In today’s modern world, there are all kinds of construction being built. From commercial buildings to tiny homes, there’s always some sort of interesting structure being stood up. There are many businesses that even have several vertical niches built into one business. Take plumbing for example…most plumbers focus on fixing a plumbing issue. However in the following article, this particular plumber also does bathroom remodeling. Quite a clever combination into two businesses in one as told by the Chicago Tribune:
Business: Phil Walz Plumbing
Address: 1340 W. Ogden Ave., NapervillePhone/website: 630-355-0080; www.philwalzplumbing.com
Owner: Phil Walz. The business is run by his daughter Debbie Hanes, who is the office manager, and son Steve Walz, who is a plumber.
What does your business do? “We do service and repair. We specialize in bathroom remodeling and touch a bit on kitchen remodeling. But we do more bathrooms,” Hanes said. “We’ve been doing remodeling for a long time.”
What’s the best part of doing business in Naperville? “We have a lot of longtime customers. Very good, loyal people. Naperville has changed a lot. There’s what, 145,000 people in town now? There were probably 8,000 residents when Dad started out.”
How many plumbers do you have? “Three. We keep them busy with service calls and remodeling. When we worked in new construction years ago, we had 10 plumbers. New construction became more and more competitive. More plumbers were coming into town. So Dad decided to specialize in bathroom remodeling.”
How does a bathroom remodel work? “Being a brick-and-mortar store is nice because people can visit our showroom. Kim Morris, our designer, will work with the customer, with their floor plan and their design. She goes through the process of selecting colors, tile, and fixtures. And then she goes to their home and makes sure everything they’ve picked is going to work. A lot of times, people will go out and buy the wrong-sized materials. That’s where Kim comes in. They’re pretty good about it, once you explain to them why something is not going to work.”
How has the business changed? “We used to sell a lot more faucets, but now people buy them on Amazon.”
What’s your business philosophy? “It used to be ‘No job too small.’ We still have that. We do as much or as little as you want.”
What’s trending these days? “We’ve also been replacing whirlpools with larger showers. People have less time to enjoy whirlpools. We do fewer steam showers now. Body sprays were big. Not so much anymore. Chrome faucets are more in. Chrome never really went out. Tiles are much larger. People like the clear glass shower doors with the decorative tile.
On a totally non related part of construction not along the lines of home building and remodeling, we find interesting patterns etched in concrete blocks. We call these design patterns and etchings a part of something known as formliners. Check out this interesting article on how formliners are utilized in construction of concrete blocks according to Construction Canada:
There has always been a quest to incorporate esthetically pleasing elements into building façades. The most prolific examples are found in early Greek and Roman architecture. Affluence in these two societies was deeply rooted and expressed through lavish building exteriors. These designs were so impressive many elements of modern-day architecture can be traced to those eras.
The ornate columns and hand-cut stone building blocks make a bold statement through esthetics, but also provided function. So much ‘function’ in fact, the grandest of these structures are more than two millennia old. The early designers and constructors of these ancient buildings were setting the stage for a ‘drab-to-fab’ revolution in building exterior architectural finishes.
Early building design and materials were relegated to what was readily available from the earth. Egyptians used straw, mud, gypsum, and lime to form bricks and mortar in the construction of the pyramids. The Romans used a material similar to modern cement and combined it with animal products that acted as admixtures. However, it was not until 1824 when England’s Joseph Aspdin came up with portland cement.
As the main ingredient in concrete, this material catapulted the design and construction industry forward. The century following Aspdin’s invention saw many historic firsts within concrete construction, from the first reinforced bridge in 1889 (San Francisco) to the first skyscraper in 1903 (the Ingalls Building in Cincinnati). Concrete and concrete masonry units (CMUs) soon became the construction material of choice for many designers throughout the world.
With this advancement, came the increased desire for patterns, textures, and colours. Coloured concrete was introduced in 1915 when Lynn Mason Scofield begain producing colour additives for concrete; a half-century later, manufactured patterns became possible. With the advent of concrete formliners, patterned concrete once only achievable through handcrafting could now be replicated in a controlled and more expedient fashion while maintaining the classic look borrowed from ancient architecture. In the 1970s, formliner manufacturers were able to add textures.
Types of formliners
Contemporary formliners lend an almost endless array of pattern and texture opportunities. North American manufacturers provide a standard selection of products, with some offering more than 300 choices.
In the 1970s and 80s, ribbed patterns were widely used in designs for sound walls, industrial buildings, mass transit stations, and other various building exteriors. As polyurethane formliners emerged, the ribbed patterns gave way to more natural and unique patterns. This provided the architect with more options and flexibility when designing a concrete building exterior.
Patterns and textures previously only available by extracting them from natural materials are now exactly replicated in formliners. Even the most traditional building materials, brick and block, have been recreated. Stone, wood, stucco, masonry, and abstract esthetics can all be incorporated in designs.