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

Austin Bathroom Remodels

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Thu, Sep 28, 2017 @ 17:09 PM

    Austin bathroom remodels incorporating universal design techniques not only solve aging in place issues but increase accessibility to all.  In today's multi-generation living environments there are participants of many ages and multiple sizes. Another major difference in these special families is function and dexterity.  Sooner or later the home we have always known can become uninhabitable as our lives become an obstacle course. Why not make a new remodel as accessible to your father as it is to your young son during a bathroom remodel.  If you are fortunate to have multiple baths within your home you might consider making one of them accessible to all people.

Principles Of Universal Design

 

Certified Aging In Place Specialist   

    Human problems must also be solved using correct designs.  Aging in place has stemmed from people who have become seriously injured, people living with a debilitating disease, people with sensory limitations or intellectual limitations, and last but not least the people who are planning to stay in their homes for as long as possible all need accessible homes in Austin.  The need for dealing with disabilities empowers us all to ensure that we create environments wherein people can function effectively. This situation does not come along at any particular age or warning signs in our lives.

    The concept of the accessible home has evolved beyond the basic grab bars and ramps to one in which accessibility is built into the basic design.  Universal design makes living in a home easier for people of all ages and abilities.  Accessible can be both beautiful and functional and never needs to have any institutional appearance.  As our aging baby boomer population ages, the need for accessibility in the home is becoming ever more important.  This new way of viewing the basic home in our society and our antiquated architecture is giving way to a revolution in home design.  Ordinary homeowners with extraordinary challenges can partner up with CAPS certified design professionals, architects, and their own families to create homes to restore capabilities, independence, and grace to daily living.

     A desire for a more marketable home that is more inviting and accessible to all in Austin's home buyer market will drive the use of universal design criteria.  Making a home feel more comfortable using some key elements like incorporating a zero step entrance into the home, providing interior doors along the accessible route with a minimum of 32 inch wide clearances, having a minimum 36 inch wide level route on the ground floor, exhibiting ground floor bathroom walls reinforced to accept grab bars for the toilet, tub, and shower, and a presence of light switches, outlet, thermostats, and other controls being installed at accessible heights are only a few modifications needed for increasing accessibility. Austin bathroom remodeling needs to take on the character and overall look of the existing home.  Economic situations along with personal preference dictates where we have choosen to live in Austin or the surrounding area.

Austin Bathroom Remodels

Aging In Place Home Modifications

 

     Living with a dysfunctional bathroom layout reduces the total feeling of relaxation your bath is capable of providing.  During those much deserved private moments you long for your bathroom's surroundings to provide both luxury and function.  There isn't adequate lighting for the many daily personal duties like applying makeup.   There needs to be adequate ventilation so you don't always feel as though you are housed in a "sweat box" while getting dressed. The outdated plate mirror extending from your vanity top's splash upward toward the drywall furrdown above has never been a design you thank the world of. You have always disliked that box above housing the poorly lit fluorescent tube lamps concealed by the yellowing plastic fluorescent light diffusing panel.  You are sick and tired of the poor storage facilities inherited when you purchased your home.  The height of the vanity is out of line according to your needs and it is also inadequate for your storage needs.  The existing cabinet layout contains unusable drawers beginning to come off their tracks and the cabinet doors have their own particular issues.  Your cabinets are either too deep to access what they contain or their storage capabilities have been limited by their total improper design.  What were those guys thinking?  What's more the out of fashion ceramic tiles are either partly missing or they are totally the wrong color for the day along with the colors within the rest of the room.  Having improperly working plumbing fixtures that are now also antiquated with their own set of problems is yet another quandary within itself.  The fixtures themselves can also be finished in a color that is long out of style.  So what do you do?

The Top Five Items To Include When Considering An Accessible Bathroom Design

1. Vanity Sink Accessibility

Wheelchair 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.

    There are really three categories of aging in place customers.  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.  Remember that the new design does not to look institutional if it is done with taste and experience.

    Aging in place home modifications are available through T-Square Company. Each design/build situation will be customized to fit your personal needs. Call 512-444-0097 today to begin the accessible second chapter of your life while remaining safe and secure in your existing home. CAPS 1636580

Bathroom Remodels

     I tell my customers all the time that one of their main ways of choosing a reputable contractor with a good track record and BBB experience rating is the ability for them to do work with the particular residential building contractor they are interviewing.  Can they communicate easily relying on the contractor's experience and reputation and can they get along throughout the sometimes long and detailed construction process?  Are they compatible as human beings because the only energy that should be spent during the project should be directed toward it's completion.

 

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Austin Bathroom Remodeling

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Fri, Sep 08, 2017 @ 15:09 PM

     There are many possibilities available when planning a bathroom makeover.  Austin bathroom remodeling is a very custom endeavor and should solve both comfort and spacial limitations.  Keep in mind that moving plumbing, especially drains, is one of the more expensive aspects of a fine bathroom makeover involving floor demolition.  If you can limit and control the costs involved with this issue you will have more money to spend on the things that show off your endeavors.  Changing water supply line locations is not as difficult as moving drains especially when they go into the main drainage system that resides underneath the finished floor.

Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

Austin Bathroom Remodel

Bathroom Remodels

    In general, smaller bathroom sizes are dictated in some respect by the length of the tub which in most cases is five to six feet long.  This is evidenced by a tub that has been installed opposite or adjacent to the entry to the bath producing a wall to wall tub situation.  In this configuration the toilet and vanity are generally placed on one of the walls that are perpendicular to the length of the tub. Here is a great starting point to gain space for a larger custom walk in shower to replace the tub you never use.  If you are fortunate enough to have wall lengths exceeding the five or six feet norm then space is not an issue and you can proceed with ease.  Just choose your finishes wisely and keep all choices within your budget.

     Bathroom plumbing fixture choices are numerous to say the least.  Select reputable companies offering the best warranties especially when considering finishes used on control valve trims and the fixtures installed in the project.   Larger walk in shower designs should have seamless fiberglass liners to avoid leaks if the house ever shifts.  Using natural stone or glass tiles while additionally designing in glass blocks will certainly be an upgrade.  As for the new walk in 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 $900.  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.

     Some people confuse aging in place with universal design.  Both are a method to increase accessibility within the home but aging in place strictly deals with an existing home. Aging in place also implies modifying any home for it's older occupants to insure that the inhabitants can safely remain there as long as they possibly can.  This time will expire once they need assisting medically trained help for safeguarding their personal safety in a nursing home or an assisted living environment.  Universal design is just that; offering choices to all of a home's residents no matter their age or physical capabilities.  It begins with a design and then the construction begins.  The number one safety hazard for elderly people is negotiating level changes within the home--steps at the entry, stairs between floors, and curbs to step over when entering the bath or shower.  Eliminating level changes is very difficult in existing homes and almost impossible to do aesthetically and without major compromises, unless there is a major renovation.  The result is that most homeowners decide to sell the house rather than make the modifications.  When universal design is incorporated into their design, homes can accommodate the needs of their owners as those needs evolve over time.

      Who do you choose to help you with your dream?  It is true that a professional remodeling contractor with years of experience will cost you more than a handyman illegally playing amongst the trades at your peril but then again there are those professional guarantees to  consider.  The professional verses the handyman is more likely to seek your overall satisfaction that will follow him into his next job.  A true building professional can also orchestrate the job's smooth flow limiting the down time of a most useful room.  Subcontractors will not be covered up and each skilled  trade is brought onto the sight as needed in an orderly fashion.  Professionals normally have insurance to cover on the job accidents to protect the homeowners from having legal action brought against them personally.  Be sure you ask for a certificate of insurance from your chosen professional contractor so that you aren't held personally liable for medical expences covering a worker's accident while on your property.  Don't forget that only a certified aging in place (CAPS) professional can help you solve your accessibility issues in the bathroom.  For additional information about the CAPS program, visit nahb.org/CAPS.  For more information about T-Square Company, visit www.tsquareco.com or call 512-444-0097.

Bathroom Remodeling Austin

Tags: aging in place home modifications, aging in place home improvements in Austin, wheelchair accessible baths and kitchens, handicap home modifications, fine bathroom upgrades, disability bathroom remodels, Austin bath remodeling, Austin bath remodel,, Austin bathroom remodeling, Austin bathroom remodel

Austin Kitchen Remodeling

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Thu, Sep 07, 2017 @ 14:09 PM

     If you have been considering an Austin kitchen remodeling project there are a few things you should take into consideration.  Kitchen upgrades in Austin, Texas can take on many looks and facets.  The scope of work you choose to accomplish this task should effectively solve your problems and most importantly, your needs as the home owner-- for now and for the future.  The identification of these specific needs belongs to you the home owner.  The way your home is structurally altered to accomplish these needs is the job of the professional remodeling contractor.  Aging in place and accessibility should be a concern no matter what your age.  If your concerns are not for you,  barring any life changing accident, they could concern the accessibility of another generation's independence is using the bathroom.  A CAPS professional in the remodeling industry can help with solutions in solving these issues while performing design/build home modifications.  T-Square Company is a nationally registered CAPS remodeling contractor.

Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

    When you are 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 counter tops 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 protection from heat sources 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 that kitchen remodels recoup 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 remain in your 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 at a minimum. 

Austin kitchen remodel

     Kitchen remodeling in Austin, Texas is no different than anywhere else.  Basically, for an average size kitchen of between 200-300 square feet you can budget a minimum of $30,000 for your kitchen upgrade.  There are very few 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  protected 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.

Kitchen Remodeling

     Plumbing upgrades need to be addressed and the use of a master plumber will make sure that everything functions correctly.  Moving a sink over a small amount can add an additional $2,500 to your project's hard costs as it affects both the plumbing and the floor.  The plumber can be sure that you have adequate water volume for any additional fixtures that will be involved.  The plumber will be involved through the setting of the sink, fixtures, and all appliances requiring water to operate.  When choosing a kitchen sink, whether it is a drop in model or an under mount,  you can never go wrong with a good grade of stainless steel.  These sinks never go out of style and you can outfit them with any color and kind of faucet finish that you see fit.

    Any kitchen remodeling ideas will need to include a better service or work triangle between the sink, refrigerator, and stove placement when remodeling an Austin kitchen.  The shorter the sum of the triangle legs the more efficient the layout.  Twelve to fifteen feet is an optimum size for efficiency.  Islands can also be incorporated into the design to increase your functionality.  The prep sink within the island can become it's own focal point of the work triangle reducing 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, pullout shelving, divided drawers, wine storage, and dough board pullouts are just a few of the many useful aspects that can be incorporated into the island.

    Moving on to the fine cabinetry for the project, you are limited by what you have budgeted for.  Traditional face frame medium grade oak or maple cabinets will cost you around $160 per linear foot.  Any exotic wood species are even more costly. Special cabinet amenities like pullouts beyond the basic drawer and shelf storage will add more to the total cabinet price.   If the intent of your upgrade is to increase your accessibility via an ADA remodel as in wheelchair accessible,  the new cabinets will most likely have to be custom made.  These alterations should be done by a qualified residential construction contractor who is accomplished in dealing with the local ADA codes. 

     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 caulk joint, a laminated filler must be installed.  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.

     There are many textured nonporous plastic laminates available today that will help keep your project costs in the black for the cabinet top.  However, the premium grades of plastic laminate counter tops will still cost upwards of $45 per linear foot. Common grades of granite run around $100 per square foot including prep work like edges and sink cut outs and these granite choices can be purchased at square foot pricing. Premium or exotic granite tops must be purchased at slab pricing meaning you will end up with the remnants you don't use to complete the project. Quartz tops are somewhere in the middle and now some are becoming common stock materials in the storage yards available at square foot pricing. Back splashes can either match or be totally different from the surface of the counter top.  Poured in place concrete tops are available as well as stainless steel or solid surface materials. Back splashes using tile patterns and designs must blend well with any of the chosen counter top surface choices. 

    Whatever your situation 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 maker subcontractor or tile installer play the part of a general contractor because his knowledge will be limited to that of the cabinets or tile and not the whole project.  You get what you pay for with proper planning and by using an experienced and qualified contractor.

 ADA Kitchen Cabinetry

Tags: fine kitchen upgrades, kitchen remodeling, residential construction contractor, kitchen makeovers, fine cabinetry, aging in place remodeling, aging in place home improvements in Austin, ADA kitchen cabinets, accessibility home remodeling in Austin, Austin kitchen remodeling, kitchen remodeling ideas, kitchen remodel ideas, Remodel kitchen, Austin kitchen remodels, Austin kitchen remodel

Austin Bathroom Remodel

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Wed, Sep 06, 2017 @ 14:09 PM

     What makes an Austin bathroom remodel more Austintaceous in a laid back Central Texas city like ours?  What propels a bathroom upgrade to stand alone in Austin like the proud lone star representing our beloved state?  What enhanced characteristics are shared but also contribute to all completed bathroom projects making them exclusive and individual?  Personality with pride is the only way to sum up all the major characteristics adding up to create a great Austin bathroom remodel.  There is a feeling within the new bath that only the great wide open spaces of Texas suggest denying the discomfort of confinement. We all express our individuality living here in Austin.  We meld together our backgrounds and cultural differences to form a diverse but unique city with style.  Certainly style is what is needed to compliment that pride that Texans feel so strongly. 

Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

    What about the costs involved?  In general, a typical small hallway bathroom remodel in the Austin area can run you about $19,000.  However a larger master bathroom makeover can push up your budget to around $40,000 as an average.  Don't forget that these are average costs and the client is limited only by their bank account.  Just the conversion of a tub into a walk in shower design can set you back around $14,000 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 on top of the expenses to purchase the products chosen for the project.

Austin Bathroom Remodel

Austin Bathroom Remodel

     If you are fortunate to have a larger space to deal with there will be increased costs due directly 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 footage and the associated 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 walls or floors can take longer than building the new bathroom remodel itself.  Perhaps there isn't enough water volume to supply your chosen bathroom shower fixtures requiring a supply line to be enlarged 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, GFI, or arc fault circuits and outlets and will the existing electrical panel handle the additional circuit breakers or is a subpanel needed?

     Young Austin homeowners are always looking for ways to bring their existing older home's bathrooms up to date.  Bathroom remodels for these smaller baths can incorporate a number of the items listed above in moderation to fit any budget.  Using beautiful ceramic tiles in an interesting design, updating plumbing fixtures, and the use of neutral colors can create a small bathroom with a "wow" factor. It is quite possible to produce a small but charmingly remodeled 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.  Always hire a local and professional builder.  Remember that producing change orders because no one thought of "that" can get to be expensive.

     Middle aged and especially older homeowners should begin to think about incorporating universal design or aging in place aspects as they periodically accomplish renovations or updates to their homes. It is easier and more affordable to think ahead and include accessibility for future ease of use as part of any planned renovation than to add these elements all at once later in life. Planning ahead is important for everyone, no matter their physical abilities. Remodeling your home to age in place in the future by enlarging doorways, a roomy bedroom suite, or a full bath which incorporates a walk in shower requires effort and money. Don't wait until it becomes a necessity when forcing a full blown costly remodel. Including universal design elements and aging in place amenities early on is not only smart planning, but it also is virtually undetectable.  If done correctly, it will accentuate any style and should you decide to sell your home, can add value for potential buyers because the group of buyers increases with accessibility.  Universal design elements are often incorporated into aging in place renovations.  Implementing universal design principals is the perfect way to meet the needs of everyone within the home.  This hold true for the multi-generational family to first time home buyers and includes elements for those who are disabled including mobility issues, impaired sight,  and more.

Bathroom Upgrades

     In general, bathroom sizes are usually dictated in some respect by the length of the tub which in most cases is five to six feet long.  This is evidenced by a tub that has been installed opposite the entry wall to the bath producing a wall to wall tub situation.  In this configuration the toilet and vanity are generally placed on one of the walls that are perpendicular to the length of the tub. Here is a great starting point to gain space for a larger custom walk in shower to replace the tub you never use.  But if you are fortunate to have both wall lengths exceed the five or six feet norm then space is not an issue and you can proceed with ease.  Just choose your finishes wisely and keep all choices within your budget.

     Any bathroom remodel 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.  Glass block designs can be inserted into an interior shower wall or on the exterior wall itself creating a waterproof window with both privacy and insulating capabilities.  Glass blocks also make a great toilet partition when you don't want the confinement of a toilet room. 

     If you're current situation is cramped but you already have a double vanity, you might gain space for a new shower expansion by either shortening the vanity while keeping the two sinks or by going with one single sink located in the middle of a shorter vanity.  This can be accomplished by capping off one sink drain completely and/or deleting the water supply stops.  If your toilet is located between the vanity and tub then shortening the vanity is all for naught.  You can move the toilet over but this means breaking out the floor to change the toilet plumbing floor flange plus the water supply.  Be careful as this alteration can be costly and should only be done to allow certain specific situations to evolve.  

     Let's move on to either the tub removal to produce a larger walk in shower design or the tub's replacement. A modern free standing soaking tub will require replacing the tub filler with one coming out of the floor or out of an adjacent wall.  An under mount tub will require a pedestal with a deck mounted faucet.   Even replacing the existing tub/shower valve and tub spout will give you a shiny feeling of newness.  A new glass enclosure for a tub/shower combination will provide a revived look plus the more expensive frameless models will bring your bathroom completely up to date.

     If deleting the tub to achieve a custom walk in shower design is your choice then you have a few options to consider.  Do you wall in two thirds of the width of the old tub placing the new door away from the shower head?   This new wall can be tiled in to match the shower.   Using natural stone or glass tiles will certainly be an upgrade for any Austin bathroom remodel. Do you desire a more expensive frameless door set beside a glass panel?  The enclosed shower can incorporate a couple of shampoo niches for convenience and clutter removal. The designs are limited only by your imagination and how you want the final product to turn out.  Be sure that all your research is justified and don't try to cram too much into your new bathroom remodel.  A good design is one that can come into being with the least time spent on alterations and additional costs. Austin bathroom remodeling should involve multiple shower head combinations in multiple locations within the shower to fit anyone's desires. Rain heads coming out of the ceiling, body sprays coming out of the walls in many locations, or hand held units attached to the shower walls can be very practical.  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 utilize 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.

    Fine cabinetry is a must for any bathroom makeover.  As for the vanity, an upgraded cabinet top like quartz installed at the correct height for you is a personal must for function. Do you require a single or double sink configuration?  Under mount or drop in sinks? The vanity should have adequately accessible storage satisfying your needs.  Incorporating  easy operating and properly sized drawers and pull out shelves within the design can be very beneficial.  Linen, medicine, and "over the potty" wall cabinets need to be well thought out. The correct species of wood used for the construction of your fine cabinetry and the style of you cabinet doors are two very important factors to consider.  Remember, you do have a choice and you are going to be looking at these new cabinets for a while.

     Bathroom plumbing fixture choices are numerous to say the least.  Always select reputable companies offering the best warranties especially when considering finishes for the faucets or fixtures installed in the project.   Larger walk in shower designs should have seamless fiberglass liners or state of the art shower bases to avoid leaks if the house ever shifts.  Toilets today come in array of choices. Don't just consider the shape of the new toilet but the height which is also important for universal design. Soft closing or night lit toilet seats are also an option.

     Colors for bathrooms today are natural and earthy creating a calming effect.  Accents of color reflected from the tiles, paint, fixtures, and woodwork are used to make things a little more interesting compared to a room's overall vanilla tones within your design.  Help is just a phone call away but be sure the one who answers has the qualified experience you need for completing your new bathroom transformation.   If you're uncertain about how to proceed with any bathroom remodeling project always rely on a local and trusted building professional.  Sometimes spending a little more money for experienced help with design and construction techniques can save you a lot during the construction process.

     T-Square Company has been successfully remodeling bathrooms in the Austin area for over three decades.  With our design/build experience we are able to qualify what will work best for the homeowner and ultimately save them money. We are CAPS certified to help our customers age in place or for those with special needs.  We practice universal design techniques which  benefit everyone. Contact us today at 512-444-0097 to begin to find the answers to all your remodeling questions.

Bathroom Remodels

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Austin Bathroom Remodeling

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Wed, Sep 06, 2017 @ 11:09 AM

    Have you noticed all the different types of housing represented throughout Austin and the surrounding areas?  Austin bathroom remodeling or bathroom transformation needs to take on the character and overall look of the existing home.  Smaller homes, cottages, sprawling historical town homes surrounded by architecturally pleasing fences, rustic ranch homes, "Macmansions", and sleek high rise condominiums are just a few examples of the structures that define Austin's diverse housing landscape. Economic situations along with personal preference formulates where we choose to live in a town with such diversity.  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.  Today there are millions of pictures representing fine bathroom upgrades or bathroom remodeling throughout the internet from which to gain design ideas.

Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

Austin Bathroom Remodel

    Living with a dysfunctional bathroom layout reduces the total feeling of relaxation your master bath is capable of providing.  During those much deserved private moments you long for your bathroom's surroundings to provide both luxury and function.  There isn't adequate lighting for the many daily personal duties like applying makeup.   There needs to be adequate ventilation so you don't always feel as though you are housed in a "sweat box" while getting dressed. The outdated plate mirror extending from your vanity top's splash upward toward the drywall furrdown above has never been a design you thank the world of. You have always disliked that box above housing the poorly lit fluorescent tube lamps concealed by the yellowing plastic fluorescent light diffusing panel.  You are sick and tired of the poor storage facilities inherited when you purchased your home.  The height of the vanity is out of line according to your needs and it is also inadequate for your storage needs.  The existing cabinet layout contains unusable drawers beginning to come off their tracks and the cabinet doors have their own particular issues.  Your cabinets are either too deep to access what they contain or their storage capabilities have been limited by their total improper design.  What were those guys thinking?  What's more the out of fashion ceramic tiles are either partly missing or they are totally the wrong color for the day along with the colors within the rest of the room.  Having improperly working plumbing fixtures that are now also antiquated with their own set of problems is yet another quandary within itself.  The fixtures themselves can also be finished in a color that is long out of style.  So what do you do?

Bathroom Remodels

    Once you are considering a bathroom upgrade in Austin keep in mind that moving plumbing, especially drains, is one of the more expensive aspects of a fine bathroom makeover which involves floor demolition.  If you can limit and control the costs involved with this one issue you will have more money to spend on the things that show off your endeavors.  Changing water supply line locations is not as difficult or costly as moving drains.

    Proper lighting is always an important aspect to be installed during a bathroom remodel.  It can be broken down by task.  Recessed LED cylindrical can lighting is used today to provide the overall luminescence for the room.  Trims with lenses can be installed above baths and showers by code to brighten darker areas.  Light strips or single wall fixtures can be designed around a framed beveled mirror.   The choice of bulbs utilized is yours for now at least.  Try using dimmers to control your lighting creating mood. 

    Ventilation is so important when planning a bathroom upgrade because of the humidity involved.  Too many times a single undersized exhaust fan is installed above the toilet, or what is much worse, in the center of the room.   Heat and humidity naturally rise and will overtake the entire room if given a chance. Today's quiet bathroom exhaust fans should be sized according to the room's air volume.  They should be located above any bathing or showering facility and additionally above the toilet.  Conditioned air along with adequately sized duct work supplied by the central unit will further accentuate a pleasant feeling within the bath.

     Bathroom remodeling has many choices of plumbing fixture choices to say the least.  Select reputable companies offering the best warranties especially when considering finishes used on control valve trims and the other fixtures installed in the project.   Larger walk in shower designs with shorter curbs should have seamless fiberglass liners to avoid leaks if the house ever shifts.  Using natural stone or glass tiles on the shower walls while additionally designing in glass blocks will certainly be an upgrade.  As for the new walk in 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 $1100.  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 wheelchair accessible situation you will be satisfied with your choice. Bathroom cabinets in Austin include storage in vanities, linen closets, and wall cabinets. A new style of storage cabinet actually sits on the counter top giving easy access to the contents while dressing.

Fine Cabinetry

     Human problems must also be solved using correct designs.  Aging in place has stemmed from people who have become seriously injured, people living with a debilitating disease, people with sensory limitations or intellectual limitations, and last but not least the people who are planning to stay in their homes for as long as possible all need accessible homes in Austin.  The need for dealing with disabilities empowers us all to ensure that we create environments wherein people can function effectively. 

    The concept of the accessible home has evolved beyond the basic grab bars and ramps to one in which accessibility is built into the basic design.  Universal design makes living in a home easier for people of all ages and abilities.  Accessible can be both beautiful and functional and never needs to have any institutional appearance.  As our aging baby boomer population ages, the need for accessibility in the home is becoming ever more important.  This new way of viewing the basic home in our society and our antiquated architecture is giving way to a revolution in home design.  Ordinary homeowners with extraordinary challenges can partner up with CAPS design professionals, architects, and their own families to create homes to restore capabilities, independence, and grace to daily living.

    A desire for a more marketable home that is more inviting and accessible to all in the home buyer market will drive the use of universal design criteria.  Making a home feel more comfortable using some key elements like incorporating a zero step entrance into the home, providing interior doors along the accessible route with a minimum of 32 inch wide clearances, having a minimum 36 inch wide level route on the ground floor, exhibiting ground floor bathroom walls reinforced to accept grab bars for the toilet, tub, and shower, and a presence of light switches, outlet, thermostats, and other controls being installed at accessible heights are only a few modifications needed for increasing accessibility.

    We rely on the published ADA rules for accessible bathroom fixtures and the clear floor space leading to them.  Comfort height toilets, roll under vanities, and roll in showers will take care of the needs of most but every circumstance must be considered when designing for those with special needs.  There is no "one shoe fits all" approach and much thought must be given to progressive conditions where care givers will be involved.  Working with a physical or occupational therapist and the client often helps to identify effective solutions.  

    When faced with a home that can no longer meet one's needs, one must weigh the costs of moving against improving the home.  In any move there are costs that sellers must incur to market their homes as well as relocating to another one.  Rather than incurring an outright expense during a move, improvements add real value and enhance their home's appeal to more broader markets. Such homes enhance quality of life and enable occupants to enjoy the full use of their home while maintaining their personal independence.  These modifications provide benefits to enable the residents to also remain in their communities with or without in home care and out of more expensive settings such as nursing homes. 

Home Accessibility Help

    Wheelchair accessible baths are becoming the norm to take care of all the population of homeowners needing increased accessibility.  Universal design techniques are giving everyone a chance to be independent. These very basic techniques provide adaptations or specialized designs regardless of age, ability, or situation.  No longer are handicap home modifications viewed as a resale market diminishing factor.  They are becoming a resale enhancer when you look at all the people in the nation simply needing accessibility in the bathroom to uphold their dignity and safety.  Between the ages of 16 and 64, 19% of the population is disabled whereas those above the age of 65 exhibit a 42% disability rate.  Nearly 62% of the homeowners in America report that someone in their family has mobility issues and disability needs.

     I tell my customers all the time that one of their main ways of choosing a reputable contractor with a good track record and BBB experience rating is the ability for them to do work with the particular residential building contractor they are interviewing.  Can they communicate easily relying on the contractor's experience and reputation and can they get along throughout the sometimes long and detailed construction process?  Are they compatible as human beings because the only energy that should be spent during the project should be directed toward it's completion.

 

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