‘So, you’ve had it up to here’ (as Mom used to say) with dirty, ugly, moldy grout joints in your shower.
You’ve told your spouse, either this tile shower goes, or I do.
You’ve started ‘kicking the digital tires’ for a solution. You’re comparing different shower wall panels systems from acrylic to cultured granite to PVC composite to laminated wall panels. You’re almost ready to pull the trigger and plunk your money down.
However, there’s still something gnawing at you. You still feel you’re missing some details you need to make the right choice.
This uncertainly when buying shower and bathroom wall panels is common. Many homeowners (and even professional contractors) don’t have experience with the products out there. You’re a rookie and don’t want to screw up!
The question becomes how can you make sure you’ve thought of (almost) everything before you make the best choice for your project?
That question is what this article is looking to answer. My goal here is simple. I want to point out 7 essential things (along with a few pointers) most people don’t think about (but should) when buying shower wall panels.
I want you to get it right…. the first time.
So, without further delay let’s dig into these 7 essential things.
In the United States (especially in the late 1980’s and 1990’s) cultured marble shower wall panels were hot. Builders and homeowners loved their 3/8” thick construction. They loved their durability. They loved the fact they look like marble slabs – at a far lower cost. You can even get a cultured marble vanity top or shower pan to match your walls.
In Europe (and especially in Norway) in the 1990’s a new wall panel product was born. This system would take the Euro bathroom wall surround market by storm. These units, called laminated shower panels, are also 3/8” thick. However, unlike its ‘molded’ brother cultured stone, which is made in big sheets, the laminate panels are 2’ x 8’ sections. They weigh 26 lbs.
Laminated wall panels have grown like wildfire. They’re now as popular as ceramic tile in Norway. They make up 1/3 of the bathroom wall surround market in this country.
It wasn’t until last year (when laminate panels were introduced in the U.S.) that these two wall systems would ‘face off.’ OK, it’s not exactly a ‘championship wrestling Battle Royale’ yet, but homeowners in the United States are now comparing and contrasting these two options.
The question I (and my team) get all the time now (since we design with both) is what are the advantages and disadvantages of each system? Which do you like better? Which would be best for my project? Which product is cheaper? (Note, actually they cost about the same, so this isn’t a big factor in choosing one over another).
While it would be simple to declare one the ‘winner,’ like in life, it’s not that simple. As I tell customers,
“Wall panels are like people. They all have their strengths and weaknesses.”
In this article my goal is to deliver this comparison in true Joe Friday from Dragnet fashion. I’m going to offer up “Just the facts ma’am, as Joe used to say (or sir, if we’re going to be P.C. about it).”
You’ve decided to venture out into the harsh-cruel world of bathroom remodeling. You’re no longer willing to be a slave to an outdated, unsafe and flat-out ugly shower, tub, vanity, toilet – you name it. You desire the promised land of a Pinterest and Houzz-inspired bathroom. A space which is relaxing, well-light, safe for your family, with plenty of storage. This bathroom won’t have you on your hands and knees praying for a savior to liberate your hand from your scrub brush.
Making the decision to remodel is easy. Planning and doing the job -whether you hire a ‘professional contractor’ (you may debate if there is such a thing) or rolling up your sleeves and doing it yourself – is another thing.
You need guidance and support.
At times you need a savior to bail your butt out. Ouch!
How can you move from the vision of a beautiful spa-inspired bathroom, minimize the trials and tribulations of the construction process and be ‘saved’ from the nastiness which is your current space?
You could go into the Mojave Desert looking for a stone tablet with words of bathroom remodeling wisdom. I doubt you’ll find anything useful. You will locate funky lizards, cougars and tasty prickly pears (if you haven’t tried this fruit, you should – but I digress). Bathroom remodeling inspiration will be in short supply.
A better strategy – crank up your electronic tablet and put into practice the 10 Commandments of bathroom remodeling success below. Will they save you from all trials and tribulations along the way? I doubt it. They will get you a more inspired bathroom with less hassle along the way. Your friends and family may exalt you and your bathroom transformation – and even want to check out your ‘throne’ (I’m getting too flowery here). Let’s check out the 10 Commandments.
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.
If you’ve decided to build a new home – or remodel an existing one – you’re probably motivated by the words of famous TV chef Emeril Lagasse to “kick it up a notch.” Out with – boring, old, ugly, stained, chipped countertops, walls, ceiling, showers and enclosures. You want to be in with – fun, functional, low maintenance and cool items to leverage hot style trends. You don’t want to bust your budget in the process. What’s I’m seeing is hot, hot, hot in progressive remodeling project today are 3D textured products. You may be asking why are 3D textured products sizzling in today’s marketplace? Consider the following:
5 reasons why 3D textured designs are hot
(1) We’re living in a 3D high-tech world today – 3D printing, 3D televisions, 3D pens and 3D objects of all types are growing at a breakneck pace.
(2) Three dimensional products are easier to get and install – If you’re looking to do a bedroom feature wall or a grout free shower system there are simple to install premade panels to make these projects a breeze to do.
(3) Packing more style into smaller spaces – Given the increasing cost of land, permitting fees and a desire for simpler spaces – our homes for the first time in decades are getting smaller (the Mega-Mansions of the 2000’s is dead). However, our homes are getting cooler with more function and style per square foot. 3D walls, ceilings, counters and enclosures are part of our desire for more “cool-factor.”
(4) Hide scratches – When a countertop or wall is smooth it’s easy to see every little scratch. 3D textured building surfaces hide some ills which come from the beating your home “lives through.” Not everyone in the family treats your home with TLC (if you’ve got teenage boys like me you know what I’m talking about).
(5) Creating a focal point – Many people hire interior designers because they not only want colors and textures to work together, but they want to create an impression. You’re looking for a wow when entering the room. 3D textured surfaces do this. They are an element which is not like surrounding walls, floors and counters. A featured wall. A backlight glass counter. An interesting ceiling. Something unique – which will cause people to ask you, “Where did you get that?”
Enough about the reasons why 3D walls are getting popular, strap onto your seat and check out these 5 cutting-edge ideas to add cool-factor into your home today:
Updated January 20, 2019 (with 3 new bonus Do’s and Don’ts & 1 hot new product)
Figuring out how to remodel a shower can be tough. What products should you use to have a stylish space which won’t be a pain to clean? Should you hire a remodeling contractor or do it yourself? How do you figure out the best shower pan, wall surround material and type of entry to use? Who you gonna call (it probably won’t be Ghostbusters) for help and guidance so you won’t end up pulling your hair out (if you have any left at the end)?
I wish I could tell you there was one magic formula, a silver bullet, a one-size-fits-all shower remodel recipe. That would be nice, but it’s not reality. What I can (and will) say is there are things you absolutely need to ask yourself (the Do’s) and things you’ll want to stay away from (the Don’ts) like the plague which will either lead you to a victorious shower project or down the road to home improvement “h-e-double hockey sticks (as our kids used to say when they were young so they wouldn’t say hell). Without further delay, let’s dig in.
Custom shower wall panels are like a mysterious medical problem (note- I’m living this mystery right now as I’m in an Emergency Room Observation area while writing this post!). You’ve got to research, to poke around for the best options (while not necessarily accepting the first theory or product espoused from an “expert”). You want to find out not only what’s not good about your current custom shower (so you don’t repeat the same mistakes), but also what shower panel system will look nice and last down the road. You need to determine what options will fit your style and budget so you don’t have to deal with nasty tile grout or ugly, yellowed, and cheap fiberglass shower panels ever again. This research process can be painful. You’ll have to sift through the “baloney-ish” (not sure this is a word) sales pitches on company product web sites to find what’s right for you – not just what others want to sell you.
My goal with this article is to help you focus your research and find the right custom shower wall panels. I want to tell you simple untold truths to save you time and money. At the end of this article let me know how I did. Without further delay let’s check out the 5 things nobody tells you about custom shower wall panels.
Who uses a small alcove tub space for bathing anymore? The answer – practically no one. It doesn’t fit our fast-paced lifestyles. Who loves framed sliding glass doors or shower curtains around their bathtubs….probably very few. They’re a hassle to clean. If you’re like most you’d like to ditch your tub for a walk in shower and assumed you didn’t have enough room….well think again. In this article learn how a tub can be converted into a curved glass block shower in 5 simple steps.