Is polishing wooden surfaces a good option? What are the different choices available?
Polish doesn’t really protect the wood against weathering. It is the base material (often called ‘pili mitti’, or yellow mud) that does the job. The traditional “base” material or ready-made wood primers contain ingredients that help protect the wood against weather and pests. The spirit polish/lacquer, in turn, protects the base and provides the final finish, aesthetics, colour, texture, etc.
Melamine or PU further coats the polish/lacquered surface with a clear hard layer. This protects the vulnerable polish from dust-induced scratches, moisture ingression and thermal influx that the surface experiences when exposed to hot surfaces such as coffee mugs or freshly served dishes.
But can melamine protect the wood from sunlight, heat and rain?
Theoretically, once the hard sealant has enveloped the surface, it should become resistant to all weathering-related ailments, including cracks induced by expansion and contraction. But, practically speaking, some sections start to experience fatigue and eventually give in to the power of nature.
Polish and lacquer do well when the surface is either well protected (in a controlled dust/moisture-free, air-conditioned environment) with minimal physical contact, and/or out of reach (i.e. surfaces such as false ceiling and panelling). Melamine and PU, however, help increase the lifespan of the surface, even in the harshest of conditions (such as basketball courts or dance floors).
What are the different ways to create more storage space in the bathrooms? Considering that the only space available is below the washbasin, what are the options with the ideal materials?
In cities, bathrooms provided by builders are extremely short on space. Even the counters cannot accommodate a decent (under-counter) cabinet as most of the space is occupied by the soffit of the basin and the plumbing pipes (bottle trap, stock cocks etc). Despite this, you could consider the following strategies.
•You could use a shallow medicine cabinet behind the mirror.
• Normally, each bathroom has four sides—two short and two long. Imagine the entrance to be on one of the short faces. Build a shallow storage (15-20-inch deep) along this wall, just above the door and up to the soffit of the ceiling. This overhead storage often goes unnoticed, and therefore doesn’t create a feeling of being hemmed in. The space can be used to neatly tuck away geysers, or for regular storage. To circumvent the problem of how to check whether the concealed geyser is “on” or “off”, all you need is a light indicator along with a switch below.
• If you have a shared bathroom, where one door opens into the centre of the long wall of the bathroom (from the adjoining bedroom), and the other door, positioned in the short wall, opens into the foyer, you could create a small loft in the foyer with clear space below it (at least 7ft 3 inch). The access could be given either from outside or inside the bathroom. The loft can be fabricated out of water and termite-proof commercial board (20mm thick) and painted to merge with the colours of the surrounding wall.
You could also change the layout slightly by blocking off the door from the foyer. This will give you the scope of creating a bigger counter along the short face of the bathroom with greater under-counter storage space. A good example is a typical hotel bathroom layout with the counter along one short wall (opposite the tub) and the WC in front of the door. However, the shortcoming of this layout is that the space near the shower falls into the “wet” zone and this might make the small bathroom look even more cramped. (Navneet Malhotra / Better Interiors)