Check out my building blog to learn more about construction for your home or office in Austin! David L. Traut, President, CAPS Certified (512)444-0097

Custom Walk In Shower

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Fri, Mar 15, 2013 @ 16:03 PM


    Most people remember how the old style bathtub/shower combination was a standard part of any bathroom design.  Some residential showering areas were enclosed using the multicolored vinyl shower curtain option while others had bypassing or sliding shower doors on tracks.  The doors were framed with either chrome or gold colored aluminum matching the sliding tracks.  Modern bathroom designs have become much more sophisticated because the many available bathroom products are easier to be discovered by the homeowner.  There are millions of pictures representing fine bathroom upgrades or bathroom remodeling all across the internet.

Discover the Principles Of Universal Design

     All fine bathroom transformations must stand out even to their owners after the job is complete and all the workers have gone away.  The use of granite, marble, onyx, limestone, or glass tiles during a bathroom upgrade can only be further enhanced when any design utilizing glass blocks is introduced into the mix.  The owner's eyes will see the intense natural sparkle provided by the glass block's ability to diffuse natural light that will brighten any setting and create an open feeling.  Glass blocks can be inserted into an interior shower wall's opening providing light from a nearby outside window or on the exterior wall itself creating a waterproof window with both privacy and insulating capabilities.  The blocks also make a great toilet partition when you don't want the confinement of an additional toilet room.  Here they can be stair stepped toward the top to the wall's highest point and their raw ends covered in cuts from your field tiles or by using special glass tiles that are available.  If you are lucky enough to be able to borrow natural light from an outside source like a light shaft or hallway you can create a brilliant room having no windows visible from the outside.

Elder Construction

          All new construction or any bathroom remodel should involve multiple shower head combinations in multiple locations to fit anyone's desires. Rain heads coming out of the ceiling, body heads coming out of the walls in many locations, or hand held units attached to the shower walls can make things very interesting.  These combinations of heads and locations can be used to create rain effects, provide relief for muscle aches through body massages, or simply provide pin point convenience with hand held variable heads.  The possibilities are endless as you dial in your bathing environment.  Steam generators are also being considered as an investment in today's fine bathroom designs.  The steam  heads can make the difference after a tough day when you're looking for that more therapeutic spa experience. This has certainly led the way to the thermostatic shower valve with plumbed-in hand held shower that is being used specifically in homes today where the owner is planning to retire.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     What about the costs involved?  In general, a typical bathroom remodel in the Austin area can run you about $19,000.  However a large master bathroom makeover can push up your budget to around $35,000 as an average.  Don't forget that these are average costs and the client is limited only by their bank account totals.  A custom tub to shower conversion can set you back around $13,000 as a good medium price range.  But what makes the costs appear so expensive?  Basically time, the difficulty of the job and the actual labor costs performed by all the trades involved plus the expenses for purchasing the products chosen to complete the project.

     If you are benefited by having a larger space to deal with there will be increased costs due to the larger area to finish -as in more tiles for a bigger area and the labor to install them.  Your costs may go down per square foot but you are certainly dealing with more square feet and increased costs.  You need to consider that plumbers, electricians, tile setters, framers, drywall workers, carpenters, and insulation installers, just to name a few trades, will be involved in your bathroom remodel.  Now how about the demolition that will be involved before the actual construction begins?  Sometimes the preparations behind the scenes take longer than building the new bathroom remodel itself.  Perhaps there isn't enough water volume to supply your chosen bathroom fixtures requiring a pipe to be upgraded or there just isn't sufficient fall for a gravity drain to work naturally that necessitates a lift pump system be installed.  What are the new electrical requirements and layout and do these require dedicated or GFI circuits and will the existing electrical panel handle the new circuit breakers?

Home Accessibility Help

     As for the new custom walk in glass block shower design, you can design the space to not need a door for splash protection or you can take the route of a clean looking frameless glass shower enclosure.   This will surely set you back at least $600.  The end result will be a sophisticated  clean look of beauty enclosing your new shower.  Whether the door sits upon a curb or you have a specific need for a curbless situation you will be satisfied with your choice.

Custom Walk In Shower in Austin, Texas




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Kitchen Remodeling Austin, Texas

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, Mar 12, 2013 @ 10:03 AM

     To begin with, kitchen upgrades and bathroom remodels return the most money at resale on the initial investment of the remodeling project.  National averages show that kitchen remodels recoup around 70% of the costs of the upgrade at the time of resale of the home.  When remodeling an Austin kitchen, kitchen remodeling costs should never exceed 15% of the total value of your home.  Here is where you need to get your thinking cap on and plan for an affordable budget that is within your means.  Your material choices are very important and if you need to stay mid-level to fit the budget then do so.  The labor involved for the project will be around 1.6 times the cost of the materials used.  The total budget should allow $100 per square foot for your kitchen upgrade project.

     For an average size kitchen of between 200-300 square feet you can budget $25,000 for your kitchen upgrade.  There are no DIY kitchen remodeling projects.  Once the demolition is accomplished the inexperienced homeowner should consider his part in the remodel to be complete.  It's time to get the building professionals involved to make sure that the resulting kitchen upgrade functions correctly.  The correct electrical wiring with the new outlets and appliance rough ins should be installed within the kitchen's frame work.  Dedicated circuits per the national electrical code should be wired by a qualified electrician.  This will insure that two appliances can be running simultaneously without tripping any circuit breakers.  The electrician will also install the needed GFI  circuits that keep you safe around any wet areas.  It's also a great time to install all the upgraded lighting fixtures with the new switching they require.  Skimping on the electrical budget can cause many problems including an electrical fire.

Discover the Principles Of Universal Design

     Whether you're looking for a local residential construction contractor for remodeling an Austin kitchen or a construction professional to complete an office transformation the final accenting finishes most likely will include the use of fine cabinetry. The choice between frameless European and Northern face frame cabinetry styles will highlight practically any design.   Choosing the correct wood species can further add to the richness of the job.

Kitchen Remodeling

     Any kitchen remodeling in Austin, Texas  will need to produce a better service or work triangle between the sink, refrigerator, and stove placement.  The shorter the sum of the triangle legs the more efficient the layout but islands can also be incorporated into the design to increase the efficiency.  The prep sink within the island can become it's own focal point of the work triangle displacing the duties of the main kitchen sink.  The orientation of the island toward the work triangle is very important making sure traffic can still flow freely within the designated triangle. Islands can contain all sorts of special storage areas.  Mixer lifts, produce storage drawers, wine storage, and dough board pullouts are just a few of the many useful aspects that can be incorporated into the island.  Keep your thinking cap on when remodeling an Austin kitchen and pay particular attention to traffic flows.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     Placing the dishwasher beside the sink and raising it up slightly above the floor makes reaching in to load or empty the machine a more comfortable activity.  Placing the spice drawers or shelves next to the cook stove also makes good sense.  Storage of pots and pans must also be placed within the vicinity of the stove.  Cooking and eating utensils must have their place between the stove and sink according to use.  Task lighting is a concern making sure there is plenty of light to function properly as well as placing adequate light used over the main kitchen sink.  Roll out trash bins or pull out shelves are a consideration during the layout process.  Let's not forget ADA remodeling concepts for comfort if you are preparing for the future using universal design. 

     Whatever your situation please rely on the experiences of a local building professional.  Check out their credentials and references over merely price checks against other bidders.  Don't make the mistake of letting a cabinet making sub play the part of a general contractor because his knowledge will be limited to that of the cabinets and not much else.  You get what you pay for with proper planning.

Kitchen Remodeling Is Limited Only By Your Budget

Austin Kitchen Remodeling

Fine Cabinetry


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