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Glass blocks and glass bricks – what’s hot and what’s not today

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Basement Remodeling, Bathroom Remodeling, Glass Block

Glass blocks and glass bricks what's hot and what's not about them - Innovate Building Solutions

Controversy and debate seems to follow glass blocks and glass bricks like a bad rash. Some people give them an enthusiastic Siskel and Ebert inspired two thumbs up. Others say – yuck – I wouldn’t put those 80’s glass blocks in my home if you gave them to me! As someone whose been in the glass block biz since 1985 (yes – I’m dating myself here but I like to tell people I started at the age of 11 – a BIT of an exaggeration but I’m going with it) it’s easy to see that building material trends are changing constantly and that has impacted how people feel about glass blocks.

You see some stuff which was hot in the 80’s not being used any more. With glass blocks there are styles, product and installation systems which are popular today most people don’t even know exist. Most people think of glass blocks as one wavy 8” x 8” unit stacked on top of another.

So, before you say whether glass blocks or hot, or not, read on to see what k options others are finding to be inspired ….and also what products and systems are just “old-school.” At the end of the article I’d love to know whether this post has changed your opinion or not.

5 Secrets Nobody Tells You about Glass Block Windows

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Basement Remodeling, Bathroom Remodeling, Glass Block

5 secrets nobody tells you about glass block windows

If you call or walk in your local home center or building material supply store and ask someone a question about glass block window design, fabrication or dare I say it – installation – you’ll be lucky if they even know if they carry glass blocks in stock (by the way in most cases they don’t carry this material)! Maybe you’ve got a unique design or a tough installation question and you not only need basic advice you need a “masters-level” input (or the “untold story”) on how to work with this classic material.

If you’re looking for deeper input you’ve come to the right place. In this article we’ll take a look at 5 little known secrets about glass block windows which can help you get an improved design and quality of installation. Let’s dig in!

3.5 Trends To Get the Biggest Bang for your Remodeling Bucks

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Basement Remodeling, Bathroom Remodeling, Kitchen Remodeling

3 1/2 trends to get the biggest bang for your remodeling bucks from the 2016 cost/value report

Are you unsure if you should spend your money on a home remodeling project – and if you do – what specific project to choose? If you can find yourself in one of the 3 groups below you’re probably struggling with this remodeling decision right now.

  • Group 1 – Overwhelmed new homeowner – You’ve just bought an older home in a nice neighborhood that needs some work (OK – it needs A LOT of work!), but you’re wondering what project should you do and how much should you spend.

 

  • Group 2 – Debating, “Should I get out of here?” – Your current home just isn’t cutting the mustard. Yes – it used to work for you and your family – but the times and the people living in your home just don’t have the same needs. You’re now debating (a) stay and remodel or (b) get the heck out of here.

 

  • Category 3 You love your existing home but know you won’t get your money out of a remodeling project – In this scenario you may think should I even care about getting my money out of this home or just enjoy it and have my heirs worry about how much this home is worth when I’m no longer around?

The challenge becomes how do you make sense of where (or even if) to put any of your hard earned money into remodeling or replacing any of the old features of your home. While this type of decision can be based off your logical (left brain) side, don’t discount the emotional (right brained) side in your decision making either. So how can you make sense of the decision to spend or not on your home? How can you get the biggest bang for your remodeling bucks the Cost/Value study can help?

What is the 2016 Cost/Value Study?

 For the 29th year Remodeling Magazine creates a report (the Cost/Value report) which looks at the changes in home improvement costs (your bucks) with what value (your potential bang) real estate pros think you’ll get back. So if a project has a 80% value it means you can expect to get back $80 resale value for a remodeling or replacement project which cost you $100.

Statistics are boring (to right brained people) – 3 1/2 trends to make sense of the Cost/Value report 

If math class made you nuts you know there is nothing more boring than reading a bunch of dry stats. So – in this article I’m still going to give you a few figures (sorry about that math haters), but I’m also going to provide you the 3 1/2 trends to guide your remodeling decisions no matter which of the 3 groups above you identify yourself with. You may be asking what’s the “half-trend” all about. Sorry I can’t tell you – you’ll have to read the whole article to find out! Read on please.

“Get out as quick as you can!” – The need for basement remodeling

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Basement Remodeling, Glass Block

The need for basement remodeling in University Heights Ohio

Basements can be scary places! I remember when I was 5 years old and my Mom would send me downstairs to throw out the garbage in our incinerator (anyone else remember having an incinerator for garbage?) and that dark dingy basement would scare the heck out of me. I would run down and back up as fast as I could!

This article isn’t about my scary basement as a kid, it’s about Bridget and Tim O’Callahan’s former cellar (the name some people call their spooky basement). You probably know the type of basement I’m talking about. It had the old, dark paneling and a moldy, musty “basement smell” you just can’t rid of no matter how many air fresheners you jam into the space. Old clay tile walls, a nasty deep window well and outdated plumbing and electrical systems all screamed – yuck! As Tim said when they would get the courage to go into the basement to do laundry all they could think about was, “Get me out of here!”

Before remodeling of a university heights basement

When the existing old knob and tube wiring shorted out it left not so lovely burn marks on the wall. This was the final straw with putting up with the pariah of a basement. Something had to be done. As Tim said, “If we were to go to sell the home down the road there would be no way we could do it with this musty room with burn marks on the wall.” The decision was made to get a basement remodel underway. As the remodeling process unfolded the O’Callahans’ not only made their basement recreation/exercise room/laundry zones functional – they transformed the basement into an area they actually want to entertain in.

Let’s see how Tim and Bridget (with the help of the design and construction team at Cleveland Design and Remodeling) used a three step process to (1) get rid of structural and mechanical problems (2) ramp up the laundry (or business side of the basement) to make it an inviting space and (3) made it special with finishing touches which rival the upper levels of most homes.

5 Tricks to Cure Spooky Basement Windows

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Basement Remodeling, Glass Block

5 Tricks to For Spooky Basement Windows

I remember when I was a little kid and my Mom would ask me at night to go down the basement (A.K.A. the dungeon to me) to get something for her. This was a dreaded task indeed – that basement was a dark and scary place. I would run down, grab what I was asked to get and ran back upstairs as fast as I could.

Well today I’m a little older and I no longer run downstairs (and it’s now my wife sending me down to the basement for things) but the basement – and most basement windows can still be a spooky site. In many homes basement windows can be rusty, moldy and filled with cobwebs. Some of these windows would be prime candidates for your local haunted house tour. In the article below learn 5 tricks to eliminate spooky basement windows …and maybe get you on the journey to want to fix up and actually enjoy your lower level space.

7 Ways to Light up Your Man Cave – Natural and Electrical Lighting Options

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Basement Remodeling, Glass Block, Glass Flooring, Glass Floors

7 Ways to Light up a Man Cave

When you think of a basement (or cellar) what comes to mind? Dark, dingy, dirty or musty are some of the most common images. If you want to transform your basement into a man cave or a family friendly space one key will be proper lighting so the room’s lighting will work for any event, party or movie you want to watch. This article will look at 7 common – and not so common – natural and electrical lighting options to turn your scary basement into a place you’ll really want to hang out.

How to Fix the Top 5 Basement Window Problems

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Basement Remodeling, Glass Block, Windows

Basement window with bugs and spiders on it

“My basement windows are nasty!” Ellen said to me on a recent appointment. The reality is when people talk about their basement windows the adjectives they use are not flattering (they’re drafty, ugly, bug-infested, rotten and unsafe are just a few examples). Whether you’re in the middle of a basement remodeling project or just want to make your lower level space more secure, energy efficient or better looking – fixing old, deteriorating basement windows can be a good investment. The article below highlights practical tips I shared with Ellen to fix the biggest problems associated with basement windows.

Basement Remodel Goes Beyond Man Cave to Fun & Functional Family Space

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Basement Remodeling, Glass Block

Basement remodeling How to go _beyond_ the Man-Cave1

Sure – man-caves are cool – but why limit lower level living space to guys? For Sarah and Joe Chaulk of Alexandria Ohio (a rural area outside Columbus) two factors contributed to their transformational basement remodeling project. First and foremost was to have a place for their adult daughter to sleep (beyond a air mattress) when she visits from Cincinnati. Second – they needed to fix their wet basement (which had recently flooded) to provide a fun space which could be enjoyed by the whole family. In the article below learn how Sarah and Joe (along with their expert craftsman and contractors Randy and Mike) started literally from the ground up to transform a musty basement into a contemporary, fun and functional lower level living space.

Avoid Being Haunted by Outrageous Utility Bills this Winter

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Basement Remodeling, Glass Block, Windows

haunted house, halloweenDoes your basement currently look and feel like a dungeon? It may only be October, but if you’ve taken a look at the latest winter weather outlook, you know that cold, snow-filled days aren’t far away for many parts of the country. If your basement is home to old, drafty single-pane windows, you have big decisions to make that could have a major impact on your wallet on both a short and long term basis. Innovate Building Solutions currently has glass block basement window replacement options that can prevent your monthly energy bill from haunting you all winter long.

Make Father’s Day Epic by Transforming Your Basement into a Man Cave

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Basement Remodeling

basement remodelRight now, your basement is filled with boxes, and tools, and toys…oh my! But if you can look past the collecting dust on the old furniture that you’ve been stashing away, you will see a space full of potential for a family fun room or a great getaway for dad. While remodeling the basement might seem overwhelming at first, finding a great contractor to work with can relieve the weight of stress from your shoulders. Cleveland Design and Remodeling, a division of Innovate Building Solutions, can assist you with developing a plan that will meet your expectations, all while staying within your budget!

Aside from offering fun and functionality to the basement, home owners in Akron and Cleveland will find that remodeling the unused or underutilized space adds tremendous value, both to the property and to their social lives, either as a family or through entertaining friends. Remodeling the basement also allows home owners to upsize their current home without being forced to find a more spacious new one. Utilizing basement space is also a very cost effective alternative to doing a new room addition.

If you want to give the man in your life a gift he will never forget this Father’s Day, consider making a plan to create a room in your basement that’s filled with things for him to enjoy. Man caves are a popular choice for basement remodeling in the Cleveland area, and can include all of dad’s favorite features—from large flat screen TVs, to cozy oversized couches, to pool tables, to wet bars—the possibilities and customization options are endless!

At Cleveland Design and Remodeling, we work with home owners, interior designers and architects to bring your basement remodeling vision to life. Be sure to check out our online gallery of photos for ideas and inspiration, or follow Innovate Building Solutions on Pinterest.  For more information about our company or to get a free estimate, call us at 216-658-1270. We look forward to hearing from you soon! Happy Father’s Day!

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