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5 Little Known Tips About Custom Shower Wall Panels

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling, Uncategorized

5 little known tips about custom shower wall panels | Innovate Building Solutions

Custom shower wall panels are like a mysterious medical problem (note- I’m living this mystery right now as I’m in an Emergency Room Observation area while writing this post!). You’ve got to research, to poke around for the best options (while not necessarily accepting the first theory or product espoused from an “expert”). You want to find out not only what’s not good about your current custom shower (so you don’t repeat the same mistakes), but also what shower panel system will look nice and last down the road. You need to determine what options will fit your style and budget so you don’t have to deal with nasty tile grout or ugly, yellowed, and cheap fiberglass shower panels ever again. This research process can be painful. You’ll have to sift through the “baloney-ish” (not sure this is a word) sales pitches on company product web sites to find what’s right for you – not just what others want to sell you.

My goal with this article is to help you focus your research and  find the right custom shower wall panels. I want to tell you simple untold truths to save you time and money. At the end of this article let me know how I did. Without further delay let’s check out the 5 things nobody tells you about custom shower wall panels.

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.

How to remodel an odd shaped custom shower enclosure

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

How to remodel an odd shaped custom shower enclosure - Tips and tricks to make any shaped shower work for you! | Innovate Building Solutions

As your kids might have phrased it when they were younger (if they talked about shower enclosures…which would have been kind of strange), “Do you have the odd shaped shower from “H-E-double hockey sticks?” Do you think the person who designed this “gem” must have been on something because custom shaped doesn’t even do it justice! It’s cramped and dark and the old tile grout joints look horrendous. You’d like to just throw your hands up and say HELP – but that strategy alone won’t be enough to create a new shower you’ll actually want to use and won’t kill your budget. So how can you tackle this mysterious odd-shaped shower puzzle you’ve got?

In the article below I’d like to take you through a 5-step process to remodel your crazy custom shower into a space you WILL want to use. I wish I could tell you you’ll also be able to get this shower done as cost effectively as a standard alcove 60 x 36 kit you see at your local home center store – but that’s a pipe dream (sorry to burst your bubble here – but I need to give it to you straight!).

Without further delay let’s dig into these 5 steps.

5 non-sexy tips to make sure your shower enclosure won’t fail

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

5 non sexy tips to make sure your shower enclosure won't fail | Innovate Building Solutions

Maybe I’ve been in the bathroom remodeling business too long but I actually think shower enclosures can be sexy. I might have looked into a few too many multi-functioning spa-shower heads, sleek deluxe wall panels and even drains with LED lights and my brain has gotten mushy with visions of stylish new showers. Even though I am more than a bit passionate (OK – maybe a bit touched) about shower enclosures, there is nothing sexy about a shower enclosure which has failed!

Does your existing shower resemble these remarks?

  • A cracked and yellowed fiberglass pan which even after calling on a higher power you can’t get clean.
  • A tile grout job which is failing so miserably you may have to resort to begging the grout doctor to come back and repair it one more time.
  • A drain which well – just won’t drain. Now you’re even thinking about buying stock in Draino because it has to go up in price from all the bottles you’ve bought at your local grocery store.

Yes – a newly designed sleek shower can be sexy – but your old shower may be so “un-sexy” you feel the need to (pun-intended) “throw in the towel” on it! If you’ve gotten to the breaking point with your existing shower,  don’t only look at what’s sexy and new in shower products (although that’s a lot of fun). You need to take a look at the nuts and bolts of why showers fail so you won’t go down this “bad shower road” again.

In this article I’m going to challenge you to take a look at 5 “non-sexy” tips to make sure your next bathroom remodeling project doesn’t lead down failure lane. So let’s roll up our sleeves and look at these tips so you can (as Larry the Cable Guy would say) get ‘er done right the first time.

7 ½ Crystal-Cool Ways to Use Glass in a Contemporary Bathroom

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

7 crystal-cool was to use glass in a contemporary bathroom | Innovate Building Solutions

I’m a big fan of glass. Maybe it’s because I’ve been involved with various products in the glass business since 1985 (wow – that makes me sound old!). The more familiar (and knowledgeable) I become about uses and properties of glass the more I love it. I am not alone in being a glass lover.

So why do we love glass? How does glass make our bathrooms not only functionally better – but provide a cooler design look as well? Most importantly how can you use glass in a bathroom to not only “live better” but “live cooler” – providing you with a sense of style to live to your fullest? In this article, we’ll first take a quick peek into 5 benefits of glass in a bathroom. Then let’s have some fun and check out 7 1/2 “crystal-cool” ways you can use glass to add some wow factor to your next bathroom remodeling project.

5 benefits of glass products in a bathroom

Glass has distinct advantages all its own. Here are some reasons people incorporate glass into bathroom designs:

  • It can move light and provide sight. A dark room, a dark shower is not only depressing – it can be downright dangerous. Walls isolate us, where glass opens spaces up. Transparent glass also offers expansive views through rooms and offers a “window” (yes – pun intended) to our outside world.
  • Its reflective properties can make a room “live” bigger. When light can literally bounce off the walls the space feels more open and lively.
  • Glass can give you energy. Just think how you feel on long, cold and dark days? If you’re like me – more tired. A light filled space created by a glass shower, a partition wall or skylight (even with the light from the moon at night) can improve your mood. A brick wall just feels like – a brick wall.
  • It provides privacy and light. Just think about it. There are not many materials like translucent glass which give you the “BOGO” special (buy one, get one benefit free) of moving light through a space and providing privacy. In a bathroom -where we are showing our “hot” (or maybe not as hot as we’d like) bodies the idea of privacy with light is appealing.
  • Cool colors, textures, and illumination all in one material. Whether you want to live in a cool, clean minimalist world of simplicity and function – or in a bright colorful bohemian chic setting where patterns and colors collide decorative glass offers the opportunity to wow your world!

Now let’s have some fun and check out ways to wow with glass in your bathroom. I’m warning you – some of these uses may surprise you, some may wow you and others you may say there is no way I’m using that! At the end of the article let me know which glass uses you’re giving two thumbs up to, and which are definite downers.

Our top 10 remodeling blog posts of 2016 – Innovate Building Solutions

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

Our top 10 remodeling blog posts of 2016 - Innovate Building Solutions

Thank you for reading our remodeling blog this year! Your support has resulted in the blog growing over 2x what it was in 2015 – and I can’t thank you enough.

Before writing posts for next year I wanted to give you a glimpse into those articles you liked the best and some input about trends and happenings in the remodeling industry. You’ll see from the list below your interest in showers (walk in showers, shower design, shower kits and even shower accessories) was through the roof. For the articles written about glass blocks you showed most interest in the “secrets nobody tells you about glass block windows” and the unfortunate departure of Pittsburgh Corning as a manufacturer (it’s always disappointing to see a US manufacture decide to exit an industry and take jobs with it!). Lastly – although I only wrote two articles on a cool tiny home project you were all over it. If you missed any of these blog posts, please go back and take a look by clicking on the article title links below.

Without further delay let’s get to the top 10 remodeling blog posts for 2016! I will tell you the top story was completely surprising to me (I never would have “thunk” it).

5 Reasons You Shouldn’t Buy DIY Shower & Tub Panels at a Home Center (and 3 Reasons You Should)

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

 

 

5 reasons you shouldn't (and 3 reasons you shouldn't) buy DIY shower and tub wall panels from a home center | Innovate Building Solutions

I’m going to “keep it real” as Randy Jackson used to say on American Idol about this topic on where to buy DIY shower and tub wall panels. I’m biased. I’m a passionate nationwide wholesaler of bathroom wall panels who “competes” with Home Centers (actually, Home Depot, Lowes and Menards don’t even know who I am) on a daily basis. One division of our business works with DIY’ers who want to install their own (or buy their own) shower and tub wall panels. The #1 reasons homeowners want to DIY (or BIY – Buy It Yourself) is to save money in the remodeling process – and for most people, remodeling projects end up more expensive than they originally thought.

While buying anything from an independent entrepreneurial company can make you “feel good” to support the small business community vs. the big box stores, “feeling good” is not a reason enough to shell over your hard-earned money to any business. If buying from the guy or gal in the orange, green or blue smock is the smartest decision for you – by all means – do it!

But before you rush out to your local home center store and start purchasing the first set of DIY shower wall panels off the shelf you can find, my goal is to give you a more thorough way to make the best decision for you (note – for your reference I have personally sold thousands of different types of wall panels to consumers across the country since the inception of our company in 1977. I’ve learned a few things along the way I’m looking forward to sharing in this article).

In this article my goal is to give it to you straight. 5 reasons you shouldn’t buy DIY shower and tub wall panels from a Home Center and 3 reasons you should (ouch – it hurts me to say that!). Let’s dig in.

4 critical questions to find a progressive bathroom remodeling contractor

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

4 critical questions you need to find a bathroom remodeling contractor from the Cleveland Design Remodeling division of Innovate Building Solutions

Phyllis just got done firing her second (ouch) remodeling contractor when she called me in tears! She said, “Mike these guys were as dumb as rocks. They (incorrectly) built half the wall you supplied and then asked me for the directions. All they care about is getting paid – not about delivering a quality job with the materials I want to use!”

As a nationwide bathroom building material supplier and a local bathroom remodeler (in Cleveland and Columbus Ohio) I wish I could tell you there was anything unique about the frustration Phyllis tearfully expressed above. Construction is often a process you must “endure” to get a stylish and better functioning bathroom. But should bathroom remodeling be a process you need to be “drug through” (and you may feel like you need drugs – just kidding – to get you through) when you’re spending so much money???

IMHO (in my humble opinion) these bad bathroom remodeler experiences have to stop. Bathroom remodeling should not be the following:

  • A “one day process” where a high-pressure franchise salesperson sells a one-day bathroom system with an offer “you must sign today” or it will be gone forever. Why should you be uncomfortable and feel like your arms (and every other limb) are being twisted in the sales process?
  • A contractor driven project where they are telling you, “Lady this is how I’m going to build your shower.” Aren’t you the one paying to get this done after all? It should be about what you want.
  • A one size fits all “solution.” You have different members of your family with unique needs. Shouldn’t your bathroom be designed with everyone’s needs (both today and tomorrow) in mind?

It’s simple to spew out frustration about bathroom remodeling. The challenge is to know the right questions to ask in the research and contractor selection process. With the right questions, you won’t get a dud you then need to figure out how to get rid of in the middle of the job without getting tangled up in a huge lawsuit.

How can you find a progressive bathroom remodeling contractor (yes there are actually a few these companies out there) who will treat you the way you deserve to be treated? Ask these 4 critical questions so you don’t have to suffer through the contractor from hell!

5 secret facts about high gloss acrylic shower and tub wall panels

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

5 secret facts about high gloss acrylic shower and tub wall panels | Innovate Building Solutions

Are you sick of ceramic tile shower and tub walls? They are the traditional “go-to” product of every custom builder and remodeler who does business in the United States. For today’s owners traditional ceramic tile projects and the not-so-glorious grout joints everywhere are losing their luster. Why – you might ask? Simple – if you’re like my wife Rose and I you want to be enjoying friends, family and living cool experiences (bicycling, hiking, running or experiencing nature). You don’t want to be sweating like a pig inside some cramped shower cleaning grout joints. Also, something tells me these builders and remodelers who were eager to “push” a tile shower are nowhere to be found when you’re stuck cleaning your yucky enclosure!

What do you want in a new shower or tub design? What’s making shower and tub wall panels hot today vs. a tile shower? Here’s the big trend I’m seeing in bathroom product selections. From Millenials moving into their first home to empty nesters who have finally gotten the kids “off the payroll” want sleek, clean, contemporary and low maintenance showers. High maintenance is out!

One luxury product growing rapidly is high gloss wall panels. They are sleek, easy to clean and ultra-contemporary (if you want boring traditional tile shower and tub walls stop reading NOW!).

I’m excited to share with you 5 secrets facts about high gloss wall panels. Why am I excited? It’s because I love contemporary and thought this was the hottest product “ever” (gotta say it in a “Valley girl voice) when I saw them at the International Builders Show 4 years ago. The only reason these are “secrets facts” about this product is because we live in the United States. If you lived in Europe or Asia these products would be as common to you as sliced American bread (or loaves of French bread I should say). Let’s check out these 5 secrets facts.

A proven 8-part DIY shower kit checklist saves time and money

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

A proven 8 part DIY shower kit checklist from Innovate Building Solutions

You’re excited to begin your DIY shower remodeling project. You’ve finally got the time to crack open the box with the shower kit you picked up at your local home center store 6 months ago (you’ll finally be able to get your wife off your back about getting this project done!). You remember asking the clerk with the bright orange smock, “Is everything I need in the box?” While half-listening to you and “helping” another customer he says half-heartedly, “Ya, ya, ya – everythings in there.”

You start tearing the box open. You’ve got the 3 standard sized shower wall panels (you think, “I hope they’re the right size???”), but where is the rest of the stuff? Your mind starts swirling and you’re hearing the not-so-silent voice of your wife saying, “Don’t you think we should hire a pro to do this job? Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” A bit of uncertainty creeps in.

Has this home improvement scene ever resembled you?

There is nothing more frustrating than realizing you’re unprepared to do the remodeling job you told your family 6 months ago was “under control.” Now you’re missing God only knows what. The “helpful clerk” with the orange smock is probably on to his next part time job! Ouch.

You’ve got to find a way to pull this remodeling project out of your butt and save face. Who wants to spend big money on a professional remodeling contractor if you can do it yourself? It would be nice to have some extra bucks to go to the game or buy some golfing gear with the money your going to save by DIY-ing it.

If you’re starting a bathroom remodeling project, you want to make sure your (supposedly) DIY-friendly shower remodeling kit has everything you need so you’re not scrambling all over town trying to find the right parts. Six months later you’re not even sure you’re using the right components to make a shower. Will the shower look nice? Will it function properly?

Here’s what you need to do NOW. Get out your pad (or IPad), paper and a pencil and check out the 8-part DIY shower remodeling kit checklist so you don’t get caught with your “remodeling pants” down.

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