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

Disability Renovation Services In Austin, Texas

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Mon, Jan 06, 2020 @ 10:01 AM

     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. Some of our societal statistics that weigh into aging in place situations include reports stating that 19% of the population between the ages of 16 and 64 and 42% of those of us 65 and over have a physical disability affecting the activities of their daily lives.  For a progressive condition,  aging in place home remodeling in Austin definitely comes into play.  This is the only way to insure both the safety and mobility for the homeowner or family member requiring the home modifications.  The two main groups driving elder construction and the aging in place market are those people who are 65 and over and the baby boomers.  The first group is projected to reach 55 million in 2020.  The baby boomer generation born between 1946 and 1965 today make up 28% of the U.S.  population and are made up of some 77 million people.  Modifications of existing homes is important because people of age 50 and older want to remain in their current home for as long as possible.  Aging in place home modifications in Austin should only be done by a CAPS certified remodeling company.  This is the only way that you can be assured that the home modifications are the right choices to satisfy your needs.  There is no need to waste money only to find out that the wrong alterations were done by an inexperienced and unqualified remodeling company.  Always check their credentials to verify that the remodeler holds a CAPS certification. All registered CAPS program graduates and their remodeling company will be listed in a national registry in Washington.  The information can be found by simply visiting nahb.org/CAPS.

     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.

Austin Handicap Remodeling

Austin Tub To Shower Conversion

Tub To Shower Conversions

    If you have been considering a fine bathroom makeover with better accessibility or an accessible kitchen remodeling project 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 help with special needs is the job of the professional remodeling contractor holding a CAPS certification.  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 restroom.  CAPS professionals in the remodeling industry can help with solutions in solving these issues while performing design/build home modifications.

Principles Of Universal 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 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.  We are able to offer complete services concerning disability renovations beginning with our design/build philosophy.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

    Preparing for one of those highly likely events involving someone in your home needing room modifications for even a short time while recovering from surgery is surely a smart move.  The new evolving concept known as Universal Design for home remodeling is catching on nation wide and has been for several years as a sign of the times.  Universal design techniques used in building makes a home more accessible to all regardless of their mobility or adaptive abilities and at any age. An evolution of new products used in room modifications making homes more accessible has come about in the remodeling industry.  These new advances in home remodeling not only keep the living environments safer but will not compromise the home's aesthetics or resale value.  Interior modifications can include adding grab bars or handrails throughout the home, lowering upper cabinets and countertops, 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.  You should try to provide a clear barrier free path or accessible route to the most visited areas of your home.  The published guidelines for ADA accessibility for buildings and facilities is a great resource for ideas on how to make a home safer and easier to live in.   Homes can become more accessible to people as they age. Many of these published guidelines, particularly requirements for corridor and door widths, safety bars and proper access to different types of facilities can go a long way in extending the amount of time an elderly or physically impaired individual can live independently.

   

Aging In Place Home Modifications

     Whether you desire a roll in shower, accessible sink , or merely a clear and unobstructed access to your existing bath, a CAPS professional can help you increase your accessibility.  The CAPS certification holder can not only help you with the design of what you desire but is competent and professionally qualified to carry out any construction needed. Certainly there are many upgrades available when planning a bathroom transformation.  The replacement of the tub with a new walk in shower can create a bold  look but will run around $14,000.  There are no spending limits for bathroom remodels.  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 bath remodel.  The type of fixtures and building components chosen along with the labor will compose the overall cost of the remodeling project. These prices are based on long lasting home modifications requiring time to install using proper construction techniques and are not to be confused with pop in kits offered by others they claim will be accomplished in a couple of days.

      It is true that a trained CAPS professional and remodeling contractor with years of experience will cost you more than a handyman illegally playing among 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 expenses 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 needs and concerns.  The aging in place considerations specifically used in homes today where the owner is planning to retire is all a part of training and experience.

Home Accessibility Help

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Home Remodeling And Additions

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Fri, Aug 30, 2019 @ 13:08 PM

    If you believe you are located at the perfect address, and you have a new member in your family or are simply a multi-generational family of today taking care of a parent and you find yourself short on living space then give us a call. Inevitably at one time or another all homeowners envision potential improvements to an existing home that can significantly enhance their living experience. Regardless of the reason you require home remodeling or an addition we can help you to transform the functionality of your existing living situation or add additional living space to suit your present family's needs. Fall in love with your home again while the professional remodeling contractor's experience helps guide you through changes to your existing home which better fit your daily lifestyle.

Principles Of Universal Design

Austin Home Remodeling Contractors/Home Additions

Austin Remodeling

The Finished Product From Above Picture

Home Remodeling Austin, Texas

 

Aging In Place Home Modifications

Bathroom Kitchen Remodels

    It's time to find yourself either a qualified architectural firm and proceed with the endless task of interviewing residential remodeling contractor or a local design/build construction company with in house design capabilities that can build what is designed.  The latter situation is usually your best shot at getting what you basically need to solve your living situation problems allowing you to cut out the beyond budget frills.  You will also save on the soft costs of your construction project that have nothing to do with the structural building process itself.  Many local residential contractors are quite capable of pushing out a wall in your home or putting a top on a new structure.  This capability is based on both their experience and knowledge of all the building trades, especially the framing aspect that will certainly be involved.  Actual experience in this particular facet of the project could prove to be very helpful for visualizing the construction and it's possibilities.  Has this contractor ever done this kind of project before?  Does he himself have skilled experience or does he appear to be a drive by limited contractor at the mercy of his subcontractor's capabilities?  Any depth of design is totally based on experience.  You will need to completely check out the contractor's references.  Don't be taken in by paid contractor listings  and referral sights that promise you successful and competent businesses with free background checks.  They were listed there for one and only one reason, somebody paid for the listing fee.  Membership to national associations like NARI reflect only a self paid fee but says nothing about the contractor's experience and creativity.  That only comes from past customer's testimonials that you can fact check through the local BBB, Yelp, or Houzz.

    T-Square Company originally came into being as a remodeling company driven with the purpose to maximize the potential of existing homes.  When updating elements of functionality, style, efficiency, accessibility, and comfort, a home can be brought into your present day needs and desires of it's occupants. We approach complete home remodeling, renovations, and additions with the same targeted mindset using universal design techniques to build for the future. With our CAPS training, we are able to offer accessible home designs and modifications for our clients with special needs or disabilities.

    If you have contemplated and dreamed of an addition to your home for years and now find it's time to make a decision to move forward let us help you.  Certain changes in your lifestyle may have dictated an expansion.  Your living space has grown more crowded over time with additional family members being added as children, extended family members, or  an elderly family member.  Any and all of these life changing situations can add stress to your daily lifestyle creating the need for additional living space or home improvements in Austin.  As our children grow older they generally require more space and sometimes privacy.  This sparks a need for an additional bedroom space once an aging relative or spouse requiring special care is introduced into the original home's square footage. Privacy can truly become an issue if only to keep everyone happy while underneath the same roof.  Perhaps even private entrances will be required for some of the home's new residents.  These private entries could  be required to begin a new accessible route if there are ADA compatibility issues involved. 

     T-Square Company is a local design/build General Contracting firm registered with the City of Austin, Texas.  We have a competent team of in house craftsmen for your structural job aspects.  They are complemented by a force of long time affiliated subcontractors holding a masters license with the State of Texas. We are certified accessibility experts holding  nationally accredited CAPS and Universal Design (UD) certificates to assist in removing any architectural barriers limiting mobility within your home.  We offer complete home modifications for independent living for our aging in place customers in Austin.  Let us show you how to adapt your home to fit your ever changing accessibility needs.  Perhaps an expansion to a defined living space would solve a changing living situation.  How can this be accomplished without altering your home's basic footprint?  How can you go about this without a costly addition?  Maybe it's time to look under the hood, so to speak, for a solution that is right under your existing homes roof line.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

    How about pushing a certain room's perimeter out into your existing unused attic space to create attic remodeling?  You can expand a small child's bedroom space to create a play or activity room.  Storage needs can be met by taking in part of the attic to create a closet or other additional storage area.  Entertainment areas can be created without taking square footage out of the living space once the equipment is installed beyond the existing inner wall line into the attic space.

    How you accomplish adding this additional square footage can be quite easy if you obtain the advice of a qualified building professional.  Any reputable residential building contractor can give you direction for such a task so that your roof's structural integrity is not put in jeopardy.  You must not under any circumstance interrupt the structural balance of your roof.  Not only could you cause a structural failure of the roof itself but other areas of your home could be affected by this interruption in stability.

   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 subcontractor 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.  Call T-Square Company today at 512-444-0097 for a complete design/build experience for the home remodel or addition you've longed for.

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Austin Kitchen Remodel

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Thu, Aug 29, 2019 @ 17:08 PM

     If you have been considering an Austin kitchen remodel 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.   We have over three decades worth of kitchen design/build experience.

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. T-Square Company has been an accomplished general contracting firm and builder in the Austin area for 35 years.  Our design/build construction techniques will not only save you money but bring your dreams into reality in a seamless manner without confusion. Our team of master tradesmen will work together to make your ideas a reality.  Call us at 512-444-0097 today to set up an in home appointment.

 ADA Kitchen Cabinetry

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Handicap Accessible Housing

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, Aug 27, 2019 @ 12:08 PM

     The ADA is the Americans With Disability Act developed in the 1990's to be sure any person with a disability will have equal access to all public facilities and spaces. Unfortunately there are no restricted codes or regulations concerning residential bathrooms or disability access baths. However, these published guidelines for ADA accessibility concerning buildings and facilities is a great resource for ideas on how to make any home safer and easier to live in while aging in place.   Homes can become more accessible through bathroom remodels to people as they age. Many of these published guidelines for wheelchair accessible remodeling, particularly requirements for corridor and door widths, safety bars and proper access to different types of facilities can go a long way in extending the amount of time an elderly or physically impaired individual can live independently. This is the primary basis for ADA remodeling.

    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.

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

Handicap Accessible Housing In Austin

Handicap accessible housing in Austin

 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 nahb.org/CAPSdirectory.

     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.

     Along with aging in place, the use of universal design in handicap accessible home renovations is becoming more of a household term. 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.

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 to increase your home 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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Accessible Housing

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, Aug 27, 2019 @ 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 accessible housing and household products to increase the comfort of our residential environments.

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

Accessible Housing In Austin

Accessible Housing In Austin, Texas

 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 nahb.org/CAPSdirectory.

     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.

     Along with aging in place, the use of universal design in handicap accessible home renovations is becoming more of a household term. 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.

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 to increase 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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Wheelchair Accessible Housing

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, Aug 27, 2019 @ 11:08 AM

    Many people find themselves needing wheelchair accessible housing for themselves or family members. There are approximately 30 million Americans using wheelchairs and the number of people who need accessible homes in Austin 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. Home modifications making homes wheelchair accessible can increase safety, accessibility, and independence for people who want to live independently.

wheelchair accessible housing in Austin

     More and more people are finding themselves needing disability bathroom remodels in Austin to modify the existing architecture of their homes due to the use of a wheelchair or walker while preparing to remain in their homes as they age in place. There are currently over 30 million Americans using wheelchairs and those numbers continue to increase as a large population of people with age related challenges look for ways to live independently in their homes.  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.  This 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 increasing home accessibility.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

 

T-Square Company offers Wheelchair Accessible Housing

 

The Top Five Items To Include In An Accessible Bathroom Design

1. Vanity Sink Accessibility

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 ADA 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.

Austin Handicap Remodeling

    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.

    Accessible wheelchair designs in Austin 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 your accessible second chapter in your life while remaining safe and secure in your existing home. CAPS 1636580

Download Our Free Aging In Place Remodeling Considerations Checklist

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Roll In Shower

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, Mar 05, 2019 @ 11:03 AM

   

     Not all shower heads are created equally. Some offer just a standard spray, while others do so much more. The angle of the shower head also matters, as some of them are designed to rain down water and others shoot water at more of an angle. Both can be good options, and choosing a shower head that allows you to have a selection of sprays in the future can help reduce the chances that you’ll need to make changes or upgrades later. Rain heads can be good for washing if you need to sit down during your showers, but they may also put too much water straight down onto you, and that might not be comfortable.

     You may also want to consider a removable shower head, so you can move it around and wash more easily. These shower heads have a hose that hooks into where the shower head would normally be, with the actual spray and adjustments are on the other end. Since you can move this around to where you need it and change the spray type and strength, it’s easier to wash and get clean while still being comfortable and safe. These are also easier to replace at a later date if necessary. They also aren’t generally expensive options, so they can be done on a budget as you work to remodel your space.

roll in shower in Austin

     All new construction or any bathroom remodel should include an accessible shower with 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.

     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 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 5' by 5' floor is optimum. 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 roll in 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 regular shower head as well. Installing fixtures with a scald guard or lowering the temperature at the water heater is a must to prevent burns. Fold down seats are useful if caretakers are involved. One of the most important things you can do early on in your remodeling project is add grab bars and rails. These can be installed nearly anywhere, and they should be mounted into studs to ensure that they’re as secure as possible.  Secure grab bars on wood grounds around the entire shower perimeter installed at 34-36" above the finished shower floor increasing the safety factor and helping to prevent falls.  A recessed shower can light fixture needs to be installed above the shower area for proper lighting. A well lit bathroom is a safer and more comfortable bathroom.  You’ll also want to consider other lights that can help you see if an overhead bulb goes out. 

     All of the bathroom floor surface must be nonskid type to prevent slipping on a guaranteed wet floor. Marble, for example, can become very slick with just a little bit of water. But there are tiles available that have a rougher surface. They’re comfortable to walk on, but not as slippery. You may also want to consider laminate, as it’s generally less slick than tile would be, whether it’s wet or dry.  While mats and rugs can protect the floor and keep it from being too slick, they can also be tripping hazards. Consider thinner rugs that don’t bunch up easily, along with rugs that have rubber backing and won’t slide around. The mat in your bathtub or shower should stick tightly so walkers and wheelchairs won’t get caught on it. You can also choose a tub or shower with a textured bottom to avoid sliding, and you won’t need to use a mat inside.Some bathrooms are not right for rugs and mats of any kind. Sometimes even the best options can still get bound up in a wheelchair or the edge caught by a walker. This makes them more frustrating than helpful, and also causes a risk of falling. Mats and rugs may not be suitable for smaller bathrooms where there isn’t much room to maneuver. The tighter the space, the better off you may be with simply a good flooring product that won’t get too slippery if some water gets onto the floor. 

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

 

     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.

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.

  

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.

    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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ADA Compliant Roll In Showers

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Mon, Mar 04, 2019 @ 12:03 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.

Bathroom With Disability Access

 

     The new evolving concept known as Universal Design and specialized handicap remodeling contractors for home remodeling is catching on nation wide and has been for several years as a sign of the times.  By 2019, all the 76 million baby boomers will be age 55 or older at a time when many people are planning for retirement.  Universal design techniques used in building makes a home more accessible to all regardless of their mobility or adaptive abilities. An evolution of new products used for disability home modifications is making those homes more accessible and has finally come about in the remodeling industry.  These new advances in accessible home remodeling in Austin not only keep the living environments safer but will not compromise the home's aesthetics.  Bathrooms can be both functional and attractive when planned with elements like cabinetry that allow someone to sit at a sink.  In fact, there are many benefits to using universal design techniques, including potential use by aging family members, added resale value appealing to multiple generations, and the fact that you'll be creating a space that can be used by anyone who visits your home, regardless of their range of abilities. Simple universal design updates for aging in place home modifications and handicap bathroom accessibility can include adding grab bars or handrails throughout the home, custom tub to shower conversions, adding a seat within the roll in shower, lowering upper cabinets and counter tops, 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 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 is the bathroom, the kitchen, and the family area.

     Your existing bathroom may feel claustrophobic.  The solution may be to either rearrange the existing space or design a more accessible bathroom which extends beyond the existing bathroom layout.  The second way will give better access for walker or wheelchair turns and approaches to all bathroom fixtures.  You may have to give up a closet, porch, or part of another room to accomplish the best result.  Bigger is always better when mobility devices are being used.

Austin Handicap Remodeling

     Curbless roll in showers are advised for everyone on a universal level and not just for the users of wheelchairs or walkers.  At the very least, observe a low profile shower base of 2" or less in height at the curb to keep people from stepping over into a walk in shower.  The wheelchair accessible or universal designed shower should contain at least a shower wand mounted on a sliding bar to be available for varying heights of use coupled with a regular height fixed shower head. A diverting valve should be used for controlling each head.  Remember you are burying the valves within the walls of the shower so choose high performance brands of fixtures when making your choices.  Folding seats and benches can make your shower more enjoyable and safe. They are also useful if caretakers are involved or temporary assistance is needed.  Secure grab bars withstanding 250 pounds of force located around the shower perimeter  will increase the safety factor and prevent falls.  Grab bars should be installed at 34-36" height above the floor.  Shower niches 48" above the floor will help prevent clutter aiding in fall prevention and safety.  All of the bathroom floor surface must be nonskid to prevent slipping on a guaranteed wet floor. A true ADA compatible roll in shower should be 60"x60" for the total floor area when possible which will provide additional space for caretakers.  A minimum of 48"x48" is a little more cramped but is acceptable by VA guidelines.  If a tub shower conversion will be executed then the depth of the new shower should be no less than 30" clear.

     A glass enclosure will provide a revived look for your new shower.  The more expensive frameless models will bring your bathroom completely up to date.  A single splash panel or wall can be installed toward the shower head wall.  Any shower entrance should be no less than 32" in width but remember wider is better when it comes to accessibility.  Glass is available in many finishes and textures but clear is the most popular choice.

     Lighting in the shower is also very important.  An LED recessed shower can light should be installed in the shower ceiling.  Additionally, concealed colored LED lighting can be used in the shower for mood.  There can never be enough lighting when performing tasks while showering or during clean up.  Light strips or single wall fixtures can be designed around the new framed beveled mirror that you have chosen.  The choice of bulbs utilized is yours for now at least.  Try using dimmers to control your new lighting. 

     Ventilation is so important when planning a bathroom upgrade because of the humidity involved.  Too many times a single 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 above the toilet.  Conditioned air along with adequately sized duct work supplied by your central unit will further accentuate a pleasant feeling within the bath.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     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 among 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.  Professional builders 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 experiences covering a worker's accident while on your property.

     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.

     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.

Download Our Free Aging In Place Remodeling Considerations Checklist

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ADA Compliant Wheelchair Accessible Showers

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, Jan 15, 2019 @ 13:01 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.

Austin wheelchair accessible roll in shower

     The new evolving concept known as Universal Design and specialized handicap remodeling contractors for home remodeling is catching on nation wide and has been for several years as a sign of the times.  By 2019, all the 76 million baby boomers will be age 55 or older at a time when many people are planning for retirement.  Universal design techniques used in building makes a home more accessible to all regardless of their mobility or adaptive abilities. An evolution of new products used for disability home modifications is making those homes more accessible and has finally come about in the remodeling industry.  These new advances in accessible home remodeling in Austin not only keep the living environments safer but will not compromise the home's aesthetics.  Bathrooms can be both functional and attractive when planned with elements like cabinetry that allow someone to sit at a sink.  In fact, there are many benefits to using universal design techniques, including potential use by aging family members, added resale value appealing to multiple generations, and the fact that you'll be creating a space that can be used by anyone who visits your home, regardless of their range of abilities. Simple universal design updates for aging in place home modifications and handicap bathroom accessibility can include adding grab bars or handrails throughout the home, custom tub to shower conversions, adding a seat within the roll in shower, lowering upper cabinets and counter tops, 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 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 is the bathroom, the kitchen, and the family area.

Austin Handicap Remodeling

     Curbless roll in showers are advised for everyone on a universal level and not just for the users of wheelchairs or walkers.  At the very least, observe a low profile shower base of 2" or less in height at the curb to keep people from stepping over into a walk in shower.  The wheelchair accessible or universal designed shower should contain at least a shower wand mounted on a sliding bar to be available for varying heights of use coupled with a regular height fixed shower head. A diverting valve should be used for controlling each head.  Remember you are burying the valves within the walls of the shower so choose high performance brands of fixtures when making your choices.  Folding seats and benches can make your shower more enjoyable and safe. They are also useful if caretakers are involved or temporary assistance is needed.  Secure grab bars withstanding 250 pounds of force located around the shower perimeter  will increase the safety factor and prevent falls.  Grab bars should be installed at 34-36" height above the floor.  Shower niches 48" above the floor will help prevent clutter  aiding in fall prevention and safety.  All of the bathroom floor surface must be nonskid to prevent slipping on a guaranteed wet floor. A true ADA compatible shower should be 60"x60" for the total floor area when possible which will provide additional space for caretakers.  A minimum of 48"x48" is a little more cramped but is acceptable by VA guidelines.  If a tub shower conversion will be executed then the depth of the new shower should be no less than 30" clear.

     A glass enclosure will provide a revived look for your new shower.  The more expensive frameless models will bring your bathroom completely up to date.  A single splash panel or wall can be installed toward the shower head wall.  Any shower entrance should be no less than 32" in width but remember wider is better when it comes to accessibility.  Glass is available in many finishes and textures but clear is the most popular choice.

     Lighting in the shower is also very important.  An LED recessed shower can light should be installed in the shower ceiling.  Additionally, concealed colored LED lighting can be used in the shower for mood.  There can never be enough lighting when performing tasks while showering or during clean up.  Light strips or single wall fixtures can be designed around the new framed beveled mirror that you have chosen.  The choice of bulbs utilized is yours for now at least.  Try using dimmers to control your new lighting. 

     Ventilation is so important when planning a bathroom upgrade because of the humidity involved.  Too many times a single 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 above the toilet.  Conditioned air along with adequately sized duct work supplied by your central unit will further accentuate a pleasant feeling within the bath.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     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 among 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.  Professional builders 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 experiences covering a worker's accident while on your property.

     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.

     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.

Download Our Free Aging In Place Remodeling Considerations Checklist

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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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