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Posts Tagged ‘DIY’

The Top 10 Common Shower Wall Surround Panel Misconceptions

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

The Top 10 Shower Wall Surround Panel Misconceptions | Innovate Building Solutions

Susan goes to neighborhood big-box store in search of shower wall panels to replace the tile shower she’s sick of cleaning. What she finds is NOT impressive. Plastic-looking, boring, wafer-thin white piles of junk she wouldn’t be caught dead with in her home. The guy in the orange smock was clueless on how to install these panels – once she was able to track him down. When she left – dejected and without a solution – she thought, “I guess this wouldn’t have worked anyway. The size of my shower is not a standard 36″, 48″ or 60″. I suppose I’ll settle for another high-maintenance tile shower.”

Can you relate to Susan’s story?

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation, misconceptions and just bad input about shower wall surround panels in the market. Sometimes this bad information comes from contractors who want to do what they “always” do – give you a tile shower (of course they don’t have to maintain it). Employees at big-box stores are well meaning. However, it’s impossible for them to be an expert on the options and installation details of the 35,000 SKU’s (stock keeping units) in their store. When you look at the shower wall panels the big-box stores carry they are mass-produced and of low quality.

How do you sift through what’s fact and fiction about shower wall panels and get a system which will work for you and is nice enough you’d want them in your home?

I’m here to blow up the misconceptions in the marketplace. I’ve seen too many homeowners get “coerced” by contractors (or received bad advice from part-time retail employees) and make bad shower remodeling (tiles and panels) choices they are stuck with for years.

In this article my goal is to help inform you about “fake news” when it comes to shower wall panels. At the end feel free to add misconceptions #11,12, 13 and 14 you’ve learned during your research. As Joe Friday on the old TV shower Dragnet might say, my goal is to provide you with, “Just the facts, ma’am.” Let’s check out the top 10 misconceptions (they are in no specific order) about shower wall panels.

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.

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.

5 mistakes (to avoid like the plague) building a glass block shower wall

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

5 glass block shower wall installation mistakes to avoid like the plague | Innovate Building Solutions

Do you get an idea in your head and are determined to do it despite the naysayers all around you? When you came up with the idea for the glass block walk in shower the doubters came out in force. Here’s some of the “input” from the doubters you’re already had to put up with:

  • Why do you even want this shower – didn’t they go out of style?
  • Who are we going to get to install this wall? Finding a mason in our town is like finding a needle in a haystack!
  • A curved glass block shower wall – that’s gotta cost a ton of money. There’s no way we can afford that!
  • I don’t see how we have enough room for a glass block shower in our tiny 5’ x 8’ bathroom.
  • As the Rolling Stones once said Honey, “You can’t always get what you want – but you can get what you need – and in this case, that’s a basic shower we’ll pick up at the big box store.”

Sometimes life should be about getting what you want (not just what you need)– even in a bathroom remodeling project. However, it’s impossible to get ‘er done without the drive to figure out what you need (having a plan) and then locating the right products, systems and installation approach to make it happen.

Since glass block showers are not a “run of the mill” home improvement project (they are a specialty shower wall system) you need to do your homework so you don’t have the “nightmare on Elm Street” remodeling project you wish you never started (if that happens those naysayers will have a field day with you).

If you really want a glass block shower, you’ll need to know how to navigate the landmines which can derail your project. Below I’ll give you the straight-scoop about mistakes (and myths) I’ve seen in my 32 years in the glass block industry (wow – this really makes me sound like an old dude!) with this type of installation. This project is completely do-able – but you don’t want to fall into any of these 5 traps below.

DIY Bathroom Remodeling – 6 Words of Wisdom from Dad You Need to Pull You Through

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

DIY bathroom remodeling 6 words of wisdom from Dad to pull you through | Innovate Building Solutions

George Vickroy said to me, “Mike this was the hardest DIY remodeling project I’ve ever done, but I’m getting so much more than I expected back from it!”

Doing a DIY bathroom remodeling project can be a pain. Plumbing, electrical, drywall, heating, heavy materials you’ve got to lug in and out of the home. The need to get constant input from the people leading you along the way. You have to have so many skills to – as Larry the Cable guy would say “get ‘er done” – it can be downright mind-boggling. The challenge becomes once you’ve decided to bite the bullet and tackle the job how do you pull yourself through it? How do you prevent from leaving a half-done trail of a “job-almost-well-done?” You don’t want your family asking, “So when are you going to finish the bathroom exactly?”

When I visited George and Tena Vickroy’s house to take pictures of their new bathroom (we worked together on the glass block walk in shower and solid surface shower pan in this job) it was amazing how George and I started reflecting on how our Dad’s advice was still ringing in our heads today (and in my case my Dad passed away 28 years ago!) – even while toiling through a bathroom remodel.

Maybe George and I got nostalgic about our Dads because we’re just a tad bit older (I’m 57, but think I can look 37 at any time after I use my magic $9.99 bottle of Miss Clairol for men hair coloring. I also think being “delusional and happy is a good thing- but I digress). Maybe it’s because as you get older you start to realize how much you don’t know. Maybe it’s because Dad had a lot of wisdom – but when we were young we sometimes blew him off and said to ourselves, “What does the old man know anyway?”

In the article below I’m going to show off the DIY bathroom remodeling project George did in conjunction with his wife Tena, his son Clayton, son in law Mike, friend Neil and even a former student KC Weber. We’ll look at this project through 6 thoughtful words of wisdom from our Dad’s. At the end of the article let me know if any of these “Dad-isms” (not sure that’s a word, but it should be) ring true with you. I know Dads can also be wacky (yes, I do resemble that remark – ask any of my 3 kids and they will back that statement up) – but sometimes the “old man” knows a thing or two, or six.

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.

How to Compare Shower Pans for a Glass Block Wall

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

3 Steps to simplify your glass block shower wall project

how to compare glass block shower pans

I have to tell you I hate when I get a call and the person on the line says, “We’ve got our shower pan completely done – now we’re ready to include the glass block wall.” While at first glance this sounds good because the project is ready to go, I know it can be a bad situation for this person. They might have wasted money, or got the design wrong, by installing a base which may not work well with the glass block wall.

When you’re designing a glass block shower wall it’s best to remember Stephen Covey’s saying to “begin with the end in mind.” Just like a new home you should design the plans for the foundation (a glass block shower’s “foundation” is the shower pan) before you start to frame the upper level walls (in this case the glass block shower walls). If you don’t design the shower pan first (especially in the case of an angled or curved wall) you can end up with a situation where the wall doesn’t fit correctly. This error can cause the joints to be too big and/or to have block sizes which aren’t symmetrical or the best choice.

My goal in this article is to help you eliminate the problem of your shower base not working with your glass block wall. Let’s take a look at 3 steps to design a glass block shower (a sound layout + the right shower pan + a prefab glass block wall) which can simplify and foolproof your project.

Advantages and Disadvantages of a Curbless Walk in Shower

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

Advantages and Disadvantages of Curbless Walk in Showers

Curbless walk in showers are becoming all the rage in bathroom remodeling today but the real question should be, “Is a curbless shower the best option for your bathroom?” While some clothing products are marketed as “one size fits all,” this is not the right strategy for choosing a shower. From my experience as an owner of a remodeling and national construction products supply company I have lived the debate of a curbless vs. a standard shower pan with a curb countless times.

My goal with this article is to not only provide you with the advantages and disadvantages of a curbless shower, but also to offer some product selection tips to make a long-lasting shower you’ll enjoy using and looking at. Now – let’s take a look at the pros and cons of barrier free showers.

3 Steps to Add Style to a Tiny Home or Houseboat Shower

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

3 Steps for a Tiny Home Houseboat Shower

You’ve seen this nightmare look before. Flimsy plastic shower panels in a tiny home which look like they belong in a beat up old RV – or a yellowing fiberglass shower pan in a houseboat that screams “I got a cheap home center clearance special!” Just because you own or are building a home where you need lightweight materials which will “travel” well doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice quality or style.

Whether you are a DIY enthusiast looking to build an efficient tiny home to live off the grid or are having an upscale houseboat professionally built you can rest assured that lightweight and innovative building materials are no longer mutually exclusive. In the article below I’ll take you on a mini-journey (this “journey” will go from the shower pan up to the shower wall panels and finish with the glass enclosure) to show ways to add style to a tiny home or houseboat shower…without busting your budget.

Does thickness matter in shower wall panels?

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

Does shower wall panel thickness matter

If you’re a do it yourselfer or a homeowner looking eliminate the hassle of a tile shower you may be looking at grout free shower wall panels. Like many things these days the choices can be varied and complex. Here are some possible options:

 

  • Thin and inexpensive shower panels made of MDF (medium-density fiberboard) or fiberglass.

 

  • Slightly thicker and moderately priced panels including PVC backed faux stone panels or acrylic walls.

 

  • Thicker, and usually most expensive options, includes optical grade high gloss acrylic or stone solid surface panels.

The question becomes does thicker and more expensive panels automatically make the best choice? In my opinion, the short answer is no. In the article below let’s explore 5 factors – which along with material thickness – can help you make your best choice.

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