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Posts Tagged ‘diy shower’

5 Little Known Secrets I’ve Learned Becoming a Bathroom Wall Panel Geek

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

5 Little Known Secrets I've learned becoming a bathroom wall panel geek | Innovate Building Solutions | #ShowerPanels #SolidSurfaceBase #BathroomRemodel

I never expected to become a bathroom wall panel geek.

I grew up a mini-Alex P. Keaton (for those of you not old enough to remember he was the young business-geek son on the sitcom Family Ties popular in the 1980’s – yes I’m dating myself here). My heart and passion were business and finance. The dream job I wanted when I graduated from Carnegie-Mellon University with my B.S. (it doesn’t mean what you think) in Business Administration was to get a job as a strategic planning consultant with McKinsey and Company (a hot consulting company).

That’s not how things worked out.

After 4 years doing the ‘corporate thing’ as a Product Manager at a cutting tool manufacturing company, my Dad let me buy (he floated me the loan actually) 50% of his glass block contracting business. Away with the 3-piece suit and fancy mahogany desk. Say hello to jeans and hanging out with ‘gontractors’ (that’s how you say contractors with an Italian accent).

I got into the bathroom wall panel business like most entrepreneurs. I morphed into it. Here’s how:

 

  • Glass block shower walls led me to offering shower bases to go with them.
  • Shower bases lead me to acrylic bathroom surround panels.
  • Acrylic bathroom surround panels lead me into 4 lines of wall panels (so far) – cultured granite, a decorative PVC composite line, high gloss panels and thin acrylic panels.

I started in bathroom wall panels with standard 1/8” thick acrylic panels – like you see from ‘one day bath’ companies Bath Fitter and Rebath.  Today, this line is a small part of what people are buying from us. The world has shifted. We have shifted with it.

With all this being said, my journey into bathroom wall panel geekdom probably doesn’t matter one iota to you (hey- what exactly is an iota anyway?). If you’re like most people, you’re confused researching the plethora (that’s a fancy word I threw in there to make you ‘think’ I’m smart) of choices in wall panels. You’re left to ‘sift through the rubble’ and figure out which bathroom or shower wall panel line will work best for you. Many homeowners are confused in this process. That’s why I wrote this article.

My goal is simple. Explain to you 5 little known secrets I’ve learned in my years educating, selling and (my company) installing bathroom wall panels (you wouldn’t want me installing, I might have the smoothest hands in the bathroom remodeling industry!). I want you to make the best choice for you the first time out.

Below you’ll find these secrets. At the end of the article let me know which ones have helped you and if any others are simply too ‘out-there’ for you (I can – at times – resemble that remark).

5 Foolproof Ideas for a Shower Which Lasts – Don’t Get Fooled Again!

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

5 Foolproof ideas for a shower which lasts - don't be fooled again | Innovate Building Solutions | #ShowerRemodel #BathroomRenovations #ShowerPanels

You’ve lived through a shower which was falling apart at the seams. You said you would not get fooled again. You’ve made these proclamations (sounds very official, doesn’t it?).

I’m done with dingy and moldy grout joints.

I will not put up with a cracked shower base which caused a leak onto our dining room table below.

I will not buy or own a home which has wafer-thin plastic wall panels. The last one yellowed and looked nasty.

I won’t own another ‘brown-ish’ shower pan I can’t get clean no matter what toxic solvent I use.

I will not get stuck cleaning the bottom track of a flimsy and pitted aluminum framed shower door ever again.

I will spend less money on disinfectants and fighting back mold problems in my next shower.

I will have a shower which will last me for the next 20 years – or it better, because as Dad used to say, “Money doesn’t grow on trees.”

You’ve heard the old saying, “fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.”

When it comes to shower remodeling, I will tell you (and I talk to people about shower remodeling every day) I’ve seen many people get fooled again. They have the best intentions to eliminate the nightmare which was their last shower. However, they get fooled and fall into ‘traps’ like these.

  • They tell their remodeler they don’t want a cheap-plasticky fiberglass shower. Then their remodeler does what remodelers always do and offer them an upgraded beautiful tile shower. As time goes on they find out they’re scrubbing grout joints until their arms are soar. They ‘traded off’ the difficult to maintain dirty, yellow fiberglass shower pan for another difficult to maintain tile shower.

 

  • They say they want a shower which will last for 20 years. Then after a life event happens (for example, Mom’s mobility takes a turn for the worse and she needs to move in with you) your cool almost-brand-new 5-year-old shower is getting ripped out accommodate her.

 

  • They buy a brand-new home (with the industry-standard-oh-so-impressive – sarcasm intended- one-year warranty) and love, love, love the cool features like the quartz countertops and Shaker cabinetry in the kitchen. They pay no attention to the one-piece fiberglass tub/shower in the boy’s bathroom with framed glass doors (it looked so pretty when it was decorated in the model home). In a few short years the bottom of the fiberglass pan is scummy (you don’t expect your boys to clean up after themselves now, do you?), and the doors are practically falling off. It looks like it’s time to remodel already -and of course, replacing a nasty looking shower 5 years later is not covered under your builders fabulous one-year warranty.

The question is – whether you are remodeling or building a new home – how do you make sure you don’t get fooled again with a shower which fails?

If the title of this article reminds you of the song by The Who titled, “We Don’t Get Fooled Again” – you might be an ever-so-slightly graying 70’s rocker like me. And I’ll fess up and say I’m a guy in the late 70’s who sported a ‘quasi-mullet’ as well. But no, I’m not sharing a picture of my mullet here. While this Who song was not exactly written with shower remodeling in mind, I’ve still included a video below to get you in the spirit of the ‘new revolution’ of a new shower – so you won’t be fooled again.

In this article I’ll present 5 foolproof ideas to help you get a stylish shower which looks sharp and lasts, so you won’t be fooled again. My list is not comprehensive. At the end of the article add your ideas 6,7 and 8. Let’s learn from one another.

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5 Practical Ideas to Motivate Your Spouse to do a DIY Shower Remodeling Project

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

Ideas to Motivate Your Spouse to do a DIY Shower Remodeling Project | Innovate Building Solutions | #ShowerRemodel #ShowerProject #ShowerPanels

I’m supposed to be in the bathroom remodeling business. However, here’s the weird thing. I might have the smoothest hands in the remodeling business – although the ladies in my offices might disagree. How exactly does that happen? The reason is I’m motivated to learn about, write about, promote and sell DIY and professionally installed shower remodeling projects. When it comes to swinging a hammer or sweating in a shower valve (see I sound like a pro contractor now), installing shower surround panels etc., I’ll leave that to our team of (thankfully for our company) professional contractors. Ask my wife Rose about my ‘high level’ of home improvement motivation. She has to beg me for a few hours of time on the weekend to do stuff around the house.

DIY shower remodeling is not for me (although my wife will tell you I can blog and do laundry at the same time. She’s thankful for that).

However, I am fortunate to work with lots of people around the country designing shower systems. These people either need to get a project done themselves (but can’t find a qualified contractor in their town if their life depended on it), or just want to save the money (OK – I won’t call you a cheapskate here – oops – sorry I just did).

The problem becomes how do you motivate your spouse to take the plunge and get ‘er done. Let’s face it they would rather be golfing, playing cards, fishing or even take ballroom dancing lessons or yoga classes with you (OK – they’re not willing to go THAT far).

In this article my goal is to take a tongue and groove (‘er I mean tongue and cheek) look ….and a serious look also, at how to motivate your spouse, family member or friend to DIY your shower (or at least portions of it).

The reality today is it’s getting harder to find a contractor. Taking a hold of a project yourself may be the only way it’s going to get done. Let’s look at 5 ways to motivate someone (your spouse, significant ‘utter, friend, family member etc.) else to pull you through your shower remodeling project.

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The 5 biggest shower remodeling mistakes (and how to not repeat them on your job)

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

The 5 Biggest Shower Remodeling Mistakes (and How To Not Repeat Them on Your Project) | Innovate Building Solutions #Shower #Remodeling #BathRemodeling

Shower remodeling can be a pain. There are so many decisions to make and the cost of mistakes can be high. Here’s just a few decisions you’ll have to wrap your head around:

  • What type of shower base (or floor pan) is best?
  • Should you tile the walls or use a shower wall panel system?
  • Where is the best location for the drain? What is the optimal spot to put the shower valve to turn on the water?
  • Should you DIY all, some or contract out this project?

Since shower remodeling is not your ‘day job’ (and it’s a project you may do every 10 to 20 years) it can be tough to get it right the first time. How do you make sure you don’t make errors which haunt you down the road?

One way to make sure you’re on the right path is to read these top 5 shower remodeling mistakes and the strategies to not repeat them on your job. I’ve seen them way too frequently and don’t want you to fall into the same trap.

The Top 10 Common Shower Wall Surround Panel Misconceptions

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

The Top 10 Shower Wall Surround Panel Misconceptions | Innovate Building Solutions

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.

5 DIY shower wall tips save you time, money (and aggravation) on a budget

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

5 diy shower wall tips to you time, money and aggravation on a budget | Innovate Building Solutions

Have you ever worked on a DIY shower project and realized (or your wife, husband or significant “utter” made you realize) you really screwed up? You watched the money get used up, and your aggravation made you want to throw up, when these errors occurred:

  • You tore out the old shower system, then measured and figured out you bought the wrong size shower kit.

 

  • You started using your new shower and determined you didn’t have enough space for soap and shampoo. Then you had to go out and buy a hideous, tacky, plastic “shower tree” to hang over the shower head.

 

  • You have to rip up the work you already completed because you installed the project in the wrong order.

 

  • The guy/gal you “worked with” at the store (who wasn’t helpful in the first place) is nowhere to be found (even after 4 desperate calls to the department in his store) to help you. You’re elbows and knee-deep in the job and can’t continue until you get an answer to your questions. The dude you know as “Bob W. in plumbing” is nowhere to be found.

DIY shower projects can be a pain in the butt!

The question becomes how can you save money doing a shower wall project yourself and live to tell about it without punching your walls in frustration? With the challenge of finding contractors– you need to know how to do projects yourself and still feel good about the end result (and meeting your budget).

Instead of going into this shower project blind now and getting ticked off later, you need to get “tipped off” now (read and learn tips which save you time and money) so you can sit back and enjoy your success (and relaxing shower) later.

I’ve seen (and heard) the frustration of many a DIY’er in my days. My goal in this article is to dish up 5 practical tips about shower wall panels (and the materials surrounding these panels) to save you time, money and aggravation. Let’s check out the 5 tips.

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A DIY glass block shower experience made possible with Egyptian pyramid building ingenuity

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

A DIY glass block shower experience made possible with Egyptian Pyramid building ingenuity - Innovate Building Solutions

You may be wondering, “What does building a glass block shower have in common with Egyptian pyramids?” That would be a logical question. Sometime when you take on a custom shower project with heavy materials (in this case a beefy solid surface shower base and custom prebuilt glass block shower wall sections), just like the building of the Egyptian pyramids, the construction feat can pit mankind (or womankind) in a mental battle with materials they want to use.

The weight of the materials was one of the challenges facing JR in a 2 year-long design and installation of a custom glass block shower. He invested time planning, measuring (remeasuring) designing securing products and then building a grand glass block shower unlike any others I’ve seen. It’s size, design and shape were not only unique – but the project was done without a full-time general contractor leading the way (now that’s a risky proposition).

A project like this takes a special person (OK – John’s not your average guy). It takes a focus on design, planning and some special “engineering” along the way (some anticipated – and some solutions figured out “on the fly”). In the video below I’ll let John share with you his DIY custom glass block shower and solid surface base experience (and what it has to do with Egyptian pyramid building).

Now that you’ve watched John’s video, I’ll share the 5 D’s to get you to the top with a unique glass block shower experience for your home (even if you’re project is not as grand as John’s). At the end John and I would love to get your opinions of his glass block shower. I want to hear your questions if you’re struggling with the steps to make this project a reality.

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3 shower wall panel installation headaches you can eliminate with these 5 little known tricks

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

3 shower wall panel installation headaches you can eliminate with these 5 little know tricks | Innovate Building Solutions

David’s honey-do list has just gotten tougher!

When Susan told you, she was sick and tired of cleaning grout in your master bathroom shower and YOU had to finally do something about it you weren’t exactly jumping for joy. Oh boy – another major remodeling project thrown onto your already too long honey-do list. As she made her remodeling demand known (loud and clear) you couldn’t help thinking you’d much rather be eating honeydew than doing the honey-do list!

You’ve been putting Susan off for years on this shower job. It doesn’t take a rocket-scientist to see your tile shower is a scummy, moldy mess. The shampoo bottles sitting on the floor aren’t exactly the safest thing either.

You resign yourself to the not-so-fun trip to the home center store. Before you go, you know the drill. You take measurements. You make a drawing of your tile shower. You already see problems (that’s a nice way of saying pain in the rear headaches you’ve got to deal with):

  • Headache #1 – The walls are ½” out of square (that’s par for the course for this house).
  • Headache #2 – There is a window smack dab in the middle of the back wall in your first-floor bathroom. You know Susan hates the privacy blinds in the shower.
  • Headache #3 – You’ve got 4 uncommon wall sizes in the shower and there is also no place built into your existing shower to store soap and shampoo.

You’re no rookie making this home center store trek. You’ve done remodeling in the three homes you and Susan have owned over the last 25 years. Now both of your “little girls” are off at college (wow – how time has flown).

You check out the standard fiberglass panels on the shelf and don’t see how any of them will work. Here’s the problems with these home center shower kits:

  • The wall panel sizes are rectangular and consistent in size (that’s what you’d expect from mass produced wall panels – but they won’t solve your out of square problem).
  • You don’t see any trim offered to work around the window. (you also have to figure out the window privacy problem. Susan is tired of the blinds in the shower).
  • All the shower wall panel kits are in standard sizes (60 x 32, 48 x 36, 36 x 36 etc.) which won’t work with your 4-wall custom sized shower.

The young dude in the orange smock you get to “help” you is clueless on how to make their products work with your custom sized shower. Houston – you have a problem!

A shower wall panel installation project can be a headache (especially with custom sized showers) if you don’t have a few “tricks” (AKA – products and installation techniques) up your sleeve. Below we’ll take a quick look at 5 little-known ideas to get rid of your shower wall panel installation headaches and get Susan the shower she wants (and you know she deserves – despite the fact you don’t really want to do it!). At the end of the article let me know if these tricks were helpful to you – and if you have any cool tricks up your sleeves to share as well.

DIY Bathroom Remodeling – 6 Words of Wisdom from Dad You Need to Pull You Through

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

DIY bathroom remodeling 6 words of wisdom from Dad to pull you through | Innovate Building Solutions

George Vickroy said to me, “Mike this was the hardest DIY remodeling project I’ve ever done, but I’m getting so much more than I expected back from it!”

Doing a DIY bathroom remodeling project can be a pain. Plumbing, electrical, drywall, heating, heavy materials you’ve got to lug in and out of the home. The need to get constant input from the people leading you along the way. You have to have so many skills to – as Larry the Cable guy would say “get ‘er done” – it can be downright mind-boggling. The challenge becomes once you’ve decided to bite the bullet and tackle the job how do you pull yourself through it? How do you prevent from leaving a half-done trail of a “job-almost-well-done?” You don’t want your family asking, “So when are you going to finish the bathroom exactly?”

When I visited George and Tena Vickroy’s house to take pictures of their new bathroom (we worked together on the glass block walk in shower and solid surface shower pan in this job) it was amazing how George and I started reflecting on how our Dad’s advice was still ringing in our heads today (and in my case my Dad passed away 28 years ago!) – even while toiling through a bathroom remodel.

Maybe George and I got nostalgic about our Dads because we’re just a tad bit older (I’m 57, but think I can look 37 at any time after I use my magic $9.99 bottle of Miss Clairol for men hair coloring. I also think being “delusional and happy is a good thing- but I digress). Maybe it’s because as you get older you start to realize how much you don’t know. Maybe it’s because Dad had a lot of wisdom – but when we were young we sometimes blew him off and said to ourselves, “What does the old man know anyway?”

In the article below I’m going to show off the DIY bathroom remodeling project George did in conjunction with his wife Tena, his son Clayton, son in law Mike, friend Neil and even a former student KC Weber. We’ll look at this project through 6 thoughtful words of wisdom from our Dad’s. At the end of the article let me know if any of these “Dad-isms” (not sure that’s a word, but it should be) ring true with you. I know Dads can also be wacky (yes, I do resemble that remark – ask any of my 3 kids and they will back that statement up) – but sometimes the “old man” knows a thing or two, or six.

A proven 8-part DIY shower kit checklist saves time and money

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

A proven 8 part DIY shower kit checklist from Innovate Building Solutions

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.

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