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Posts Tagged ‘glass bricks’

7 Smart Spring Home Improvement Projects to Fall in Love with Your Home Again

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Exterior Remodeling, Glass Block, Home Organization, Home Organization & Storage, Windows

7 smart spring home improvement projects to fall in love with your home again | Innovate Building Solutions

Are you like me and H-A-T-E winter? “Old-Man-Winter” is finally behind us. Spring temperatures are here. I can smell the Lilac and Korean spice bushes outside my home. Everything is just perfect …. except the abuse winter inflicts on our houses.

Now that I’m getting outside raking dead leaves away, getting mulch spread and putting in the screen windows it’s doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or a rocket scientist’s husband or wife!) to see your home has gotten a bit (OK maybe more than a bit) tattered and torn from the cold winter season. A front door or window may have rotten wood. Your siding can be showing its age with the paint coming off the boards. Your basement windows might look like they can practically fall out if you blew on them. And the garage – can you saw DISASTER. It’s tough to even get to the rake without stumbling over bikes and excess junk all around the garage floor!

Now that you’re out of your winter hibernation season what can (and should) be done to resurrect the outside of your home? In this article, we’re going to go on a “tour” of 7 smart projects you can tackle this spring to help you fall in love with your home again (and protect it the next time winter comes back again sorry to remind of you of this). We’ll start in the front of the house, go around the sides and finally look at some cool projects for the backyard. At the end of the article let me know project would make the most sense for your home.

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 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.

5 Crazy Modern Glass Wall Partition Ideas for a Loft Apartment

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Block

5 Crazy Modern Glass Wall Partition Ideas for a Loft Apartment

Urban loft spaces in trendy areas like Victorian Village in Columbus or Little Italy in Cleveland can be cool but not if they are dark and have closed in spaces. One challenge of loft apartment housing is how to create a light open space while creating visual separations between rooms. Once excellent way to do this is through the use of distinctive modern glass block wall partitions.

Glass blocks have moved on from its traditional roots to now incorporated fun and vibrant colors and eye-popping textured looks which stand out in your modern home. Check out these 5 cool ideas to move light through the inside of your loft while providing privacy and an interesting look which can be as unique as you are.

Glass Blocks are not Dead! 5 Ways a Classic Material has Evolved

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Block

 - new products and contemporary glass block designs

Warning – This article may be controversial to some.

I have to admit with many designers, decorators and architects I hear the following comments:

  • Glass blocks are dated.
  • Glass blocks are an old school material.
  • Aren’t those blocks just for basement and factory windows?

While the use of glass blocks for functional (not too sexy) projects like basement,  bathroom or factory windows makes sense for security and  improved energy efficiency, the material has evolved dramatically with some cool designer products no one seems to know about. Why are glass blocks seen as dead or dated? Why is this product the “Rodney Dangerfield” of building materials (i.e. it gets no – or minimal – respect)?

I would contend the marketing of these cool products has been woefully under-promoted. With this lack of promotion a common refrain of designers is often, “glass blocks are dead.”  They aren’t dead – the problem is no one really knows what’s cool and hot with them.

In this article I’m going to take you on a journey to see how this classic material has evolved into a contemporary element which can fit into a home or business with a modern design aesthetic. Let’s take a look at 5 specific ways glass blocks are being resurrected right now “from the dead” into a new modern design-forward building material.

 

How to add impact to a patio with unique hardscaping – colored glass bricks and bluestone

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Block

Colored glass brick and bluestone hardscape patio design in Guilford Connecticut

In the old days of landscaping you might see a simple concrete patio and a small wood deck in the backyard – not very inspiring – but times have changed. In today’s landscape and hardscape designs outdoor spaces are now embraced as “exterior rooms” which increase fun and function while providing distinctive touches of personal style. The article below is an example of going beyond the blah patio of yesteryear and designing the outside space to provide more than just seating – but an experience for friends and family.

Learn how Dani Howard (a homeowner in Guilford Connecticut) along with help from her contractor (Hanler Construction of Guilford Ct.), lighting designer (Jill Boender of Sound Lighting and Design of Branford Ct.), and designer (Lisa Wasserman-Sivan) transformed a small deck and patio into three inviting outdoor rooms with unique hardscape features including illuminated colored glass brick pavers and functional and beautiful natural bluestone slabs.

Introducing Stylish Solid Glass Bricks for Divider and Shower Walls

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Block

Solid glass brick wall in a bathroom with blue and clear units

Solid glass brick wall in a bathroom with blue and clear units

Question: What product can create clear or colored light movement through a wall with the traditional look of a brick?

Answer: Solid glass bricks in clear and colored selections.

For a unique look consider using solid glass bricks for a shower stall, plant stand, decorative column or divider wall. In the article below learn the answers to the frequently asked design and construction questions about solid glass bricks.

What sizes and colors of glass bricks are available? – These units come in 9 ½” x 4 ½” x 2” and 4 ½” x 4 ½” x 2” sizes. They are available in non-colored (clear), blue, Nordica (dark brown) and siena (tan) colors.

Clear solid glass brick in a 4 1/2" x 4 1/2" x 2" size

Clear solid glass brick in a 4 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ x 2″ size

What is the difference between glass bricks and glass blocks? – The main difference between these two types of glass masonry units is that glass blocks are hollow on the inside and glass bricks are solid pieces of glass (which makes them significantly heavier than glass blocks and provides higher impact resistance and compressive strength). Since glass blocks are hollow they have the advantage of being less expensive than glass bricks.

How can glass bricks be assembled? – In most cases these units are assembled with mortar – but it is also possible to use silicone between the bricks. The walls can be made different sizes – but an unsupported wall should not exceed 40 square feet.

 

Close up with "siena" colored glass bricks installed with mortar  at a pool

Close up with “siena” colored glass bricks installed with mortar at a pool

What are the most popular applications for glass bricks? – Glass bricks provide a decorative look not available with other types of glass options (like traditional flat glass). These units can be used on the inside or outside of a home or commercial building. Some common applications include wall dividers, shower walls, plant stands, decorative columns, pool areas and capstones for exterior walls.

Glass brick wall in a bathroom

Glass brick wall in a bathroom

Solid glass brick kitchen divider wall in Nordica color

Solid glass brick kitchen divider wall in Nordica color

Where can they be purchased? – Innovate Building Solutions offers nationwide design and supply of glass bricks and regional installation service as well.

Do you like the looks of glass bricks? Please comment or call one of the numbers below if we can help you further.

To learn more or get an estimate on glass bricks visit or call Innovate Building Solutions on a nationwide basis (877-668-5888) or for a local project their divisions including Columbus Glass Block (614-252-5888), Cleveland Glass Block (216-531-6363), West Side Glass Block (216-398-1020) Mid America Glass Block (513-742-5900) of Cincinnati or Dayton and Akron (330-633-2900).

 

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