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Unread 12-23-2019, 12:07 AM   #1
Houston Remodeler
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Retiring from the business (kind of)

No more slugging around bags of thinset that weigh half my body weight or porcelain tiles taller than I am.


After too many decades in the trades the time has come for me to pass the trowel to the next generation. But don’t worry, you haven’t gotten rid of me yet!


As some of you may know, I have been working with Rod Katwyk to expand the availability of custom foam shower pans and other foam products for the construction industry. After months of work I’m pleased to announce the grand opening of our website BuiltWithFoam.com. There you can register as a contractor to take advantage of trade pricing on all our items. We will be selling the custom foam shower pans Rod developed along with curbs, benches, and some other cool stuff.

Just like Rod, if you order by 2pm central time your order will be shipped the same day!

I've been keeping my lawyer busy as we have some new, patent-pending items such as our Tub Arch™ and Shower Arch™. They come in a standard 4½ inches wide and come in 3 styles; Craftsman, Ogee, and Roman. These also come full depth in our Tub Dome™ and Shower Dome™. Eliminate those arguments with the GC and the framer!

For our thin panel installers we offer our patent pending pre-made undermount sink basins ready for the standard linear drains you know so well. We’ll save you all the time and expense of cutting up pieces of expensive foam panels to make a sink basin, and the math of sloping tile towards a pop-up drain. You can program your waterjet to our sink dimensions and reproduce the beautiful same sink with precision. We also have thin panel sink basins with the countertop included.

Cabot & Rowe is still in business though. I was lucky enough to find a highly talented and (much) younger man to handle the day-to-day operations. I still handle estimates and guide him as he learns the ropes of operating in the Houston market. I met James Morris at Coverings a few years back, then had the pleasure of working side by side for a week while we volunteered together for a project in Maryland. He moved to Houston last year and has hit the ground running. It has been a fruitful merger.

This venture is quite a leap for me as I thought I'd continue to work at a leisurely pace and travel in the RV for months at a time. But after attending Coverings this past April I was impressed with the growth of foam products. I converted my rather large garage into a foam factory, hired an excellent ecommerce website designer, found a great guy to run the back office operations, and learned all about fork lift trucks before buying one.

This means I will be working from home in my foam shop and will have plenty of time to help folks here on the JBF.
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Unread 12-23-2019, 08:22 AM   #2
tilemanct
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Congrats Paul. Good luck in your new venture. It will be hard to pass down your knowledge but hopefully you can find tradespeople that have a passion for what we do.
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Unread 12-23-2019, 09:41 AM   #3
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Wow Paul, how exciting! Sorry to hear you won't still be setting the bar for the Houston area but I'm glad that you have found something easier on your knees. Best of luck on your new venture.
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Unread 12-23-2019, 01:26 PM   #4
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As a neighbor of Paul's, I'm sorry to see him go out of the "Bizness," but he really isn't. Got a feeling that he'll still "slam some tile" from time to time.

Having said that, I spoke with him recently and it looks as though this new venture is really going to take off and I only wish him the best. Lots of time, effort and $ to make this possible, but he's the man to make this happen.

I encourage you all to check out his new website and take advantage of the products!
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Unread 12-24-2019, 06:40 AM   #5
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Paul I don't know when I'll stop swingin a hammer, and how the means will come about, but I hope it comes on the sails of how you are doing it. I'd much rather pursue another venture within the trades in the future, then because my body wouldn't let me do it anymore. Best of luck to you!
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Unread 12-24-2019, 10:19 AM   #6
speed51133
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This doesn't have anything to do with the former USG shower system, does it??

Also, how is your foam intended to be waterproofed/seamed? I do not see any installation information.

"BUILTwithFOAM™ shower components ARE NOT WATERPROOF nor are they wear surfaces.

All exposed areas must be covered following the waterproofing manufacturers’ instructions, ANSI specifications, industry standards, and by applicable building codes for the finish selected by the user."

FYI, I am a patent attorney, if you ever need a second opinion...
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Last edited by speed51133; 12-24-2019 at 10:25 AM.
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Unread 12-24-2019, 10:39 AM   #7
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Mike,

I can tell you definitely that it has nothing to do with the USG shower.

Lots of luck, Paul.
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Unread 12-24-2019, 01:21 PM   #8
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Thanks John. It will be interesting to see where this goes.

Mike,

USG was bought out by Knauff 3 or 4 years ago and the winding down of USG's shower division had been in the works since. I had been talking with Rod Katwyk for the same time period, from helping him write his patent to refining the manufacturing process. USG going out of the shower business and what will happen to those licenses has nothing to do with my decision to enter the field. What got me into this was my first hand experiences seeing the rapid growth of foam in construction. And its fun.

FWIW We do have an installation instructions page on our website. My team and I worked on it for a while.

As far as waterproofing goes, no foam by any manufacturer is waterproof. All that is left to do is argue over how slowly it absorbs water. Currently there are scant industry standards for waterproofing over foam and an equally low number of standards for the foam itself which is why we use the densest, firmest foam available for all of our products.

I'd like to hear your thoughts though. If you'd like, give me a call when you have time.
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Last edited by Houston Remodeler; 12-24-2019 at 01:30 PM.
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Unread 12-24-2019, 03:49 PM   #9
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Good luck, Paul! I hope it works out well.
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Unread 12-24-2019, 09:13 PM   #10
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Best of luck Paul. Couple questions...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Paul
As far as waterproofing goes, no foam by any manufacturer is waterproof. All that is left to do is argue over how slowly it absorbs water.
What about this info direct from Laticrete on Hydroban board “Advanced waterproof extruded polystyrene core” - ??

https://laticrete.com/shower-install...ydro-ban-board

And your website states the products are expanded foam. I thought extruded foam was firmer and more durable?
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Unread 12-24-2019, 11:55 PM   #11
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Thanks Lou,

Yeah, we went 'round and 'round on this one when we were dealing with our
insurance people, lawyers, and research. The test is pretty simple, weigh a piece of foam, wet a piece of foam, weigh a piece of foam. All foam will weigh more after its been soaked.

As I said, now its down to how slowly it absorbs water and whether that amount is considered waterproof or moisture resistant or meets a certain level on a perm test. If you'll notice, no tile industry manufacturer says you can leave their foam exposed to water. Every manufacturer requires all exposed foam to be waterproofed.

Then we can have a chat about what density of XPS the competition uses.

Rated at R4 per inch; EPS foam insulation boards are more permeable to air and moisture than XPS, but it doesn't retain moisture to the same extent because of it's more closed cell structure and it's breathability which lets it dry out. Two inches of EPS foam board has a moisture permeability rate of between 60 and 75 ng (1 to1.25 perms), which is on the cusp of qualifying it as a type II vapour retarder, but on the more 'breathable' side of the scale which we would probably consider a good thing in most applications. For reference sake, the traditional 6mil polyethylene vapour barrier has a permeability rating of 3.4 ng, making it about 18 times more vapour resistant than building codes allow.

Read this

and this

and this

and this This last one is the most technical.

From this research, and to be sure no one gets the idea our foam is waterproof we decided to be ultra clear about the need to waterproof over our products.

As far as firmness goes there is ASTM testing involved for our raw material. There are lots of densities of foams available. We use the densest EPS made. Its Geofoam, which is tough enough to build highways from. Does the manufacturer you referenced include the foam with the fleece in the testing or not? Which ASTM method did they test under? We have no fleece, so that's not a direct comparison.
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Last edited by Houston Remodeler; 12-25-2019 at 12:18 PM.
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Unread 12-25-2019, 07:53 AM   #12
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So do you recommend painting a liquid waterproofing on it? How about kerdi fabric?

I don't think any of those manufacturers will sanction using their product on your foam, so it's hard to tell people to follow manufacturers instructions on waterproofing.

Not trying to be a pain in the ass, just wondering your recommended approach.
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Unread 12-25-2019, 12:16 PM   #13
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We have been talking with waterproofing manufacturers. None have expressed any concerns about their products being applied over our foam. I can't speak publicly about where things stand at the moment.

Every manufacturer is concerned about point loads and being able to warranty when you push a product out into the hands of people who may, or may not read and follow directions. At some point we know what our foam is capable of, but there will always be people who push those boundaries or claim "you didn't say we couldn't" What we say about our products has an element of avoiding lawsuits. I never had the opportunity to think in this mode until we became manufacturers ourselves. Eye opening to say the least.

Our foam is in the same position as doing your own drypack. The waterproofing manufacturers warranty their product above your drypack. They have told me they will warranty their product above our foam, but not the foam itself of course because they don't make it.

Just like everyone else's foam we prefer a sheet membrane thinsetted down. That method really adds a durable layer to any foam.
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Unread 12-25-2019, 01:40 PM   #14
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I thought Hydroban board was expanded foam. Did they change it at some point in the last couple of years?
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Last edited by Tiger Mountain Tile Inc; 12-25-2019 at 02:17 PM. Reason: typo
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Unread 12-25-2019, 02:04 PM   #15
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As far as I know Hardie has always been cement + cellulose all the way through
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