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Posts Tagged ‘laminate wall panels’

How to Compare Kohler Choreograph to Fibo Laminate Shower and Tub Wall Panels

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

How to compare Kohler Choreograph vs. Fibo Laminated Shower and Tub Wall Panels | Innovate Building Solutions | #KohlerProducts #BathroomProducts #Laminatewallpanels #GroutFreePanels

Deciding on the right shower and tub wall panels is tough enough, but it becomes ‘doubly-difficult’ when the two systems you’re comparing are newer to the United States market (even if one of them has been around the world market for over 26 years).

While Kohler Choreograph (also known as LuxStone) and Fibo laminate wall panels are both 100% waterproof, simple to maintain, respected brands in their country of origin (everyone knows Kohler in the United States and Fibo is used in 1/3 of the homes in Norway) and are an excellent alternatives to tile, this is where the similarities end.

As you’ll see below the Kohler and Fibo wall panels both have their strengths and weaknesses, just like you and I (note: even my wife of 35+ years thinks I have a few weaknesses…OK I’m lying, she thinks I have more than a few!).

In this article, I’ll present the advantages of each product and brand. At the end, I’d love to hear your opinion on which you’d choose  for your next bathroom remodel or renovation of a vacation home rental bathroom.

9 Reasons You Shouldn’t Build a Tile Shower

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

Opening - tiled shower | Innovate Building Solutions | #TileShower #GroutFreePanels #BathroomRemodel

OK – I’m not writing this to take down the tile industry, and I’m certainly not arrogant enough to think this post has that kind of power.

However, I’ve been on the receiving end of countless homeowners (and even bathroom remodeling contractors) calls who are ‘sick and tired’ (as my Mom used to say) of problems with tile showers. They’re desperately looking for better solutions.

Admittedly, a tile shower can look beautiful once its finally completed. However, how long will it hold up? Will it be a pain to maintain? Will you be protected by a warranty if the shower pan or walls leak?

When it comes to those looking for a richer-looking showers tile is the A#1 top choice… but should it be? And even if you’re sold on tile, are there installation approaches and materials you should use to get a better finished product which lasts longer?

In this article I’ll focus on frustrations surrounding tile showers, and alternatives you need to research if you hate grout (which is the evil-stepbrother or stepsister to tile). I’ll also provide examples of better performing products to use instead of tile (or improved products to use with tile, is you’re set this is the way for you to go).

Let’s check out the 9 reasons you shouldn’t build a tile shower.

How to Compare Ceramic Tile Surrounds vs. Laminate Shower Wall Panels

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

Opening image shabby chic shower wall panels | Innovate Building Solutions | #BathroomRemodel #ShowerWallPanels #TileShower #CeramicTile

Tile is such an established building material. It dates back more than 25,000 years. That’s a Ripley’s Believe it Or Not stat you don’t even have to pay $14.99 admission to learn.

Tile is the great, great, great Grandfather of shower surround surfaces. It’s a fun, inventive and versatile material. On the other hand, it can be a pain to clean. It can be a pain to install. It can be a drain on your wallet.

It’s because of these downsides of tile new materials (like laminate shower wall panels discussed in this article) are looking to ‘bump tile’ off its bathroom throne (OK – that’s a bad pun – I know!).

If you’re not familiar with laminate wall panels they were invented over 25 years ago in Norway. They’re 3/8” thick. The thickness of most tiles. They’re approximately 2’ x 8’ in size. They’re used in shower, tub and bathroom walls to provide a waterproof, yet stylish surround. They install like laminate flooring. They click and lock together. However, unlike laminate flooring they also are adhered and waterproofed with a hybrid polymer sealant.

In this article we’ll take a look ‘under the hood’ (or in this case under the grout joint or wall panel) and compare the advantages of laminate wall panels vs. a tile shower and vice versa.

At the end there will be a quiz (but don’t sweat it – you won’t be graded!) to see which system you’d like to use for your next bathroom remodeling project.

5 Annoying Problems with Kitchen Backsplashes (and how to fix them)

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Kitchen Remodeling

5 annoying problems with kitchen backsplashes and how to fix them | Innovate Building Solutions | #KitchenBacksplash #DIYKitchenBacksplash #KitchenDesign #KitchenRemodel

There are so many decisions and components in a kitchen remodel.  However, no single element injects style and personality quite like a kitchen backsplash. It literally (and figuratively) can create a splash (Ok, I get it, bad pun).

A backsplash can be like a statement piece of jewelry, or your favorite jazzy tie. It goes beyond the function of a backsplash (which is to make it easy to clean liquids which splash up on the walls). It adds a fashion statement everyone who visits your house can ooh and aaah about.

Although there’s lots to love about kitchen backsplashes, they can also be a pain. You may have experienced these backsplash hassles:

  • Stained and cracked grout joints.
  • Materials which are so expensive they have you asking, “You said it’s how much for that small area?”
  • Surfaces which are a cleaning nightmare.
  • Installation hurdles like outlets and stoves which increase the ‘degree or difficulty’ choosing the right backsplash.

The challenge becomes how can you get the stylish kitchen backsplash design you desire while also getting one which is easy to clean and install, yet won’t force you to take out a second mortgage or tap into your kid’s college fund?

In this article, I’ll look at 5 annoying problems people deal with trying to choose the best backsplash. Then I’ll dish up practical ‘fixes’ you can use to overcome these problems.

11 Shower Remodeling Mistakes You Don’t Want to Make

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

Shower remodeling mistakes you don't want to make | Innovate Building Solutions | #RemodelingTips #BathroomRemodeling #GroutFreeShower #ShowerWallPanels

You’ve probably heard of FOMO (the Fear of Missing Out), but I’ll bet you haven’t heard of FOFO. FOFO is the Fear of Figuring it Out …on the fly…. while blowing your hard-earned money in the process. I would tell you about FOFO’s cousin (FOFU – the Fear of F***ing Up), but I stopped swearing 15 years ago.

When it comes to remodeling (and shower remodeling mistakes in particular) FOFO and FOFU (for those of you who swear) are waaaay too common. You know the following facts are true from past projects:

  • Fact #1) Mistakes can be costly.
  • Fact #2) Remodeling mistakes can make the project drag on longer than a painting project done by ‘Eldon The Painter’ (he was the painter who never left on the old TV show, Murphy Brown).

Nobody (whether you’re DIY’ing the job or using a contractor) wants to shell out extra dough when better planning could have helped you get your job done for less.

In this article it’s my goal (as a guy whose team has worked with thousands of homeowners and contractors) to give you practical shower remodeling tips to reduce your mistakes. I want to save you time, money and aggravation.

So, let’s look at 11 shower remodeling mistakes you don’t need to make.

7 Bathroom Decor Ideas to Create a Spa-Like Bathroom on a Budget

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

7 Bathroom Decor Ideas to create your spa like bathroom on a budget | Innovate Building Solutions | #BathroomDecor #ShowerBathroom #BathroomDesign

Cluttered. Outdated. Dingy. Dark. Depressing. Cramped.

Are these the words you’d use to describe your bathroom today?

It doesn’t take long for a bathroom to get out of hand. Curling irons, blow driers, and a massive array of beauty products littered on your tiny vanity counter. Tile showers with dirty, mold stained grout joints which scream out – GROSS! Pitted chrome fixtures which don’t exactly look ‘shiny and new’ but they do ‘boast’ (sarcasm intended) constant water spots (which are like nails on a chalkboard to you).

Even though you’d like to create the luxury spa-like bathroom experience like a day at The Ritz, your budget more closely resembles a Hampton or Holiday Inn.

You’ve wondered….is there a way to breath new life into this tired old bathroom? Can I give it a spa-inspired setting without blowing ALL the kids college fund in the process? The short answer is…yes there is.

In this article, I’ll present 7-bathroom décor ideas to create a spa-like bathroom on a budget. Some of these ideas only involve a trip to your local candle shop, Bed Bath and Beyond, or one of your favorite on-line stores. Other ideas are more extensive and would be included in a mid-priced bathroom remodeling project.

So, what have you got to lose? Read these 7 ideas and see which can help catapult your ‘ugly duckling’ bathroom into the relaxed, spa-like experience you’ve dreamed about.

How to Compare Acrylic vs. Laminated Shower Wall Panels

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

Comparing acrylic vs laminated shower wall panels | Innovate Building Solutions | #AcrylicShower #BathroomRemodeling #ShowerPanels #LaminateWallPanels

I remember when our company got into the bathtub and shower wall panel business 15 years ago. All the rage was the quick to install ‘One Day Bathroom’ with acrylic wall panels. The manufacturer promoted an in and out process. Simply take 3 sheets of acrylic. Cut them to size. Adhere them with butyl tape over ceramic tile walls and voila, in one day, your customer has a new shower or tub surround.

They told us this would be a simple (and profitable) job.

And the truth is it is simple and profitable for the contractor doing it. However, here’s the question…and it’s the only question (in the end) which matters.

Are acrylic tub and shower ‘makeovers’ which go over tile the best option for the owner of the home?

The (somewhat) straightforward answer to this question is yes, no and maybe (right now, you’re likely thinking, “Mike – what kind of a B.S. ‘Switzerland-like’ answer is that?). But, in actuality there are a number of factors you need to look at when you’re comparing whether to get a low-cost acrylic wall panel system vs. a higher-end product like laminate shower wall panels.

OK, if you’re not familiar with laminate wall panels I’ll step back and tell you they’re approximately 2’ wide x 8’ tall x 3/8” thick waterproof wall panels. They have a laminate front (which can have tile, stone and marble patterns), are applied on a marine grade plywood backing with a vapor barrier on the rear surface. This product is used extensively in countries like Norway where you’d find it on 1/3 of the bathroom and shower walls. It’s also growing by leaps and bounds in the United States today.

Since you’re likely not a shower wall panel installer or salesperson (and likely don’t play one TV – and neither does anyone else to the best of my knowledge) it can be difficult knowing how to compare acrylic and laminate wall panels. You just know you want the best bathroom surround system for your job. This is exactly the reason I wrote this article.

Below I’ll look at the advantages of laminate wall panels vs. acrylic.  Second, I’ll turn the tables and we’ll peek at the disadvantages of acrylic wall panels vs. laminate.

At the end, I’d love your opinion and/or additional questions so you can get your arms around your best choice.

7 Essential Things Most People Don’t Think about When Buying Shower Wall Panels

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

Essential things people don't thikn about when buying shower wall panels | Innovate Building Solutions | #ShowerWallPanels #BuyingShowerPanels #BathroomProducts #HotBathroomIdeas

‘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.

How to Compare Cultured Marble vs. Laminated Shower Wall Panels

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

Laminate vs Cultured Marble Shower wall panels | Innovate Building Solutions | #LaminateShowerPanels #CulturedMarble #BathroomRemodeling

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).”

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