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

Kitchen Remodel Near Me

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, May 08, 2018 @ 15:05 PM

    Any kitchen remodeling ideas will need to include a better service or work triangle between the sink, refrigerator, and stove placement.  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 or peninsula.

kitchen remodel Austin

Kitchen Remodeling

    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. 

Principles Of Universal Design

     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.

     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.

    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.

ADA Kitchen Cabinetry

     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. 

      If you have been considering an Austin kitchen remodeling 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 and should be accomplished using Universal Design techniques.  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.  Both kitchen and bath remodels return the greatest result for your ROI.

     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 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 much else.  You get what you pay for with proper planning and by using an experienced and qualified contractor.  T-Square Company has over three decades of kitchen remodeling experience to help you with a design/build kitchen remodeling project.  Call us today to schedule an appointment at 512-444-0097.


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How To Remodel An Austin Kitchen

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, Dec 19, 2017 @ 11:12 AM

     Kitchen remodeling in Austin, Texas like most other cities include many of the same aspects. So what should you consider? Have you decided you need more room? More storage? Are you looking for a complete kitchen makeover? Will you add on to your home?  How will you determine what's needed without some soul searching and research? All are great questions when considering such a costly investment in your home. At least we know that remodeling of both the kitchen and bath reap the most benefits and ROI when it comes time to sell your home. Try and fill in the answers to the questions below for your home using the following steps which will aid you in defining your new kitchen remodel.

Austin Kitchen Remodel

Kitchen Remodeling

     Determine what is needed by first identifying your priorities. Kitchen remodeling ideas are endless.  Consider how you use your kitchen as it pertains to your personal family lifestyle. Consult with everyone you know who has endured a kitchen remodel and pick up on the pointers they recognized in hind sight. Collect a series of favorite photographs and ideas from any and all media collections to construct a scrapbook of sorts.  Your collection will need to be narrowed in scope to fit your situation before the final design is agreed upon for your Austin kitchen remodel.

Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     Start deciding on your budget and determine what the scope of work will be for your kitchen remodel. These variables can only be solved with accurate planning. It is far easier and least costly to perform this step on paper rather than with change orders issued throughout the construction phase. Determine what you would like to see in your new kitchen but most importantly what you can reasonably afford.

     Know that a kitchen remodel is not a DIY situation and that you will need to consult with a residential remodeling professional at some point. Be sure to choose a local qualified kitchen remodeling contractor whose personality and qualifications are agreeable with you personally.  Check out the reviews on the company to find out how clients have responded to their experiences. You are about to undertake a very important short term relationship in your life with someone you may know by reputation only.  The relationship needs to be comfortable and free flowing thus enabling the contractor's creativity level to be at it's highest during your remodeling project. Look at it as a partnership between your needs and the remodeling contractor's abilities.  The use of many finishes must be accommodated for.  His professional remodeling experience will include the capacity to identify many construction limitations and hazards.  These variables underlie the major pitfalls that can be possibly avoided while enabling a remodeling design to come to reality.  Don't forget that you get what you pay for and it certainly isn't about the lowest bid but the remodeling company's integrity and knowledge.  Some CAPS certified remodeling companies have the experience and education to assist you in accomplishing remodeling upgrades that include accessibility or disability issues.  It is important that the job flows between the various trades involved to produce a better final outcome.  This too is a reflection on his remodeling experience for which there is no substitute.

     Concentrate on the kitchen's layout and space planning rather than the way everything will look at the end. Use any means you can think of to mimic the new layout on the floor so you can be sure of the new footprint. Decide on which appliances and fixtures you want to use then figure out where they will be installed. Address any special storage needs that are needed.  Designers and architects can be very helpful at this phase of the design if you cannot visualize the end result. Working with an experienced contractor might also save you on soft costs for the project and enable you to put your money toward the hard construction costs of the project while relying on his experience.

     It's time to determine your finishes and what will stand out most at the end of the project. Make a decision on the type and style of cabinetry you desire and the materials you want for your counter top work surface along with the adjoining back splash material. Settle on a specific sink and fixture that accomplishes your work habits. Don't forget about the island and the function of it's sink. Decide on any specific lighting along with it's location and the appliances you've made a decision on through your research. Pick out your flooring and any special hardware you desire.

     Execute the construction documents needed for obtaining a city construction permit. These will include floor plans, engineering drawings if required, any electrical, mechanical, or plumbing changes, and all research concerning your home's listing with the city.

     Be on board with your professional remodeling company of choice at this time and determine the costs of any subcontractor aspects to finalize the expenditures for your project. Be sure everything is within or below your budget. Remember that kitchen remodeling in Austin, Texas isn't new construction progressing fairly seamlessly from A to Z and there will more than likely be additional charges you hadn't planned for in the beginning.

     Once the construction is ready to begin, finalize all contracts and logistical considerations. If you are going to try and live in the home during construction then you need to plan for everything to be disrupted. Clean out your cabinets and discard the things you haven't used in years.  Decide what needs to be put in storage.  What is the concern for dust protection or a family member's allergies? Setting up a temporary kitchen somewhere else in the home will help during your usual daily grind and don't forget to relocate the refrigerator and coffee pot. If you are fortunate enough to move out then do so to cause less strain on your family and the workers. If you're moving out is there adequate daily access to your home for the workers? What about security?

     As the construction comes to an end begin compiling a punch list for the contractor to address once the project is significantly finished. Things will happen like scratches and scrapes but everything is fixable at the right time.  Do not interrupt the daily work schedule for everyone trying to finish your project unless the matter is critical to the project. Weekly meetings with your residential remodeling contractor should avoid any such problems keeping you up to speed with your project. Everyone involved in your project is a professional working for the remodeling company you chose and can very well take care of any minor touch ups after the main scope of work is complete.

Fine Cabinetry

Kitchen Remodel Austin


Kitchen Remodeling Austin

ADA Kitchen Cabinetry

   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 today for a complete design/build experience for the new kitchen you've longed for.


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Fine Kitchen Cabinets

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, Aug 02, 2011 @ 21:08 PM

     Kitchen remodeling using fine kitchen cabinets has become quite expensive over the years and sometimes people simply run out money at the end of a large project. The unforeseen problems like faulty wiring or plumbing may have absorbed more of the allotted funds than were budgeted and you must make changes in your allowances in order to finish the job.  The quality of desirability of fine kitchen cabinets for that look of a custom job may have to be realized at a later date. Ready made cabinets that you purchase and install yourself can sometimes keep you within a budget and promote the project's completion.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     The mere composition of any new set of fine cabinets used in your Austin kitchen remodel can either make their installation a frustrating experience or aid in the process.  Harder woods like oak, maple, pecan, or hickory can be tougher to deal with because of their hardness.  Drilling holes, cutting, or fitting to a tight tolerance will prove to be a harder task to accomplish when you aren't working on softer woods like pine, cherry, or poplar.  Fastening can also be a problem while using the harder woods requiring pilot holes to be drilled.   When installing the crown molds at the ceiling or the cove moldings in the inside corners where the cabinets meet the wall always use caution and pre-drill when possible to prevent splitting. 

Kitchen Remodeling

     Once you get your new cabinets home open up the boxes and let them stand in the room where they will be installed for some four to six hours.  This will  acclimate the cabinets to your building's temperature and humidity and help prevent the wood from moving once the cabinets are installed.  Don't be surprised if you still have to make some slight adjustments to your new cabinets once they take on their new environment.  Be sure that you go into a stud when screwing on the carcasses through their fastening areas.  This will insure that your new cabinets will stay hung in place and prevent future injuries from a falling wall cabinet.

     Remodeling in Austin, Texas like most other cities includes many of the same aspects.  Be sure to choose a local qualified remodeling contractor whose personality and qualifications are agreeable with you personally.  You are about to undertake a very important short term relationship in your life with someone you may know by reputation only.  The relationship needs to be comfortable and free flowing thus enabling the contractor's creativity level to be at it's highest during your remodeling project. Look at it as a partnership between your needs and the remodeling contractor's abilities.  This is not new construction and the use of the European cabinetry must be accommodated for.  His professional remodeling experience will include his capacity to identify many construction limitations and hazards.   These variables underlie the major pitfalls that can be avoided while enabling a remodeling design to come to reality.  His experience can also aid you in accomplishing remodeling upgrades that include disability issues.  The job needs to flow between the various trades involved to produce a better final outcome.  This too is a reflection on his remodeling experience for which there is no substitute.

Austin Kitchen Remodels

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Bathroom Upgrades

bathroom cabinets Austin, Tx

    Whether you're looking for a local residential construction contractor to accomplish a kitchen remodel or a construction professional to complete an entire gutting and remodel of your entire home including a home office transformation,  the final accenting finishes most likely will include the use of fine cabinetry. The choice between frameless European and Northern face frame cabinetry styles will highlight any design.  


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Fine Cabinetry Austin, Texas

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Thu, Jan 13, 2011 @ 20:01 PM

     If you plan to remodel the ‘food production room’ in your home, then choosing your kitchen cabinets is probably going to be part of the plan. Not surprisingly, kitchen cabinetry is up for scrutiny in terms of the modernization tsunami changing home decor trends in recent times.

     Modern cabinets are breaking away from the ornate design found in traditional cabinet styling, rather reflecting minimal trends such as simple, clean design features. Streamlining and modernizing kitchen cabinetry or the storage cabinets used in bathroom transformations works in tandem with other kitchen or bathroom furnishings.  The use of new-age quartz countertops with complimentary glass tile backsplashes is becoming the norm.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     To the untrained eye a cabinet is just a box within a given space that fulfills a storage need.  But have you ever taken the time to look closer at the cabinet's makeup beyond the cost?   Before investing your hard earned money into cabinetry for a fine bathroom or kitchen upgrade take some time to get acquainted with the cabinet's parts and pieces.

     Cabinets are like anything else in our lives and sometimes we can be deceived by the bells and whistles the cabinet manufacturers want us all to see.  They create a sense of false quality for the consumer by blinding them with noticeably concealing finishes  masking the innermost important aspect of the cabinets general makeup.  In the North American face frame cabinet type the use of hardwood stiles and rails covered by hardwood cabinet doors fills the bill.  The most important weight bearing carcass sides, the top, and bottom or floor in a base cabinet are buried by the outer window dressing. The makeup of these aspects  is not aesthetic but structural.  These are the parts that sit perpendicular to the floor holding up the cabinet top and whatever is upon it.  They may cut this expense by using 1/2" or 5/8" thick matrix materials like MDF or particle board and covering these with a vinyl similar to shelf paper that creates "picture wood"of any wood species.  The European frameless cabinet types are generally covered entirely in a thin plastic exterior as in the case of melamine which covers up the particle board insides.  Check out the picture below representing how a simple plumbing leak creating melamine failure has lead to an entire cabinet replacement.  This customer had no choice!

     Our kitchens are no longer the "Orphan Annie’s” of our homes. This space now integrates with the rest of the home, and beautifully remodeled kitchens now serve as the main meeting space for our friends and families. You can even have wireless built into the kitchen cabinetry to power up all manner of gadgetry. It all goes to prove that kitchen cabinet design trends are moving in line with advances in technology, and why not – kitchens are the hearts of our homes.

melamine failure in Eurropean cabinets in Austin, Texas

     Their next trick is to associate quality cabinet type buzzwords like dovetail jointed drawers, European concealed cup hinges or other specialty hardware, special finishes or paints, and hardwood trim with faces as mentioned above.

Fine Cabinetry

     Fine cabinetry Austin, Texas consists of an entire 3/4" plywood carcass with a 1/4" plywood back.  The plywood gives you some moisture protection against a leaking sink drain trap or faulty supply line or stop valve.  European frameless cabinets can be painted on the interior using oil base enamels then covering all the visible exterior surfaces plus the doors and drawer fronts along with their edges with any choice of high pressure plastic laminate.  North American face frame cabinets can either be painted or stained and finished with polyurethane.  The finish on the plywood makes even more less vulnerable to moisture problems. 

bathroom cabinetry Austin, Texas

Bathroom Remodeling Austin

Austin kitchen remodel

Austin kitchen remodel

Kitchen Remodeling

     Don't get sucked into thinking that quality is behind the brightest glowing box on the sales floor and never forget that you get what you pay for in this life especially where cabinetry is concerned.  Do your homework!

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