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

Bathrooms With Disability Access In Austin, Texas

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Mon, Oct 22, 2018 @ 14:10 PM

     Disability is a complex phenomenon representing an interaction between one's physical impairments, the activities they need to perform, and the architectural barriers within the space in which this situation occurs.  The terminology and jargon used for disabilities evolves regularly whereas, "handicapped" is no longer acceptable.  It is no longer merely a description of intellectual or physical impairments.  Each individual with similar impairments describes his or her limitations differently.  The blind don't experience their world the same as a person with deafness and so on. Physically challenged has become the more socially accepted description of a person with an impairment.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     Physical limitations affect many more people than the daily users of walkers and wheelchairs.  Many members of our life experienced or elder society have significant problems in dealing with their home environment.  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.  Austin handicap remodeling is imperative considering bathroom remodeling 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 for a handicap accessible bathroom remodel.

     Designing for specific physical conditions will lessen the impact of say arthritis, restricted mobility, or loss of vision by using a combinations of products, concepts, and techniques. A trained CAPS specialist is able to identify the day to day problems weighing on those with health limitations. If you are considering an aging in place remodel for your home don't just contact any local remodeler in your area and expect a satisfactory accessible home modification.  A professional design/build accessibility project can only be created for your specific needs by a qualified home remodeler having a nationally accepted CAPS certification.  This credential is backed by the NAHB.  Only a CAPS  home remodeler possesses the specific knowledge that will insure a successful outcome for your aging in place project and what's more, keep you in your home.

     The costs involved for handicap home modifications in Austin are really dictated by the amount of barrier free accessibility required by the person needing the assistance to be safe.  Comfort and safety for the home's inhabitants are key issues when designing an accessibility remodel.  Most homeowners nationally spend between $3,800 and $14,000 with a mean average expense of $7,500.  This cost again is based on the individual home modifications providing the greatest safety for those in need.

      Falls and slips are among the most common causes causes of injury to senior and elderly people requiring disability access remodeling.  Smooth surfaces in combination with wet areas make the bathroom one of the most dangerous areas within the home.  It is of paramount importance that the bathroom be updated providing safety for any person with limited mobility or the elderly.  If you are on a tight budget and can only afford a few modifications, the bathroom is the first place to begin an accessibility remodel.  The most basic improvements to enhance safety issues are fairly inexpensive. 

Bathrooms With Disability Access In Austin, Texas

Home Accessibility Help

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

1. Vanity Sink Accessibility

Wheelchair Accessible bathrooms today contain stylish ADA vanities set at a universal height of 34 inches with clear knee spaces.  Plan on 27 inches of vertical clearance for a wheelchair. The sink faucets must be easily controlled by either wrist handles or levers. The faucets can be fitted on the side of the sink to make them easier to reach. Or install infra-red faucets that detect motion. Hang the mirror low enough for a seated person to see themselves, and tip the top of the mirror out. 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. Ideally, the toilet should be positioned between two support bars 36 inches apart. A toilet seat 17 inches off the floor is a more comfortable height for everyone. Creating a toilet within an open area and not a closet is much more accessible. Elevated or special toilet seats are available with a heat feature and some have the ability to self close or have a night light. A more expensive bidet/toilet is available but an add on bidet attachment to a regular toilet can be handy.

3. Bathing Facilities

Curbless roll in showers that are 5 feet wide and 3 feet deep having 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 and they are much safer than a free standing shower seat which can fall over. 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. Install the slider bar for the hand held shower hose and head 4 feet off the floor so that the head can slide up to 6 feet high. Always use a shower valve that is thermostatically controlled and pressure-balanced to prevent scalds. If you desire a full body wash, you can include a regular shower head as well.

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. All doors should have levers instead of door knobs. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires a 5-foot turning radius for a wheelchair. But if space is tight, remodelers may be able to make do with less. "(The 5-foor turning radius) may not always be needed, especially with an electric chair, which will easily turn in a tighter space.

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. You can install switches with a push button or large toggle that doesn't require a pinching motion to turn on and off. Outlets that are ground protected should be installed at 18" above the floor.

Handicap Accessibility

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

 

 

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Austin, TX Aging In Place Services

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Mon, Oct 22, 2018 @ 12:10 PM

     According to the Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) at Harvard University, the nation's housing inventory is in no shape to accommodate the 70% increase in the number of Americans aged 50 and over that will occur between 2000 and 2030.  Over the next two decades, more than 27.7 million people will join the 50 and over age group.  Most of this increase will be among the population aged 65 and over which is projected to surge 65% by 2030.

Principles Of Universal Design

     Universal design and aging in place design and services in Austin have finally 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 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 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 CAPS certified remodeling improvements.

Aging In Place Services in Austin, TX

     People who are interested in aging in place home improvements  and elder living solutions 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.  There are many aging in place remodeling considerations.

     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 suit 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

     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 accommodate wheelchair access.  Knee spaces can be incorporated into the design for roll under access at the sink, prep area, and cooktop.

     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, dish washing 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 counter top or within the lowered base cabinet according to the consumers need for adequate reach.

     The lack of doors represents a change in the cabinet market.  The new open look lets homeowners access what is stored within the cabinet without an open door blocking their clear path for approach.  No matter in what manner the doors are hung they always interfere with accessibility.  The open cabinet look is seen in both the bath and kitchen.

     Accessible bathrooms 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.  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.

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 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 nahb.org/CAPS.  For more information about T-Square Company, visit www.tsquareco.com or call 512-444-0097.

    

    

    

    

 

    

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