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

Kitchen Remodel Ideas

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Mon, Nov 25, 2013 @ 15:11 PM

    Whether you're looking for a local residential construction contractor to accomplish a kitchen remodel or a construction professional to complete an entire gutting and remodel of your entire home including a home 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 any design.

Discover the Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist  

     When the time finally arrives for remodeling an Austin kitchen,  there are many choices to be considered concerning the new kitchen cabinetry.  Frameless European full overlay style cabinets are a type of fine cabinetry having either a painted or stained wooden exterior or one with the exterior  totally covered on all exposed surfaces in plastic laminate per your choice of color, pattern, or manufacturer.  The laminated exterior application provides a much cleaner and more modern look for easier maintenance.  The doors and drawer fronts on all European cabinetry are flat having no crevices to conceal grease and grime and directly overlay the cabinet box. Each door is mounted on the inside of the box using fully concealed and adjustable two part hinges.  The frameless European style is represented only by the cabinet carcass or box, composed of the walls, bottom and top (if needed), and back without any face frame components yielding only a 3/4" outward appearance for all the stiles and rails.  This European style which eliminates the usual two inch face frame gives full access to any stored contents with more usable room.  These frameless cabinets limit the amount of exposed stile and rail surface area between the door and drawer faces.  The exposed cabinet area is normally limited to 1/8-3/16 of an inch.  This holds true between any two finished faces coming together presenting a half overlay situation on either a horizontal rail or vertical stile; hence, exhibiting the full overlay method.  This clearance is also typical at the juncture toward the outside walls beside the cabinets. One other characteristic of the European design lies in the adjustable shelving.  A series of 5mm holes are repeatedly drilled in 32mm increments (approximately 1 1/4") continuously at the front and back of all vertical cabinet pieces receiving shelves.  This configuration allows for shelf supports to be inserted to adjust the shelves.  In time, the shelf supporting "dogs" might wear out the holes and become loose causing the shelves to collapse.  The retro use of metal pilasters will remedy the problem.

     Following cabinet installation,  there is no room for the application of wall trim in the European method.   Spaces against the walls should be caulked in place to seal the carcass to the walls.  If the gap toward  the side walls is greater than 1/8 inch preventing a reasonable caulkable joint, a laminated filler must be constructed.  This new filler should be cut and sanded to fit the taper tightly filling the gap. As mentioned above, the narrow but typical gap from the side of the cabinets to the wall can and will be a problem when European style cabinets are specified for a remodel. 

     Don't forget that the 1/8th inch spacing rule means that no passage door or window trim can be any closer to the new cabinet faces than the cabinet drawers themselves are deep.  Any such trim will always be 1/2 inch or more in thickness thus impedes cabinet function.  By practicing this rule of thumb you will allow the drawers to fully extend. Cabinet doors will also have a clear swing radius and not be wedged against any perpendicular entry door trim.  If the above needed clearance from the cabinet faces to the door trim is nonexistent the entry doors themselves must be relocated.  This aspect will include any wiring for light switches or outlets and should be done by a qualified electrician.

     Kitchen remodel ideas in Austin, Texas like most other cities includes many of the same aspects.  Be sure to choose a local qualified remodeling contractor whose personality and qualifications are agreeable with you personally.  You are about to undertake a very important short term relationship in your life with someone you may know by reputation only.  The relationship needs to be comfortable and free flowing thus enabling the contractor's creativity level to be at it's highest during your remodeling project. Look at it as a partnership between your needs and the remodeling contractor's abilities.  This is not new construction and the use of the European cabinetry must be accomodated for.  His professional remodeling experience will include his capacity to identify many construction limitations and hazards.   These variables underlie the major pitfalls that can be avoided while enabling a remodeling design to come to reality.  His experience can also aid you in accomplishing remodeling upgrades that include dissability issues.  The job needs to flow between the various trades involved to produce a better final outcome.  This too is a reflection on his remodeling experience for which there is no substitute.

A Frameless European Kitchen Design

Frameless European kitchens in Austin, Texas

Kitchen Remodeling

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Cost of Kitchen Remodel

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Thu, Nov 21, 2013 @ 11:11 AM

    Austin homeowners are always looking for ways to bring their existing older home's kitchens and bathrooms up to date.  Bathroom remodels for any smaller baths can incorporate a number of  items to fit any budget.  Larger bathrooms lend themselves to more extravagant designs.  Using beautiful ceramic tiles in an interesting design, updating plumbing fixtures, upgrading the cabinet tops and the use of neutral colors can create a bathroom with a "wow" factor. It is quite possible to produce a small but charmingly remodled bath on a budget.  A project that is affordable plus the fact that it will add resale value to your home cannot be denied.  Check out all the options before committing to a plan and then stick to it.  The replacement of the tub with a new walk in shower can create a bold  look but will run you around $10,000.  There are no spending limits for bathroom remodels.   You can plan on spending around $12,000 to $15,000 for a hall bath remodel.   The price tag can approach or exceed $35,000 for a complete master suite remodel.  The type of fixtures and building components chosen alongwith the labor will compose the overall cost of the remodeling project. Always hire a local and professional builder.  Remember that producing change orders because "no one thought of that" become expensive. Create the style for your Austin kitchen or bathroom remodel that best gives you a feeling of pride!

Discover the Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

    If you are considering replacing your old cabinets during a kitchen remodel with some new fine cabinetry or perhaps you are just needing an updated work surface there are a few choices that need to be considered before making your final decision.  Plastic laminates, solid surface material, granite, quartz, stainless steel, wood, and concrete are the most popular choices today when considering new or replacement countertops for a fine kitchen upgrade.  Each surface has it's own set of pros and cons to take under advisement before a conclusion is reached making sure your selection blends with your lifestyle.  Remember that any samples of materials you see are only small representations of any larger piece when choosing products.  Furthermore trivets and cutting boards should always be used no matter which top you choose.   Kitchen upgrades and bathroom remodels return the most money at resale on the initial investment of the remodeling project.  National averages show the cost of kitchen remodel recoups around 70% of the costs of the upgrade at the time of resale.  However, your 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. 

    Finding help to remodel a home can be time consuming and should be undertaken only by those builders possessing a wide array of remodeling experience.  All builders certainly are not remodeling contractors.   The finale of new construction is by far more foreseen because of the known and predictable  path the work schedule will follow.  During remodeling, first there is the demolition work and the costs involved to dismantle a certain existing area in your home prior to beginning the construction of a new project. Knowing the best way to accomplish this aspect is why you need to hire a remodeling contractor.  This type of building professional will base his results on his capability of blending any new work done within the home with the existing design and elevations.  The expenses of this new construction represent the second set of costs involved for any residential remodeling project. 

    Whatever your situation please remember to rely on the experiences of a local building professional.  Check out their credentials and references and don't limit yourself to only price checks against other bidders.  Don't make the mistake of letting a cabinet making subcontractor or tile installer play the part of a general contractor.  Their knowledge will be limited to that of the cabinets or tile and not much else.  More importance needs to be given to the reputable contractor's personality and knowledge and how well you two communicate.  You are making your choice for a professional to lead the way enabling your dream to be realized.  You get what you pay for with proper planning when using an experienced and qualified local contractor.                                                                                                             

The Formation Of A New Walk In Shower During A Bathroom Remodel

Kitchen and Bathroom Remodeling in Austin, Texas

Bathroom Remodels

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Handicap Remodeling Contractors In Austin

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Wed, Nov 06, 2013 @ 12:11 PM


     With increasing age, simply maneuvering around within our home becomes more difficult.  Some debilitating diseases slowly take over our bodies completely reducing mobility and independence over time.  The situation is complicated further once we are forced to use any device for increased mobility.  That's when we find ourselves asking how we are to negotiate a set of stairs or a doorway that is too narrow to allow entry into a room or even the entire house.  These types of overpowering circumstances can certainly make life terribly difficult to deal with at times.  Who would ever have imagined that just passing through a doorway we had negotiated many times could now present such a problem within our private life? This situation reminds us of the need for more handicap bathrooms.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist 

     Designated accessible routes can be created by first hiring a knowledgeable residential construction contractor in Austin, Texas.  The experienced and CAPS certified handicap remodeling contractors in Austin that you contract must be skilled in both home remodeling and all ADA guidelines to perform CAPS certified remodeling.  The noted accessible route will first provide ways to accomplish any elevation changes in your yard that once required only stairs  leading up to your front door.  A correctly angled ramp following ADA guidelines will help you gain access into your home.  Perhaps the front door itself needs to be widened or additionally equipped with an electronic opener. 

     Once inside, the accessible route will continue derived from wheelchair remodeling into all the rooms thus increasing  accessibility.  Kitchen upgrades and handicap accessible bathrooms will provide roll under capability for wheelchairs at all sinks.  A required underneath clearance and scalding protection below the sinks must be observed for the end user with special needs.  The correct handles must be used controlling all sink faucets assisting those with limited mobility.  Reach limits must not be exceeded above the new 34 inch high cabinet top.

     During bathroom accessibility remodels, roll in or transfer showers equipped with adequately placed grab bars will lessen injury from falls while entering the bathing facility.  Further outfitting these areas with hand held shower wands that can be temporarily mounted on adjustable slide bars will also be of assistance.  Hallways need to be wide enough for wheelchair clearance and all entry doors at each room must be at least 36 inches wide for unobstructed wheelchair entry.  A clear and unobstructed five foot wheelchair turning radius will be built into the design for increased accessibility to facilitate leaving a small room as in the bathroom. Lowering the light switches in certain rooms may be a requirement to help with decreased mobility to below 48 inches.

Elder Construction

     There are basically two styles of ADA vanities that comply with an unobstructed roll under area below the sink.  This capability has everything to do with both the water supply lines and the main waste line connecting the sink.  There must be provisions made to protect the user from being scalded when coming into contact with any one of the plumbing pipes serving the sink.  These connecting pipes may become heated merely by the water passing through them creating the problem.  The open type model should always receive both waste and supply insulating jackets applied directly to the pipes providing protection for the wheelchair user.  The closed model concealing the pipes will be equipped with a removable face or face board covering the pipes.  This pipe concealing panel must be installed at the correct angle.  This allows for the needed unobstructed legroom required for the  user.  The vanity can extend beyond the sink but the area containing the sink is required to have this roll under capability.   This section of the vanity must not be any taller than 34 inches above the finished floor with sufficient lower clearance.  Clear unobstructed reach distances around the counter top area must be observed.  Any motion controlled sensors integrated into the various dispensing devices and/or plumbing fixtures throughout the restroom present a true hands free benefit to all the restroom users.  If these aren't in the budget then at least wrist handles used for controlling the faucet can be incorporated into the design of the vanity.  Furthermore, automatic flush valves should be used on all toilets and urinals that provide for hands free use.

     There is nothing strange, different, or out of the ordinary to consider when shopping for ADA kitchen cabinetry. The specialty cabinetry can be composed of any materials that currently make up standard off the shelf or custom cabinetry. It's all about the agreed upon cabinet industry standards for heights and distances being incorporated into the cabinetry designs . This allows the consumer with special needs a more comfortable experience while performing the kitchen's daily duties. Architectural barriers have been removed allowing for the proper legroom clearance, reach distance, and cabinet height. Upper wall cabinets are installed four inches lower providing for a comfortable reach distance above the cabinet top, installed at 34 inches above the finished floor, for the perfect height that is totally useful. The ease of operation of the new cabinetry is more favorable and convenient and certainly user friendly. 

     And now for the layout of your new ADA compliant kitchen.  First you should try to maintain the five foot turning radius within your kitchen if you require the use of a wheelchair or other assistive mobility device. You will need to have your plumbing attachments brought into compliance to enable your freedom and safety.  The installation of grab bars where needed within the kitchen can be very helpful for insuring your safety for maneuverability.  These should be installed at 34 inches above the finished floor to safeguard your use of them.  Having roll under capability for the new kitchen sink can be very helpful while you are utilizing the wheelchair.  Exact clearances should be complied with for width and clear unobstructed legroom underneath the sink.  The proper safety equipment should be installed on the plumbing pipes that prevent scalding of your legs.

      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.

ADA Remodeling in Austin, Texas

Wheelchair Accessible Remodeling

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