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

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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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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Bathroom Remodeling Contractors Austin, TX

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Wed, Aug 07, 2019 @ 13:08 PM

     If you have been considering a fine bathroom makeover or remodeling project in Austin there are a few things you should take into consideration.  Bathroom makeovers in Austin, Texas can take on many looks and facets.  The scope of work you choose to accomplish your bathroom transformation should effectively solve your problems and most importantly, your needs as the home owner.  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.  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.  Bathroom remodeling contractors Austin, Texas can provide you with answers to your much thought about questions.

Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     Just look at the different types of housing represented throughout Austin and the surrounding areas.  Smaller homes, cottages, sprawling historical town homes surrounded by architecturally pleasing fences, rustic ranch homes, Macmansions, and sleek high rise condominiums are just a few examples of the structures that define Austin's diverse housing landscape. Economic situations along with personal preference formulates where we choose to live in a town with such diversity.       Most people remember how the old style bathtub/shower combination was a standard part of any bathroom design.  Some residential showering areas were enclosed using the multicolored vinyl shower curtain option while others had bipassing or sliding shower doors on tracks.  The doors were framed with either chrome or gold colored aluminum matching the sliding tracks.  Modern bathroom designs have become much more sophisticated because the many available bathroom products are easier to be discovered by the homeowner.  There are millions of pictures representing fine bathroom upgrades or bathroom remodeling all across the internet.

    Certainly there are many upgrades available when planning a bathroom remodel.  A custom tub shower conversion can create a bold  look but will run you around $11,000.  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 suite remodel.  The type of fixtures and building components chosen along with the labor will compose the overall cost of the remodeling project.

Bathroom Remodeling Austin

     Keep in mind that moving plumbing, especially drains, is one of the more expensive aspects of a fine bathroom makeover involving floor demolition.  If you can limit and control the costs involved with this issue you will have more money to spend on the things that show off your endeavors.  Changing water supply line locations for a custom tub shower conversion is not as difficult as moving drains especially when they go into the main drainage system that resides underneath the finished floor.

     Proper lighting is always an important aspect to be installed during a bathroom remodel.  It can be broken down by task.  Recessed cylindrical can lighting is used today to provide the overall luminescence for the room.  Trims with lenses can be installed above baths and showers by code to brighten darker areas.  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 creating mood. 

     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.

      Bathroom plumbing fixture choices are numerous to say the least.  Select reputable companies offering the best warranties especially when considering finishes used on control valve trims and the fixtures installed in the project.   Larger walk in shower designs should have seamless fiberglass liners to avoid leaks if the house ever shifts.  Using natural stone or glass tiles while additionally designing in glass blocks will certainly be an upgrade.  As for the new walk in shower design, you can design the space to not need a door for splash protection or you can take the route of a clean looking frameless glass shower enclosure.   This will surely set you back at least $900.  The end result will be a sophisticated  clean look of beauty enclosing your new shower.  Whether the door sits upon a curb or you have a specific need for a curbless situation you will be satisfied with your choice.

      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.  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 experiences 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 issues.

     T-Square Company is a design/build remodeling contractor specializing in bathroom and kitchen remodels for over three decades in Austin.  Our CAPS certification helps provide accessibility to our clients with special needs because we have the knowledge and experience to work with.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

 

 Austin Bathroom Remodels

bathroom remodel Austin, TX

Bathroom Remodels

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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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Wheelchair Accessible Remodeling In Austin, Texas

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, May 08, 2018 @ 09:05 AM

    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 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.

roll in shower 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.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

T-Square Company offers accessible wheelchair design in Austin

 

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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Austin Home Additions

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Thu, Apr 26, 2018 @ 12:04 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 modifications 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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