Dress up your walls: clay that looks like marble and leather
Published: 21st April 2017 06:00 AM | A+A A- |
Imagine a world where bricks aren’t heavy, marble is inexpensive and wood can’t catch fire. That’s unfired flexi clay for you — a new age construction material that plays chameleon as much as it does canvas. Although it has been around in construction circles for about a decade in other parts of the world, this versatile ‘cladding’ solution made its way into India a few years ago. But the word is spreading fast. So much so that MCM PHOMI, a company that began offering green cladding materials in Mumbai in 2015, already has centres in Bengaluru, Kochi, Surat, Ahmedabad, Nagpur, Guwahati and Delhi. For a taste of the possibilities with this product, the company partnering with the MMC Group, opened doors to their first experience centre in South India a couple of weeks ago, located in Chennai’s uptown Nungambakkam zipcode. Hemal Sheth, founder and managing director of the company helps satisfy our building curiosity from floor to ceiling.
For the lay man, what exactly is unfired flexi clay?
Normally clay products, especially in the building industry is fired to give strength to the product. However it becomes brittle and cannot withstand impact and will break.In the case of unfired clay, which is obviously not fired, but modified, hence the abbrievation MCM – Modified Clay Material, which is 95 per cent clay with the balance combined with polymers.
What are the different cladding possibilities that one can choose from, in terms of appearance and finish?
It can be applied on any surface that one would want to — walls, flooring, ceiling, furniture covering for both exteriors and interiors. The application is only limited to one’s imagination. One could have it applied on existing building which require a face lift without removing the existing façade made from ACP – Aluminium composite panels or glass, which is generally found in many buildings.
We were surprised to hear that double-sided tape is an effective adhesive.
Yes, double-sided tape can be used to hold it in place as it is very light in weight for interiors. The material is actually stuck with adhesives depending on the type of substrate. It can be applied on partitions made from plywood, gypsum, even glass. Kerakoll, Laticrete, Mapei, Pidilite are some of the recommended adhesives.
As it’s lightweight, how durable is it?
It is very durable and has been tested by SGS (multinational verification company). For flooring, we suggest the use of polyurethane coating for protection.
We hear it is both water and fire proof — as well as increases breathability in one's surroundings. Can you tell us how this works?
With the special formulation of the polymers, it is water-proof. Clay cannot burn as it is non-flammable and being clay, it is breathable.
Is unfired flexi clay a cost effective option in comparison to other surfaces that are popular in the
realty sector in India?
Very cost effective. Marble or tiles would cost you Rs 500 to Rs 800 a square foot, while unfired flexi clay is priced at Rs 150 to Rs 300 for the same measure.
Price of material: Rs 150 upwards. Installation would cost Rs 60 to Rs75 per sq ft including adhesives. At MCM PHOMI Chennai, 19, Duraisamy Street, Nungambakkam. Details: 42057226