Bathroom, Kitchen, Basement Design & Remodeling Ideas for the Nicest Home or Business on the Block
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
Deciding on the right shower and tub wall panels is tough enough, but it becomes ‘doubly-difficult’ when the two systems you’re comparing are newer to the United States market (even if one of them has been around the world market for over 26 years).
While Kohler Choreograph (also known as LuxStone) and Fibo laminate wall panels are both 100% waterproof, simple to maintain, respected brands in their country of origin (everyone knows Kohler in the United States and Fibo is used in 1/3 of the homes in Norway) and are an excellent alternatives to tile, this is where the similarities end.
As you’ll see below the Kohler and Fibo wall panels both have their strengths and weaknesses, just like you and I (note: even my wife of 35+ years thinks I have a few weaknesses…OK I’m lying, she thinks I have more than a few!).
OK – I’m not writing this to take down the tile industry, and I’m certainly not arrogant enough to think this post has that kind of power.
However, I’ve been on the receiving end of countless homeowners (and even bathroom remodeling contractors) calls who are ‘sick and tired’ (as my Mom used to say) of problems with tile showers. They’re desperately looking for better solutions.
Admittedly, a tile shower can look beautiful once its finally completed. However, how long will it hold up? Will it be a pain to maintain? Will you be protected by a warranty if the shower pan or walls leak?
When it comes to those looking for a richer-looking showers tile is the A#1 top choice… but should it be? And even if you’re sold on tile, are there installation approaches and materials you should use to get a better finished product which lasts longer?
In this article I’ll focus on frustrations surrounding tile showers, and alternatives you need to research if you hate grout (which is the evil-stepbrother or stepsister to tile). I’ll also provide examples of better performing products to use instead of tile (or improved products to use with tile, is you’re set this is the way for you to go).
Let’s check out the 9 reasons you shouldn’t build a tile shower.
Even though he won’t admit it, it’s not easy for John to climb over the tub to take a shower.
And though you will forcefully admit it (and complain about it also), cleaning the scummy grout joints which are barely keeping together your dated 4” x 4” powder blue ceramic tile bathtub surround is a task you can do without.
You’ve had it with this sad excuse for a tub/shower ‘system’ (if you can call it that). You’d like to convert your tub into a shower before something bad happens to John, or you throw your tile scrub brush through a wall.
The problem is, you’re unsure how to get started. You don’t know the best products and designs for a walk-in shower. You’re not sure how to create a space which is safe for John (although you’re certainly not telling him this is one of your motivations), but also one which oozes style and reduces cleaning time. The reality is bathroom and shower remodeling are not what you do for a living.
You know you need help. Where do you start?
If this describes your situation (even if you don’t have a stubborn spouse named John or Joan for that matter), you need to read on. In this article I’ll dish up 5 practical ideas to convert your tub into a walk-in shower to add style, safety and reduce how often you have to clean it. I’ll also make sure these ideas won’t force you to take out a second mortgage.
Your existing yellowed, stained, partially cracked (and not very clean-looking) fiberglass builders-grade shower is a disaster. It needs to be replaced.
Sure, in a perfect world (OK, it’s not the world you’re actually living in) you’d pay the highest-rated (which is usually the most expensive) bathroom remodeler in town to redo your shower (and entire bathroom if you have the money). They would transform your ugly-duckling space into a drool-worthy shower which would grace the pages of House Beautiful or Better Homes and Gardens.
Now, I’ll have to interrupt this vision for a ‘cold-splash’ of reality.
Your Budweiser-like ‘beer-budget’ (and seemingly never-ending expenses of your 2 kids and spouse) isn’t helping you one bit to fund your Dom-Perignon-champagne-esque bath and shower remodeling tastes.
You need a new shower but can’t afford to break the bank (OK – your kids have already done an excellent job of that anyway) making it happen.
The question is, how can you get a stylish shower on a tight budget?
To help you attack this challenge head-on, you’ll find 5 ½ (OK – the ½ idea is to add some intrigue) practical ideas to get a cool shower if your budget isn’t exactly ‘Bill-Gates-esque!’ Let’s check out the ideas.
Tile is such an established building material. It dates back more than 25,000 years. That’s a Ripley’s Believe it Or Not stat you don’t even have to pay $14.99 admission to learn.
Tile is the great, great, great Grandfather of shower surround surfaces. It’s a fun, inventive and versatile material. On the other hand, it can be a pain to clean. It can be a pain to install. It can be a drain on your wallet.
It’s because of these downsides of tile new materials (like laminate shower wall panels discussed in this article) are looking to ‘bump tile’ off its bathroom throne (OK – that’s a bad pun – I know!).
If you’re not familiar with laminate wall panels they were invented over 25 years ago in Norway. They’re 3/8” thick. The thickness of most tiles. They’re approximately 2’ x 8’ in size. They’re used in shower, tub and bathroom walls to provide a waterproof, yet stylish surround. They install like laminate flooring. They click and lock together. However, unlike laminate flooring they also are adhered and waterproofed with a hybrid polymer sealant.
In this article we’ll take a look ‘under the hood’ (or in this case under the grout joint or wall panel) and compare the advantages of laminate wall panels vs. a tile shower and vice versa.
At the end there will be a quiz (but don’t sweat it – you won’t be graded!) to see which system you’d like to use for your next bathroom remodeling project.
There are so many decisions and components in a kitchen remodel. However, no single element injects style and personality quite like a kitchen backsplash. It literally (and figuratively) can create a splash (Ok, I get it, bad pun).
A backsplash can be like a statement piece of jewelry, or your favorite jazzy tie. It goes beyond the function of a backsplash (which is to make it easy to clean liquids which splash up on the walls). It adds a fashion statement everyone who visits your house can ooh and aaah about.
Although there’s lots to love about kitchen backsplashes, they can also be a pain. You may have experienced these backsplash hassles:
Stained and cracked grout joints.
Materials which are so expensive they have you asking, “You said it’s how much for that small area?”
Surfaces which are a cleaning nightmare.
Installation hurdles like outlets and stoves which increase the ‘degree or difficulty’ choosing the right backsplash.
The challenge becomes how can you get the stylish kitchen backsplash design you desire while also getting one which is easy to clean and install, yet won’t force you to take out a second mortgage or tap into your kid’s college fund?
In this article, I’ll look at 5 annoying problems people deal with trying to choose the best backsplash. Then I’ll dish up practical ‘fixes’ you can use to overcome these problems.
You’ve probably heard of FOMO (the Fear of Missing Out), but I’ll bet you haven’t heard of FOFO. FOFO is the Fear of Figuring it Out …on the fly…. while blowing your hard-earned money in the process. I would tell you about FOFO’s cousin (FOFU – the Fear of F***ing Up), but I stopped swearing 15 years ago.
When it comes to remodeling (and shower remodeling mistakes in particular) FOFO and FOFU (for those of you who swear) are waaaay too common. You know the following facts are true from past projects:
Fact #1) Mistakes can be costly.
Fact #2) Remodeling mistakes can make the project drag on longer than a painting project done by ‘Eldon The Painter’ (he was the painter who never left on the old TV show, Murphy Brown).
Nobody (whether you’re DIY’ing the job or using a contractor) wants to shell out extra dough when better planning could have helped you get your job done for less.
In this article it’s my goal (as a guy whose team has worked with thousands of homeowners and contractors) to give you practical shower remodeling tips to reduce your mistakes. I want to save you time, money and aggravation.
So, let’s look at 11 shower remodeling mistakes you don’t need to make.
Are these the words you’d use to describe your bathroom today?
It doesn’t take long for a bathroom to get out of hand. Curling irons, blow driers, and a massive array of beauty products littered on your tiny vanity counter. Tile showers with dirty, mold stained grout joints which scream out – GROSS! Pitted chrome fixtures which don’t exactly look ‘shiny and new’ but they do ‘boast’ (sarcasm intended) constant water spots (which are like nails on a chalkboard to you).
Even though you’d like to create the luxury spa-like bathroom experience like a day at The Ritz, your budget more closely resembles a Hampton or Holiday Inn.
You’ve wondered….is there a way to breath new life into this tired old bathroom? Can I give it a spa-inspired setting without blowing ALL the kids college fund in the process? The short answer is…yes there is.
In this article, I’ll present 7-bathroom décor ideas to create a spa-like bathroom on a budget. Some of these ideas only involve a trip to your local candle shop, Bed Bath and Beyond, or one of your favorite on-line stores. Other ideas are more extensive and would be included in a mid-priced bathroom remodeling project.
So, what have you got to lose? Read these 7 ideas and see which can help catapult your ‘ugly duckling’ bathroom into the relaxed, spa-like experience you’ve dreamed about.
DIY shower remodeling can be a pain. There I said it. Yes, I bet you were probably thinking it.
It’s a long and winding road. It doesn’t always (OK it NEVER) goes exactly as planned. Does that sound like real life to you?
While you have vision of the finished bathroom, there will be twists and turns you never anticipated until you ‘open up the patient.’ In this case the patient is your shower and bathroom.
You may be debating should I (or shouldn’t I) do my own shower or bathroom remodel? You may be wondering do I want to (or do I need to – to make the budget work and get the cool products I’d like) tackle this project?
There are a ton of moving parts. There are a number of construction skills involved in a bathroom remodeling. Deciding to hire a professional contractor (and in case you haven’t noticed the guys/gals doing this work today are in HIGH DEMAND and commanding top dollar) or DIY this job is no small matter.
In this article I’m going to take you on a journey. It’s the journey through a 3-year (yes you heard that right 3 years – although Troy wasn’t sleeping on the job, he could only work on it during weekends and vacations) DIY bathroom remodel done by Troy and Lora-Jene Daniel of Davidsonville Maryland. It’s a bathroom which now has the following:
It uses fun (and low maintenance) new products. Check out the 2’ x 4’ polished Italian tiles below.
It offers thoughtful and design-conscious variations on established products. The curved glass block wall with the tile border rocks the newly remodeled space.
It’s designed to last. The barrier free waterproof tile shower pan WILL eliminate the leakage nightmare of the old shower. In addition, it will be easy to use no matter how nimble (or not) the Daniel’s are down the road.
It’s a project, quite frankly, Troy and Lora Jean would not have done through a bathroom remodeler because it would have been too expensive.
In this article, I’m going to share 7 practical tips (6 of which Troy shared with me, one I added myself) which saved Troy (and can save you) over 50% vs. hiring a contractor. Will all of these tips apply to you? Maybe or maybe not.
However, I will guarantee you this. If you use at least a few of these tips, you’ll not only save money but will be keep your marriage (or relationship) intact in the process. While I haven’t found an official stat showing how many people have gotten divorced or ended up on the latest episode of Homicide Hunter in the process of a DIY bathroom remodel, I’m betting there’s a few!
I can remember it like it was yesterday. I was 28 years old. My wife and I were cash-strapped first-time homeowners. I bought new carpet for a bathroom floor 3 times. Yes, you heard that right. I bought the same carpet 3 times because I made dumb mistakes and cut it wrong 2 previous times. My wife, Rose can tell you how mad I was.
Any of us who does home improvement (or bathroom remodeling projects) has a ‘blooper real’ of stupid mistakes (even if we don’t publicly ‘fess up’ to them). These screw- ups may be accompanied by some ‘choice words’ (which Mom might still wash our mouths out with soap – BTW does anyone do that anymore? – if she heard them). In addition, these remodeling mistakes suck up money, delay the project and are painful to deal with.
No one likes going back to the store (whether it’s the ‘big box’ down the road or making another on-line purchase etc.) and dishing out more money because we messed up.
It’s for this reason I wrote this post. I’ve seen (and had to console many homeowners and remodeling contractors alike) when they’ve made dumb mistakes buying or installing shower wall panels or the accessories which go with these panels.
My goal in this article is simple. I’m going to identify 9 dumb mistakes with shower and bathroom wall panels. Then I’ll offer up ideas to make sure you’re not a ‘victim’ of them, and help you save money and aggravation along the way. Let’s check out the 9 dumb mistakes.