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Posts Tagged ‘waterproof wall panels’

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).”

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.

10 Assumptions about Shower Wall Panels You Need to Throw out Your Bathroom Window

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

Assumptions about shower wall panels you need to throw out your bathroom | Innovate Building Solutions | #ShowerWallPanels #LaminateWallPanels #DIYBathroom #BathroomRemodel

Updated March 24, 2019

Just think about the assumptions and ‘old wives’ tales’ you heard growing up you know today are a bunch of hogwash. Here’s a few assumptions I’ve put in my rear-view mirror:

Assumption #1) If you eat watermelon seeds, you’ll grow a watermelon in your stomach. As a little kid (before seedless watermelons) I ate a tone of watermelon seeds and I haven’t grown a watermelon yet.

Assumption#2) Eating chocolate causes acne. Studies have shown it’s not the chocolate which is the problem, it’s the sugar and dairy in the chocolate. I wish I would have known this as a pimply-faced teenager. It’s cool to know today my “Hershey bar with Almonds pick-me-up strategy” won’t cause me to break out (especially since Mr. Hershey takes all the sugar out just for me).

Assumption #3) Eating carrots will improve your eyesight. While carrots do contain nutrients like Vitamin A, it’s been shown they have no positive effect on your eyesight. I’m calling my Mom right now to give her a piece of my mind (…. just kidding Mom).

The reality is we can’t believe everything our parents and friends tell us. We can’t believe everything we read. However, there is one source everyone can believe. We can believe all the political news on the Internet (a bit of sarcasm thrown in).

Just like you can’t (and shouldn’t) believe all the old sayings rummaging around in your head, you can’t believe the ‘half-truths’ and assumptions you’re hearing about shower wall panels (even from your contractor or the guy/gal in the orange smock at the big-box store). As a guy who has been in the shower wall panel installation and supply industry from (what seems like) the time Moses was a boy, when I think I’ve heard it all, I hear another gem coming from homeowners and contractors alike.

In this article my goal is simple:

I want to blow up the B.S. circulating about shower wall panels. Here’s how.

I’m going to list 10 assumptions about shower wall panels you need to throw out your bathroom window right now. Killing these assumptions will help you make sound purchases based on better information.

At the end, let me know other ‘false-truths’ you’ve heard you now know are full of it.

7 Secrets about Glass Block Shower Walls Your Contractor Doesn’t Want You to Know

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

 

7 Secrets about glass block shower wall - contractor | Innovate Building Solutions #GlassBlock #GlassBlockShower #GlassBlockInstallation #ShowerRemodel

Updated March 24, 2019

You’ve finally gotten a hold of Pauly Path-Of-Least-Resistance, President of Krazy Cool Contracting Inc. You’ve set up a Free in-home estimate for next Thursday. Your goal of upgrading the bathroom for you and your husband Bill – now that your 3 kids are (almost) out of the house – is about to become a reality.

Pauly’s the hard to get contractor in your small town. Despite his funny name (and company name for that matter) he’s known for high quality bathroom remodeling work and stands by his warranties. Your neighbors and friends have told you to use him.

Since the 3 other companies you’ve called haven’t even sent you a quote (after meeting with them a month ago) you’re ready to rock n’ roll with Pauly. He’s a shoo-in to get your job. This is a fact you’re trying to keep on the Q-T, so his price won’t force you to get a 2nd job!

Everything’s going well during your initial appointment until you break the news to Pauly. You tell him you want a partially colored free-standing walk in curved glass block shower wall. You also mention you want grout free wall panels and an easy to clean shower pan. You want simplicity at all costs (OK – maybe not at all costs) but certainly simpler to maintain is high on your list.

Pauly starts ripping off all the reasons he CAN’T do this job based on your product choices. Here are some things he rants about:

  • I don’t know how to do a glass block shower – and I don’t know any subcontractors who know their way around this material either.
  • I’ve never installed a curved glass wall of any sort (glass or glass blocks for that matter) before.
  • He asks, why do you want glass blocks? They’re out of style anyway.
  • You know the block wall will fall if it’s not supported on all sides.
  • Why do you want grout free wall panels? They look cheap and plasticky.
  • You mentioned wanting colored glass blocks. I have no clue where to find them.

After he’s done ripping off all the reasons it CAN’T be done you’re tempted to chime in with the trite motivational statement, “Can is just can’t without a T.” You bite your tongue and think better of it (after all he’s the best contractor in town and you don’t want to piss him off).

However, you’re not ready to give up on your glass block shower dream– and you’re prepared for his objections. You’ve got a list of 7 secrets (I’ve given you the cheat-sheet below) your chosen ‘path-of-least-resistance’ contractor, Pauly, may not want to know, but you can share to get him over to your side.

The 10 Commandments of Bathroom Remodeling Success

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

10 Commandments of Bathroom Remodeling Success to Save Time, Money, and Get a Stylish Bathroom | Innovate Building Solutions | #BathroomRemodeling #ShowerTips #BathroomTransformation

Updated January 13, 2019

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.

15 Reasons You Shouldn’t Remodel Your Bathroom (and 10 Reasons You Should)

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

15 Reasons You Shouldn't Remodel in 2018 (and 10 Reasons You Should) | Innovate Building Solutions #ShowerRemodel #ClevelandRemodel #BathroomRemodel

Updated March 17, 2019

I was talking to Mark (a potential customer) who started venting to me about his bathroom remodeling project. He said, “Mike, planning this bathroom remodel is a pain in the rear. Too many choices, too few contractors. The budget is getting squeezed left and right. My wife Lisa has this urge to remodel. I wish her urge would just go away.”

Mark then said, “Mike as someone in the biz can you help Lisa and I figure out if we should – or shouldn’t – remodel this upcoming year? As you know I’m voting for “shouldn’t,” she is completely in the “should” category. I’d like the ammunition to bring Lisa over to my side.”

I told Mark, “I don’t want to get in the middle of any family squabbles over remodeling. I’m not the “Dr. Phil of Remodeling,” besides I’ve got way more hair than him. However, as a supplier and remodeling contractor I’ve seen remodeling projects which have gone well – and others which were so wacked-out the owners wish they never started. Let me think about this. I’ll put a list together of “should’ s and shouldn’t’ s – and try keep you out of divorce court, or the Peoples Court, over a simple bathroom!”

As I got to thinking about this my crazy mind went in a bunch of directions. Included below is the list I prepared for Mark and Lisa. I hope you enjoy it, and learn a couple of things along the way. If you have any additional reasons (fun or serious) why you should (or shouldn’t remodel) add them in the comments at the end of the article. If they’re humorous give me a call – I like a good laugh.

5 Cutting-Edge Ideas to Use 3D Textured Designs in Your Home Today

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

5 cutting edge ideas to use 3D textured designs in your home today | Innovate Building Solutions

Updated March 19, 2019

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:

The 5 biggest shower remodeling mistakes (and how to not repeat them on your job)

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

The 5 Biggest Shower Remodeling Mistakes (and How To Not Repeat Them on Your Project) | Innovate Building Solutions #Shower #Remodeling #BathRemodeling

Updated January 26, 2019

Shower remodeling can be a pain. There are so many decisions to make and the cost of mistakes can be high. Here’s just a few decisions you’ll have to wrap your head around:

  • What type of shower base (or floor pan) is best?
  • Should you tile the walls or use a shower wall panel system?
  • Where is the best location for the drain? What is the optimal spot to put the shower valve to turn on the water?
  • Should you DIY all, some or contract out this project?

Since shower remodeling is not your ‘day job’ (and it’s a project you may do every 10 to 20 years) it can be tough to get it right the first time. How do you make sure you don’t make errors which haunt you down the road?

One way to make sure you’re on the right path is to read these top 5 shower remodeling mistakes and the strategies to not repeat them on your job. I’ve seen them way too frequently and don’t want you to fall into the same trap.

6 Shower Trends to Kick up your Bathroom from the 2017 Columbus BIA Parade of Homes (and 3 new ideas I’d like to see next year)

Written by Mike Foti on . Posted in Bathroom Remodeling

 

6 shower trends from the Columbus BIA Parade of Homes 2017 with 3 Ideas I'd like to see new year | Innovate Building Solutions

Updated March 9, 2019

As a bathroom and shower remodeling geek I HAVE TO check out the Columbus Parade of Homes each year. It’s fun to see what the crazy designers and builders can do to inject personality, fun and function into their home designs. This year’s group of 9 homes did not disappoint. These homes were not the generic overly-beige Mid-Western drab spec home stuff you can tend see in the Central Ohio new home building market. There were drool-worthy kitchens, living rooms with cool Mid-Century modern styling, and relaxing bedrooms to give anyone a big case of house-envy (I’m glad my wife wasn’t with me otherwise she might have got the “urge to redecorate.” This urge can give me a bad case of hives – but I digress).

I completely enjoyed the bathrooms and showers in these homes. Maybe it’s because I’ve been in this remodeling world too long – or I’m a bit touched in the head (or both). However, I’m jazzed by cool looking showers and the products used to make them not only functional – but special and practical for people in any stage of life to use.

On an overcast Thursday afternoon, my trek through the homes began. I caught a crazy day because half-way through my tour it poured on me as I sprinted from house to house with my iPad taking pictures (I asked people in each home if the dryers in their homes were turned on to dry out my shirt – nobody took me up on that offer though. I guess the concept of a half-naked guy in their Parade Home wasn’t the ambiance these builders were looking for!).

Below you’ll find my summary of 6 shower trends I saw live at the Parade – and 3 new ideas I didn’t see this year (and hope to find on display next year). At the end of the article I’d like to ask you to do me a favor. Comment on which trends you think would help you existing home the most (or you’d want in a new home). If you think any of these trends are a waste of time, money or space – give me your 2 cents on that also. Quality debate is cool. At the end of the article, I’ll also give you my vote for the coolest shower from the show.

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