Is it too expensive to replace kitchen cupboard doors? Is painting them a better option?

Most ready-made modular kitchens are built of medium density fibreboard (MDF) that is less resilient than an equal thickness of traditional block boards/ plyboard construction. Owing to its weaker constitution, MDF can only be joined using screws, with the extra support of plastic ‘rawl plugs’ or expansion sleeves/ bolts. This makes repair equally difficult. In cases where repeated tightening and shifting of screws has rendered the front edge of the cupboard frame almost useless, it is best to remove the frontal 3" section of the hole-ridden fibreboard and replace it with an equal sized hardwood column. This hardwood member is attached to the rear of the cupboard frame and supports the hinges connected to the cupboard shutters, giving your cabinets an extended lease of life. The ageing process for a cupboard shutter is slightly less and restricted to surface stains, warping, chipping etc. This may not warrant immediate replacement and you could choose to simply resurface the old shutters, which will be cheaper.

What does IPS mean? What is the basic material used in it? Is it good for flooring, walls or the ceiling? What thickness of IPS is crack-resistant?

IPS is the abbreviation for Indian Patent Stone and is used to describe a type of cement floor that was commonly used before marble came into vogue. It is primarily made of two layers. The bottom 30mm-thick layer is made up of cement concrete in the ratio (by volume) 1 (cement): 2 (coarse sand): 4 (stone chips of 12.5mm nominal size). This concrete layer is divided into panels with no side bigger than 1.2m using glass, PVC, metal strips to limit cracks from shrinkage.

Non-shrink polymers are now available that reduce these inherent cracks further. Extensive curing (hydration of cement by keeping it wet for a given period of time) for at least 10 days also helps.

A 10mm-thick top layer of cement mortar is then plastered on top of this hard layer of cement concrete. Typically, this top layer contains (by volume) 1 part cement and 3 parts coarse sand. Some people also add colour pigments such as red oxide (3.5kg/50kg bag of cement), or even stone chips (less than 2.47mm in size) for greater strength. The top surface is finished with neat cement rubbed smooth with a metal trowel.

Though IPS can also be used on walls (where its under-layer thickness reduces to 25mm), it works best for floors.