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 Home Accessibility Help

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Mon, Jan 07, 2019 @ 16:01 PM


     With increasing age, simply maneuvering around within our home becomes more difficult.  Some debilitating diseases slowly take over our bodies completely reducing mobility and independence over time.  The situation is complicated further once we are forced to use any device for increased mobility.  That's when we find ourselves asking how we are to negotiate a set of stairs or a doorway that is too narrow to allow entry into a room or even the entire house.  These types of overpowering circumstances can certainly make life terribly difficult to deal with at times.  Who would ever have imagined that just passing through a doorway we had negotiated many times could now present such a problem within our private life?

Certified Aging In Place Specialist 

     Designated accessible routes can be created by first hiring a knowledgeable residential construction contractor in Austin, Texas.  The experienced and CAPS certified handicap remodeling contractors in Austin that you contract must be skilled in both home remodeling and all ADA guidelines to perform CAPS certified remodeling.  The noted accessible route will first provide ways to accomplish any elevation changes in your yard that once required only stairs  leading up to your front door.  A correctly angled ramp following ADA guidelines will help you gain access into your home.  Perhaps the front door itself needs to be widened or additionally equipped with an electronic opener. 

     Once inside, the accessible route will continue derived from wheelchair remodeling into all the rooms thus increasing  accessibility.  Kitchen upgrades and handicap accessible bathrooms will provide roll under capability for wheelchairs at all sinks.  A required underneath clearance and scalding protection below the sinks must be observed for the end user with special needs.  The correct handles must be used controlling all sink faucets assisting those with limited mobility.  Reach limits must not be exceeded above the new 34 inch high cabinet top.

     During bathroom accessibility remodels, roll in or transfer showers equipped with adequately placed grab bars will lessen injury from falls while entering the bathing facility.  Further outfitting these areas with hand held shower wands that can be temporarily mounted on adjustable slide bars will also be of assistance.  Hallways need to be wide enough for wheelchair clearance and all entry doors at each room must be at least 36 inches wide for unobstructed wheelchair entry.  A clear and unobstructed five foot wheelchair turning radius will be built into the design for increased accessibility to facilitate leaving a small room as in the bathroom. Lowering the light switches in certain rooms may be a requirement to help with decreased mobility to below 48 inches.

Elder Construction

     There are basically two styles of ADA vanities that comply with an unobstructed roll under area below the sink.  This capability has everything to do with both the water supply lines and the main waste line connecting the sink.  There must be provisions made to protect the user from being scalded when coming into contact with any one of the plumbing pipes serving the sink.  These connecting pipes may become heated merely by the water passing through them creating the problem.  The open type model should always receive both waste and supply insulating jackets applied directly to the pipes providing protection for the wheelchair user.  The closed model concealing the pipes will be equipped with a removable face or face board covering the pipes.  This pipe concealing panel must be installed at the correct angle.  This allows for the needed unobstructed legroom required for the  user.  The vanity can extend beyond the sink but the area containing the sink is required to have this roll under capability.   This section of the vanity must not be any taller than 34 inches above the finished floor with sufficient lower clearance.  Clear unobstructed reach distances around the counter top area must be observed.  Any motion controlled sensors integrated into the various dispensing devices and/or plumbing fixtures throughout the restroom present a true hands free benefit to all the restroom users.  If these aren't in the budget then at least wrist handles used for controlling the faucet can be incorporated into the design of the vanity.  Furthermore, automatic flush valves should be used on all toilets and urinals that provide for hands free use.

     There is nothing strange, different, or out of the ordinary to consider when shopping for ADA kitchen cabinetry. The specialty cabinetry can be composed of any materials that currently make up standard off the shelf or custom cabinetry. It's all about the agreed upon cabinet industry standards for heights and distances being incorporated into the cabinetry designs . This allows the consumer with special needs a more comfortable experience while performing the kitchen's daily duties. Architectural barriers have been removed allowing for the proper legroom clearance, reach distance, and cabinet height. Upper wall cabinets are installed four inches lower providing for a comfortable reach distance above the cabinet top, installed at 34 inches above the finished floor, for the perfect height that is totally useful. The ease of operation of the new cabinetry is more favorable and convenient and certainly user friendly. 

     And now for the layout of your new ADA compliant kitchen.  First you should try to maintain the five foot turning radius within your kitchen if you require the use of a wheelchair or other assistive mobility device. You will need to have your plumbing attachments brought into compliance to enable your freedom and safety.  The installation of grab bars where needed within the kitchen can be very helpful for insuring your safety for maneuverability.  These should be installed at 34 inches above the finished floor to safeguard your use of them.  Having roll under capability for the new kitchen sink can be very helpful while you are utilizing the wheelchair.  Exact clearances should be complied with for width and clear unobstructed legroom underneath the sink.  The proper safety equipment should be installed on the plumbing pipes that prevent scalding of your legs.

     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.

     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 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.

     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.

      Whatever your situation please 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 making sub play the part of a general contractor because his knowledge will be limited to that of the cabinets and not much else.  You get what you pay for with proper planning.

ADA Compatible Shower In Austin

Wheelchair Accessible Remodeling

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