flimsy and a tad too loud for your tastes and concerns, it will help you to know that the doors have enough thickness to retain the acoustics and temperature of the premises and control the level of external sounds and air that can seep in like any regular door. As usual, thicker the gauge of the door, more the resistance of sound and heat.

Chemical Resistant

Manufacturers and dealers are often asked whether the doors can take the constant onslaughts of chemicals that are an integral part of the soaps, detergents and sometimes acids that are components of the cleaning materials especially in bathrooms and toilets. The answer happens to be in the positive. In fact  if the cleansers  smudge the door, they can be washed off as well.

Maintenance Free

Once you fit  a PVC door, you can happily forget about it . They don’t,  respond to weather, they don’t creak, they don’t need to be polished or painted from time to time and a little soap and water can have them sparkling clean without much effort. In fact public toilets that have already started using PVC doors can be looked upon as silent advertisements to doubtful future users amongst you.

Aesthetics

Those of you who do not want the door to stick out like a sore thumb, please remember that there are a plethora of colours and designs that are available in the market. As far as India is concerned people go in for wood shades that can pass off for the original. Then there are gaily coloured ones and even printed ones if you care for them. If you want any specific design of your choice, manufacturers are very happy to cater to your needs albeit for a higher price.

Low Cost Options

Apart from being eco friendly, these doors are also considerably cheaper than their usual counterparts. Since they serve the same purpose, the cost of building can come down by nearly twenty per cent. Besides, when your property is being taxed for its assets, the tax on wood will also come down.

 

 

 

Home is Where the Heart is


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One of the most common aims of people is to build a home for themselves. Though there is nothing wrong in wanting to have one’s own nest, it is necessary to realise the temporary nature of this need. Then, you will not feel like a failure if for some reason you end up not having your own home.

The Vamana Purana proposes a solution to this human need when it documents a very domestic conversation between the divine couple Shiva and Parvathi. Once, the goddess felt like picking on her husband. She declared that she felt inadequate whenever she was referred to as the lady of his house. When Shiva tried to laugh off the comment, his better half expressed her desire to discuss the matter seriously. She pointed out that she had been running her household in the wilderness and snowcapped mountains ever since she threw her lot with him. They had never had a roof above their heads for as long as they had been married, let alone a home.

Shiva wore an expression of helplessness and said that he did not have enough resources to construct a house for them. Nevertheless, he added that he had always ensured that his wife would not be exposed to the elements come what may. After all, during summers they would enjoy the cool shade when they camped under the massive green trees and they would live above the rain clouds to avoid getting wet during the rainy seasons. The caves in the hearts of the mountains would take care of their winter needs. Parvathi could not but agree with her lord. After all, she had enjoyed living in the open without being restricted by borders or walls.

The whole world seemed to be her home when the vast expanse of the earth formed the flooring of her home and the immeasurable star-spangled skies her ceiling. Besides the constant company of Shiva whom she loved with all her heart made the universe the best ever home for her.

They say home is where the heart is. If we learn to love those around us and our environment, we cannot have a better home.

The Six Yard Creativity


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Radha Prathi Mar 8 2018, 22:50 IST

The sari is one of the most elegant pieces of clothing. It is versatile and can be passed off as both a traditional and modern artefact. Saris have been recycled many a time to serve different purposes such as creating different outfits or home decor essentials. In a day and age of creativity, innovation and sustainability, it is only befitting that we recycle and create wealth from waste. Thereby, what better way to than to use old saris to create innovative decor pieces.

Many, many uses

For a Victorian look for the windows, weave a pleated chiffon sari along the curtain rod lengthwise. Adjust the length of the sari so that it falls equally on either side and fasten it with a clothespin. Then, equalise and ease out the curved portions in between and pin them firmly at the back. Make corrections where the proportion is concerned.

Make fancy string curtains using colourful synthetic saris. Cut them into strips of about four or five inches wide and picot the edges. Then use a double thread and sew through the centre using a simple running stitch. When you reach the end, push the cloth back gently and allow it to twirl around till it achieves the floral garland look. Then knot the stitch to a close. Keep attaching strips till you arrive at the desired length. Attach a loop at one end for it to slide across the curtain rod. When the stitches are equally spaced and considerably closer, the results will be better. You can play with colour combinations if you’re planning to use a number of saris in the project. You can hang them up as borders of your regular curtains, or hang them all at equal intervals at doorways and open windows.

Make your own fancy foot rugs, telephone mats and table mats by cutting a sari lengthwise into three parts. Picot the edges, place the three pieces one over another and stitch them firmly at one end, and plait it all the way until the end. Stitch the plait close by placing the three pieces one over another. Coil the plait in the shape of your choice and glue it on to a Rexine sheet of the same shape.

You can also create your own corner table using a spare cooking gas cylinder. Make a skirt of the unused saree and drape it around the cylinder and conceal its neck as well. Place a large brass or fibreglass tray on top of the cylinder. One can also use cotton saris for the all-purpose cloth in the kitchen. One simply has to convert them into little-pleated skirts. Attach a Velcro to one of the open ends and fasten them in places you might require them in.

Save Yourself from Rainy Days


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Radha Prathi, March 24, 2017

problem It has been identified that water has a tendency to seep into adjoining walls that are at different levels. 

Come rainy season, and urban India is on tenterhooks, when it comes to their houses.

The reasons for these are many, ranging from poor construction to lack of a good rainwater draining system. Sometimes, a good many number of building parts, or even entire buildings have little or no exposure to sunlight. Correcting these anomalies is beyond the realms of practicality. Such being the case, it will be only wise to take the next best recourse.

Architects, builders, consumers and the waterproofing industry have identified the problems associated with moisture in buildings and have come up with solutions that can keep the building dry for the most part of the year. When the rainy season sets in, they have come up with techniques that will get the water off the building fast, so that pooling and leaking of water into the structure can be contained. Adding slopes in the roofing area wherever possible and rainwater harvesting project incorporated into buildings can stem this problem to a large extent.

It has been identified that water has a tendency to seep into the adjoining walls that are at different levels. Extra care during construction and plastering of these areas can control the damage caused due to dampness. Sometimes, water seepage can happen when there is error in the installation of the plumbing system. Then there are those instances when there can be inadequate surface preparation, improper use of primers, failure to take into account the thermal and wind movements of the structure etc which can undermine the strength of the construction over a period of time.

No matter what the problem, there are mostly ready-to-use products available that can repair possible damages to the buildings. If you are constructing a new facility, you can use them in the first instance, but if you are trying to protect an old home, you might have to walk that extra mile. Nevertheless, you can be sure that it is worth the effort.

Structural waterproofing

Open areas like balconies, porches and terrace slabs, which tend to be exposed to rainwater directly and for a longer time, will do well to mix admixes which will plasticise the walls and plug in the pores so that they do not retain water and absorb it later. As always, the market offers a range of these admixes with various grades of plasticising agents both in the paste and powder form. People looking at longevity of their constructions even have the options to fill hollow cement bricks with this mixture to make it waterproof from within.

Roof & terrace

It is universal knowledge that the roof and the terrace of any building are always exposed to the natural elements. This, coupled with bad upkeep can make the area develop cracks. Hence, waterproofing the terrace can protect it. You really do not need professionals to do this job, for the method is very simple. Sweep the terrace clean, wash it with clear water. Leak-guard pastes available off the shelf can be used to plug in cracks, dents and chipped area of the terrace.

Similarly, waterproof powder and chemical can also be bought in any hardware shop. Mix the powder as instructed in a bucket of clear water and apply the liquid to the surface with a wide paint brush. Apply a second coat after three hours and be rest assured that your terrace is safe for the next three to four years. As of now, there are no permanent waterproofing techniques for the roof; hence the need to repeat the exercise time and again.

Basement

Basement areas tend to become swimming pools during monsoons. The slope and the rainwater drains don’t help much, unless planned and executed well. You can prevent your basement from becoming redundant if you use appropriate waterproofing. While new basements can use structural procedure, old buildings have to first release the surface of the mould. Fumigation and subjecting the area to hot air blasts can clean it to a large extent. If the walls of the basement have started chipping or flaking, it will be worth the investment to get them plastered again before working on the floor.

Then, use non-metallic heavy duty floor hardener to reinforce the floor. Though this measure is costly, it has a long life and can be easy to clean and maintain. Waterproofing buildings has come of age. There are plenty of options in terms of both price and quality. The best time to waterproof buildings will be summer. Make sure that your homes and offices wear their rainproof cover before the first drizzle.

Enclose With Elegance


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neat Get a small quantity of white acrylic paint and colour the insides of your showcase. photos by author

Did you know that the showcase that adorns your living room is perhaps one of the features that is almost never missed by your guests and visitors? They pay special attention to the showcase because they are aware that it is the hotspot in the house which conveys a lot about the residents.

The trophies that assert one’s success, the souvenirs that stand witness to your travels around the globe, the antique piece which speaks about your aesthetic inclinations, the family heirloom that display your affection for your grandparents and so on and so forth, jostle with one another and proclaim your collective personalities as a family.

It is true that all of us who have arranged our showcases must have spent some time giving it our thoughts and exercising our creativity. However, we may have noticed that not all of them are always appealing or exotic. This does not for a moment mean that your stuff is not good enough nor does it mean that your showcase has become redundant. All the same, the lacklustre aspect could be attributed to several reasons.

For one thing, it may have collected dust and grime. Otherwise it could be overcrowded or sparsely filled up. Sometimes, we leave essentials like keys, bills, torches, money, matches etc in some section of the showcase for easy access, not realising that they could be an eyesore.

If you think that the above reasons are not applicable to you perhaps, you have never changed the arrangement over the years, giving it a sense of predictability, which will fail to garner the attention of your visitor. So, here are a few tips that will ensure that your showcase attracts renewed attention:

Remove all the contents of your showcase and clean them thoroughly.

Clean the showcase and the covering glass using soap and water. If the walls of the cabinet have yellowed or scaled due to age, rub the surface with sandpaper and scrape it completely.

Get a small quantity of white acrylic paint and colour the insides. If your cabinet is made of wood, a coat of ready-made wood polish will do the job.

Check if you have one too many articles that will look good when hung. Take stock of the number and fix little sticks on hooks (easily available in the market) on the ceiling of the partitioned area.

Sort out your showpieces either in terms of size or theme. If you are the sort who likes to rearrange memorabilia time and again, it will be a good idea to stick to a theme. On the other hand if you want to take things easier, identify a few things that you always want to display and change only the other items from time to time.

Make sure that all the unsightly wires that run through are carefully stapled and hidden away.

Toss in a few pieces of camphor in every shelf to keep it pest-free and fragrant.

Use an old newspaper to wipe the glass clean from both sides before sliding it over the showcase. Make it a point to wipe the glass clean at least once in a fortnight.

Repeat this exercise and bring variations in the display once in every three or four months.

Do not place damaged pieces, picture postcards or family photographs amid other things, unless it happens to match the theme.

With Better Strength and Shine- Vitrifed Tiles


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With its beautiful finishes, low porosity and commendable resistance to heat and water, vitrified tiles can be the perfect flooring option for your abode. Radha Prathi offers some insights

The ultimate idea of a clean floor in our country is when one has cleaned, swept and mopped it with all kinds of chemicals and solutions. We have been following this method for ages without a break, no matter what the kind of flooring is. Natural stone floorings like granite, marble or salt stone have borne the brunt of this harsh routine for a long time. Yet floors made of cement, ceramics, terracotta and certain low-quality mosaics have succumbed to scratches, pockmarks, cracks and even little craters by the sheer result of wear and tear.

This syndrome has proved to be a nightmare for conscientious housekeepers, who take pride in their work. While the building is well designed and has lots of scope for utility, it falls short in such cases, raking up huge maintenance bills. Sometimes, mere poor maintenance of the flooring botches up best-laid plans for a home.

The best solution to the problem will be to replace the flooring with a sustainable option. Now, we have two choices: for those who can afford, they can go in for marble or granite. Both, while costly, are long-lasting and classy. On the other hand, if you have a smaller budget, but do not have the heart to completely uproot the foundation, relaying the floor is another option. Don’t worry: relaying the tiles won’t pinch your pockets.

Reworking aesthetically

We live in the age of vitrified tiles. These beautiful tiles which come in all shapes, sizes, colours have become the builder’s pet and with reason too. They are man-made ceramic tiles endowed with great strength, low porosity and come with great resistance to scratches, heat, water and even frost. They come with glazed and matte finish for both indoor and outdoor uses.

Laying these beautiful tiles on your own is no big deal as most dealers who sell tiles also sell the requisite cement, adhesive, polish and acid necessary for the laying activity. Some of them also have trained tile layers who can lay tiles in an eight square premises within eight to 10 hours.

Yet the challenge lies in reworking on existing premises. If one can manage it, it will be in the best interest of the building in the long run to remove the present flooring completely, put a layer of cement over it and then lay the said tiles according to the instructions. This method can prove to be very cumbersome, a little expensive and time consuming though the results will be spectacular.

The other way to lay these tiles is to lay them over your present flooring. Many people all over the world have experimented with this idea and have arrived at different conclusions. While some of them have considered their effort to have been successes, others have cursed the day when they decided to go in for this particular method. If the tiles are not laid properly, they can make the floor uneven. Over a period of time, the gap between the tiles could open up to moisture. And when we mop the floor on a daily basis, lots of moisture gets accumulated in such gaps. Then we can do nothing much about it except rework on the entire flooring.

As in all things, if we follow the prescribed procedure properly, chances of disappointment can be non-existent. If you are one of those people who choose the easier but trickier option, you will do well to go to a professional for such things.

Starter tips

But if you are doing it on your own, here are some helpful pointers:

* First of all, remove all the doors in your facility, because the floor level will rise when the vitrified tiles are overlaid on them. They can be refit at the end of the exercise. You will need to get a carpenter to saw the extra wood towards the bottom of the door. This will ensure the door will fit perfectly with the new height of the floor.

* If the existing floor has developed a crack, check its strength and piece them together with cement. In other words, make sure that your flooring is even.

* Clean the floor thoroughly and keep it free of dust, paint, oil etc, before applying the chemical adhesive to the floor.

* To avoid wasting the adhesive, make sure it is mixed in small proportions. Never make the mistake of using the leftover adhesive of the previous batch while mixing a new batch. However wet or fresh it may be, never mix the old and the new because it is this little bit of thriftiness which will lead to lumping which will in turn make the flooring jagged in the long run.

* Even out the adhesive so that it covers all the borders of the tile. Remember, unevenness is either due to excess of the adhesive or a lack of the same.

* Ensure that you double check the direction of the arrow to gain the visualised pattern before laying the tile. Just in case you make a mistake, remove the tile immediately and scoop out the adhesive. Allow the place to dry and then scrape out the remaining adhesive before reworking. This kind of mistake may stop your work for a couple of hours, but doing the square thing will prove to be a stitch in time.

* Once the tiles are laid, make sure that you do not place anything heavy over them or walk over them for the next six to eight hours. If walking on them is unavoidable, ensure you walk on them only after four hours and only step on the centre portion of the stones. If you want to use the passage earlier than that time period, it will be best to relay the tile as described earlier. There is really no point in being penny wise, pound foolish.

* The following day, the hairline gaps should be packed neatly and carefully with white cement putty. Remember to wipe the floor clean with a wet mop only after 12 hours.

* Inspect the borders of the tiles with your toes. If it happens to be seamless, you have accomplished your mission, if not, nothing is lost.

* Your dealer will hire out a buffing machine which can correct small aberrations when used by an expert user.

* Once the buffing is done, go through the white cement exercise.

* Since most vitrified tiles come polished, there is no need to polish them all over again.

* A light acid wash can be implemented if the floor has been soiled. Please consult the tile dealer before taking a call.

So, are you ready to say hello to fabulous vitrified tiles now?

To Create That Wow Effect With Glass


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With buildings constantly rising vertically every year, it is becoming increasingly difficult for homes that do not go beyond the first floor to get their fair share of ventilation. Though not much can be done, a little thoughtful makeover can actually lighten up the place. If you want your home to glimmer at all times of the day, glass is the way to go.

With so many varieties of glass available today — ranging from bulletproof and transparent to smoky and featured with visibility from one side — there are innumerable ways in which you can incorporate the material creatively into your living space. And with some imagination and professional help, you can transform your home or office into a state-of-the-art premises with a fine mix of glass.

It’s possible to transform any area into a roomy, well-lit and expandable place. Let’s take a look at a few practical solutions that can help you incorporate glass effortlessly into your home. For starters, how about using glass partitions? They prove to be cost effective in the long run as they are low on maintenance.

Open & spacious

Old buildings take up a lot of interior wall space. When renovating such places, take a careful stock of the walls that can be done away with. For instance, you can consider the walls that can be brought down to make open kitchens, dining areas, corridors and foyers.

Once you have decided which walls are coming down, ensure that the entire wall is not affected. It will be wise to leave about six inches of it from the floor upwards and about two feet from the roof downwards. The wall should be immediately plastered and allowed to cure for a couple of days before proceeding with any further work.

While leaving the space open is an obvious choice for open areas, it is something that is not feasible in an old building. A plain or stained glass of your choice can be fitted between the bracketing walls of the ceiling and flooring, allowing for ample light and extended space. Additionally, you can paint these glass partitions, if you wish for privacy in the rooms.

Portable walls

There are times when we feel the need for a temporary wall, say near the wash basin or in the drawing room — a bit of privacy can be the need of the hour. At such times, a portable glass wall can come in handy as you can move it easily from room to room.

And if you don’t want it to be made entirely of glass , you can have it fitted into a metallic or wooden frame. You can also  customise it to your taste. For example, you can have frosted or stained glass put in. And to make it truly portable, you can attach small wheels at the bottom and a little stopper.

Pillar idea

For those who do not want to use glass sheets, glass pillars are a good option. These are available readymade in various sizes, designs and colours. Additionally, you can get them customised to your preferences. These can be placed in various parts of your home, according to your need and necessity. For an ethereal look, you can add appropriate lighting to enhance the effect.

However, keep in mind that these pillars cost more than the glass sheets. If you are apprehensive about the cost factor, it can be a good idea to have a pillar or two on either end of the space or in the middle and have narrow panels of glass fitted in
between. This will take care of the ventilation needs as well.

Exteriors effect

Putting glass on your home’s exteriors allows you to brighten up the space by bringing in a lot of sunlight and making it look  spacious. These can be in the form of a wall, large windows or as a part of your balcony, porch or sit-out.

However, if the area is facing busy streets, it can prove to be a perpetual problem, courtesy the dust and noise. Such places are best covered with a strong and suitable variety of glass. These can range from stained glass to glazed glass. However, ensure that the glass can be slid open and closed easily to let in air as and when necessary.

Using glass at home may not just be limited to these; there are numerous other ways that you can creatively incorporate the material into your abode. Versatile and easy to maintain, glass is a perfect medium to enhance your home’s interiors and make your home look striking. Not to forget, the natural light that it can get in!

How to paint on glass

If you are looking to paint on the glass you have bought, there are several things you need to look at. But first, ensure that you do a practice run on the readymade glass painting kits that are available easily in the market.

Once you have got a hang of it, decide on a design for your glass and take a printout of it in the exact dimensions you need. Place the sheet on the glass.

Procure a small sample tin of black acrylic oil paint and a set of pearl paints. You will also need some thinner to erase mistakes that you might make, and two round-tipped brushes numbered triple zero and one.

Keep in mind that the outline for your design must be done in one sitting. Hence, set aside around two hours or more to complete the task.

As for filling in the colours, it can be done over many sittings once the outline has dried. What you are actually working on is the design’s backside.

If you want to give special effects like shading and dimension remember that the colour applied first will be seen first. Hence, you need to work backwards while using your glass painting techniques.