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5 Little Known Tips to Build a Glass Block Walk in Shower for the First Time

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

5 little known tips for building glass block walk in shower for the first time | Innovate Building Solutions

Can you remember being the new kid of the block? How about starting your first job as a green-behind-the-ears (OK – maybe there wasn’t moss growing behind your ears) 16-year-old? Trying out for the football or basketball team and the other kids were so much BIGGER than you? How about pledging a fraternity or sorority and wondering (back in the days of hazing) what “hell night” would be like?

Being a rookie, a beginner, a new comer, a pledge, an apprentice – or even called a “tenderfoot” (that’s a funny word) is an exciting, yet fearful adventure.

Home improvement projects done for the first time can bring back the fears you experienced in the “Wonder Years” of your youth (my life was practically joined at the hip with Kevin Arnold if you remember him on this show).

95% of the people I advise on building a glass block walk in shower are rookies, first-timers. It doesn’t matter if they are roll-up-your-sleeves DIY homeowners or grizzled professional contractors who have lived through more than a few drain holes and literally “sweated” in more valves than they can count.

You know it’s possible to build these cool looking showers. Your spouse (or customer) has shown you countless images she’s been pinning the daylights out of on glass block showers on Pinterest. Now she wants YOU to make it happen for her.

Ouch – how are you going to turn this glass block shower picture into a reality without creating the nightmare on Elm Street bathroom remodeling project?

Just like in the old-days of your youth you’ll need to find the right tools, kits, advice, systems and sage advice to make it successfully out the other side of your first-time glass block shower project.

Building a glass block shower wall is not difficult – IF – you use these 5 little-known tricks. Let’s check them out.

Solid Surface vs. Ready for Tile Shower Pans – The Ultimate Showdown

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

Solid surface vs a Ready for tile shower pan - The Ultimate Showdown | Innovate Building Solutions

If you’re looking to do a standard (or custom) sized shower pan and want something nicer than the cheap generic plastic white styles at your big box store it can be hard to figure out what option is best. Two popular alternatives in upgraded shower bases vs. fiberglass are solid surface and ready for tile pans. Here’s reasons both options beat the pants off the low-end fiberglass you desperately want to replace now:

Advantages of solid surface and waterproof ready for tile pans over fiberglass bases

 They won’t yellow like fiberglass.

  • You can choose your drain location. You don’t have the cost of moving plumbing around.
  • You can create a custom shape to fit a curved design, custom NEO angle shape or an offset style pan.
  • These bases won’t flex and squeak when you walk on them – even if you you’re not built like Victoria Beckham, Gigi Hadid or an anorexic supermodel.
  • You can live life “in color.” You can either design your own tile pattern or choose from 51 varied solid surface colors.
  • You can get these bases clean. It can be nearly impossible to get dirt off the bottom of a fiberglass pan.

While both these shower bases have it all over fiberglass – the challenge I see is homeowners (and contractors) struggling to know how to choose between solid surface and ready for tile. In this article I’m going to pit both shower pans against each other in the ultimate showdown. At the end I’d like to get your take on which is best.

This shower pan UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) won’t get you bloody or gross you out. It will save you money. You won’t make a bad shower base selection you’ll regret in a space you use every single day.

Let the rubber cleaning gloves come off and the battle of the shower bases begin.

I don’t want to age in place. I want to thrive in MY place!

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling, Home Organization & Storage

I don't want to age in place I want to thrive in place | Innovate Building Solutions

I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to “age in place.” I want to keep moving. Be active, vibrant – no matter what my age is. If you’re unfamiliar with the term aging in place it refers to someone who wants to stay in their home as long as possible (usually this is an “older” person – and I don’t want to include myself in this category).

When I think of the term “age in place” it feels like some dude getting old in one place. Aging… kind of like a stone. That is not my plan – even though I’m 57 with more than a few gray hairs. I’m looking to be active and enjoy my kids (and somewhere down the road – although not too soon – the grandkids). I plan to continue to beat my 22- year-old son in 5K races (my competitive streak still runs strong). I’m looking to have fun – laugh more and be serious less. More wackiness is a good thing in my book.

I want my home to work for Rose (my wife) and I today, and live well for us tomorrow. I know I could “end up” in an assisted living or even nursing care facility (and there could be a time where this is the best place for me to live).

Still I don’t want to age in place. I want to thrive in the place of MY choosing! I want to not only “control” (whatever that means) my destiny, but enjoy a home which is sleeker, cooler, better thought out – and fun to live in. Yes – I guess I want it all (ha! ha!).

The challenge becomes as an almost empty nester, and baby boomer (or just call me a dude who is 57 but can look 37 after my $9.99 bottle of hair coloring), how can I design my home (and master suite area) to work for Rose and me for a long time?

In this article I’ll look at 5 simple strategies to design a master suite area to go beyond aging in place to thriving in place. At the end of the article I’d love to hear your thoughts (and ideas) on how to thrive in place.

5 DIY shower wall tips save you time, money (and aggravation) on a budget

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

5 diy shower wall tips to you time, money and aggravation on a budget | Innovate Building Solutions

Have you ever worked on a DIY shower project and realized (or your wife, husband or significant “utter” made you realize) you really screwed up? You watched the money get used up, and your aggravation made you want to throw up, when these errors occurred:

  • You tore out the old shower system, then measured and figured out you bought the wrong size shower kit.

 

  • You started using your new shower and determined you didn’t have enough space for soap and shampoo. Then you had to go out and buy a hideous, tacky, plastic “shower tree” to hang over the shower head.

 

  • You have to rip up the work you already completed because you installed the project in the wrong order.

 

  • The guy/gal you “worked with” at the store (who wasn’t helpful in the first place) is nowhere to be found (even after 4 desperate calls to the department in his store) to help you. You’re elbows and knee-deep in the job and can’t continue until you get an answer to your questions. The dude you know as “Bob W. in plumbing” is nowhere to be found.

DIY shower projects can be a pain in the butt!

The question becomes how can you save money doing a shower wall project yourself and live to tell about it without punching your walls in frustration? With the challenge of finding contractors– you need to know how to do projects yourself and still feel good about the end result (and meeting your budget).

Instead of going into this shower project blind now and getting ticked off later, you need to get “tipped off” now (read and learn tips which save you time and money) so you can sit back and enjoy your success (and relaxing shower) later.

I’ve seen (and heard) the frustration of many a DIY’er in my days. My goal in this article is to dish up 5 practical tips about shower wall panels (and the materials surrounding these panels) to save you time, money and aggravation. Let’s check out the 5 tips.

7 things you can do to add inspiration, color and “personopoly” to your shower

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

7 things you can do to add color and inspiration to a shower enclosure | Innovate Building Solutions

B.K. (before kids), I dreamed of owning a fire-engine red 2- seater convertible Mercedes sportscar. I can see myself speeding down the highway with my wife Rose without a care in the world (hey – this guy in the picture below even looks a bit like me!).

2 seater mecedes jdpower dot com

from www.jdpower.com

Oops – I just woke up!

I came close to achieving this cool sportscar goal when I was 29 years old (before our 3 kids showed up on the scene) and owned a candy apple red small BMW 318i. I enjoyed the color and style of a eye-popping car (within my more limited budget than the 2-seater Mercedes) before setting into my practical “SUV” life. Now, I have room to cart the kids around and boxes for work.

You may be asking, “Mike, what does fire-engine red 2-seater Mercedes and cool cars have to do with inspirational showers?” Well – I’ll tell you. The longer I go in life (Rose and I are actually getting closer to being “empty nesters” in a few years) I realize life should be lived out loud. Life should be inspirational and aspirational. It needs to be enjoyed – whether we’re taking a fun trip with friends and family, riding in an over-the-top sports car, or getting a cool shower which we absolutely love (without giving a hoot about resale).

A fun way to create inspiration in your bathroom is to add unexpected pops of color in your shower which capture your style and personality. My Dad coined the term “personopoly” for this. It is your monopoly on personality (there is only one you – so why not express it?). The heck with resale. The heck with what everyone else is doing. You’re going “Burger King” on the world. You’re going to “have it your way!”

In this article I’m going to outline 7 ideas to add inspiration – through color – into your shower design. You’ll not only be able to show your “personopoly” – you’ll enjoy a vibrant shower which is all about you.

At the end let me know which of these bold ideas you’re all over – and if any of them are “too out there” for you.

7 incredibly smart (and 3 incredibly stupid) shower designs you can learn from

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

7 incredibly smart (and 3 incredibly stupid) shower designs you can learn from | Innovate Building Solutions

The difference between a smart shower design and a not-so-bright one is with a smart design you want to spend time in the space. You’d like to linger and enjoy the relaxing message of the water. You want to sit on the bench seat and unwind after a long day taking in the ambiance of the lighting and décor. Conversely, a poorly designed shower will cause you to spew out a few choice words which got you in detention back in Junior High. A low-quality shower system makes life miserable. Its design makes the shower hard to use, and difficult to clean. It has a style which makes you feel you’re living in a throwback episode of The Brady Bunch or Leave it to Beaver (if you don’t remember those shows let’s just say they go waaaaay back!).

Whether you’re drooling over a cool, sleek, contemporary shower design you love in a magazine, Parade of Homes or friend’s house– or putting up with an elbow smacking, nightmarish decor, moldy unit you’re embarrassed to have anyone see – you can learn from good and bad shower designs to get the new shower of your dreams.

In this article, I’m going to take you on a journey to experience 7 incredibly smart – and 3 incredibly stupid – examples of shower design.  At the end let me know what you liked (and didn’t) about these showers. A shower design is not a one-size-fits-all proposition. Get a design which not only works for you (and whomever you’re sharing this bathroom with) but also one which gives you pleasure, at a budget you can afford. Let’s check out the incredibly smart, and some not so smart, examples below.

A DIY glass block shower experience made possible with Egyptian pyramid building ingenuity

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

A DIY glass block shower experience made possible with Egyptian Pyramid building ingenuity - Innovate Building Solutions

You may be wondering, “What does building a glass block shower have in common with Egyptian pyramids?” That would be a logical question. Sometime when you take on a custom shower project with heavy materials (in this case a beefy solid surface shower base and custom prebuilt glass block shower wall sections), just like the building of the Egyptian pyramids, the construction feat can pit mankind (or womankind) in a mental battle with materials they want to use.

The weight of the materials was one of the challenges facing JR in a 2 year-long design and installation of a custom glass block shower. He invested time planning, measuring (remeasuring) designing securing products and then building a grand glass block shower unlike any others I’ve seen. It’s size, design and shape were not only unique – but the project was done without a full-time general contractor leading the way (now that’s a risky proposition).

A project like this takes a special person (OK – John’s not your average guy). It takes a focus on design, planning and some special “engineering” along the way (some anticipated – and some solutions figured out “on the fly”). In the video below I’ll let John share with you his DIY custom glass block shower and solid surface base experience (and what it has to do with Egyptian pyramid building).

Now that you’ve watched John’s video, I’ll share the 5 D’s to get you to the top with a unique glass block shower experience for your home (even if you’re project is not as grand as John’s). At the end John and I would love to get your opinions of his glass block shower. I want to hear your questions if you’re struggling with the steps to make this project a reality.

6 Shower Trends to Kick up your Bathroom from the 2017 Columbus BIA Parade of Homes (and 3 new ideas I’d like to see next year)

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

 

6 shower trends from the Columbus BIA Parade of Homes 2017 with 3 Ideas I'd like to see new year | Innovate Building Solutions

As a bathroom and shower remodeling geek I HAVE TO check out the Columbus Parade of Homes each year. It’s fun to see what the crazy designers and builders can do to inject personality, fun and function into their home designs. This year’s group of 9 homes did not disappoint. These homes were not the generic overly-beige Mid-Western drab spec home stuff you can tend see in the Central Ohio new home building market. There were drool-worthy kitchens, living rooms with cool Mid-Century modern styling, and relaxing bedrooms to give anyone a big case of house-envy (I’m glad my wife wasn’t with me otherwise she might have got the “urge to redecorate.” This urge can give me a bad case of hives – but I digress).

I completely enjoyed the bathrooms and showers in these homes. Maybe it’s because I’ve been in this remodeling world too long – or I’m a bit touched in the head (or both). However, I’m jazzed by cool looking showers and the products used to make them not only functional – but special and practical for people in any stage of life to use.

On an overcast Thursday afternoon, my trek through the homes began. I caught a crazy day because half-way through my tour it poured on me as I sprinted from house to house with my iPad taking pictures (I asked people in each home if the dryers in their homes were turned on to dry out my shirt – nobody took me up on that offer though. I guess the concept of a half-naked guy in their Parade Home wasn’t the ambiance these builders were looking for!).

Below you’ll find my summary of 6 shower trends I saw live at the Parade – and 3 new ideas I didn’t see this year (and hope to find on display next year). At the end of the article I’d like to ask you to do me a favor. Comment on which trends you think would help you existing home the most (or you’d want in a new home). If you think any of these trends are a waste of time, money or space – give me your 2 cents on that also. Quality debate is cool. At the end of the article, I’ll also give you my vote for the coolest shower from the show.

Can’t find a contractor? Maybe it’s time to DIY your bathroom remodel

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

Can't find a contracor - Maybe it's time to DIY your bathroom remodeling project | Innovate Building Solutions

Finding a general bathroom remodeling contractor is becoming a needle in a haystack process in cities, suburbs and rural areas across the United States. You may be wondering why are contractors such a pain in the butt to find today? Think about these trends and political factors impacting housing and remodeling:

  • You and I aren’t encouraging our sons and daughters to get into the skilled trades – the push is towards sexier fields like high-tech and health care.
  • The new home market is growing fast – but home building starts have been slowed by the ability to find installation crews.
  • Tighter borders are making it difficult for skilled contractors to enter the United States.
  • The repeal of the DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) program could result in more qualified young skilled workers being forced out.
  • Recent hurricanes in Texas and Florida will put further strain on an already thin construction labor pool. While funding will be made available – getting these regions back up to speed will be delayed by people qualified to do the work.
  • Unemployment is at historically low levels and existing home prices are going up so more people are staying put and remodeling.

While I’m not an economist (and certainly don’t play one on TV) IMHO (in my humble opinion) this contractor problem is only going to get worse over the next few years. The question is, if you can’t find a contractor (or have a tight remodeling budget) does it make sense to go down the scary path of redoing the bathroom yourself? To help you get your arms around this question I’m going to dig into two subjects:

  • Do you have the 3 T’s it takes to DIY a bathroom remodeling project?
  • How should you go about a DIY bathroom remodeling project to maximize success and minimize pulling your hair out?

4 reasons you shouldn’t listen to your realtor (why a shower is better than a tub – even for resale)

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

4 reasons you shouldn't listen to your realtor. Why a shower is better than a tub even for resale - Innovate Building Solutions

Lynda and Tom – a super nice couple in their 50’s living in the Columbus Ohio burbs (can you say O-H-I-O   – yes I’m a OSU Buckeye fan) – came into my showroom with their floor plan for a bathroom remodeling project. They want to make the bathroom larger and have a double bowl vanity top. They are going to increase the size of the window for improved natural light. They plan to move the tub from one side of the room to another to improve the layout. They came to see us to look at grout free tub wall panel options.

They told me they decided on a bathtub again because (as everyone knows) you have to have at least one tub in the home (all realtors and many family members backed up the need for at least one tub). Given this “commonly held truth” they planned to keep the tub in the newly remodeled 1st floor bathroom.

As a nationwide supplier of shower and tub wall panels (and local Cleveland bathroom remodeler) who has worked with countless tub to shower conversions I can’t even think of one time I’ve worked with someone on changing a shower into a tub. “Why the heck is that?” Why are people overwhelmingly getting rid of bathtubs and dusty useless “soaking tubs” home builders insisted on putting in homes in the late 90’s and early 2000’s? Do you really have to have a tub in a home for resale? Conversely, should you even give a hoot about resale?

In this article, I’m going to do two things. First, I’ll give you 4 good reasons a shower is a better option than a tub. Second, I’ll offer up 7 practical advantages of a shower over a tub. At the end of the article I’d love to hear your arguments and if you think I’m a bit nuts (yes – even my wife, kids and fellow co-workers would say I resemble this remark from time to time!).

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