Modular kitchens have become the standard in newly constructed buildings. The market is flooded with local as well as imported kitchen brands that promise unbeatable function and utility. In this article, we’d like to share our experience with all three types – modular imported, modular local, and made-on-site by a carpenter. Let’s look at the most common questions we get asked as residential interior designers in Mumbai.
What is the difference between a modular kitchen and a made-on-site kitchen?
The term modular kitchen comes from the use of modules used in the design and construction of the kitchen. Broadly speaking in our industry a factory made kitchen is referred to as a modular kitchen. This type of kitchen is made in a factory, often flat packed and is then installed at the site.
A carpenter made kitchen is a kitchen that is made on site, by a team of carpenters as per a design provided to them.
What are the advantages of a modular kitchen?
Time saving – Since the manufacture of a modular kitchen is largely mechanized in a factory built for the purpose, the process is less time intensive in comparison to an on-site carpentry kitchen. Manufacture of the kitchen in the factory also allows for civil work to proceed at the site simultaneously which saves a considerable amount of time.
Better finishing – In a modular kitchen factory, laminates are applied to the ply/MDF boards under a hydraulic or pneumatic press. This ensures a level surface without the possibility of the formation of air bubbles between the laminate sheet and the substrate board. Additionally, these laminated boards are then sealed on the edges in a process called ‘edge banding’. These processes ensure a more consistent finish to the look of your kitchen interior design
Variety of finishes – Imported modular kitchen brands offer a wide variety of different finishes which are not possible to make on site. Some of our favourites include stone veneer, stainless steel, and acrylic. These finishes as well as the machine process give a near perfect finish and make the kitchen look very premium
Integrated hardware – All modular kitchens, whether local or imported, offer special hardware fittings which seamlessly integrate into the design. The cabinets are specially sized to suit the hardware leaving no room for mistakes. Although many of the hardware fittings are sold separately, it’s often difficult for a carpenter to understand the intricacies of each specialty item.
Are there any downsides to choosing a modular kitchen?
Since a modular kitchen has a fixed number of modules, there are limitations on the level of customization that is possible.
Also, modular kitchens generally have limitations in the choice of boards that are used in the construction. Often these are chip board or MDF which are more sensitive to water damage than a premium quality marine plywood. This makes modular kitchens less durable than made-on-site kitchens.
Which is right for my project?
Choose a Modular Kitchen When:
You want luxury style and finishing – Imported modular kitchen have a level of detailing that cannot be matched by a carpenter. The premium hardware available with best brands elevates the entire experience of using the kitchen.
You have limited time – Modular kitchens are made in the factory which can be done parallel to your on-site work. This reduces the construction time significantly. As an added advantage, the modular kitchen is assembled in less than 48 hours without any dust or damage to existing interiors
Choose a Made-On-Site Kitchen When:
You have very specific design requirements – On site carpentry kitchens allow for more flexibility in the design. Since the construction is not based on modules, drawers, shutters and openings can be made of any size as per your kitchen interior design ideas and requirements.
Durability is your primary concern – On site carpentry kitchens allow for the use of civil work platforms. These are platforms constructed using marble or granite supports. This type of construction is extremely robust and is not susceptible to water damage or wear and tear. Combined with marine plywood cabinets, it’s a combination built to last for decades.
You’re on a budget – A high-end modular kitchen can put a dent into your home interiors budget. If funds are tight, a carpenter made kitchen is your best bet. It will be durable, decently finished, and will last you. That’s good value for money. Cheap local modular brands on the other hand compromise on quality and will not last more than 5 years.