News from the Block, Innovate Building Solutions Blog
News from the Block, Innovate Building Solutions Blog
Bathroom, Kitchen, Basement Design & Remodeling Ideas for the Nicest Home or Business on the Block
Bathroom, Kitchen, Basement Design & Remodeling Ideas for the Nicest Home or Business on the Block

Our top 10 remodeling blog posts of 2018 – Innovate Building Solutions

Our Top 10 home remodeling blog post of 2018 | Innovate Building Solutions | #HomeRemodeling #ShowerTubWallPanels #WallPanels #BathroomRemodel

Updated March 31, 2019

2018 was another record-setting year for traffic on our remodeling blog. Thank you for reading (and hopefully learning) from my articles.

From the top 10 remodeling blog post list this year it doesn’t take a guy with ‘Genius-bar’ intelligence (This would not be me, but I’m also not sold those Dudes and Dudesses at the Apple Genius Bar are really geniuses either – but I digress!) to figure out you’re frustrated with your bathroom. Here’s some of the key interests you had in the top-ranked posts this year:

  • You don’t want to repeat the mistakes of the past – Although you want to upgrade your bathroom, you don’t want to mess up and repeat other’s mistakes. Our #2 and #5 most popular posts tackled the problems with shower systems and bath remodeling and the most common mistakes and blunders.


  • You want products which allow you to chuck your scrub brush – If anything is obvious from this year’s top posts, it’s while you may LOVE tile, you HATE the grout which comes with it more. This fact explains your fascination with articles about grout free products like laminated wall panels and solid surface and cultured stone showers (see top posts #3, #4, #6, #7 and #8).


  • You’re looking for ‘divine inspiration’ to ‘get you through’ a bathroom remodel – While some talk about ‘visiting the thrown’ when using the bathroom, I wouldn’t have thought people were looking to ‘go to the mountaintop’ to get bathroom remodeling input. However – this is exactly what happened in 2018. The top post – BY FAR – was The 10 Commandments of Bathroom Remodeling Success. While I won’t claim to be Moses (or to have seen any burning bushes – other than fires I used to make with my Dad) this article struck a nerve with you.

So, without further delay let’s get the top 10 list. I will do this in ‘Johnnie Carson fashion’ (for those of you not in the ‘slightly-graying’ set that would be from bottom to top).

#10 – 5 Myths about Solid Surface Shower Products You Need to Know So You ‘Won’t Be Fooled Again!’

5 Myths about Solid Surface Shower Products You Need to Know | Innovate Building Solutions | #SolidSurfacePanels #WallPanels #BathroomRemodeling

For you 70’s rockers yes the inspiration for this article came from the famous (at least to our generation) rock band The Who and their song Don’t be Fooled Again.

When it comes to solid surface and cultured stone products there is a lot of crap (AKA myths) floating out there. Here’s a few points to consider.

People think solid surface panels are tough to cut. They aren’t.

People think cultured stone bases are too slippery. They aren’t – especially if you choose a matte finish.

People think solid surface and cultured marble are the same. Although they’re both man-made stone products each has its own strengths and weaknesses (kind of like us as people).

People think solid surface only comes in standard sizes or boring colors. This isn’t the case. A HUGE (or hugely as Trump might say) reason to get a cultured stone shower pan or wall system is because it can be customized. In addition, with 20 to 50 available colors (depending on the manufacturer) you’ll find a selection to fit your design theme.

Gray Lightning Cultured Marble Shower Wall and Base Pattern | Innovate Building Solutions | #CulturedStone #ShowerBase #BathroomRemodel

People say cultured marble and granite went out in the 90’s. Not true. Yes – it is a more traditional looking material. However, with new patterns it can work into multiple design styles. Check out this fun ‘gray lightening’ pattern below.

This article will help you not be fooled again about solid surface showers.

#9 –7 Crucial Steps for a Low Maintenance Shower Installation  

7 Crucial Steps for a Stylish Low Maintenance shower | Innovate Building Solutions | #ShowerInstall #BathroomRemodel #ShowerBase #AcrylicShower

Showers can be a complete pain – especially if they’re done wrong or use the wrong materials (can you relate?).

This article focused on how to not be ‘penny-wise and pound-foolish’ as my Dad used to say (i.e. buying cheap products which cause you time and hassle down the road). It provided tips and tricks to ensure you get a cool-looking, yet long-lasting shower.

A few ideas you’ll learn are:

  • How to choose a low maintenance shower pan.
  • How to select products to use behind your shower walls to know what you do see will last.
  • Smart design tricks to locate your plumbing so it will work for you, not against you.

If you use these 7 steps, you’re guaranteed to have a space which will look nicer and last longer!

#8 – 3 Trends and 7 Wild and Wacky Ideas from the 2018 International Builders and Kitchen & Bath Show    

3 Trends and 7 Ideas for Builders Show | Innovate Building Solutions | #BuildersShow #RemodelingTips #BathroomRemodeling #LaminateWallPanels

If you live in Ohio what do you love to do in January and February? You want to ‘get out of Dodge’ (‘er the cold). So, I went to a conference where the sun is always shining – Orlando, Florida.

In this article I recap (because part of this trip – or at least what I tell my staff – is to learn and grow) the top products and trends I saw at this year’s International Builders and Kitchen and Bath Industry Show.

This show (attended by 80,000 of my ‘best friends’) has the latest products and industry trends on display in 3 massive buildings. The biggest trends centered around people’s desire for a more relaxed lifestyle (this may be why Modern Farmhouse products are HOT). There were a lot of low maintenance products. Two lines of grout free shower wall panels were sizzling hot. One is a line of laminate wall panels we’re now importing from Norway (see below), the other was a line of high gloss shower walls.

Laminated wall panels in a shower and in the bathroom surrounds | Innovate Building Solutions | #LaminateWallPanels #NoTileTileShower #TileShower #BathroomSurrounds

If you couldn’t attend this show, read this post and get ideas to create a less-stressful, fashion-forward home in 2019.

#7 – How to Compare Solid Surface and Cultured Stone Shower Systems

How to Compare Solid Surface and Cultured Stone Shower System | Innovate Building Solutions | #SolidSurface #ShowerWallPanels #CulturedStoneShower

All man-made stone shower systems are the same…or are they?

In this article I give you a toe to toe, cheek to cheek, butt to butt comparison (sorry for that graphic bathroom ‘detail’ there) comparison of solid surface vs. cultured stone shower systems. There is no one ‘right system.’ However, in this article you get practical answers to your questions like:

  • Can I get shower pans to go with stone walls?
  • Is a matte finish or gloss finish better?
  • What accessories are available to make a ‘fully functioning’ shower I can relax and enjoy?
  • Can I ditch a tile shower and use a stone shower system if I need a custom size?

Don’t buy a man-made-stone-shower system without using this advice.

#6 –   7 Facts You Need to Know About Custom Solid Surface Shower Pans

7 Facts you need to know about custom solid surface pans | Innovate Building Solutions | #ShowerPan #BathroomRemodeling #CustomShowerBase #CulturedStone

As Joe Friday used to say on Dragnet, “Just the facts Ma’am.” In this article my goal was to do my best Joe Friday impersonation. I’ll give it to you straight.

You’ll learn important facts about custom solid surface or cultured stone shower pans. They’re not slippery when wet. You can customize the curb height and width. Custom seats are separate from the pans for increased flexibility.

You’ll learn there are challenges with these pans. These ‘bad-boys’ weigh a lot. You’ll want to get help installing them and eat your Wheaties. They’re not a ‘cheap date.’ Acrylic and fiberglass cost less – but then again, they’re not built like a tank like solid surface pans.

If you want straight advice on cultured stone pans, this article is a must-read.

#5 – The 7 Biggest Blunders You Don’t Want to Make Choosing a Shower Pan

The 7 Biggest Blunders You Don't Want to Make Choosing a Shower Pan | Innovate Building Solutions | #ShowerPan #CustomShowerBase #GlassDoorShower

Shower pans are the ‘Rodney Dangerfield’s’ (‘er they get no respect) in shower designs. Everyone wants to pay attention to the pretty shower walls and fancy shower heads. The lowly base (which gets trampled daily) doesn’t get its fair share of thought and TLC.

Consider this ‘caveat emptor’ idea (for those of you who didn’t study Latin – it means ‘let the buyer beware.’ I also threw this phrase in there to make you think I’m smart – is it working?). You’ll ignore the shower pan at your own risk.

The shower pan is the ‘foundation’ of your shower. If it fails – everything above it (and the money you spent on them) goes down the tubes. If you pay more attention to the pan, you’ll guarantee a shower system which lasts.

In this article you’ll learn types of pans which are built to last (they won’t crack or yellow). You’ll learn why a drain location (while not sexy), is critically important. You’ll learn why your choice of a glass enclosure is ‘joined at the hip’ with your shower base decision.  

#4 – 5 ½ ‘Not Butt Ugly’ Shower Ideas for RV’s, Mobile and Tiny Homes Which (Mostly) Won’t Break the Bank

5.5 Stylish Shower Panel & Base Ideas for an RV, Tiny Home or Mobile Home | Innovate Building Solutions | #ShowerPan #RVHomes #TinyBathroom #SmallBathroomDesign  

Designing a mobile home bathroom with a sense of style, takes a level of thought most don’t put in. However, it’s just this brain-power which will make the space go beyond ‘live-able’ to special.

Mobile home & tiny home bathrooms don’t have to be ugly.

In this article you’ll see how fun, durable and safe acrylic shower pans can be used which won’t make your guests think you picked everything out at a thrift store. You’ll also learn about 4 shower wall panels systems (a faux stone decorative PVC system, a laminate wall system and high gloss walls) which give you a sense of style even in a tiny space.

Don’t think small bathroom = ugly bathroom. Read this article.

#3 – The ‘No-Tile, Tile Shower’ and Bathroom Wall Panels – 5 Reasons You Need to Check Them Out

The No Tile Tile Shower and Bathroom Wall Panels | Innovate Building Solutions | #NoTileTileShower #TileShower #GroutFreeShower #BathroomRemodeling

I remember when I got my first ‘mobile-friendly’ Apple iPhone. I loved how it truly was a better ‘mouse-trap’ than my stationary car phone (however I did feel cool when I spent $795 on my first-car phone). Not only were the calling plans less expensive, but now I could research ANYTHING from my phone as well. How liberating.

When I first laid my eyes on laminated shower wall panels, I felt the same way as I did with the new iPhone. Better design, here I come.

Simple 2’ x 8’ panels which snap, lock and seal together. Design styles which can fit any bathroom. Prices which won’t make you want to ‘shoot your eye out (some Christmas Story humor)!’

These durable panels (with a 15-year guarantee) show how much the United States WAS missing in shower wall style and design. Check them out. After you get your free sample, let me know if you agree with me – or if you feel I’ve been smoking something wacky.  

High gloss sky blue laminated shower and bathroom wall panels | Innovate Building Solutions | #HighGlossPanels #ShowerWalls #BathroomProducts #Laminatewallpanels

#2 – 9 Mistakes with a Barrier Free Shower System You Don’t Want to Make

9 mistakes with a barrier free shower system you don't want to make | Innovate Building Solutions | #BathroomRemodeling #RemodelingMistakes #LaminateWallPanels #BarrierFreeShower

Life’s ebbs and flows can require us to learn things we never considered before. One example are barrier free shower systems. Perhaps it’s an aging parent or a car accident which puts you on ‘high-alert’ and on a mission to figure out barrier free showers.

Lots of mistakes are made installing these systems. Ugly shower pans are chosen. Grab bars are put in even your Grandmother knows are out of style. You get so much water on the bathroom floor it starts leaking through your dining room ceiling below.

There’s no need to be a victim of a bad barrier free shower system design. Read these 9 mistakes so you won’t be the next victim to repeat them.

#1 – The 10 Commandments of Bathroom Remodeling Success

10 Commandments of Bathroom Remodeling Success to sace time, money, and get a stylish bathroom | Innovate Building Solutions | #StylishBathroom #BathroomRemodel #ShowerWallPanel #RemodelingTips

The bathroom remodeling process can be daunting. There’s a lot to think about. Making your bathroom safe with lighting and the right type of shower pan. Including proper storage. Using products which don’t have you using terms your Mother wouldn’t love while cleaning nasty grout joints.

In the end, you don’t have to draw on a higher biblical or spiritual power for a successful bath remodel (although – it might help – ha! ha!). What you do need to do is have a plan. To draw on others for insight. To not settle for a space, you don’t love.

Use these 10 commandments and get started on the right path. You’ll be led to the ‘thrown’ of bathroom remodeling success (as Larry the Cable Guy might say, ‘That there is some bad bathroom humor!’).


 Once again, I’m grateful for your support reading my blog (and putting up with my – sometimes – bad humor in 2018). It’s my goal to provide you useful content with a bit of wackiness thrown in along the way.

If this is your first time reading my blog posts – thanks. I’m hoping you subscribe to our email list, comment or call me, so we can get to know one another (hey – I’m a lonely guy, what can I say).

If my business can help you with products for your bath remodel (we offer nationwide supply) or local installation service (in Cleveland and Columbus) we’d love to help. Call us or click the links in the section below.



For nationwide supply of bath and shower wall panels, shower bases, glass block shower and window systems contact Innovate Building Solutions at 877-668-5888. For bathroom remodeling contact Cleveland Design and Remodeling (216-658-1270) or The Bath Doctor in Columbus (614-252-7294). For a glass block project call Cleveland Glass Block (216-531-6363) or Columbus Glass Block (614-252-5888).

If you’re a remodeler or builder and want practical advice on remodeling products, industry trends, marketing and sales tips to grow your business (and cut day to day hassles), start reading my newest blog – Innovate Builders Blog. It’s packed with ideas you can use now. Click here to Sign Up for the Innovate Builders Blog.

If you’re in the building business, click here if you’d like to learn how to become a shower wall panel dealer or call and ask for Mike at 877-668-5888.

Mike Foti

President of Innovate Building Solutions a nationwide supplier and regional (Cleveland and Columbus) remodeling contractors. Some of our product lines include glass counters, floors, backsplashes, glass blocks and grout free shower and tub wall panels

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