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:
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.
I’m going to “keep it real” as Randy Jackson used to say on American Idol about this topic on where to buy DIY shower and tub wall panels. I’m biased. I’m a passionate nationwide wholesaler of bathroom wall panels who “competes” with Home Centers (actually, Home Depot, Lowes and Menards don’t even know who I am) on a daily basis. One division of our business works with DIY’ers who want to install their own (or buy their own) shower and tub wall panels. The #1 reasons homeowners want to DIY (or BIY – Buy It Yourself) is to save money in the remodeling process – and for most people, remodeling projects end up more expensive than they originally thought.
While buying anything from an independent entrepreneurial company can make you “feel good” to support the small business community vs. the big box stores, “feeling good” is not a reason enough to shell over your hard-earned money to any business. If buying from the guy or gal in the orange, green or blue smock is the smartest decision for you – by all means – do it!
But before you rush out to your local home center store and start purchasing the first set of DIY shower wall panels off the shelf you can find, my goal is to give you a more thorough way to make the best decision for you (note – for your reference I have personally sold thousands of different types of wall panels to consumers across the country since the inception of our company in 1977. I’ve learned a few things along the way I’m looking forward to sharing in this article).
In this article my goal is to give it to you straight. 5 reasons you shouldn’t buy DIY shower and tub wall panels from a Home Center and 3 reasons you should (ouch – it hurts me to say that!). Let’s dig in.
You’re excited to begin your DIY shower remodeling project. You’ve finally got the time to crack open the box with the shower kit you picked up at your local home center store 6 months ago (you’ll finally be able to get your wife off your back about getting this project done!). You remember asking the clerk with the bright orange smock, “Is everything I need in the box?” While half-listening to you and “helping” another customer he says half-heartedly, “Ya, ya, ya – everythings in there.”
You start tearing the box open. You’ve got the 3 standard sized shower wall panels (you think, “I hope they’re the right size???”), but where is the rest of the stuff? Your mind starts swirling and you’re hearing the not-so-silent voice of your wife saying, “Don’t you think we should hire a pro to do this job? Are you sure you know what you’re doing?” A bit of uncertainty creeps in.
Has this home improvement scene ever resembled you?
There is nothing more frustrating than realizing you’re unprepared to do the remodeling job you told your family 6 months ago was “under control.” Now you’re missing God only knows what. The “helpful clerk” with the orange smock is probably on to his next part time job! Ouch.
You’ve got to find a way to pull this remodeling project out of your butt and save face. Who wants to spend big money on a professional remodeling contractor if you can do it yourself? It would be nice to have some extra bucks to go to the game or buy some golfing gear with the money your going to save by DIY-ing it.
If you’re starting a bathroom remodeling project, you want to make sure your (supposedly) DIY-friendly shower remodeling kit has everything you need so you’re not scrambling all over town trying to find the right parts. Six months later you’re not even sure you’re using the right components to make a shower. Will the shower look nice? Will it function properly?
Here’s what you need to do NOW. Get out your pad (or IPad), paper and a pencil and check out the 8-part DIY shower remodeling kit checklist so you don’t get caught with your “remodeling pants” down.
Is stepping into your shower enclosure like walking into a Haunted House on Halloween? You’re unsure what’s lurking (and growing) inside of this small spooky space. What’s worse is you have to go into this horrific tiny dark box on a daily basis – OUCH!
In many cases your shower has been doomed from the start. The original homebuilder put in a cheap fiberglass one-piece unit which is yellowing, cracking and has scum you can’t even bring in a magician to clean off. Possibly you bought your home from an “expert” DIY’er (or so they thought) who created a tiled shower you swear your 5-year-old could have built better (some homeowners just don’t know what they don’t know).
Why continue to put up with this spooky, ugly, high maintenance and maybe not so safe shower anymore? It’s time to no longer have your shower be such a pain in your _________ (fill in the blank). It’s time to take a shower “pain management” class. In this article get 7 practical tips to create a shower stall you’ll actually want to shower and relax in!
Shower budgets are tight (anyone with 3 kids like me can relate to budgets!) and time to maintain them is even tighter. People want to have more function in less space (just check out the growth in the “not so big home” and “tiny home” movements). To make things even more challenging the desire for a higher level of style and luxury escalates every time we check into a sleek, contemporary hotel room.
How do you combine lean (in size and price), luxurious and low maintenance into a new shower project? You’ve got to dig into these 5 “tricks” to get the “treat” of a shower which will last (without a lot of maintenance effort from you) and look great. Let me know at the end which one would help you the most.
Are you fascinated by tiny homes and tiny home living? The shows on TV about this micro home building movement are exploding. When I got approached a year ago by Kristi and Rafael Bugajski to supply decorative shower wall panels for the luxury bathroom in the tiny home they were personally building (also known as the Tiny House Escapade) I was intrigued and excited to participate, roll up my sleeves and learn more. I thought to myself, “Cool, this will be fun!”
In this article I’ve asked Kristi to take you and I “behind the scenes” into their tiny journey. Building a tiny home is NOT at all like buying a production home from the (fictitious) national builder Crank It Out Homes Corporation. With a production home the builder makes 95% of the decisions for you. Building a tiny home is an intensely personal (and can be an emotionally draining) experience designed around the new lifestyle and tiny home owner(s). We’ll look at “the why” they built this home, their overall design goals, and take a peek into their “multi-purpose” bathroom and kitchen. Lastly – I’ll sum things up with some life lessons any of us (whether we’re planning to build a tiny home or not) can learn from Kristi and Rafael’s tiny home building adventure.
This tiny home experience for Kristi and Rafael had its’ share of twists, turns and ups and downs but in the end they blazed new trails and created a home (and most importantly – a lifestyle) which works for them.
So you’ve decided you’ve had it with cleaning the grout of your tile shower or don’t like how flimsy your builder-grade fiberglass surround is and want to upgrade to a decorative shower wall system you can install yourself. What’s nice with today’s product offerings is you don’t have to sacrifice style with a DIY shower panel installation (you can finally go beyond the plain boring white smooth panels). The classic, fun and decorative affects you find in tile (like border and accents) or even wood (crown molding and wainscoting) can now be added in durable and easy to install shower and tub wall panels.
The challenge is choosing the best system which will provide you with the look, functionality and price which fits your budget. Below I’ll look at 3 steps to guide you through this process (note: in this article I’ll focus on 3 system I’ve found are the easiest for DIY owners to work with (1) PVC composite system which looks like natural stone (2) solid surface panels and (3) a luxury Serica composite wall material.
Options in shower wall panel systems can be daunting. Since these systems are available in various sizes, textures, colors, budgets for decorating styles ranging from traditional to contemporary the selection process is overwhelming to some. Learn below 5 simple tricks to identify your best choice.
If you’ve ever gotten involved in a DIY project which wasn’t as “easy to install” as the box said you know the true beauty of a simple straightforward system. In the case of tub and shower wall panels a product which is easy to cut, install and finish is critical because it seems standard sized enclosures openings are usually not as “standard” as you think when you dig into the project. Off the shelf systems can appear to be perfect – until you find out your walls are not in square or plumb and you’re fighting to make the standard shower or tub wall panels fit.
Eliminate these installation challenges and get a waterproof and luxurious finished product using a PVC backed composite decorative wall panel system. Learn 5 steps to install these panels and transform your bathroom.