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7 Secrets about Glass Block Shower Walls Your Contractor Doesn’t Want You to Know

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

 

7 Secrets about glass block shower wall - contractor | Innovate Building Solutions #GlassBlock #GlassBlockShower #GlassBlockInstallation #ShowerRemodel

You’ve finally gotten a hold of Pauly Path-Of-Least-Resistance, President of Krazy Cool Contracting Inc. You’ve set up a Free in-home estimate for next Thursday. Your goal of upgrading the bathroom for you and your husband Bill – now that your 3 kids are (almost) out of the house – is about to become a reality.

Pauly’s the hard to get contractor in your small town. Despite his funny name (and company name for that matter) he’s known for high quality bathroom remodeling work and stands by his warranties. Your neighbors and friends have told you to use him.

Since the 3 other companies you’ve called haven’t even sent you a quote (after meeting with them a month ago) you’re ready to rock n’ roll with Pauly. He’s a shoo-in to get your job. This is a fact you’re trying to keep on the Q-T, so his price won’t force you to get a 2nd job!

Everything’s going well during your initial appointment until you break the news to Pauly. You tell him you want a partially colored free-standing walk in curved glass block shower wall. You also mention you want grout free wall panels and an easy to clean shower pan. You want simplicity at all costs (OK – maybe not at all costs) but certainly simpler to maintain is high on your list.

Pauly starts ripping off all the reasons he CAN’T do this job based on your product choices. Here’s some things he rants about:

 

  • I don’t know how to do a glass block shower – and I don’t know any subcontractors who know their way around this material either.

 

  • I’ve never installed a curved glass wall of any sort (glass or glass blocks for that matter) before.

 

  • He asks, why do you want glass blocks? They’re out of style anyway.

 

  • You know the block wall will fall if it’s not supported on all sides.

 

  • Why do you want grout free wall panels? They look cheap and plasticky.

 

After he’s done ripping off all the reasons it CAN’T be done you’re tempted to chime in with the trite motivational statement, “Can is just can’t without a T.” You bite your tongue and think better of it (after all he’s the best contractor in town and you don’t want to piss him off).

However, you’re not ready to give up on your glass block shower dream– and you’re prepared for his objections. You’ve got a list of 7 secrets (I’ve given you the cheat-sheet below) your chosen ‘path-of-least-resistance’ contractor, Pauly, may not want to know, but you can share to get him over to your side.

6 Things You Shouldn’t Do When Replacing Your Tile Shower

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

6 things you shouldn't do when replacing your tile shower | Innovate Building Solutions | #ShowerPanels #TiledShower #BathroomWallPanels #BathroomRemodel

Old tile showers are a pain.

Moldy and dirty grout joints. Shower curbs which are too tall and dangerous to step over. Cracked shower pans which leaked onto the floors below. And I haven’t even mentioned the constant maintenance. Who doesn’t love spending time with a scrub brush cleaning grout joints (sarcasm intended)?

If you’re looking to replace your old tile shower – the last thing you want to do is repeat the mistakes of the past. If your shower is screaming ‘replace me,’ the question becomes what mistakes do you need to stay away from this time? How can you get a new tile shower (or a look-a-like tile shower – more about this later) without the hassles your last one caused you?

In this article my goal is to give it to you straight. I’m going to tell you 6 things you shouldn’t do when you replace your old tile shower. These tips will help you get a nicer looking shower stall with less effort and maintenance from you down the road.

Maybe Shower Wall Panels aren’t a Crazy Idea After All…

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

Maybe shower wall panels aren't a crazy idea after all | Innovate Building Solutions | #ShowerPanels #GroutFreeShower #BathroomRemodel

Patty came into my office to look at a glass enclosure for a new tile shower she and her husband Mark were installing in their upcoming bathroom remodel. The appointment was going well until I said to Patty, “Have you ever considered using grout free shower wall panels instead of tile?”

Patty looked at me like I had a third eye.

She said, “Mike – you’re either a little crazy or you’re filming me for the next episode of America’s Funniest Videos. I told you, Mark and I are designing this bathroom to be the LAST to be the last one we do. This bathroom is going to be stylish. It’s going to work for us until they wheel us out of this place. Why would I even think about putting in colorless, plasticky, cheap and hard to clean (oh – and did I mention ugly) shower wall surrounds?”

I thought to myself (sarcastically), “Well – that idea went over well!”

The reality is Patty is right on the money with how most people think about shower wall panels. They’re thin. They look like cheap plastic. They’re boring. They’d hard to install. And lastly – and maybe most importantly – you can’t keep them clean.

There’s nothing more embarrassing than a ‘white shower’ which is now a dull gray or yellowish-brown color. That’s just one reason you’ve kept those ugly high-privacy curtains on your hall bathroom with the fiberglass tub/shower surround. You’re hoping no one will see how bad the interior shower wall surrounds and pan look behind the curtains.

In this article I’m going to give you 5 reasons why people don’t want to use grout free shower wall panels in an upgraded bathroom remodel. Then I’ll serve up new information to expand your knowledge (and possibly change your thinking) about why shower wall panels are a smart option instead of tile.

The No-Tile, Tile Shower & Bathroom Wall Panels – 5 Reasons You Need to Check Them Out

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

The No Tile Tile Shower and Bathroom Wall Panels | Innovate Building Solutions | #NoTileTileShower #TiledShower #BathroomTrends

I had to laugh when I saw the following blog comment from Bobbi about our upcoming introduction of laminate wall panels (also called ‘The no-tile, tile shower).’ She wrote,

“Mike, you’ve mentioned the ‘No Tile, Tile Shower’ so many times, but it isn’t available in the U.S. yet. Now it’s time to cough up the goods! You’ve been teasing about this product for ages. I have multiple clients this would be ideal for.”

Bobbi – had a right to ‘call me on the carpet’ for this one. I’ve been writing about these laminate panels since they blew my mind when I saw them at the International Builders Show in February of this year.

I had never seen a shower and tub wall panel system with the realistic look and feel of tile before (and as many of you know from reading my blog, I’ve seen quite a few grout free wall panel systems in my day).

Well – the time has come Bobbi for me to ‘cough up the goods!’

I’ve finally chosen  21 different laminated wall panel patterns I think will fit the United States market. There are styles to fit traditional, transitional, contemporary, modern minimalist, shabby chic or even Modern farmhouse designs.

I’ve finally got the wall panels on order and coming from Norway to our warehouse in Cleveland Ohio (they are due to arrive in late November).

I’ve finally got our laminate wall panel web page launched so you can see (and get a deeper explanation of what Bobbi told me I’ve been teasing about for too long).

In this article I’m going 5 reasons you should not only ‘give a hoot’ about these panels – but should seriously not only consider them to replace your ugly fiberglass one-piece surround or moldy tile shower – but also to use them ALL the walls of your bathroom as well.

Below – I’ll explain to you what all the fuss is about. At the end of the article let me know if you agree with my excitement (and Bobbi’s as well) over these panels or whether (in your humble opinion) you think I’ve been smoking something wacky!

5 Hot Bathroom Design Trends You Need to Know from the 2018 Columbus Parade of Homes

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

 

5 hot bathroom design trends from the parade of homes | Innovate Building Solutions | #BathroomDesign #ShowerRemodel #ShowerIdeas #ParadeofHome

If you’ve got a bathroom which is long in the tooth (OK – if we’re being real, its as old as the Partridge Family or The Brady Bunch) and in desperate need of remodeling, it’s difficult knowing where to start first. As you begin to get your arms around this remodel you may be asking:

  • What finishes are in style? You know the pitted brass framed shower door in your fiberglass shower has seen its better days.

 

  • What tile trends are hot today? What you know for sure is the 4” x 4” pink and gray tiles in your current bathrooms aren’t HOT (unless you’re the reincarnation of June Cleaver or Carol Brady – if you know who they are)!

 

  • How can I get my bathroom to function safely for me and my family over the next 15 to 20 years? You’re not getting any younger (even after maxing out your Botox treatments). With your husband Michaels’ arthritis, he’s not finding it any easier climbing over the tub to take a shower either.

 

  • How can I add impact and style without the bathroom looking over the top?

 

  • What should I include in my bathroom? A larger shower? A freestanding bathtub? A smaller shower and a tub? You don’t have unlimited space – it is a bathroom after all. How can you find room for everything you want?

The questions are simple, it’s the answers to these questions which are tricky.

A way to get a head start on the right solutions (and answers) is to see live and in person the latest and greatest in bath design. One place this can be accomplished is by attending a local Parade of Homes. Even if you’re not building a $1,000,000 luxury custom home (unless you hit the lottery) the ‘best of the best’ designers and trends are in display in these homes. You can ‘steal’ (OK -not literally) some great ideas from them.

Top builders and interior designers are all in one spot to showcase what’s hot in home (and bathroom) design. I took my annual pilgrimage to the Columbus Ohio Parade of Homes to check out these trends myself.

Since I’d consider myself somewhat of a B.D.G. (Bathroom Design Geek) – and if I’m being honest I’m over-the-top obsessed with the topic), I wanted to report back to you 5 hot design trends I saw from this years (2018) Columbus Parade of Homes which will help you no matter if you’re building a new home or remodeling. I will also share 3 additional trends I’m seeing which weren’t at the Parade (after all there is only so many things these builders can pack into 7 homes – and they already packed in a ton – IMHO).

At the end of the article let me know which trends are a must-have for your next bathroom remodel or new home, and if there’s any you can do without (thank you very much).

5 ½ Little Known Secrets to Design a Handicap Accessible Shower Which Doesn’t Look Ugly!

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

5.5 Little known secrets to designa handicap accessible shower | Innovate Building Solutions | #HandicapAccessible #ShowerRemodel #BathroomWallPanels

You and your husband have had ‘the talk’ about Mom moving in. You both know it’s the right thing to do. It certainly won’t be simple. Since Dad passed away 2 years ago Mom’s mobility has been headed in the wrong direction.

You worry about her living alone.

If only she would wear the panic-alert necklace you bought her last year.

If only you didn’t have to worry about her climbing over the tall tub rail. Entering a slick bathtub is an accident you don’t want to see happen.

If only she didn’t live 40 minutes away. Then you could check on her more often.

As Mom is aging – you’re aging too quickly also just worrying about her.

You and John have come to the conclusion Mom moving in with you the kids is the right plan. Mom has finally (after many long-nights of conversation) agreed. Giving up her completely independent lifestyle is not an easy thing to do. Now you need to make your home safe for her (since this is a key reason you’re making this move in the first place). You know the bathroom is the first place she’s at risk of falling. You know your one-piece fiberglass shower on the first floor isn’t any better than what Mom has today.

The ‘ADA showers’ you’ve seen look like a bad flashback to when you visited Mom in the hospital – yuck! You and John are looking for an answer to the question of how you can create a stylish accessible shower which doesn’t scream out ‘Mom or Grandma lives here!’

In this article my goal is to give you 5 1/2 practical (and little-known) secrets to design a contemporary and stylish accessible shower. At the end I’d love to hear your feedback which ideas can help your next project and other ideas you have I haven’t mentioned. Let’s check out these secrets.

5 Euro Bathroom Design Trends You Should Use Right Now

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

 

5 Euro Bathroom Design Trends You Should Use Right Not | Innovate Building Solutions | #NoTile #TileShower #ShowerPanels

If you remember the song Smoke on the Water and can think back to when it was HOT to have a cassette player or ‘car phone’ (my first car phone cost $795 and boy was I cool), you know how quickly trends change.

Just like in music and technology, bathroom trends have evolved greatly over the last decade. You know this is true if you’re currently staring at 4” x 4” mauve colored tiles in your shower which are as up-to-date as the ‘Charlie’ perfume or Calgon bubble bath your Mom used to use. While your spouse may be OK with this time-warped bathroom, they’re not trying to clean the dirty, dingy, moldy tile grout joints. As a matter of fact, they don’t even notice the chipped-up porcelain bathtub either.

If you’ve ‘had it up to here’ (now, you’re even thinking like your Mother!) with This Old Bathroom you owe it to yourself to not only spruce up this tired space, but to design it to work flawlessly over the next 25 years as well. After all you know the problems an outdated bathroom has caused your Mom and Dad who are mobility challenged today. The question becomes, where do you begin tackling this project?

Even though I love our country as much as the next person, I will make the argument the place to start your journey to an updated bathroom is ‘across the pond’ – in Europe. You may be asking, “Mike, why Europe?” Here’s 3 reasons why:

  • Reason 1 – Europe has been setting the fashion bar – whether it’s designer dresses from Milan, fun fashion-forward tiles from Spain or Italy, or Scandi-chic cost-effective furniture from IKEA in Sweden.

 

  • Reason 2 – Europeans are used to living in smaller spaces. Since their homes and apartments are tighter they’re already ‘on-it’ designing bathrooms which work in little areas.

 

  • Reason 3 – Europeans realize a less complicated life is a good life (that’s why many countries in Europe have 1 month off for vacations). In bathroom design their designs are simpler and organic.

In this article I’ll show you 5 Euro bathroom design trends you need to consider in liberating your bathroom from its time-warped past (or at least, hopefully it’s past). Let’s look at these trends.

How to eliminate tile grout joints in your bathroom

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

How to eliminate tile grout joints in your bathroom | Innovate Building Solutions | #TileGrout #GrossShower #GroutJoints #CleaningGrout

Even though you’re not ‘sleeping with the enemy’ in your bathroom, you know who public enemy #1 is in your bathroom. It’s your nasty tile grout joints.

These joints may be ugly and stained. They may be cracked and half-falling out. They may have caused your ceramic tiles to crack. They may be moldy and the cause of health problems. They may be the driving reason water leaked through your shower pan, through the ceiling and onto your new mahogany dining room table. They may be the reason you’re on your hands and knees ‘enjoying’ (sarcasm intended) working your scrub brush and basking in the fresh aroma of your favorite ‘chemical brew’ to clean up these joints again.

But, you continue to ‘put up with’ grout joints? If you haven’t thought about why you put yourself through this torture here’s 5 reasons I’ve seen to explain why you may stick with tile:

7 Creative High Privacy Bathroom Window Ideas (so you won’t be putting on a show for the neighbors)

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

7 creative high privacy bathroom window idea | Innovate Building Solutions | #BathroomWindows #GlassBlockWindows #AcrylicWindows

Bathroom and shower windows are a blessing and a curse.

They’re a blessing because they make your bathroom safer, light-filled and when opened give fresh air to keep moisture and mold away.

They’re a curse because they ‘open you up’ (ready or not) to the world (or your neighbors in this case). If you don’t find a way to make your bath windows private, you’ll give neighbors an unwanted ‘show’ in your ‘birthday suit.’ As someone who won’t be mistaken for Matthew McConoughey without a shirt – I’m not sure my neighbors would be looking forward to my ‘show’ anyway!

Because of the desire for privacy I’ve seen homeowners completely cover up windows in the middle of their shower with shower panels. This not only eliminates natural light – creating a closed in feeling, it looks ‘butt-ugly’ from the outside. You’ll see a wall behind a window. How dumb is that? Doing this should be a bathroom remodeling crime punishable by 1 years in solitary bathroom confinement in a dark, moldy shower with a rusty shower head.

The challenge is this. How do you find a high privacy shower or bathroom window which adds style?

In this article I’m going to give you 7 practical and creative ideas, so you can maintain your dignity (and privacy) without sacrificing light (and to get fresh air as well). At the end let me know which idea(s) makes the most sense to you, or others you’ve used with success.

7 Bathroom Design Tricks Every Empty Nester Needs

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

7 Bathroom Design Tricks Every Empty Nester Needs | Innovate Building Solutions | #BathroomRemodel #EmptyNester #HomeRemodel #ShowerPanels

The good news is – you got here. You’ve raised Michael, Jessica and Ashley. Now they are only ‘partially’ draining your wallet. Although you’re not sure exactly when Michael will finish college. They are ‘mostly’ out of the home. You’re officially an empty nester.

The bad news is – you got here. You’re not as nimble as when they were cute little ones running around the backyard. You’ve got a few dollars to spend on yourself and your husband John (and you’d even have more if you weren’t continuing to fund Michael – but let’s not dwell on that sore subject now).

Your home (and especially bathroom) is looking worn around the edges. OK – if we’re being real, it’s one step above a disaster! Your focus had been getting the kids to high school band practice, cheerleading, football games and into a college which wouldn’t force you to take second job.

Now you’ve got the time, money and desire to do something about your ugly, high maintenance and so behind-the-times master bathroom. You’d swear your existing fiberglass shower and mosaic tiled floor could be used as a set for a rerun of The Brady Bunch.

The problem is you don’t know where to start designing and remodeling this space. You’re asking yourself:

  • How can I give this bathroom some ‘cool’ factor?’

 

  • How can I make it safe? I need it to work for Mom, if she comes to live with us, but not butt-ugly like Grandma’s bathroom used to look. I need it to be safe for John. He isn’t moving around well after his knee replacement.

 

  • How can I create a shower which won’t eat up my time scrubbing tile joints until I want to pass out?

The goal of this article is to give you answers to these questions. It’s to give you 7 bathroom design tricks to make your ‘empty nester bathroom’ awe-inspiring for someone of any age. Let’s check out the tricks.

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