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

Home Remodeling For The Elderly

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Fri, Aug 10, 2018 @ 12:08 PM

     In designing for specific physical conditions, we realize that aging doesn't always bring on disease while the body declines making certain physical limitations inevitable. Arthritis is the most common chronic condition to appear as it restricts ordinary daily activities. The lack of hand strength and stiff knees are indicative of this illness. This most reported arthritic condition affecting people over the age of 65 is followed by heart disease and vision loss in that order. Smart aging design and concepts can compensate for the introduction of frailty, lack of mobility, and blindness in aging in place families. We are constantly coming up with new methods for home modifications and household products to increase the comfort of our residential environments.

Discover the Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     Mobility limitations vary dramatically but, depending on the personality of the individual, any diminished capacity creates feelings of dependence or depression. When considering an accessible home remodeling project, anticipate that any conditions you are experiencing will only progress for the worst with age. Simple changes to help with hand grip strength or coordination within the home can include large rocker type wall switches, touch controlled lamp switches, and converting round door knobs to lever sets. Mobility aids like walkers, canes, and wheelchairs need to be available at any time. People utilizing these mobility aids may use them all but at different times during the day or hopefully not at all. Accessible home remodeling for elders must take this into account and be designed to accommodate them all as needed by the user.

Custom Walk In Showers

Custom Walk In Shower

 Home Accessibility Help

     Most residential housing is geared to young healthy adults. Builders do not take into account age-related conditions such as reduced mobility or limited range of reach. Hence, dwellings do not support the physical and sensory changes that older adults encounter as they age. What appear to be insignificant home features can have significant effect: for a person with even minor aging issues.

     Some permanent disabilities require constant wheelchair use. The home modifications must accommodate a person who is always seated. A five foot turning radius should be observed in the bathroom, kitchen, and living area so as not to restrict the movement of the wheelchair. An unobstructed barrier free accessible route will be determined during the assessment for wheelchair accessible remodeling. Clear wider hallways of at least 42" in width and doorways of at least a 32" clear width must be the standard. Light switches and cabinetry must be lowered where 48" is the reaching limit of a person sitting.

     Impaired memory and think presents a different set of problems to the aging in place specialist's design. Every effort must be made to limit the confusion of those utilizing the remodeled space. As with all progressive diseases , a patient's needs will change over time, any modifications or solutions may be effective only for short periods of time. Restricting the entrances to rooms that present the greatest hazards like the kitchen and bathroom must be taken into account during the assessment.

     Concerning visual challenges, good lighting that is not glaring, appropriate color choices, and contrasting elements within the room design are paramount as considerations for a design. Hearing limitations require LED lighting to indicate appliances being on. Doorbells, stove tops, and life safety devices need to be visual as well as audible.

     Accessible homes look much like other homes but they still help with handicap accessibility.  These homes often have a sunny open feeling since there are fewer walls between common areas.  Level floors create a comfortable flow between living areas and make rooms easier to keep clean.  The kitchen is more efficient having compact storage and the bathrooms are a little more spacious than in a traditional home.  The house is safe designed to reduce the potential for falls.  Adequate glare-free lighting is well positioned to prevent dark spots.  The accessible home is the home of the future representing the way we want to live right now.  Well-planned accessible homes lift the spirits and enhance dignity.  They have the ability to transform our relationships with our bodies and our homes.

     Knowledgeable construction and design professionals are utilizing their CAPS training across the nation. CAPS stands for Certified Aging In Place Specialist. This designation is taught through the National Association of Home Builders in collaboration with AARP. CAPS connects responsible professionals with home owners who need these services on an ever-increasing basis. CAPS is a nationwide initiative and all active CAPS members can be found at

     What really defines accessible home modifications and elder construction in Austin?  Barrier free architectural design and accessibility for all who enter the structure while approaching the main living areas of the home in question is a fair definition. Universal design and aging in place trends have taken hold in the residential remodeling industry.  The current housing inventory doesn't offer the features needed for safety and accessibility in the numbers needed to accommodate the ever growing demand.  It is ultimately up to the individual homeowners and their families to plan for future housing needs. Once it is discovered that modifications to an existing home are not possible to accomplish total accessibility then it is time to consider a newer or custom built accessible home.

Accessible Homes Of Austin

     Aging in place home modifications are available through T-Square Company in the Austin area. We have an A plus rating with the local BBB and have over 30 years of remodeling experience. We are additionally a certified aging in place specialist offering complete aging in place services.  Each design/build situation will be customized to fit your personal needs increasing your accessibility. 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

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Home Remodeling For Seniors Austin

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Wed, Aug 08, 2018 @ 13:08 PM

     It's not for everyone, but as more and more older Americans choose to age in place and remain in their homes, issues related to maintaining mobility, promoting home safety and creating an environment to meet care needs are becoming increasingly important to both caregivers and care recipients. According to the AARP nearly 90% of older adults want to age in place and maintain independence however 85% have done nothing about it. Many retirees want to stay living in their own house for as long as possible. But being able to do so will depend on how easy it is to maneuver your home as you get older.  Research by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show that aging in place home modifications may prevent up to 50% of home accidents among seniors in older homes including falls.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     When families are suddenly thrust into the responsibility of caring for an ill or injured family member, knowing how to make their homes accessible, barrier free and safe can be challenging. Even families that are savvy and experienced may have trouble figuring out whom to call for a roll-in-shower or door widening.

     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 as a handicap remodeling contractor 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, training, and knowledge necessary to design and remodel or modify a home to meet the unique needs of the older population, disabled owners, or their visitors.

Download Our Free Aging In Place Remodeling Considerations Checklist

ADA Compliant Kitchens

ADA kitchen in Austin

     Home modifications for aging in place should include adding non-slip flooring, widening hallways or installing stair lifts, and widening doors.  You might also consider lowering light switches and thermostats and installing easier to use door knobs.  Many considerations for an aging in place design should be taken into account to provide safety and independence.  You should try to provide a clear barrier free path or accessible route to the most visited areas of your home as recommended by the ADA.  The three areas needing improvement for a person wanting to age in place include the bathroom, the kitchen, and the family area in order of importance.

roll in shower Austin

     People who are interested in aging in place services and 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.  ADA compliant kitchen cabinets and ADA bathroom cabinets will more than likely come into play to complete any accessible home remodeling project.

Discover the Principles Of Universal Design

Aging In Place Home Modifications

     Let's compare the alternative costs associated with aging in place verses when you already own your home.   The more institutional alternative of assisted living accompanied by more medical expertise and staff training plus the access to emergency medical facilities is available as opposed to renting an apartment.  These are two of the main alternative choices for seniors who decide not to remain in their own homes.   According to a national study done in 2014, the average cost for assisted living ranged from $3,000 to $3,500 per month.  However, if you decide to age in place in a high quality one bedroom apartment, the rent will run around $1,300 per month.  Living in your own home or with loved ones represents a preference by most seniors and property taxes must be taken in account.

     An average Aging in Place master bathroom home modification providing total accessibility given there is a large enough space to remodel at onset will come in around $30,000.  This can vary in many aspects if there is not enough room to change the existing floor plan.  Smaller bathrooms can cost $15-20,000 but will not have the barrier free accessibility as the larger modified bathroom.  Fully accessible kitchens will run on the average of $50,000 depending on the size of the existing kitchen.  These are both one time costs for sustainability of a given lifestyle and location providing future independence and safety for the homeowner who participates in accessible home remodeling.

     All disability home remodeling or disability bath remodels in Austin must be done considering all the data provided by the client, his or her family, and any caretakers involved. Aging in place design must be carried out by an aging in place specialist who is also a reputable residential remodeling professional. The goal of an accessible bathroom design in Austin is to make the bathroom a safe space for everyone who uses the facilities. Aging in place services and Elder construction techniques use universal design to accommodate wheelchair use and can make the bathroom more comfortable for all generations with or without specific needs.

     For additional information about the CAPS program, visit  For more information about T-Square Company, visit or call 512-444-0097 to schedule a home consultation by a registered CAPS professional.


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Kitchen And Bathroom Remodeling Companies

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Mon, Aug 06, 2018 @ 16:08 PM

   T-Square Company has been successfully remodeling kitchens and bathrooms in Austin for over 30 years.  So just what is involved with kitchen upgrades and bathroom remodeling in Austin, Texas while Austin homeowners are constantly 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 kitchens and bathrooms lend themselves to more extravagant designs.  Using beautiful stone or ceramic tiles in an interesting design, installing new plumbing fixtures, upgrading the cabinet tops and the use of neutral colors can create a kitchen or bathroom with a "wow" factor. It is quite possible to produce a small but charmingly remodeled kitchen or 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 for instance the tub with a new walk in shower can create a bold  look but will run you around $10,000 in the bath.  An Austin kitchen remodel for two hundred square feet will begin at around $50,000.  There are no spending limits for bathroom upgrades.   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 along with 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!

Bathroom Remodeling Austin

   Accessible bathrooms  incorporating aging in place design today contain stylish vanities set at a universal height of 34 inches with clear knee spaces.  The sink faucets are easily controlled by either wrist handles or levers.  Toilets are available in comfort heights eliminating the deep knee bend needed for seating.  Toilet seats are available with a heat feature and some have the ability to self close or have a night light.  Curbless roll in showers are advised for everyone undergoing a bathroom accessibility remodel.  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.  Folding seats 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.  We specialize in Elder construction and increased accessibility.

Discover the Principles Of Universal Design

    If you have been considering a fine bathroom makeover or bathroom transformation in Austin there are a few things you should take into consideration.  Bathroom 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.

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 trivets and cutting boards should always be used no matter which top you choose.  Kitchen remodeling in Austin, Texas is no different than anywhere else in the country. 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 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.

     Along with Aging in Place, Universal Design is becoming more of a household term when it comes to a kitchen or bathroom remodel. Essentially, it’s about building or modifying places and spaces—both public and private—to accommodate people of all ages and abilities. More than just an architectural concept, universal design is a win-win for sandwich generation boomers caring for aging parents and their children at home, for grandparents raising grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and for all who are facing the challenges of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other chronic diseases.

     Whether your family needs the support now or down the road, universal design features are a good long-term investment for the home itself.

    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. T-Square Company can be reached at 512-444-0097 in Austin, Texas.  Find out how a design/build remodeling contractor can save you money during your next project.

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