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Posts Tagged ‘DIY’

11 FAQ’s about Laminated Shower & Tub Wall Panels You Need to Know (especially if other bathroom panels haven’t excited you)

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

Laminate shower and tub wall panels you need to know | Innovate Building Solutions | #LaminateShowers #TubWallPanels #RemodelingTips

Updated March 31, 2019

If your tile and fiberglass shower and tub wall surround panels today are a disaster, you’re not alone.  Moldy, dirty tile grout joints. Yellowed, stained and cracked fiberglass. You know you don’t want to stare at (or deal with the maintenance of) these products any more.

So, you’re burning a digital trail on Google attempting to find a high-quality, high-style option to blow up the ugliness which is your shower wall surrounds today. Your ‘digital tire-kicking’ has led you to 3 common options:

  • Option #1 – Bath-in-a-Day acrylic wall panels – These 1/8” thick (or should I say thin) panels aren’t impressive. They’re pressed out of a mold (and look it). You can’t find a DIY kit to save your life (note- the reason for this is the ‘Bath-in-a-Day’ franchises want to come out to hard-close you in an old-fashioned Tin-Men-esque style).
  • Option #2 – Decorative PVC composite wall panelsThese ¼” thick panels have many bold patterns. They’re simple to install. You’re just not sure if you want so much pattern in your walls – or if the designs fit your interior design theme.
  • Option #3 – Cultured marble or solid surface wall panelsThese man-made 3/8” thick wall panels (which look like marble, granite and stone) are built like a tank. They’re durable. They’re rock-solid. That’s the good news. The bad news is they’re traditional – but you want a contemporary look. They’re heavy (a 60” wide panel will weigh about 130 pounds and takes 2 people to install). They’re an option, but their look and installation scare you.

You start to think, is there a contemporary, higher-quality, simple to install option which beats the ‘usual’ choices?

The short answer is – YES. That option would be…

Laminated shower & tub wall panels

If you haven’t grown up in Europe you may be saying, “What in the ‘H-E-Double Hockey sticks’ (you’re using this term because this is a ‘family-friendly’ blog post) are laminated wall panels and why should I give a hoot?”

In this article my goal is to help you get your arms around that question by giving you information about 11 frequently asked questions about this product. You’ll see why 1/3 of the homes in Norway use these bathroom panels. You’ll see why they’re getting HOT, HOT, HOT in the United States as well. Let’s dig in.

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

Updated March 24, 2019

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

Updated March 24, 2019

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!

7 Clear-Cut Reasons to Use a Prefabricated Glass Block Shower Wall Kit

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

7 clear-cut reasons to use a prefabricated glass block shower wall kit | Innovate Building Solutions | #GlassBlockWall #GlassBlockShower #GlassBlockDesign

Updated March 23, 2019

I’m going to say it right up front.

Glass block shower walls can be a pain in the butt to install.

Here’s 3 facts I know to back up this statement:

Fact #1 – It’s not the type of job you (or your contractor) do every day – Most people doing a glass block shower wall are embarking (sounds like we’re boarding a plane), on this journey for the first time. So, you’re a newbie. Doing any home improvement for the first time (let alone a unique niche like glass blocks) can be unnerving, scary and can painfully eat up your time and pocketbook, if you’re not careful.

Fact #2 – You (or your general contractor) are desperately trying to find a needle in a haystack– If you’re lucky enough to find a mason contractor to lay up the glass blocks piece by piece you’ll likely get an old ‘grizzled veteran’ who will look like the guy below, not some hot strapping guy with no shirt like Matthew McConaughey. This old-time mason contractor will know he’s got you by the ‘you-know-what’s’ (who else are you going to get to do this job?) and will price you (and treat you) accordingly. He is “THE MAN” and will carry himself on your job as such. No “Nordstrom’s style” customer service here.

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5 Time Saving Tips You Need to Buy Bathroom Wall Panels

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

5 Time Saving Tips You Need to Buy Bathroom Wall Panels | Innovate Building Solutions

Updated March 23, 2019

You’re fed-up cleaning black, moldy, nasty tile grout joints with your waaaay-too-worn scrub brush. You’re looking to eliminate this hassle once and for all with bathroom wall panels. You start your search with great expectations. You get on the Internet. You go to your local big-box store. Then ‘it’ creeps in. The ‘it’ is frustration (as your time gets eaten up). Finding the best bathroom wall panels is harder than you thought. You’re slamming into ‘brick-walls’ which look like the following:

  • Brick-wall #1 – You trip to the local home center store to ‘pick up some panels’ didn’t turn out as planned. All they stock are cheap ‘plasticky’ looking things you wouldn’t be caught dead with.
  • Brick wall #2 – You find the coolest bathroom wall panels EVER (need to say this in your best ‘Valley-girl’ voice), only to find out they’re only available in the U.K – unless you want to buy a container of them. But you’re not quite sure how the container is going to fit on your lawn and if you’re going to be able to sell your entire neighborhood these panels as well!
  • Brick wall #3 – You’ve got your credit card in hand and are looking to DIY this project. You make call after call and nobody will take your money. They will not sell you the panels. No – they will only supply and install the panels for you. You can’t afford professional installation, and besides, you’re comfortable doing it yourself.
  • Brick wall #4 – It takes an act of God to get samples. How can you make this decision if you can’t see, touch and feel the product? You don’t want to spend your hard-earned dollars on junk. Sure, they look beautiful on the ‘net. The challenge becomes what are you going to do if they are as flimsy as a house of cards after you take the shipment and the driver is long gone?
  • Brick wall #5 – Trying to find special sizes and pair them with a custom sized shower pan is as hard as getting Republicans and Democrats to agree on ANYTHING.

Can you recognize any of these brick walls in your search efforts thus far?

My goal in this article is to give you tips and strategies to blow past these challenges and successfully purchase the best bathroom wall panels for you. I’ll get you – quickly and efficiently – past these hurdles with 5 practical tips whether you want to do it yourself or have them professionally installed. Let’s check out these tips so you can throw out your tile scrub brush, get rid of your tile and not get stuck settling on generic-looking white plastic panels from your local home center store.

5 1/2 ‘Not Butt Ugly’ Shower Ideas for RV’s Mobile & Tiny Homes which (Mostly) Won’t Break the Bank

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

5.5 Stylish Shower Panel & Base Ideas for an RV, Tiny Home or Mobile Home | Innovate Home Org | #ShowerPanels #ShowerBase #Remodeling #TinyShower

 

Updated August 18, 2019

My Dad used to tell me, “Mike, you can’t fit 10 lbs. of s*** (insert swear word here) into a 5 lb. bag.” My Dad was quite the creative guy (both in his fun use of words and in business – which was his passion). If he was alive today to experience the tiny home, mobile home, RV and converted bus movements, I could hear him amend his quote to add, “You can, however, fit more than 10 lbs. of coolness into a tiny home bathroom with only 5 pounds of space!”

Owners of tiny homes, mobile homes, converted buses know that ‘great minds DO NOT think alike.’ (note – I love this saying from Lawrence School – a school for kids with learning differences both of my boys attended).

Great minds create, innovate, figure out a way when everyone else says, “No way dude!”

When it comes to tight bathrooms in mobile-friendly vehicles (whether they are on land or ‘sea’) you’ve got to think outside the confines of the boring, white 32” square fiberglass one-piece shower (which will look like 10 lbs. of s*** in a few years anyway).

You need to find creative materials for your shower which will work day in and day out.

You need to think about fun materials which will show your unique sense of style and personality. After all you didn’t get into a mobile-type home just to have a generic place to rest your head at night.

You need to think of products you can install yourself (or pay some buddies with a good steak-dinner to help you install) which won’t break the bank (or if they do break the bank, it will be worth it).

In this article, my goal is to show you 5 ½ ‘not-butt-ugly’ shower ideas which will put the WOW into your tiny mobile-friendly bathroom. These ideas will work whether you’re building a new tiny home, remodeling or retrofitting an existing Airstream, houseboat or even a full-sized bus. Although I’m presenting 5 1/2 ideas here for you –your imagination is limitless – so at the end of the article I’d love to hear your comments about other cool shower ideas you’ve seen. Give me your opinion on whether the ideas I’ve presented deserve an enthusiastic thumbs-up or a rousing thumbs-down.

The Lazy Person’s Guide to Save Time, Money & Aggravation Building a Glass Block Shower

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

The Lazy Person’s Guide to Save on Building a Glass Block Shower Wall | Innovate Building Solutions | #GlassBlock #ShowerWall #BathroomRemodel

Updated March 23, 2019

You’ve never done a glass block shower before.

Your contractor has never done a glass block shower before either.

Your local suppliers are clueless about the product.

You’re not really a lazy person, but you only have so much time left in your crazy-busy day to figure out this part of the project. It’s just one (although important) element in your bathroom remodel.

How do you get this shower built without blowing a hole in your budget or pulling out your already-too-thin head of hair?

As crazy as this may sound, when you strive to get lazy (AKA being more efficient), this job will go smoother for you and look nicer at the end. In this article my job (and I’m perfectly cool with accepting it) is to give you practical ideas to get this project done efficiently and effectively. I’ll look to cut your research time and installation frustration (hey- that rhythms). My job is to keep you within budget and eliminate unnecessary errors which can come with being a “first-timer.” At the end (in the comments section) let me know how I’ve done and or any other “blanks” you need me to fill in. Now, let’s get to the tips.

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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

Updated February 3, 2019

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 Little Known Tips to Build a Glass Block Walk in Shower for the First Time

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

5 little known tips for building glass block walk in shower for the first time | Innovate Building Solutions

Updated March 17, 2019

Can you remember being the new kid of the block? How about starting your first job as a green-behind-the-ears (OK – maybe there wasn’t moss growing behind your ears) 16-year-old? Trying out for the football or basketball team and the other kids were so much BIGGER than you? How about pledging a fraternity or sorority and wondering (back in the days of hazing) what “hell night” would be like?

Being a rookie, a beginner, a new comer, a pledge, an apprentice – or even called a “tenderfoot” (that’s a funny word) is an exciting, yet fearful adventure.

Home improvement projects done for the first time can bring back the fears you experienced in the “Wonder Years” of your youth (my life was practically joined at the hip with Kevin Arnold if you remember him on this show).

95% of the people I advise on building a glass block walk in shower are rookies, first-timers. It doesn’t matter if they are roll-up-your-sleeves DIY homeowners or grizzled professional contractors who have lived through more than a few drain holes and literally “sweated” in more valves than they can count.

You know it’s possible to build these cool looking showers. Your spouse (or customer) has shown you countless images she’s been pinning the daylights out of on glass block showers on Pinterest. Now she wants YOU to make it happen for her.

Ouch – how are you going to turn this glass block shower picture into a reality without creating the nightmare on Elm Street bathroom remodeling project?

Just like in the old-days of your youth you’ll need to find the right tools, kits, advice, systems and sage advice to make it successfully out the other side of your first-time glass block shower project.

Building a glass block shower wall is not difficult – IF – you use these 5 little-known tricks. Let’s check them out.

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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

Updated March 9, 2019

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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