Tailor your house to your needs

Sound logic

Determining the structural aspects while buying an apartment or constructing an independent house is essential for health and living ease, says A Dyuti

Buying an apartment? Or constructing an independent house, perhaps? Either way, decor decisions come later. You need to consider some structural aspects, first for health and living ease. Intrigued? Don’t worry! We’ll clear the haze! Simply read on!

Of primary concern is ventilation. It’s the system for circulation of air indoors such that there’s no dearth of fresh air. Yes! Hot, stale and polluted air indoors can cause a lot of discomfort and disease! Ventilation devices keep dust mites at bay, remove excessive moisture, discourage mould and mildew formation and help clear the air of carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide that household heating and burning appliances emit. Besides affecting human health, stale air also mars the building’s appearance and reduces its life-span! So, is your house is properly ventilated? Or, if it’s being constructed, how can you plan optimum ventilation facilities?

For natural ventilation, openings like doors, windows and ventilators are strategically placed and properly used. The efficacy of these depends upon their size and position besides the direction and velocity of the wind outdoors. Pressure differences brought about by means like doors, windows, grills, ventilators and skylights aid the movement of fresh air through the building. Outlet openings need to be located at high level and in opposite direction of the wind flow while inlet openings like windows are to be placed at low level in the same direction as of the wind flow. Air inlets or outlets shouldn’t be positioned directly opposite each other. Supplement with artificial ventilation devices like fans and air-conditioners that remove indoor air and distribute filtered and conditioned air through the house. Ventilate the garage and attic space too.

The next factor to consider is light. Sure, you may employ umpteen number and kinds of artificial lights to not only rid the house of darkness but also to enhance the appearance of colours and furnishings in your rooms. Yet, the undeniable fact remains that the most important type of lighting during the day is natural light. Check for adequate number and appropriate position of windows, doors and skylights.

Sunlight varies in intensity and brightness with change of time and season. So, choose that optimal position for your doors and windows that allows maximum sunlight depending on the elevation and orientation of the house and the position of your particular rooms. Absence of towering buildings in the vicinity is of prime importance here!

What about the flooring? Is it all marble or the more popular ceramic tiles? Do you prefer good old mosaic rather? After all, it’s tough, durable and easy to maintain. Of course, wood floors are yet to catch the fancy of Indian home and building owners in a big way. But, they lend a warm feel and high aesthetic appeal! Besides, they keep dust and mites at bay. Modern wood floors are easy to maintain too. You can also use different kinds of tiles in different rooms– say, vitrified tiles for the living room, slate or mosaic for the kitchen, pebble tiles for the bathroom... If you’re adhering to Vaastu principles, this will definitely limit your flooring choices to specific types for particular rooms.

This, incidentally, leads us to a crucial factor in selection of materials used and position or orientation of the different rooms in the house and the house itself – Vaastu and Feng Shui. Vaastu consists of principles designed to create a harmonious energy field in a structure to impart tranquillity and contentment to the dwellers of an abode. Here, direction and position are all-important issues. Feng Shui is the Chinese system, historically used to orient buildings in an auspicious manner. Whichever system you go for, you need to hire an expert to determine or alter architecture or design.

Opting for roof tiles? Clay roof tiles are environment-friendly, durable and cost-efficient. Glazed roof tiles specially designed to suit Indian tastes are now infiltrating the market. Today, roof tiles made of different hard materials like stone, metal, glass, ceramic and even plastic are used the world over. Modern technology has not only toughened them but also enhanced their aesthetic appeal making them both utilitarian and decorative in nature. If durability’s your uppermost concern, cement or concrete roof tiles score over the rest. Terracotta tiles are preferred for their natural beauty. Metal and ceramic tiles form other options. Today, Micro-Concrete Roofing (MCR) tiles are gaining currency in the country. Solar roof tiles are on the anvil. As for doors and windows, decision aspects involve material and position.

Choose between an open-floor plan and the traditional one providing prominence to segregation and privacy aspects. The open-floor plan signifies an absence of walls segregating the building’s different portions- house or office– and is almost the norm today owing to transformed living or working trends. Modern amenities like huge plasma TV-screens and modular kitchens also lend themselves better to this floor-plan type.

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