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Disability Bathroom Remodeling In Austin

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, Jul 18, 2017 @ 15:07 PM

     Many people are finding themselves needing to modify the existing architecture of their homes due to the use of a wheelchair or walker while preparing to remain in their homes as they age in place. This alone brings about the need for elder construction.  There are currently over 30 million Americans using wheelchairs and those numbers continue to increase as a large population of people with age related challenges look for ways to live independently in their homes.  Physical limitations affect many more people than the daily users of walkers and wheelchairs.  Many members of more experienced or elder society have significant problems in dealing with their home environment requiring certified handicap remodeling contractors to solve their issues for greater accessibility.  Today's conventional building standards conflict with most people's accessibility when you consider our created architectural barriers concerning cabinetry and door opening widths, individual strength, range of motion, movement,  manual dexterity, balance, and coordination. Once the demands of our built environment exceed their capacities we become excluded from a room or even the entire home.  The building world must work in unison to be sure the entire living environment meets basic needs in addition to affordability and structural integrity for the consumer and home owner.  This includes both the home and the components within the home being accessible to all inhabitants.  Privacy, sense of belonging, sense of control, and the sense of safety and security make up the quality of life for any home and should be considered for any design.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     There are really three categories of aging in place customers needing disability access baths.  Those who are simply and wisely planning ahead for their futures to remain in their present homes.  The second category concerns those people who know they have a chronic medical disorder and need to prepare in advance for accessibility issues which will come as a result of their disease.  People with diseases that are constantly causing increased physical or mental changes to their being are a good representative of this second group.  The third group involves those people who either have had a chronic problem that has  progressed severely altering their mobility or those who have sustained a life altering tragedy such as being involved in an accident.  All of these groups will drive the future metamorphosis of existing inaccessible dwellings. The goal of an accessible bathroom design in Austin is to make the bathroom a safe space for everyone who uses the facilities. This falls under universal design which better accommodates wheelchair use and can make the bathroom more comfortable for all generations and specific needs of each user. It is important to carefully outline the scope of work during the remodeling of an accessible bathroom by first taking inventory of the users capabilities, needs, and preferences.  Disability bathroom remodeling in Austin must be done considering all the data provided by the client, his or her family, and any caretakers involved.

Handicap accessible home modifications in Austin, Texas

The Top Five Items To Include In An Accessible Bathroom Design

1. Vanity Sink Accessibility

Accessible bathrooms today contain stylish vanities set at a universal height of 34 inches with clear knee spaces.  The sink faucets must be easily controlled by either wrist handles or levers. Bathroom vanities with universal height cabinet tops and open knee spaces are taking over the marketplace.  These new residential vanities do not need to look institutional.  They can be designed like any other piece of fine furniture. Scalding must be guarded against by using either insulating pipe wrap or a removable panel for the plumbing.

2. Toilet Accessibility

Toilets are available in comfort heights eliminating the deep knee bend needed for seating.  Grab bars should be installed on at least both sides of the toilet. Creating a toilet within an open area and not a closet is much more accessible. Toilet seats are available with a heat feature and some have the ability to self close or have a night light.

3. Bathing Facilities

Curbless roll in showers with a 36" clear entrance are advised for everyone.  The shower should contain at least a shower wand on a sliding bar for varying heights of use along with a regular shower head and control if desired.  Installing fixtures with a scald guard or lowering the temperature at the water heater is a must to prevent burns. Folding seats in the shower are useful if caretakers are ever involved. Grab bars around the bath and especially in the shower should be used while non slip floor covering should always be considered. Walk in tubs are also a consideration but some people get chilled while the tub is draining.

4. Safety and Accessibility

Always choose fixtures and fittings that are easy to control with a single hand motion or a closed fist. Motion controlled sensor fixtures are also a possibility when specifying finishes. Provide easily accessible storage compartments with pull out shelving eliminating architectural barriers by not using doors on the cabinetry. Always consider the individual needs of the occupant and find the best placement of any reachable items within their reach distance of 24". Fully consider where the best access is for all accessories such as robe hooks, towel bars, paper dispensers, soap dishes, toothbrush holders, shower shelves. The distances and clearances required will be dictated by the user and not by an accepted general outline. With falls in the wet area of the bathroom being such a great concern, a non slip tile floor should be installed without placing loose rugs in the general area.

5. Lighting

Natural lighting is always better for anyone using the bath. Adequate task lighting in the shower, dressing area, and vanity vicinity should be installed. Lowered switches at around 48" above the floor in reaching distance should control all the lighting. Outlets that are ground protected should be installed at 18" above the floor.

In Summation:

    You say to yourself that  your needed aging in place home modifications basically require general home remodeling in Austin, Texas or in any other town for that matter.  That is true but a specialized remodeling contractor holding a national CAPS certificate is who you need as a partner to insure that  the accessibility issues of your home are solved correctly.  With over 30 years of remodeling experience I obtained my registered CAPS certificate.  By offering a design/build firm to my aging in place customers, I get personal satisfaction from giving my clients their independence back while the remain in their existing home.  Without the training required to earn the CAPS certificate on top of my decades of building knowledge I could not offer my customers such a thorough and complete solution for solving their accessibility issues.  Only an experienced qualified remodeler holding a CAPS certificate has the qualifications to design an accessible route and perform the construction required to make it safe and functional for the AIP customer.  There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a person with mobility impairments be able to independently roll into his or her shower and be a part of that accomplishment.

Home Accessibility Help

     The National Association of Home Builders, in partnership with the AARP and Home Innovation Research Labs, created the CAPS program, which includes training and education on the technical, business management and customer service skills essential to compete in the fastest growing segment of the residential remodeling industry--home modifications for aging in place.  David L. Traut, CAPS the owner of T-Square Company in Austin, Texas is one of the select group of professionals nationwide to earn the Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation, identifying him as a home remodeler and builder with the skills and knowledge necessary to remodel or modify a home to meet the unique needs of the older population, disabled owners or their visitors.


Tags: ADA accessible, aging in place home modifications, ADA remodeling, CAPS certified remodeling in Austin, wheelchair accessible baths, accessibility home remodeling in Austin, Universal Design,

Home Modifications For Independent Living In Austin

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Wed, Jul 12, 2017 @ 16:07 PM

     Universal design and aging in place trends have taken hold in the residential remodeling industry.  Bathrooms with disability access needed are exactly why aging in place home modifications for independent living and elder construction in Austin are so important.  The current housing inventory doesn't offer the features needed for safety and accessibility in the numbers needed to deal with the growing demand.  It is ultimately up to the homeowners and their families to plan for future housing needs.  Just what are the most important design issues regarding aging in place home modifications done br home remodeling professionals in Austin?

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     To begin with, the JCHS data showed that one of the top priorities with aging in place consumers is low maintenance.  They want their houses to look great and require as little maintenance as possible.  There is a minimal need for landscaping and outdoor upkeep, exteriors that require periodic painting, and a preference for newer houses rather than older ones where things don't break down as easily.  These are the main reasons why the aging population considers moving.  However, the kitchen and bath in existing homes are the two main areas most referenced when considering improvements.

     People who are interested in aging in place home improvements are now looking for a level entry into their home along with the maneuverability that a more open floor plan having greater clear unobstructed floor space presents.  They desire flat floors without transitions requiring steps or stairs to move around.  Ramps having a correct 1:12 slope can be used to get them up to the level floor space at the exterior entries or the garage access.

     Most aging baby boomers prefer one story homes in which to age in place and this has become a primary reason to relocate versus a remodel.  They are looking for an accessible master suite and kitchen located on the same floor.  However, some developments mandate building two story homes.  The above requirement can be easily met by placing the guest bedrooms and accompanying bath upstairs.  If the master suite for any reason needs to be upstairs, closets can be stacked between floors to house a future elevator installation.

Download Our Free Aging In Place Remodeling Considerations Checklist

     Many people find themselves needing accessible homes for themselves or family members requiring disability access remodeling. There are approximately 30 million Americans using wheelchairs and the number of people who need accessible homes will continue to increase as disabled and aging people are finding more ways to remain living in their homes. One important way to increase independent living is making a home accessible to an individuals personal needs. Elder living solutions and home modifications can increase safety, accessibility, and independence for people who want to live independently.

Wheelchair Accessible Kitchens In Austin

The Top Five Items To Include In An Accessible Kitchen Design

1. Doorway Clearance and Hallway Widths

Installing 36" wide doors will allow for the required minimum clearance of 32" for disability access baths and kitchens.   Lever lock sets should be installed on each door and clear swing out hinges provide a greater clearance. Unobstructed clear hallways should be at least 36" wide but 42" is preferable.

2. Kitchen Wall Cabinets

Kitchens have evolved because fewer cabinets are needed within the more open designs.  Fewer wall cabinets are needed because of personal reach limitations. For those that are used, they can be installed at 14" above the base cabinet work top instead of the standard 18" spacing.  The cabinet top is now lowered by two inches and installed at a universal 34" height.  This makes a net 6 inch lower installation height for the bottom of the wall cabinet.  All types of cabinet inserts like pull out shelves and specialized drawers are now available for installation in both base and wall cabinets.  These devices will certainly help solve the reach problem.  Base cabinet kick spaces can be raised to 9" and deepened instead of the standard 4" to allow for wheelchair access.  Recognized clear knee spaces can be incorporated into the design for roll under access at the sink, prep area, and cook top. Doors are the worst enemy for anyone using a wheelchair. Pull out open shelves and drawers are preferable for not causing architectural barriers. Graspable pulls should be used with a "C" or "U" shaped configuration.

3. Kitchen Work Surfaces

Ideally you would measure individual comfort ranges for working in the kitchen for whom the kitchen is being accommodated. Accessible counter workspaces are a minimum of 30" wide and should be installed at 34" above the finished floor. Countertops should not be obstructed by base cabinets in wok areas like food prep areas, sinks, and dining areas.

4. Kitchen Sinks

Sinks that have open space beneath the sink that provides wheelchair or walker accessibility will allow users to access the sink. Knee clearance for a sink needs to be at least 27” high, 8” deep at the knees or 11” deep for children.The drain should be placed in the rear of the sink so the piping underneath will not prevent a person in a wheelchair from rolling underneath. Pipes should be insulated or enclosed by a removable panel to protect legs from scalding. Using a single lever faucet is a lower cost option to making the faucet accessible. There are also touch control faucets that allow the user to turn on and off the faucet with one touch.  Also, installing the faucet to the side of the sink may make it more accessible for some people. A 24" reach limit should be observed.

5. Appliances

The lack of bending motion and decreasing reach distances is changing the way we purchase and install appliances at comfortable heights. Placing dishwashers higher by a few inches to limit bending has become a reachable fad and the new height is changing the old look of our kitchens.   Refrigerator drawers, dishwashing drawers, and double ovens that are no longer stacked are just a few changes within the present day appliance marketplace.  Cooking ranges with the controls located on the front represents another metamorphosis helping with reach problems.  Microwaves can be installed on the now lowered countertop or within the lowered base cabinet according to the consumers need for adequate reach.

In Conclusion:

The National Association of Home Builders, in partnership with the AARP and Home Innovation Research Labs, created the CAPS program, which includes training and education on the technical, business management and customer service skills essential to compete in the fastest growing segment of the residential remodeling industry--home modifications for aging in place.  David L. Traut CAPS owner of T-Square Company in Austin, Texas is one of the select group of professionals nationwide to earn the Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation, identifying him as a home remodeler and builder with the skills and knowledge necessary to remodel or modify a home to meet the unique needs of the older population, disabled owners or their visitors.

     For additional information about the CAPS program, visit  For more information about T-Square Company, visit or call 512-444-0097.

ADA Kitchen Cabinetry






Tags: fine kitchen upgrades, how-to, ADA compliant kitchen cabinets, ADA accessible, aging in place remodeling, aging in place home modifications, wheelchair accessible remodeling, wheelchair accessible baths and kitchens, ADA kitchen cabinets, accessibility home remodeling in Austin, CAPS professional in Austin, CAPS remodeling techniques, Universal Design,