How to create an original kitchen interior and organize the work area as effectively as possible? Almost everyone who is going to make repairs asks himself these questions. Today skinals are gaining popularity, which are distinguished by excellent operational and external data. It should be noted right away that today glass skins are most widespread, and when it comes to skins, they mean them, although there are also plastic and hardboard panels. In any case, this is an original decoration for any kitchen, but how to choose a skin, and what characteristics to pay attention to?
The word “skinned” itself comes from the English “skin”, which means “sheathe”. In a broad sense, these are any decorative panels that can be made from various materials: glass, PVC, MDF, metal, etc. If we are talking about organizing the kitchen space, then skinals mean decorative panels with which the apron is lined, i.e. working area. And since plastic panels do not show themselves in the best way, glass skins are becoming more and more popular. This has led to the fact that today skins are meant to be glass panels, and we will focus on them.
Advantages and disadvantages
In order not to mislead anyone and not to describe glass skins as an ideal material, its strengths and weaknesses should be noted. So, the advantages include:
appearance, because you can apply any image to the glass, make it three-dimensional, highlight it, thereby obtaining an incredible visual effect. Thus, you can transform even the smallest kitchen, set a certain mood for the room;
moisture resistance, which is the first and most important requirement for finishing materials in the work area;
resistance to temperature extremes;
speed in manufacturing;
high speed of installation. If you have to spend enough time and effort to install ceramic tiles, then the skin can be attached in an hour;
ease of care;
high price, because tempered thick glass printed on it cannot be cheap;
- although the care of glass skins is simple, but it must be regular, otherwise the surface will be covered with splashes and fingerprints.
Many attribute to the disadvantages the fact that the wrongly chosen pattern can quickly get bored, but this is typical for any type of finish.
Most often, skins decorate high-tech, techno, modern kitchens, but they are also suitable for classic interiors, because you can choose a panel with a monochromatic pattern or with an imitation of natural materials: stone or wood.
For skinal, tempered glass with a thickness of at least 6 mm is used. It is several times stronger than usual, withstands huge loads, is not afraid of temperature changes, it is difficult to break it, and with a strong impact it crumbles into many fragments with smooth edges that are not capable of harming a person. Depending on preference, you can choose frosted or transparent glass.
Skinali are also made of plastic and hardboard. These are more budgetary options that are not distinguished by the highest durability, they are less practical, and the drawings for them are mostly standard.
Image application method
The required image can be applied to glass skins in several ways, the most popular of which are:
silk screen printing;
use of decorative film.
With the help of ultraviolet printing, absolutely any pattern can be applied to glass, and ink hardens only under the influence of UV radiation. Thanks to this, the finished drawing can be obtained very quickly, it will not be affected by solar radiation, it will not emit any harmful substances, and the colors are more saturated and vivid. The image is not smeared, is not afraid of high temperatures and humidity. This is one of the most advanced types of printing today, but you will have to pay a lot for skinals painted using this technology. Today they also use stereo printing, which requires ink with a 3D effect: the result is a three-dimensional picture that can add additional space to the kitchen.
Silk-screen printing involves the use of baked-in ink. In the process of glass tempering, they become one with it, which determines the performance of the material. Thus, any pattern can be applied to glass, it comes out bright and saturated, and the transparency of the colors is regulated within wide limits. This printing method is more economical than the previous one, but in terms of durability, the drawing is slightly inferior to UV printing. Other disadvantages include the presence of the smell of acetone in the first days after applying the pattern, as well as tarnishing of the pattern with improper care. The rest of the skins painted using this technology are excellent: bright, resistant to external negative influences and with a slight volume effect.
By sandblasting, you can get the real volume, not the effect, since the abrasive particles remove a small layer of glass. As a result, a relief volumetric drawing is obtained, with the help of which you can depict anything you want, and when creating a specific ornament, stencils come to the rescue. In a similar way, you can create a pattern, landscape, still life, etc., and the carved parts can be additionally painted. When it comes to organizing a kitchen apron, the pattern is applied to the inside of the glass to make the finish as hygienic and easy to clean as possible. Since sandblasting itself does not directly provide for the use of paints, the finished skins are as durable as possible.
The cheapest way to apply a design to glass skins is to use tinting or stained glass film. The drawing can be anything and include convex parts. A similar technology for decorating glass skins is available, but the finished drawing is not the most durable, and during operation it can begin to fade.
A great way to brighten up your kitchen even more is to create skinny lighting. If you organize it correctly, you can achieve amazing effects, and the picture on the skin will literally come to life.
Naturally, the size of the skin should correspond to the size of the working area, but if you have a spacious kitchen and a kitchen apron takes up a lot of space, then keep in mind that it is undesirable to use glass panels longer than 2.5 meters. Firstly, it is more difficult to work with them, it is easier to damage them, and, secondly, they are terribly inconvenient in terms of delivery: they will not fit into an elevator, it is difficult to bring them into an apartment, and their installation is generally difficult. To organize a spacious working area, it is better to use several glass panels: if the work is done by masters, then the boundaries of their connection will be almost invisible.
Most often, skins are mounted with pass-through fasteners, and the heads of the fasteners are masked so that they are practically invisible. The skins are installed already at the final stage of the repair, and this process itself is very fast, and takes about one hour. An alternative mounting option is fixing with glue to the wall, but for this the glue itself must be of high quality, reliable and not leave traces.
The drawing on the glass skin can be anything: a plain surface, some kind of texture, landscape, abstraction, still life, and even your own photos. But it is important to remember that this element of the kitchen should not exist separately, but in harmony with the rest of the interior items. The simplest and most stylish solution is to use the same shades as for furniture or kitchen decoration. Practically everyone can cope with such a task. If, for example, the walls are decorated in shades of green, then the glass panel can also be decorated with an image of grass or apples.
If there is a desire to decorate the kitchen in a non-standard way, then skinals can be chosen in a contrasting color in relation to the rest of the interior details, or you can arrange the work area together with the kitchen set in one color, and the dining room in another: you get an effective zoning. But when working with contrasting colors, it is better to ask a designer for advice, so as not to end up with a tasteless kitchen. It is also worth noting that for small kitchens it is better not to use skins of dark colors, and the landscapes of night cities will not be entirely appropriate – it is better to dwell on light shades.
You need to think in advance not only about the color scheme and the image on the skin, but also the location of sockets and other holes, if, for example, a railing in the area of the kitchen apron needs to be organized. All this is important to inform the company that manufactures skins for you. Holes of the required size and shape are created in the glass even before tempering, and then no problems will arise, but only then, when the skins are installed, it will be impossible to organize additional holes. But you shouldn’t overdo it: a bulky railing, for example, can cover most of the skin.
Glass skins are a suitable material for the kitchen in appearance and performance, and the high price is more than offset by durability and strength. Such an element of decoration will make the kitchen original, add zest and the illusion of additional space to it. The main thing is to choose the right drawing and think in advance about the location of all possible holes in the working area.