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

Handicap Accessible Bathroom Shower

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Fri, Dec 07, 2018 @ 14:12 PM

    All new construction or any bathroom remodel should include an accessible shower with shower head combinations in multiple locations to fit anyone's desires.  Incorporating universal design principles into your home's custom walk in shower design can facilitate aging-in-place goals, while comfortably addressing the diverse needs of all ages and mobility levels using your home. Rain heads coming out of the ceiling, body heads coming out of the walls in many locations, or hand held units attached to the shower walls can make things very interesting and relaxing.  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 dial in 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. This has certainly led the way to the thermostatic shower valve with plumbed-in hand held shower that is being used specifically in homes today where the owner is planning to retire.  Accessible bathrooms today contain stylish vanities set at a universal height of 34 inches with clear knee spaces below.  The sink faucets are easily controlled by either wrist handles or levers or they can be touchless being controlled by a motion detector.  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.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

Handicap Accessible Bathroom Shower

Austin Roll In Shower

     Many people find themselves needing accessible homes for themselves or family members. 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 which brought on the idea of wheelchair remodeling. Home modifications can increase safety, accessibility, and independence for people who want to live independently.  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.

Home Accessibility Help

     Universal design and aging in place 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.  Our existing architecture does not lend itself well to accomplishing any easy aging in place home remodels in Austin.  In fact, there are more inaccessible homes in all of the US than there are accessible homes and 45% of these existing homes are owned by the baby boomers representing the oldest group of homeowners.  Generally speaking in most residential US properties there are no easy ways to enter into bathrooms or utilize  kitchens without coming into contact with one architectural  barrier or another-especially if a wheelchair or walker is being used to help with mobility issues.  Everything requires the proper clearance and distance for a new customized accessible route in your home to function properly.  Please consider this aspect in your design if an elderly parent will be coming to visit or you yourself suffer an unfortunate accident or develop a debilitating disease.  Always keep in mind that we all age and provide for an easier aging in place situation.

    Roll in showers without curbs are advised for everyone on a universal level for an accessible bath.  The threshold is the most dangerous component in any shower. Not only is it impossible to overcome in a wheelchair but it isn't safe for those who are vision impaired or those with mobility issues. Low threshold shower bases with add on ramps can solve the shower entry problem when the floor cannot be lowered because of structural limitations to form a true contoured roll in slope. ADA compatible curbless roll in showers are at a minimum 5 feet wide by 3 feet deep while a five by five shower space is optimum providing more room for caretakers and adequate turning space for wheelchair maneuverability. Using a 32-36" clear entrance in a shower partition with an out-swinging door is advised for everyone.  Remember wider is better. Upon exiting the shower a clear floor space having a five feet turning radius is desired. The shower should contain a shower wand on a sliding bar mounted at 48" above the floor to be available for varying heights of use accompanied by a regular height fixed shower head above both of which are regulated with a diverting controller valve.  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 fixed shower head as well. Installing fixtures with a scald guard feature or lowering the temperature at the water heater is a must to prevent burns. Fold down seats are useful if caretakers are involved. Secure grab bars on wood grounds around the entire shower perimeter installed at 34-36" above the finished shower floor increases the safety factor by helping to prevent falls.  A shower recessed can light fixture needs to be installed above the shower area for proper lighting. All of the bathroom floor surface must be nonskid type to prevent slipping on a guaranteed wet floor.  A folding seat in the shower installed at 18" above the floor is useful if caretakers are ever involved and these seats are much safer than a free standing shower seat which can fall over. Grab bars around the bath and especially on all walls of the shower should be used.  Non slip floor covering should always be considered with a DCOF of .46 or better.  Recessed shampoo shelves can also help to eliminate clutter within the shower.

Tub To Shower Conversions

    Designing around specific physical conditions for handicap accessibility will lessen the impact of say arthritis, restricted mobility, or loss of vision by using combinations of products, concepts, and techniques available today. Working as a team, a trained CAPS specialist along with any family caretakers or therapists 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 (Certified Aging In Place Specialist) 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 accessibility or aging in place project and what's more, keep you in your home longer.

     Everyone ages differently and has different needs and wants.  The factors that constitute the aging in place market for all individuals are based on a persons genetic makeup, their lifestyle including the choices they have made while living their life, and their environment; however,  this industry is not age related.  These factors have brought about the need for universal design.  This is the design of products, services, and environments that are usable by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability, or situation without the need for adaptation or specialized alterations.  It provides for the greatest safety and access for any home guests or occupants and is undetectable when done well.  Since so very few homes share the accessibility offered by universal design, to satisfy the needs of a particular household member brought about by an accident, an illness, or simply the aging process there will always be a need for customized accessibility features.  This will be accomplished by a CAPS accredited remodeling professional producing a truly functional design when considering accessible home designs in Austin, Texas and disability access baths.   T-Square Company is a competent home remodeling company who understands and practices aging in place home modifications in Austin. They are CAPS certified and will perform the work needed to fit their in house design insuring your safety and accessibility during a handicap remodeling project. T-Square Company specializes in accessible bathrooms in Austin, Texas.

     Falls and slips are among the most common 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 like installing grab bars to enhance safety issues are fairly inexpensive.  Keeping ourselves independent requires planning during handicap remodeling projects providing accessible routes throughout the home.  Sometimes just entering the home can be a problem if you find yourself in a wheelchair pondering on how to negotiate the steps leading to your front door. Traditional home builders have never considered the issues affecting mobility for the disabled or elderly. 

     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.  Call us at 512-444-0097 to see how we can help you design your bath for the future.

Austin Handicap Remodeling 

 

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Handicap Access Bathroom Remodel

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Fri, Dec 07, 2018 @ 11:12 AM

    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.  Our 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.  Bathroom accessibility remodels with roll in showers in Austin, Texas are possible with the right people involved.  

Most residential housing is geared toward 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.

Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     Human problems must be solved using correct designs when remodeling which have been customized to match the abilities of the occupant.  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.  The need for dealing with disabilities empowers us all to ensure that we create environments wherein people can function effectively.  Quite often it is the home that presents the greatest difficulties through limited mobility or other physical impairments to seniors as they age in their existing living surroundings. Designing for specific physical conditions will lessen the impact of say arthritis, restricted mobility, or loss of vision by using combinations of products, concepts, and techniques available today. These aging in place changes can actually increase the value of your home as you are able to appeal to multiple generations of home buyers. In some cases, those who are doing only consultations are not the ones actually implementing those suggestions or doing the home modifications, which is left up to contractors. However, a CAPS certified remodeler or contractor providing a one stop shop is even more valuable to anyone wanting to age in place. Their construction knowledge enables any aging in place design to come to fruition via practicality and best practices. Complete aging in place services and the knowledge of how to carry them out are available to the homeowner through CAPS certified remodeling.  On the other hand, any knowledgeable advice from a CAPS certified individual is still valuable.  It’s up to these consultants to make sure they charge for their assessment and advise for modifying the home.  They will be additionally compensated for their design and once again for a detailed drawing. CAPS professionals are generally paid by the hour or receive a flat fee per visit or project. Typically an assessment takes approximately 60-90 minutes. It’s best if you or a family member can accompany the professional during the home safety assessment, as you or they can ask questions about specific safety items as they come up. A comprehensive Home Safety Assessment can pay for itself by avoiding the high cost of injury or assisted living.

 Home Accessibility Help

     But 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 handicap 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.  Accessible bathrooms with custom walk in showers and kitchens are available using the right education and experience.  There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a person with mobility impairments be able to independently roll into his or her shower in their disability access bath and witness that accomplishment.

     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. 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 use universal design to accommodate wheelchair use and can make the bathroom more comfortable for all generations with or without specific needs. 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.  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.

    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 must take this into account and be designed to accommodate them all as needed by the user.

      Interior modifications can include adding grab bars or handrails throughout the home, lowering upper cabinets and counter tops to universal design heights, adding non-slip flooring, widening hallways or installing stair lifts, and widening doors to a clear 32" width.  You might also consider lowering light switches and thermostats and installing easier to use door knobs.  You should try to provide a clear barrier free path or accessible route to the most visited areas of your home like a disability access bath.

      Modifying your bathroom for ADA compliance following practiced wheelchair accessibility guidelines is a great place to start any universal remodel during a handicap accessible bathroom remodel.  This will provide access to both wheelchairs and walkers.  Furthermore,  you can help avoid many future injuries.  Any wet area like the bath is the most dangerous of all your home's surrounding living space and is the most common area for falls and slips.  Simply getting in or out of the tub or shower, using the toilet and sink, or just maneuvering over wet surfaces can be hazardous to your health.  Installing properly positioned grab bars to increase safety is a great place to spend your money on a limited budget around the shower, toilet,  and tub. A walk in bath tub containing a water tight door can provide an easy alternative for people with mobility issues who cannot navigate over bathtub walls.  The main complaint for these very expensive tubs is that the user must sit there soaking wet and getting cold for a couple of minutes while the tub drains before they can open the door.  Another alternative to consider is a walk in shower design which has the option of having a door.  The shower door is not needed if the shower is designed properly protecting the adjacent bath floor areas from becoming drenched and hazardous.  Any door is just another barrier to negotiate along a designated route for a person with mobility issues.  If a wheelchair is needed for mobility,  a roll in or transfer shower should be of consideration.  A roll in shower is perfect for the person who wants to have a shower but doesn't have the strength to stand in the shower.  On the other hand, a transfer shower enables a wheelchair user to move from the wheelchair or walker onto a sturdily mounted seat contained within the shower area.  Again this will be determined by the shower user's mobility limitations.  A curbless or non-threshold shower entrance is a superior design for gaining access to the walk in shower but it must be correctly designed for drainage.  A curbless shower does not mean a shower door cannot be incorporated into the design.

     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.

Handicap Accessible Bathroom Shower

bathroom accessibility remodeling in Austin

Handicap Home Modifications

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Austin Aging In Place Specialist

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Mon, Dec 03, 2018 @ 11:12 AM

     Quite often it is the home that presents the greatest difficulties through limited mobility or other physical impairments to seniors as they age in their existing living surroundings. Designing for specific physical conditions will lessen the impact of say arthritis, restricted mobility, or loss of vision by using combinations of products, concepts, and techniques available today. These aging in place changes can actually increase the value of your home as you are able to appeal to multiple generations of home buyers. In some cases, those who are doing only consultations are not the ones actually implementing those suggestions or doing the home modifications, which is left up to contractors. However, a CAPS certified remodeler or contractor providing a one stop shop is even more valuable to anyone wanting to age in place. Their construction knowledge enables any aging in place design to come to fruition via practicality and best practices. Complete aging in place services and the knowledge of how to carry them out are available to the homeowner through CAPS certified remodeling.  On the other hand, any knowledgeable advice from a CAPS certified individual is still valuable.  It’s up to these consultants to make sure they charge for their assessment and advise for modifying the home.  They will be additionally compensated for their design and once again for a detailed drawing. CAPS professionals are generally paid by the hour or receive a flat fee per visit or project. Typically an assessment takes approximately 60-90 minutes. It’s best if you or a family member can accompany the professional during the home safety assessment, as you or they can ask questions about specific safety items as they come up. A comprehensive Home Safety Assessment can pay for itself by avoiding the high cost of injury or assisted living.

Handicap Accessible Bathroom Remodel

Handicap accessible bathroom remodel

Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

 

     CAPS stands for Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist. It is a construction credential that has builders, architects, remodelers, designers and even occupational therapists buzzing. Far beyond using universal design ideas, aging in place or independent living principles are sweeping changes designed to custom fit your home to you and your family as time goes by. CAPS design takes your current and future circumstances into consideration. CAPS design principles focus on elegant, aesthetically enriching, barrier free environments. Home modifications do not need to look institutional and this is why many seniors are resisting the very changes that can help them the most. The vast majority of builders and remodelers do not have the knowledge and training to perform home modifications for aging in place. When considering installing a grab bar which seems like a simple endeavor, a run of the mill contractor or handyman has no idea of the safety regulations involved or the knowledge of where to install the grab bar leaving the consumer in an unsafe situation. These are changes that can actually increase the value of your home once they are performed correctly.

Download Our Free Aging In Place Remodeling Considerations Checklist

     Construction and design professionals are taking advantage of the CAPS training across the nation. 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 professionals can be found at nahb.org/CAPSdirectory 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.

    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. 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 use universal design to accommodate wheelchair use and can make the bathroom more comfortable for all generations with or without specific needs. 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.  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.

     During a home assessment for increasing accessibility the structural needs of the client will be noted and documented through sketches, photos, and conversation. All the surroundings will be taken into account from the flooring to the layout of a specific room or location as it pertains to the inhabitant's ease of usability. The physical and emotional needs of the occupant will also come into play because of mobility, sensory, or cognitive concerns. The goal is to modify the home in a custom manner to provide for the maximum health, independence, and safety of the occupant. Often the input from any caretakers like a physical or occupational therapist during the assessment phase can prove to be invaluable.  The three main rooms involved in aging in place home modifications are the bathroom, the kitchen, and the family room in that order.  These areas make up the most occupied spaces of any home and will be connected by a designated accessible route.  The basic needs involve access through wider doorways, non slip floor surfaces, and adequate cabinet and plumbing fixture accessibility.  What is more important is that we must observe safety for everyone as the baby boomers choose to age in place within their homes.  For more information about T-Square Company, visit www.tsquareco.com or call 512-444-0097.

     Interior modifications can include adding grab bars or handrails throughout the home, lowering upper cabinets and counter tops to universal design heights, adding non-slip flooring, widening hallways or installing stair lifts, and widening doors to a clear 32" width.  You might also consider lowering light switches and thermostats and installing easier to use door knobs.  You should try to provide a clear barrier free path or accessible route to the most visited areas of your home like a disability access bath containing an ADA compatible shower.

      Modifying your bathroom for ADA compliance following practiced wheelchair accessibility guidelines is a great place to start any universal remodel during a handicap accessible bathroom remodel.  This will provide access to both wheelchairs and walkers.  Furthermore,  you can help avoid many future injuries.  Any wet area like the bath is the most dangerous of all your home's surrounding living space and is the most common area for falls and slips.  Simply getting in or out of the tub or shower, using the toilet and sink, or just maneuvering over wet surfaces can be hazardous to your health.  Installing properly positioned grab bars to increase safety is a great place to spend your money on a limited budget around the shower, toilet,  and tub. 

 

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