Construction World - Indian Edition | February 2009

  Top Tips

Spoilt for Choice

In the nineteenth of a clip and keep series, Engineer JAGVIR GOYAL offers practical construction tips on doors, windows, fittings and cupboards.

1. Doors manufactured from materials other than wood include MDF and HDF doors, UPVC doors, fibre-reinforced plastic (FRP) doors and aluminium doors. MDF is medium-density fibreboard while HDF is high-density fibreboard. Durian has also recently ventured into the manufacture of HDF doors – it’s too early to rate them. For MDF and HDF doors, ensure that the screws driven into them do not get loose with time. GRP doors are comparatively new and under trial; their long-term survival is yet to be seen. In UPVC doors, though there is no danger of termite attack and you save on polishing work, ensure that they don’t get distorted or discoloured in intense sunlight. With these doors, the exact locations where fittings (locks, bolts, handles) are to be installed must also be marked.

2. Aluminium doors and windows are being increasingly used in metros because of their strength and lightness. Problems of termites, warping and painting are also eliminated. If you choose aluminium doors and windows, select powder-coated ones matching your house’s colour scheme. Aluminium windows of full floor height are becoming popular now. Select sliding windows instead of opening ones as smooth rollers can be more easily provided in aluminium windows than wooden windows. Choose heavy-duty double rollers. If you choose aluminium, even doors can be sliding at certain locations. Domal and Wicona are two good brands for aluminium doors and windows.

3. IS 1948, the code for aluminium doors, windows and ventilators, gives dimensions and weight-per-metre run of aluminium alloy extruded sections for fixed frame, shutter frame hollow section, shutter frame solid section, glazing bar, etc. However, extruded sections produced by reputed manufacturers are different from IS codes and a large variety of sections are available. While choosing aluminium doors and windows, go for a reputed manufacturer rather than insisting on IS-marked ones. Don’t allow the fabrication of doors and windows at site but insist on fabrication in the factory. Check fabricated shutters thoroughly in the factory before allowing their dispatch to site.

4. Provide solid wood moulding all around the wooden chowkhats. Though this moulding can be made by the carpenter, opt for factory-made moulding. A wide range is available in the market. Sections vary from 12 mm × 20 mm to 100 mm × 150 mm. Generally, lengths of moulding pieces are 3 m. Choose according to your taste and budget. See that the moulding is fixed with headless nails so that the nails are not visible after polish or paint.

5. For cupboards, use 2-inch-wide and 1-inch-thick wooden stiles and rails to make the shutter frame. All joints should be mortise and tenon joints similar to those in shutters. Fix chosen plywood, preferably 4 mm thick, on inner and outer faces if you want flush shutters. Otherwise plywood panels may be used. Shutters of both types look good. Use synthetic resin or Fevicol to fix plywood to the frame. Synthetic rubber (SR) adhesive has better water-resistant properties and should be used for exterior work. SR costs around Rs 200 per litre while Fevicol costs about Rs 125 per litre. SR doesn’t need the support of nails for proper fixing. With Fevicol, use ply nails of 17 or 18 gauge.

6. For cupboards, use continuous hinges (piano) to hang shutters made of particleboard. If you provide wooden frame shutters, the usual three hinges of 4 inch size may be used. Get the cupboard walls made in masonry with shutters in wood and shelves in particleboard. Provide particle board even at the back and side walls. Cupboards fabricated at site prove cheaper than prefabricated wooden almirahs. A prefabricated teakwood almirah costs as much as Rs 3,000 per sq ft – the cost of a 7’ × 4’ almirah will be Rs 84,000.

7. Screws used to fix door and window fittings need to be well selected. Good screws will not lose grip or widen the screw holes with the passage of time. Look for steel screws conforming to IS 6760. Also look for slotted-counter-sunk head wood screws with shaven heads. In the market, these are available as unshaven and shaven head screws. Shaven heads are bright and finished plain at the lathe while unshaven heads look unfinished. Choose the right length, not too long as it may pass through full thickness of wooden member, tearing it apart. A 6 × 25 screw means a screw of 25 mm length drawn from No. 6 mild steel wire gauge. A packet has 200 screws when length is less than 25 mm and 100 screws when length is more than 25 mm.

8. Some important ISI marks that should be checked in woodwork are:
Factory-made shutters: IS 1003
Factory made frames (chowkhats): IS 4021
Veneered particleboard: IS 3097
Plywood: IS 303
Seasoning of wood: IS 1141
Chemical treatment of wood: IS 401
Factory-made flush doors: IS 2202
Synthetic resin (SR): IS 851
Screws: IS 6760
Sheet glass for glazing: IS 1761
Creosote oil : IS 218

9. Decide whether you want to provide pelmets or curtain rods above windows. The present trend is to provide curtain or drapery rods with brackets. Choose drapery rods with matching end pieces instead of golden ones. Generally available sizes of rods are 35 mm and 28 mm. Both sizes are sturdy. The rate for the first three feet of length will be higher than the next three feet as cost of bracket and end piece is included in first three feet. The cost of the rod varies from Rs 10 to Rs 250 per running foot. Depending upon the weight of the rod selected, provide enough supporting brackets so the rod does not sag under the weight of the curtains. Generally, brackets should be provided at 2.5 to 3 ft intervals. Choose rings of matching shades. Go for wood finish drapery rods. Materials used are wood, wrought iron, stainless steel and aluminium alloy.

10. If you want blinds, select a reputed brand like MAC or Vista Lavolor. Blinds come in vertical, roller, Venetian, woven wood or bamboo varieties. Vertical blinds look beautiful in residential and office buildings while roller blinds suit commercial buildings. Blinds are available with special coating that doesn’t allow the entry of UV rays inside the house. Maximum percentage of UV rays is restricted to about 7 per cent. You may choose blinds with zero light transmission or partial light transmittance. There are also blinds that are given a special coating to make them more stiff and dust-repellent, and even blinds with acoustic properties. The width of verticals is generally 50 mm, 90 mm, 100 mm and 125 mm. Generally,
50 mm wide blinds are preferred. What’s best, the colour choice is unlimited. So go ahead and make your choice.

More tips will follow next month. Till then, happy building!

* The author is Deputy Chief Engineer (civil), author, technical books & columns and recipient, TIET Distinguished Alumni Award 2005.


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