Thursday, August 10, 2017

Acrylic Versus Hi Gloss Laminate Versus Duco– Which one to use for that perfect Hi Gloss finish for your Modular Kitchen, Wardrobe and other Furniture

I have been getting a number of questions around Acrylic versus Laminate finish, where to buy Acrylic Laminates in Bangalore and how to use them for Modular Kitchen & Wardrobe Shutter construction, hence thought of penning this down as a dedicated post.

Even before we get into a discussion on Acrylic versus Laminate Versus Paint its important to step back and understand what the discussion “really” is about. What I have understood from customer interactions is that when they say that they need an Acrylic finish what they really mean is that they are looking for a “Hi Gloss” Finish.

A Hi Gloss finish can ultimately be delivered via using acrylic, laminate, Duco Paint, UV Coating, PU Paint etc. etc. and, mind you, none of the above techniques are superior or inferior than the other. The usage of one over the other really depends on the application (Kitchen or the Wardrobe, or the Cot or somewhere else…), the design (whether the surface is plane or curved), the level of maintenance that the user can manage and finally the choice of colour and whether the specific colour that the customer desires is available in the chosen finish.

With that preamble let us now look at the characteristics and suitability of each finish

1. Acrylic: 

This is sold either as 1 mm sheet that can be stuck on top of MDF/ Ply or as readymade 18mm board, pre-laminated with the 1mm acrylic sheet. Modular vendors cut these boards to the required size, apply the edge bands in matching colour and deliver the finished shutter to end customers/ designers. The thing to note here is that both Acrylic sheets and Pre laminated acrylic boards available in Bangalore are direct imports, usually from China, and none of the regular brands in India (Greenply, Century, Euro etc.) produce these. Hence the sourcing and sale of acrylic based products is largely unorganized with really no standard pricing. You will hence find prices of the finished shutters ranging from 600 per sqft all the way to 1400psft in the market with little or no marked difference in the product.
That said, acrylic gives a great hi gloss finish especially when the shutters are factory made from pre-laminated boards. Pasting of acrylic sheets on board on site is not recommended as this leads to waviness due to non-uniformity of the surface of the board or of the layer of adhesive.

Application & Use

In terms of its application, acrylic can be used only for plane/ straight line applications such as Kitchen and Wardrobe shutters. It cannot be used for profiled shutters nor in other "non straight line" applications.
From a maintenance perspective like any other glossy surface Acrylic tends to catch finger marks as well as scratches. Its scratch resistance is however higher than that of regular Hi Gloss Laminate.

Colour Shade Availability 

Acrylic is available in limited colours and the shade book of each vendor varies – hence it is quite an effort in case you are particular about the specific colour you want

2. Hi Gloss Laminates: 

These are similar to regular laminates but with a Hi Gloss finish. They are available from all the standard laminate manufacturers in India, some of them offer two varieties – the standard range and the hi scratch resistant range. In addition, the colour option availability is fairly exhaustive.
Here again it is best to go for factory made shutters as waviness is a standard issue in all Hi Gloss surfaces. At the same time, on site pasting is possible with Hi Gloss Laminates as carpenters are conversant in its use. Care needs to be taken to apply a 4 mm MDF sheet on top of ply to minimize the waviness. Also in case of shutters made on site the shutter size should be limited to 4 feet as longer shutters may bend due to the difference in expansion coefficients of ply, mdf and the laminate sandwitched together.

Application & Use

Due to the relative ease of use, cost & availability Hi Gloss Laminates can be used in a variety of application from Kitchen Shutters, Wardrobe shutters to Wall Paneling etc. When using for making shutters take care to find the matching edge bands so that the edges can be seamless. Matching edge bands are NOT available for the entire range and personally that has been one of my biggest complaints with the laminate manufacturers.
Also, as with Acrylic, the use of Hi Gloss laminates is limited to plane/ straight line applications. Hi Gloss Laminates do catch finger marks as well as scratches like other hi gloss surfaces. The Hi Scratch resistance variety is preferable but it is available in limited colour shades

3. Duco Paint: 

Duco is the most versatile method of achieving a hi gloss finish. It is the same paint that is used for painting cars and hence works great on angular, non straight line & curved surfaces. While Duco can be sprayed on well prepared & smoothened Plywood, it is easier done on plane MDF. Applicators hence insist on pasting a thin MDF sheet on Ply go get a smooth finish without having to do as much preparation. On the other hand, the “Glossiness” of Duco is lower than that of Acrylic or Hi Gloss Laminate. Duco also tends to crack up along the joints, it is hence best to minimize the number of joints in the furniture or hide them under the MDF packing or via a bit of smart design

Application & Use:

Due to its versatility Duco can be used for most applications including cots, book shelves, partitions, shutters and wall panels. However, Duco is not recommended in furniture & spaces that see hi traffic such as the Kitchen & Wardrobes. This is because even with a small hit or scratch the paint peels off and over time this results in an unkempt look.

Colour Shade Availability

Since Duco is a type of paint, it is available in almost infinite colours. You even get metallic shades that can be quite unique but need a fair amount of judgement - more around where NOT to use than where to.


That covers I guess, as always would welcome your comments, questions, suggestions & inputs

Signing off

PS: If you have a question to ask then please note: On Nov 15th we have launched the Q&A module on The Studio website. The Q&A interface on this blog was unable to scale to the number of questions that we have been getting - you would have noticed being unable to  scroll down to a question once the number of questions below a certain post increases beyond a certain limit. 
Hence if you have a question then please post it at  https://thestudiobangalore.com/questions-and-answers/ 



31 comments:

  1. Is membrane also one of the candidates here. Please share when to use membrane.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Gloss options are available in Membrane, however the finish of Acrylic & HG Laminate is better.

      Delete
  2. Hi Nandita,
    Thanks a lot for this wonderful blog.
    I have a question about the metallic edge banding. I'm not able to find the metallic Chrome edge banding in Bangalore. Can you help me look at the right place. I'm presently getting a sliding wardrobe done and wish to have Chrome type edge

    Regards
    Mir

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Chrome edge bands are fairly common. Any large Hardware store will be able to supply - you may try Masterpiece near Ragiguda Temple or at Razzle or Ranka Hardware on RV Road

      Delete
  3. Great post!! I was looking for Acrylic for my kitchen and was wondering why it is so uncommon to find acrylic sheets. Also your post clears the air about unknown brands in the market.
    One query. Where can i find trellis in Bangalore? It is for external use, so should be able to withstand the elements. There is some imported stuff in the market but it is very expensive (about Rs 130 per sft), It seems on the higher side.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Trellis is not very common in Bangalore, its best to get one made in steel or wood based on your specific need.

      Delete
  4. Do you recommend doing a deco for a bed ? What are the precaution to be taken care for edges?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes you can do Duco on cots. Round off the edges to reduce the risk of edge chip off.

      Delete
  5. Hi Nandita,
    I was looking for Acrylic sheets for my kitchen Shutters. I've checked Prestige interio OpuLux Acryl Glass. What is your opinion about its quality. Is there any other brand you can suggest for the same?

    Thank you!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Almost all Acrylic vendors are importing the sheets, pasting them on a base (Ply, MDF etc) and selling as a finished product. There is really not much to compare across different vendors hence you may decide based just on the availability of the colour/ shade that you are looking for.

      Delete
  6. Hi Nandita
    is it necessary to use calibrated plywood for acrylic. Can you suggest any good brand 19mm plywood for glueing acrylic on.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Look for ready made acrylic shutters. Pasting the sheets on a base (Ply/ MDF) onsite may be cumbersome and you might get waviness which will not look good.

      Delete
  7. Hi Nandita,

    This article is very useful. Your post really cleared my doubts and thanks for the info.

    BTW, do you provide your service in Hyderabad ?

    Thank You

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks,
      I am currently restricted to Bangalore

      Delete
  8. Thanks a ton for this blog as I was Keen to get acrylic sheet shutters for my wardrobes and my carpenter brought some pvc laminate catalog telling me that both are same and can be easily pasted onto the board, on site. My questions are answered in your blog. Thanks again

    ReplyDelete
  9. One query.. what, in your opinion, is the best option to use on wardrobes shutters? Laminates, acrylic or pvc? And which can be easily done by carpenter too!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. If a Carpenter has to do it then the least risky will be Laminate

      Delete
  10. Hi Nandita,
    Thanks a lot for your blog!!
    I have a few doubts
    (1) What are a few good brands that sell acrylic prelaminated on plywood 8x4 19mm?

    (2) Can acrylic prelaminated boards be cut by the carpenter without damaging?

    (3) Between (a) getting factory finished acrylic-on-ply shutters with edge banding and (b) getting acrylic prelaminated ply cut by carpenter with aluminium profile, what would you recommend?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. As mentioned in the post there are no standard brands that sell acrylic pre-laminated boards. The market is dominated by small / mid sized factories - Marracoat and Prestige Interio are a couple that I am across but have not used them hence cannot comment on their quality. However readymade acrylic shutters are available from regular brands such as Indoline & Evershine.

      Yes Acrylic pre-laminated boards can be cut by a carpenter, you will however face challenges in matching a factory finish - especially for the edge banding.

      Factory made shutters are preferable any-day

      Delete
  11. Which one should I use for bathroom door inside.Our Carpenter is suggesting duco.Door outsides are in veneer. also can you give some idea on duco per sqft​ cost and veneer pu polish cost

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bathroom Door inside can be in Duco or Laminate.
      PSFT cost for Duco vary anywhere between 90 - 250 per square foot based on workmanship. Similarly PU will vary between 200 - 300 psft.

      Delete
  12. Do you any recommendation for WPC (wood plastic composite) brand for interior work in terrace. People are recommending WPC as it can withstand elements.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. WPC would withstand the moisture better than Ply however it is likely to warp in the Sun.
      WPC is still an unorganized market with a number of dealers selling imported/ Chinese products. I had come across a company called Alstone some time back that is selling WPC in India, Have however not used their product hence I cannot comment on their quality.

      Delete
    2. Thanks. If not WPC then what is recommended for terrace work? I have to get something done which is open to elements

      Delete
    3. You may use BWP IS 710 Grade Marine ply with laminate. Also ensure to use waterproof adhesive (check this http://www.fevicoldesignideas.com/interiopediaproducts/details/13/fevicol-marine)

      Delete
  13. I have to get a hydraulic bed done from my carpenter. Any recommendation for hardware for hydraulic lifts? Also are the slatted frame available readily in the market?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ebco sells both the Hydraulic lifts for "under the bed" storage as well as a slotted frame. You may check with any of their dealers

      Delete
  14. Thanks!! Ebco has the gas struts available but slotted frame is not available from them. It is available from haffle but extremely expensive. I am sure there are local manufacturers but can't seem to find it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You can construct as shown here https://ebco.in/products/livsmart/bed-and-wardrobe-fittings-and-accessories/pro-lift-bed-fittings

      Else you may get a frame fabricated in stainless light steel.

      Delete
  15. Hi

    We want shaker style cabinets for our kitchen. Can it be done with plywood and laminate? if yes, how can edge banding for same be done. We want to do our home in a traditional look so donot want to use flat cabinets.

    thanks

    ReplyDelete

PS: If you have a question to ask then please note: The Q&A/ Comments interface on this blog below is unable to scale to the number of questions that we have been getting. Hence even if you post a question I am sometimes not able to reply to it due to technology limitations. To do away with this issue we have launched the Q&A module on The Studio website.

Hence if you have a question or if you posted a question earlier and did not get a response then please post it again at https://thestudiobangalore.com/questions-and-answers/ so that I am able to see and answer it

Regards
Nandita