Dark stains and mold ‘greet’ you in your morning shower.
You ‘get to’ mix up another crazy ‘brew’ of baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and oxygenated bleach to try cleaning the dirt and yuckiness (not a word, but I’m using it anyway) from your shower and bathroom tile walls. You feel like you’re in 10th grade Chemistry class mixing bubbling elements once again (and that’s NOT a good thing).
Your nylon scrub brush is not supposed to be your BFF, but this tile shower is forcing you to ‘hang out’ together all the time.
Let’s call grout in your bathroom what it is.
It’s the enemy of the people. And that person is YOU!
You’ve told your spouse (or significant ‘utter) is no uncertain terms, you want grout joints eliminated, expunged, blown up (have I stated this strongly enough?) in the bath remodel you’re getting ready to do. However, the question is, how can you do this without using cheap plasticky products which look like dollar store specials?
That’s the challenge this article will tackle head-on. First, I’ll identify 7 places tile (and his evil stepbrother, grout) are used in bathrooms. Then I’ll give you practical (and stylish) alternatives to eliminate tile. Let’s dig into the 7 ideas.
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).
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.
Maybe I’ve been in the bathroom remodeling business too long but I actually think shower enclosures can be sexy. I might have looked into a few too many multi-functioning spa-shower heads, sleek deluxe wall panels and even drains with LED lights and my brain has gotten mushy with visions of stylish new showers. Even though I am more than a bit passionate (OK – maybe a bit touched) about shower enclosures, there is nothing sexy about a shower enclosure which has failed!
Does your existing shower resemble these remarks?
A cracked and yellowed fiberglass pan which even after calling on a higher power you can’t get clean.
A tile grout job which is failing so miserably you may have to resort to begging the grout doctor to come back and repair it one more time.
A drain which well – just won’t drain. Now you’re even thinking about buying stock in Draino because it has to go up in price from all the bottles you’ve bought at your local grocery store.
Yes – a newly designed sleek shower can be sexy – but your old shower may be so “un-sexy” you feel the need to (pun-intended) “throw in the towel” on it! If you’ve gotten to the breaking point with your existing shower, don’t only look at what’s sexy and new in shower products (although that’s a lot of fun). You need to take a look at the nuts and bolts of why showers fail so you won’t go down this “bad shower road” again.
In this article I’m going to challenge you to take a look at 5 “non-sexy” tips to make sure your next bathroom remodeling project doesn’t lead down failure lane. So let’s roll up our sleeves and look at these tips so you can (as Larry the Cable Guy would say) get ‘er done right the first time.
The Italians might have perfected the art of designing and manufacturing tile but these “Ohio State Buckeyes” (AKA Columbus Ohio custom builders) certainly have perfected the art of installing tile showers in unique ways. The gawkers (me included) through the 2016 BIA Parade of Homes are saying – wow!
As I quickly toured 9 of the 16 homes (I had 2 hours to “walk” – I moved fast- the show before picking up my daughter – definitely not enough time to take in this years’ Parade) I was blown away by the ingenuity of the custom builders in Central Ohio. I wish I could have visited all 16 homes – but life got in the way.
If you have a chance get out to this year’s show. If you don’t have the time I’m going to give you a deeper look a 7 1/2 cool and unusual tile shower design tips to ramp up your home – even if you aren’t building a $750,000 + new home (unfortunately most aren’t but wish we were!). You may wonder what the “½ tip” is. You’ll have to read the article to find out, but I’ll give you a hint, it’s my 2 cents of some cool things I didn’t see but I think are important ideas in shower design which matter for today’s families.
Shower walls which are spongy, mold infested, cracking, have dirty tile joints or out of style are a real bummer to look at. What’s even worse is bad shower walls may be messing up your families’ health. For many people the options in shower walls are largely unknown, and in many cases their contractors and builders just want to install the “same old same old.” The common materials your contractors will often want to use are one-piece fiberglass shower surrounds (which are usually flat-out ugly – especially as your home ages) and/or tile (and you know the contractor who installed your tile IS NOT the guy who has to worry about cleaning it – that would be YOU!).
Whether you’re looking to do a DIY remodel on your bathroom or hire a contractor it will pay you (especially in lower maintenance bills) to know how to make sure your shower walls are built to last (whether you’ve decided on a tile surround, fiberglass unit or one of many grout free shower wall panel systems). In this article I’ll give you 4 sure-fire strategies to make sure your shower walls will stand the test of time. Let’s dig in!
If you’re tired of a fiberglass pan you can’t clean, an acrylic base you can’t make a custom design, or a mortared tile shower floor which is cracked and leaking it may be time to consider a solid surface or an expanded polystyrene ready for tile pre-manufactured base. In the article below explore the similarities and difference in these two shower pan materials to guide you to the best product selection for your application.
OK – you’re looking for the perfect grout free tub or shower wall panel system and I have to start this article out by telling you there is no perfect system – bummer! What I can explain to you is there are a lot of options (a good thing) with different strengths and weaknesses inherent for each system.
Using frequently asked questions we’ll explore below the advantages and disadvantages of grout free shower and tub wall options.