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5 reasons you don’t want to build a glass block shower without a plan

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

5 reasons you don't want to build a glass block shower wall without a plan | Innovate Building Solutions

Marilyn called me in tears. She said, “Mike, my glass block shower has become a nightmare. These idiot contractors don’t know what they’re doing. The grout joints are lousy, the shower pan and walls don’t match up. Can you help me?”

I wish I could tell you this was the first time I’ve received a call from someone whose glass block shower project was not going well. You may be wondering, “Why is that?” The biggest reason is most contractors (and DIY homeowners) have not done this type of project before. They may be experienced in bathroom remodeling– but a glass block shower (a material you can’t cut to fit like tile) requires a game plan to make sure all the elements (the shower pan, glass block wall and interior shower wall panels or tile) work together seamlessly.

In this article my goal is to not only give you the 5 reasons you don’t want to build a glass block shower without a plan, but provide you with inside tips to make sure you get it done right the first time (note – I think I can help with this because I’ve been supplying and installing glass block showers since what feels like back when Moses was a boy. I started with this product line in 1985 – when I had more hair and a mustache). I don’t want you to be the next “Marilyn” I mentioned above or for your project to resemble the quote below.

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail.” Benjamin Franklin

7 tricks to turn your tub into an amazing walk in shower

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

7 tricks to turn your tub into an amazing walk in shower | Innovate Building Solutions

Are you afraid when friends ask to use your bathroom? Worried they might peak behind your dated pink shower curtain and see the “gunked up” (not sure that’s a word) tile grout and rusted cast iron tub which lurks in this dark spooky alcove space you get to “enjoy” (sarcasm intended) daily?

Your old bathtub is not the sexiest place in your home. You have to climb into this this space to shower every day, and its’ not as easy to do as it used to be. Since the tub is stained and nasty you wouldn’t dare take a bath in (if you had the time – which you don’t anyway). Why are you putting up with this poor functioning tub?

You’ve checked out the cool walk in showers on Pinterest, Houzz, at your local Parade of Homes and hotel rooms you’ve stayed in. You’ve experienced those moments of shower envy. You say, “these showers are really cool – but it’s not happening in my small 5’ 8’ bathroom.”

I’m going to tell you it’s actually possible to get a slick walk in shower – even if the only space you have for it is the slender 60” wide tub area. You may be thinking – you’ve got to be a magician to fit a walk-in shower into my space. Check out the 7 tricks below and see you how you can convert your bathtub into a sleek walk in shower. Learn how to gain space without breaking down the walls into adjoining rooms.

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.

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).

4 amazingly smart projects to winterize and add resale value to your home

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

4 smart remodeling projects to winterize and add value to your home - Innovate Building Solutions

Don’t even begin to use that “w” word. Dare I say it…. winter! The image of tightly gripping the steering wheel navigating icy roads, shoveling mountains of that evil white stuff with my long red shovel makes me want to get on the next plane to sunny Florida. Even global warming can’t totally stop winter from coming and invading your nice (hopefully) cozy home and stealing your money when the “shoe drops” (the shoe would be that way-too-regular and expensive monthly heating bill).

If you’re like me you’d like to pass right over winter and go directly to spring. If you live in any cold weather state, or cities like Cleveland or Columbus (this is where I hang out most)– it’s soon going to be light outside too little and cold inside too much. So, what you gonna do, or who you gonna call (don’t say Ghostbusters!), to deal with an uncomfortable home which drains your hard-earned money in the winter?

The 5 Step Program to Remodel Your Home out of a Fashion Time-Warp

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

The 5 step program to remodel your home out of a fashion time warp @InnovateBuild

How do you know when your clothes or home have gone out of style and you need a makeover – BAD? You may ask a trusted consultant for their honest opinion. Someone who will not beat around the bush. I remember doing this during my early days as a professional speaker. I approached Danielle Turcola (a national image consultant) about how I was dressing and she said, “Mike – it’s time to ditch those button down shirts. It’s way too middle-manager looking for a professional speaker.” While it hurt to get Danielle’s “give it to you straight” advice she was spot on. I listened.

In many cases we’re oblivious to our own fashion – whether it’s in clothes (do you have any family members who are stuck in the 70’s with long hair and groovy outfits?), or in home décor (the wallpaper in their homes looks like Marcia and Greg Brady could show up any moment!).

Such was the case for Lilly Epstein of Orlando Florida when she brought in Interior Designer Laurie Lake with Floor to Ceiling (a contractor and interior design firm) in Winter Garden Florida. Laurie came originally to look at upgrading one of Lilly’s floors. While Lilly’s home was hot (it won the Best Home in the 1989 Orlando Parade of Homes) it’s current décor was stuck in a bit of a fashion time warp. As Lilly said to me, “I didn’t realize how dated the home had become until I saw the before and after remodeling pictures!” The reality is time moves on but sometimes we become oblivious to our own surrounding and sense of fashion (I would still be wearing those button down shirts if Danielle had not set me straight!).

If you look at your home today is it looking a little long in the tooth? I can still think back to the “June Cleaver Kitchen” my wife and I inherited as a young couple when we bought our first home (many people today probably don’t even know who June Cleaver is!).

Do you need help transforming your “much-too-long-absent-from-remodeling” home into one which looks like it belongs in a magazine (and not a magazine from 20 years ago sitting in your old dentist’s office?). If so, the time may be right to enter the “5 step program for non-remodelaholics” (i.e. those people who have waited too long to update, redecorate and remodel their homes). Join the meeting – now in session- to get 5 key steps to remodel your home out of a fashion time warp.

6 Fun & Colorful Glass Block Window Ideas to Jazz up your Home

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

6 fun and colorful glass block window ideas to jazz up your home | Innovate Buidling Solutions

I love sunny falls days in Ohio where the leaves have turned multiple shades of yellow, green, red and orange – yet we still get near summer (in the low 70’s) temperatures. Life was made to be enjoyed surrounded by light, color and not too cold temperatures (unfortunately the winter will not be too far behind– bummer). You might ask what does all this talk about the crispness and colors of Fall leaves have to do with glass block windows? Well – I’ll tell you!

Glass block windows are a “workmanlike” product. Trustworthy – built thick and strong like a tank to protect your family and keep intruders out. Functional – they keep the nasty winds from whipping through your basement windows. Private – helping get light in places like bathroom windows without worrying about peeping Tom’s looking in. But maybe, just maybe, glass block windows can be about more than that!

Have you ever thought about a glass block windows as fun, colorful or even a piece of art (while still doing the “dirty work” of protecting you and your family against high energy bills and intruders)? This may be a “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” moment for you – but this timeless material can actually be fun and functional.

If you’re remodeling or building new home this Fall take a peek at some imaginative and evolutionary things you can do with glass block now! Life (and your windows) doesn’t need to be lived in “black and white” any longer. Don’t be afraid to jazz up your windows with pattern and/or colors to give them your unique sense of style. Check out these 6 ideas.

The Pros and Cons of a Walk in Shower – The Untold Story

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

Pros and Cons of a Walk in Shower

The walk in shower – are you a fan or a foe?

Who knew a type of shower could be such a hotly debated topic, but I’ve seen people struggle big-time on the merits of whether to use a door or doorless shower design. Unfortunately- like most things in life – there is no one right answer on whether the traditional American shower enclosure (which is closed-in on the open end with glass or a shower curtain) or if an open design is the way to go (yes – I have to admit I do have a personal preference – but I’ll share that at the end).

As someone who has a remodeling and shower supply business I will tell you we’ve sold and installed both systems many times and have a pretty good concept of both sides of this “argument” (I say argument because sometimes remodeling can become a “contact sport” between couples!). In this article my goal is to give you the straight scoop, the untold story and the pros and cons of a walk in shower. Let’s check out the points and counterpoints of this debate.

5 Myths about Anchoring a Glass Block Shower Wall

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

5 myths about anchoring a glass block shower wall

Yes – I’ve been involved with selling glass block shower pans and walls since 1985. Ouch – that’s a pretty long time (it’s also why I like telling people I started in business at the age of 11 – although no one is believing me!). During this time I’ve heard so many myths about glass block shower walls I thought it’s high time to set things straight – in writing!

You see –  since a glass block shower wall is often a niche project for homeowners and builders it’s like everyone is needing to recreate the wheel each time a job is done. Many of you don’t have the answers to the correct way to build and anchor a glass block shower wall so you seek out advice from your general contractor, builder or some random clerk at a home center store. The reality – most of these people don’t know what the heck they are talking about.

My goal for this article is simple – bust the myths about how to anchor a glass block shower wall. Without further delay let’s go.

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