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Posts Tagged ‘glass block windows’

13 1/2 Frequently Asked Questions about Glass Block Basement and Bathroom Windows You Need to Know

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Block, Windows

Opening Image - glass block basement and bathroom windows | Innovate Building Solutions | #GlassBlockWindows #BathroomWindows #Basementwindows #FloodedBasement

The Fall cold snap has arrived. If you’ve stepped into your freezing-cold cast iron tub/shower this morning you know I speak the truth.

Conversely, if you’re not ‘enjoying’ your drafty, ‘spooky-spider-infested’ basement windows when you’re doing laundry, I bet you’d be glad to have new windows. You’ve dreamed about a first-floor laundry room, but in the meantime, you’d be happy to make this ‘dungeon’ of a basement a bit better.

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know your bathroom and basement windows have seen there better days. As a matter of fact, they saw their better days 20 years ago!

If you’ve ‘had it up to here’ (as Mom used to say) with rusted, rotten and drafty basement and bathroom windows I can feel your pain.

So, you’ve decided to ‘kick the digital tires’ and look into glass block bathroom and basement windows to replace your drafty, bug-infested, practically falling out ‘window gems’. You think glass block may be the answer. One problem is your contractor doesn’t seem to know squat about this product.

Like Colonel Nathan Jessup in my favorite movie A Few Good Men might say, you not only want the truth, you need the truth (in this case to determine if glass blocks windows are a sound solution for your basement and bathroom window replacements).

I’m a guy who has owned a glass block business since 1985 (I don’t want you to think I’m old so let’s say I started in the business at the age of 9). My company has put in over 750,000 glass block windows in the Cleveland and Columbus Ohio markets. Over the years I’ve learned a couple of things about these windows I’d like to share with you.

My goal in this article is simple. I’ll give you ‘the skinny’ on glass block windows by answering 13 ½ frequently asked questions. I want to make sure you’re not duped by a contractor or interior designer with misinformation I hear all the time about this product.

Let’s dig into the FAQ’s.

The 7 Biggest Blunders with Glass Block Bathroom Windows (and 7 Tricks to Fix Them)

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

Glass block window in bathroom or shower installation | Innovate Building Solutions | #GlassBlockWindow #BathroomWindows #GlassBlockDesign

I’ve been around the (glass) block (OK, I know that’s a bad play on words) a long time. I started in this business in 1989 (I like to tell people I was only 11 years old at the time, but nobodies buying it). In these 30 years I’ve seen a lot of glass block bathroom window jobs. Some supplied and installed by my business, others not.

Glass block is thought of as a ‘masonry’ product (mortared together block by block with an old, grizzly mason). Homeowners and contractors struggle with masonry-built glass block windows. They’re not sure how to design their window. They don’t know how it should be installed into a framed opening (since most bathroom windows aren’t installed into concrete blocks or poured walls, like basement windows).

This lack of knowledge (and the bad information they get along the way) results in some UGLY-looking jobs which don’t last. My business has seen (and fixed) many of these ugly jobs (or you can call them blunders).

The fact is these blunders (AKA crappy jobs) didn’t have to happen. In fact, glass blocks can be simple to design and install…if you know a few tricks.

In this article my goal is simple.

First, I want to identify the top 7 blunders I’ve seen in my waaaay too many years in the biz.

Second (and most importantly), I want to give you practical ideas (or tricks), so you don’t fall in the ‘bad project’ trap. I want you to have a bathroom window which looks sharp and is designed, fabricated and installed to last (I was going to say to Infinity and Beyond, but that sounded too corny).

So, let’s dig into the 7 biggest blunders (and practical ideas to fix them) of glass block bathroom windows.

Our top 10 remodeling blog posts of 2018 – Innovate Building Solutions

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

Our Top 10 home remodeling blog post of 2018 | Innovate Building Solutions | #HomeRemodeling #ShowerTubWallPanels #WallPanels #BathroomRemodel

Updated March 31, 2019

2018 was another record-setting year for traffic on our remodeling blog. Thank you for reading (and hopefully learning) from my articles.

From the top 10 remodeling blog post list this year it doesn’t take a guy with ‘Genius-bar’ intelligence (This would not be me, but I’m also not sold those Dudes and Dudesses at the Apple Genius Bar are really geniuses either – but I digress!) to figure out you’re frustrated with your bathroom. Here’s some of the key interests you had in the top-ranked posts this year:

  • You don’t want to repeat the mistakes of the past – Although you want to upgrade your bathroom, you don’t want to mess up and repeat other’s mistakes. Our #2 and #5 most popular posts tackled the problems with shower systems and bath remodeling and the most common mistakes and blunders.

 

  • You want products which allow you to chuck your scrub brush – If anything is obvious from this year’s top posts, it’s while you may LOVE tile, you HATE the grout which comes with it more. This fact explains your fascination with articles about grout free products like laminated wall panels and solid surface and cultured stone showers (see top posts #3, #4, #6, #7 and #8).

 

  • You’re looking for ‘divine inspiration’ to ‘get you through’ a bathroom remodel – While some talk about ‘visiting the thrown’ when using the bathroom, I wouldn’t have thought people were looking to ‘go to the mountaintop’ to get bathroom remodeling input. However – this is exactly what happened in 2018. The top post – BY FAR – was The 10 Commandments of Bathroom Remodeling Success. While I won’t claim to be Moses (or to have seen any burning bushes – other than fires I used to make with my Dad) this article struck a nerve with you.

So, without further delay let’s get the top 10 list. I will do this in ‘Johnnie Carson fashion’ (for those of you not in the ‘slightly-graying’ set that would be from bottom to top).

Need cost effective space? It’s right under your feet!

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Basement Remodeling, Glass Block, Home Organization, Windows

5 Reason you should remodel your basement today | Innovate Building Soltuons | #ClevelandRemodeling #BasementRemodel #FinishedBasement

Updated March 24, 2019

Do these examples describe you?

(Example #1) You’ve got a growing family and your ‘cute home’ is bursting at the seams.

(Example #2) You’re an empty nester looking to add ‘fun spaces’ for hobbies and entertainment as you near retirement (you never thought you’d say the ‘r’ word). You could buy a home in one of those ‘active adult, 55+, retirement villages.’ However, who wants to ‘live life’ around a bunch of old people who complain about knee replacements and are bragging about the latest feature in their walkers?

In both examples the need for more space, better space – (and since you’re still waiting for Bill Gates to add to his Trust Fund list) cost-effective space is critical.

Here’s the challenge. Where are you going to find it? Let’s look behind the popular ‘door #1 and door #2’ options most people think of to gain more square footage:

Space option behind door #1 – Buy an existing home

The existing home market is crazy-nuts. According to the S & P CoreLogic Case Shiller Home Price Indices last year alone, nationwide homes prices increased by 6.3%. Add to that cost, fixing up your existing home to sell it and paying a realtor and you’ll see trading up to a larger home is gonna cost you – BIG TIME!

Space option behind door #2 – Buy a brand-spanking new home from a builder

A new construction home is no bargain either. Lumber prices are going through the roof. Land development costs are increasing. Builders are forced to pass these costs on to you. Lastly, don’t even ask builders about the challenge of finding qualified labor to build new homes!

Is there a better option behind door #3?

 The question is, can you find a better option for cost-effective space which is neither door #1 or door #2 above? If so, what is this better idea?

I’ll make the argument for people who own a basement, finishing the lower level (i.e. the space right below your feet) can be a perfect area to ‘find’ cost-effective space. Whether you’re a growing family or soon-to-be empty nester couple looking to reinvigorate your home around hobbies and entertaining friends, basement remodeling can be a smart financial move.

Sure, I know today you may refer to your basement as a cellar, dungeon, or cave because it’s not exactly the sexiest space going. OK – if we’re being real – it’s butt ugly. But there are ‘cures’ for your lower level.

Goals for this article

In this article, I’m looking to do two things.

First, I’m going to offer 5 practical reasons basement remodeling makes more sense today than ever.

Second, I’m going to give you 5 practical steps to transform your basement into a place you’ll want to spend time (and will help save money vs. buying a new home or a larger existing home).

At the end of the article, I’d love to hear ideas you’ve used to improve your basement and your opinions on this type of type of remodeling project.

Our top 10 remodeling blog posts of 2017 – Innovate Building Solutions

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

Our Top 10 Bathroom Remodeling Blog Posts of 2017 | Innovate Building Solutions #Remodeling #Blog #Bathroom

(note – this blog post should be subtitled, “I Was Determined to Blow Up My Current Tub and Shower Stall in 2017)  

Updated March 23, 2019

Thanks for your interest in my blog in 2017. Traffic doubled to over 50,000 visitors per month and one thing was painfully obvious – you do not like your current tub and shower stalls!

As you’ll see below 9 of the 10 top articles were focused on the pains, problems and solutions to fix the “wet spaces” (AKA your tub and showers) in a bathroom remodel. You wanted to learn how to get rid of step over shower curbs and climbing over tub rails which cause falls and hospital stays for family members. You wanted to learn how to stop having to clean tile grout – without resorting to cheap white plastic panels from your local big box store. You wanted to learn ways to get a stylish, low maintenance shower or tub without blowing your budget.

While 2017 was also the year of the Rooster in the “all important” Chinese Zodiac (and I will come clean and say I was born in 1960 – the year of the Rat– that’s not very flattering), for my blog 2017 was the year of the shower stall.

If you’d like to “blow up” your current tub or shower stall in 2018 (OK – maybe not literally) save yourself research time, money and aggravation by reading through our top 10 remodeling blog posts of 2017. We’ll build up to the top post at the end.

5 Must-Do Fall Home Improvement Projects to Cut Your Heating Bills

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Basement Remodeling, doors, Glass Block, Windows

5 must do fall home improvement projects to save heating costs | Innovate Building Solutions Cleveland and Columbus Ohio

Updated March 17, 2019

I stepped out of my hotel room in Columbus yesterday with a short-sleeved shirt (I’m still in a summer mind-set). The wind was blowing. It was cold, breezy and 56 degrees. I thought, “Why didn’t I check the weather on my phone this morning? Does the summer have to blow by so fast?” I suppose that was Mother Natures’ way of saying to me, “Hey Dude – you live in Ohio. The one thing constant about the weather here is it’s going to change!”

Unfortunately, the decline in temperatures is also joined at the hip with higher bills from the oh-so-friendly heating company. Before the utility company gets you (and I) with high heating bills, now is the time to do the right home improvement project this Fall before you get a bad news bill delivered into your mailbox this Winter.

If your home is not very energy efficient (OK –if we’re keeping it real you’d say it leaks like a sieve) think through which of the following 5 must-do Fall home improvement projects need to be on your list. If you don’t think about this now, you could get stuck with “Joe’s-Quick-And-Dirty Home Improvement Company” whose been on the Angie’s List – naughty list instead a reputable high-quality replacement window and door contractor to do your job.

4 Super-Practical Tips to Prevent Flooding through Basement Windows

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

4 super practical tips to prevent flooding through basement windows | Innovate Building Solutions

Updated March 16, 2019

Has your basement ever flooded? Maybe your home sits low in relation to the street level and you’ve got nasty old basement windows which aren’t prepared to stop a fly let alone a bunch of rain crashing down at one time. If you’ve been the unlucky recipient of a flash flood and were the “winner” of rain or storm water in your lower level– you know what a pain it is to dig out. Drenched carpets, furniture ruined, paneling and finished wall destroyed. Floods are a mess to clean up.

Your basement problems today

Your basement walls, windows and land around your home needs to protect against floods. However, in many cases your windows, walls and land are not prepared to do the job. The first problem is most basement windows are the red-haired step-child of your home. They are cheap single pane metal or wood framed windows the original builder put in years ago. They “offer” virtually zero insulation value. They are rotten, rusted but perfect for Halloween with their dirty spider infested spookiness. Do you want to deal with these windows or would you rather they just go away peacefully?

Another problem is the land and window wells may not be equipped to handle a lot of rain at one time. The earth around your home has moved. Your lawn and landscape beds have settled and not in a good way (as a 50 something year old guy it kind of reminds me of my gut). The window wells are filled with leaves, gunk and junk. The walls, windows and ground around your basement leave a lot to be desired.

The opportunity your basement can provide

If you have a home though, you know it’s nice to have a light filled basement. Basement windows can bring light into your lower level rec rooms, man-caves and hobby and crafting rooms. They can make finished rooms look bright and airy (if the windows aren’t rusted shut or in such bad shape you don’t dare to open them). In addition, the basement is a low-cost opportunity to add space for you, your family and your hobbies (note: it’s much cheaper to remodel a basement than to do a room addition).

A remodeled Cleveland Ohio basement adds lower level living space | Cleveland Design and Remodeling a division of Innovate Building Solutions

The lower level can also be the perfect place to create a cool room for your teenagers to hang out (versus being God-only-knows where with their friends) or a fun man cave or hobby room. It is an important place to store valuable furniture, books, family pictures and equipment. Whether you have a beautifully remodeled finished basement or just want to make sure your things don’t get waterlogged you’ve got to develop a game plan to protect again the elements messing up your things.

The question becomes what can you do fix leaky basement windows, deal with a messed-up landscape and protect your finished lower level from being damaged by Mother Nature? Check out these 4 practical tips to button up your home so you won’t be digging out from a rainwater problem you could have avoided.

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7 Smart Spring Home Improvement Projects to Fall in Love with Your Home Again

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Exterior Remodeling, Glass Block, Home Organization, Home Organization & Storage, Windows

7 smart spring home improvement projects to fall in love with your home again | Innovate Building Solutions

Updated March 16, 2019

Are you like me and H-A-T-E winter? “Old-Man-Winter” is finally behind us. Spring temperatures are here. I can smell the Lilac and Korean spice bushes outside my home. Everything is just perfect …. except the abuse winter inflicts on our houses.

Now that I’m getting outside raking dead leaves away, getting mulch spread and putting in the screen windows it’s doesn’t take a rocket scientist (or a rocket scientist’s husband or wife!) to see your home has gotten a bit (OK maybe more than a bit) tattered and torn from the cold winter season. A front door or window may have rotten wood. Your siding can be showing its age with the paint coming off the boards. Your basement windows might look like they can practically fall out if you blew on them. And the garage – can you saw DISASTER. It’s tough to even get to the rake without stumbling over bikes and excess junk all around the garage floor!

Now that you’re out of your winter hibernation season what can (and should) be done to resurrect the outside of your home? In this article, we’re going to go on a “tour” of 7 smart projects you can tackle this spring to help you fall in love with your home again (and protect it the next time winter comes back again sorry to remind of you of this). We’ll start in the front of the house, go around the sides and finally look at some cool projects for the backyard. At the end of the article let me know project would make the most sense for your home.

5 Reasons Glass Block Basement Windows are Sexy!

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Glass Block, Windows

5 reasons glass block basement windows are sexy | Innovate Building Solutions

Updated March 16, 2019

You may think I’ve gone nuts. How can glass block basement windows possibly be sexy?? If there is a definition of YUCK it’s got to be basement windows. Most existing metal or wood framed basement windows are nasty. In almost every case when I – or a member of our company – visits someone’s basement to look at a project they say, “Sorry for the mess down there! Do you want me to clean off the dirt and cobwebs from the windows?” Yes – existing basement windows are anything but sexy.

So how can replacing a metal or wood framed basement window with glass blocks add some sex-appeal to your basement (if that’s even possible)? How can they make you happy taking trips to your basement to do the laundry or hang out in the rec room – or at least make it a bit less depressing? Read on and see.
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Glass blocks and glass bricks – what’s hot and what’s not today

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

Glass blocks and glass bricks what's hot and what's not about them - Innovate Building Solutions

Updated January 27, 2019

Controversy and debate seems to follow glass blocks and glass bricks like a bad rash. Some people give them an enthusiastic Siskel and Ebert inspired two thumbs up. Others say – yuck – I wouldn’t put those 80’s glass blocks in my home if you gave them to me! As someone whose been in the glass block biz since 1985 (yes – I’m dating myself here but I like to tell people I started at the age of 11 – a BIT of an exaggeration but I’m going with it) it’s easy to see that building material trends are changing constantly and that has impacted how people feel about glass blocks.

You see some stuff which was hot in the 80’s not being used any more. With glass blocks there are styles, product and installation systems which are popular today most people don’t even know exist. Most people think of glass blocks as one wavy 8” x 8” unit stacked on top of another.

So, before you say whether glass blocks or hot, or not, read on to see what k options others are finding to be inspired ….and also what products and systems are just “old-school.” At the end of the article I’d love to know whether this post has changed your opinion or not.

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