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 Austin, Texas

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Thu, Aug 29, 2019 @ 16:08 PM

     When it finally becomes apparent  that your existing home no longer fits the needs of your family,  it's time to reach out for professional help.  Whether you're looking for a local residential remodeling contractor in Austin, Texas 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 practically any design.   Choosing the correct wood species can further add to the richness of the job.  Then there are those needed additions for a growing or multi-generational families that must blend with your home without being noticed.

Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

Kitchen Remodeling

      To begin with, 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 of the home.  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 fit the 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.

     Any kitchen remodel will need to produce 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 but islands can also be incorporated into the design to increase the efficiency.  The prep sink within the island can become it's own focal point of the work triangle displacing 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, wine storage, and dough board pullouts are just a few of the many useful aspects that can be incorporated into the island.

      Living with a dysfunctional bathroom layout reduces the total feeling of relaxation your master bath is capable of providing.   During those much deserved private moments you long for your bathroom's surroundings to provide both luxury and function.  There isn't adequate lighting for the many daily personal duties like applying makeup.   There needs to be adequate ventilation so you don't always feel as though you are housed in a "sweat box" while getting dressed. The outdated plate mirror extending from your vanity top's splash upward toward the drywall furrdown above has never been a design you thank the world of. You have always disliked that box above housing the poorly illuminating fluorescent tube lamps that are concealed by the yellowing plastic diffusing panel.  You are sick and tired of the poor storage facilities inherited when you purchased your home.  The height of the vanity is out of line according to your needs and it is also inadequate for your storage needs.  The existing cabinet layout contains unusable drawers beginning to come off their tracks and the cabinet doors have their own particular issues.  Your cabinets are either too deep to access what they contain or their storage capabilities have been limited by their total improper design.  What were those guys thinking?  What's more the out of fashion ceramic tiles are either partly missing or they are totally the wrong color for the day along with the colors within the rest of the room.  Having improperly working plumbing fixtures that are now also antiquated with their own set of problems is yet another quandary within itself.  The fixtures themselves can also be finished in a color that is long out of style.  So what do you do?
Handicap Home Modifications

     It is well past time to undergo a fine bathroom upgrade and makeover.  Bathroom remodeling can either be a pain or a pleasant experience according to the participants involved.  Bathroom remodeling in Austin, Texas like most other cities includes many of the same aspects.  Be sure to choose a qualified residential construction 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.  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 making a bathroom remodeling design come into reality.  His experience can also aid you in accomplishing bathroom upgrades that include disability issues.  Accessibility is what the project is about anyway.  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.

     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. 

     Colors for bathrooms today are natural and earthy creating a calming effect.  Accents of color reflected from the tiles, paint, fixtures, and woodwork are used to make things a little more interesting compared to the room's overall vanilla tones within your design.  Help is just a phone call away but be sure the one who answers has the qualified experience you need for completing your new bathroom transformation.

Bathroom Remodels

Home Remodeling In Austin

home remodeling Austin, Texas

 

     T-Square Company is a local General Contracting firm and builder with over 35 years of experience.  Our design/build services can show you how to make your dreams come true in a seamless manner.  Call us at 512-444-0097 today to find out how we can make your living environment better for you and your family.  We are CAPS certified to help our clients with special needs.

 

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What Is Universal Design?

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, Aug 27, 2019 @ 14:08 PM

    Universal design refers to broad-spectrum ideas meant to produce buildings, products and environments that are inherently accessible to older people, people without disabilities and people with disabilities. Universal Design adaptations have a broad market appeal to everyone for achieving ease of use, safety, and convenience accommodating a certain reality. The reality is that all people exist along a continuum of human performance as per their personal traits and characteristics regardless of their age. A universal approach to design takes into account that everyone has varying degrees of ability and disability rather than someone is either fully-functional or disabled. A universal design approach is appealing to all users no matter their age, size, or physical well being. Universal Design is important because our current design standards for housing do not address the design needs of more than one third of our population.  Too often the designers of homes allow the built environment to define the capabilities of the resident.  Universal Design allows for our antiquated architecture to be defined by both our changing human needs and abilities.

Principles Of Universal Design

     There are seven criteria or principles which must be met to be considered a universal design no matter which area of the home you are referring to. Any design must be equally useful to everyone, have flexibility in it's usefulness, be simple and intuitive, be perceived by everyone, have a tolerance for error, require little physical effort, and it must maintain an adequate area for approach and use. Any complexity or discriminating attribute to a design will doom it in terms of  being considered universal in nature. However what better way can you improve on a home's total visitability by everyone? Universal Design is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.

 

Bathroom Using Universal Design Techniques

     Whether you refer to this revolution in housing today as accessible design, inclusive design, or universal design it is all about making a home safe, attractive, and easy to use for all of the inhabitants. It has nothing to do with the age, agility, or status of life for anyone living within the home. The main intent of this way of thinking is to be sure the inhabitants are able to enjoy their home throughout their entire lifetime utilizing the universal design principles which have been designed into their home when it was built. This way aging in place can be accomplished without the expense and hassle of having to make periodic changes to the home to meet a person's ever changing physical needs. You can plan for all stages of your life cycle with some fore thought which, once discovered, you find is just common sense. Even if you are in perfect health you can be disrupted by a minor mishap. A more serious injury can change things forever when you no longer have all your abilities.

     Universal Design principles do not equate to accessibility design even though they both are concerned with ergonomics and human function issues. The ADA guidelines for accessibility were created as a means to help those people with extreme disabilities within our society who are a narrow and specific cross section of the masses. A UD approach broadly takes into account moderate impairments or disabilities, temporary health conditions, and the varying abilities of anyone within a home regardless of their age or size. In other words, an ADA accessible home would be designed for the one person with the disability whereas a UD home is designed for everyone and should be used with any custom tub shower conversion.

     Home 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 and safety of another generation's independence. As we age, our society is beginning to realize that our homes need to accommodate future life changes. The aging in place phenomena deals with home modifications to existing homes while a universal design home would hardly ever need to address these abrupt issues even though we cannot solve all the future issues for everyone. Everyone ages differently and has their own list of specific needs.

Universal Design Techniques

     A sensible checklist for a home concerning Universal Design would include but is not limited to:

1. Limiting stairs while avoiding sunken rooms or multi-story floor plans with raised entrances

2. Automating lighting while controlling groups of lighting throughout the home

3. Including natural lighting through doors, windows, and skylights

4. Using multiple shower heads in the shower with rain, conventional and hand held units

5. Incorporate curbless showers into the design of your bathroom for ease of entering no matter if a wheelchair is ever involved

6. When deciding on your faucets, door handles, or cabinet pulls always pass the closed fist test for operation

7. Use nonslip flooring especially in wet areas using cork or smaller floor tiles which in turn increase the grout lines

8. Create a correct kitchen work area with the shortest distance between the stove, sink, and refrigerator as possible

9. Provide accessible lower storage in base cabinets storing the most used items on pull out shelving or in drawers

10. Lower your upper cabinets to 15" above your 34" universal cabinet top

11. Leave at least 42" between your cabinets when 48" is much better

12. Have multiple height cabinet tops to double as work surfaces for those who are seated or other little helpers in the kitchen

Universal design ideas do not strictly deal with accessibility or aging in place design and does not implement precise ADA standards but it does offer flexibility to add accessories now and later to those planning ahead or to the end user. It also provides for a wide range of human performance characteristics for the way people use spaces within their homes including well integrated usability features. These adaptations have a broad market appeal to everyone for achieving ease of use, safety, and convenience accommodating a certain reality. That reality is that all people exist along a continuum of human performance as per their personal traits and characteristics regardless of their age. A universal approach to design takes into account that everyone has varying degrees of ability and disability rather than someone is either fully-functional or disabled. A universal design build project is appealing to all users.

Aging in place home modifications are available through T-Square Company in Austin. Each universal design/build situation will be customized to fit your personal needs. Call 512-444-0097 today to begin to prepare for the accessible second chapter of your life while remaining safe and secure in your existing home.

CAPS 1636580

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

 

 

 

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Bathtub Remodeling Near You

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Fri, Aug 23, 2019 @ 12:08 PM

     Even if you only use your tub to wash the dog or wash your mini-blinds, most real estate agents are adamant about having at least one bathtub in your house to preserve marketability. A recent Houzz poll agrees, with 58% of respondents claiming, "you'll never sell that house without a tub." However, bathtub to shower conversions are very popular for many households. Whether you are looking for a safer alternative to climbing over a tall bathtub wall or simply want to create a more sophisticated style in your bathroom many designs are available without extensive remodeling.

     If your current bathroom is unsafe or if you find it inconvenient you may need to consider a complete bathroom remodel. Then you can build in ease of use, and you can add safety features that address slips and falls, and other concerns as you age. This is especially important if you live alone. A fall in the shower or the bathroom can be a devastating and frightening experience. Sometimes it's possible to address these problems by making significant changes. These can include options like adding a monitored alarm system to alert people to a fall or removing the bathtub and installing a large, low or zero threshold shower with slip resistant porcelain floor tiles.

Bathroom Remodel Austin, Texas

Tub To Shower Conversions

     If your old tub is in an alcove, you can remove it and be left with a space that's about 30 to 34 inches deep and 5 feet wide. This is an adequate space for a shower. With some minor modifications, your water supply and drain lines will already be in place, saving you money on plumbing costs. With some limited framing alterations, you can enjoy future shampoo niches, folding seats, and grab bar placement. The floor of your shower has a lot to do with the style and cost of your tub to shower remodel. You have a choice of two basic types of pan: one contains water with curbs that you step over as you enter while the other recessed type is curbless. Liners or pans beneath the floor tile can be composed of either a custom fiberglass application or the proper vinyl material. Waterproofing is the most important aspect of shower building and all precautions must be taken.  One piece above the slab shower bases can solve any future problems that might arise using any type of shower pan.  These can be equipped with add on ramps for wheelchair access if the floor slab construction will not allow lowering the shower floor for roll in capability. Prefab fiberglass sides are the cheapest way to complete the shower; but, a custom tiled unit will have better resale value even though it is more costly.

     If you're a homeowner and contemplating aging in place the main area you'll need to consider is the bathroom. Accessible showers should be a part of any aging in place bathroom remodeling project. Even if your middle aged and planning for the future, an accessible shower is a smart investment because they can be built to be usable by anyone including those in a wheelchair. These showers are designed to provide for a person's safety in the shower by utilizing design elements like no or zero step entries, grab bars, non-slip flooring and more. A properly and fully designed bathroom will incorporate these and other features. This is called Universal Design, and the principal includes accessibility, hardware, and materials. This building technique works to help create a safe showering experience for people of all abilities and ages. If you're planning a bathroom remodel to aging in place, it is a different type of remodeling than one undertaken for merely aesthetic purposes. That's not to say that aging in place bathroom remodeling can't be aesthetically beautiful. It simply means that the choices you make will incorporate safety and independence for aging homeowners along with ease of use. For older homeowners, a walk in or low threshold shower is a smart choice. Both the lower threshold and the shower entry width are mutually important for accessibility. This will allow those using any mobile device like a wheelchair or walker to safely enter the shower.

     Certainly there are many upgrades available when planning a bathroom transformation.  A custom tub shower conversion for the replacement of the tub with a new walk in or roll in shower can create a bold  look but will run you around $13,000.  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

     The fastest growing segment of the residential remodeling industry is home modifications for aging in place and ADA accessibility. 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 here at T-Square Company know that quality and customer service has always been at the heart of our mission. We often go above and beyond making sure your new shower meets all your requirements for luxury, style, functionality, and safety. To get the process of replacing your old tub with a beautiful new shower started today, just give us a call at 512-444-0097 or fill out one of our online contact forms to request a free no obligation consultation.  We offer a complete design/build service to our customers.

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Bathroom Remodel Contractor

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Wed, Aug 07, 2019 @ 15:08 PM

     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 bypassing 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 kitchen remodeling all across the internet.

Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

Tub To Shower Conversions

Tub to shower conversion in Austin

     Young Austin homeowners are always looking for ways to bring their existing older home's bathrooms up to date.  Bathroom remodels for these smaller baths can incorporate a number of the items listed above in moderation to fit any budget.  Using beautiful ceramic tiles in an interesting design, updating plumbing fixtures, and the use of neutral colors can create a small bathroom with a "wow" factor. It is quite possible to produce a small but charmingly remodeled bath on a budget.  A project that is affordable plus the fact that it will add resale value to your home cannot be denied.  Check out all the options before committing to a plan and then stick to it.  Always hire a local and professional builder.  Remember that producing change orders because no one thought of "that" can be expensive. Create the style for your Austin bathroom remodel that best gives you a feeling of pride! 

     What about the costs involved?  In general, typically projects undergoing Austin bathroom remodeling can run you about $16,000.  However a large master bathroom makeover can push up your budget to around $26,000 as an average.  Don't forget that these are average costs and the client is limited only by their bank account totals.  Just the conversion of a tub into a walk in shower design can set you back around $9,000 as a good medium price range.  But what makes the costs appear so expensive?  Basically time, the difficulty of the job and the actual labor costs performed by all the trades involved plus the expenses for purchasing the products chosen to complete the project.

     If you are benefited by having a larger space to deal with there will be increased costs due to the larger area to finish -as in more tiles for a bigger area and the labor to install them.  Your costs may go down per square foot but you are certainly dealing with more square feet and increased costs.  You need to consider that plumbers, electricians, tile setters, framers, drywall workers, carpenters, and insulation installers, just to name a few trades, will be involved in your bathroom remodel.  Now how about the demolition that will be involved before the actual construction begins?  Sometimes the preparations behind the scenes take longer than building the new bathroom remodel itself.  Perhaps there isn't enough water volume to supply your chosen bathroom fixtures requiring a pipe to be upgraded or there just isn't sufficient fall for a gravity drain to work naturally that necessitates a lift pump system be installed.  What are the new electrical requirements and layout and do these require dedicated or GFI circuits and will the existing electrical panel handle the new circuit breakers?

Bathroom Remodeling Austin

     Considering a new walk in shower design?   You can design the space so it doesn't require 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 $700.  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.

    Let's say your tile choices include glass and marble instead of ceramic or porcelain and you choose to accent your bath with a glass block design.  All these premium finishing choices will drive up your project's bottom line well above the averaged costs mentioned above as a rule of thumb.

     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.

Tub To Shower Conversions

     Fine cabinetry is a must for any bathroom makeover.  As for the vanity, you can work your way down from the upgraded cabinet top that has been installed at the correct height for you.  The vanity should have adequately accessible storage satisfying your needs.  Incorporating  easy operating and properly sized drawers and pull out shelves within the design can be very beneficial.  Linen, medicine, and "over the potty" wall cabinets need to be well thought out. The correct species of wood used for the construction of your fine cabinetry and the style of you cabinet doors are two very important factors to consider.  Remember, you do have a choice and you are going to be looking at these new cabinets for a while.

     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. 

     Colors for bathrooms today are natural and earthy creating a calming effect.  Accents of color reflected from the tiles, paint, fixtures, and woodwork are used to make things a little more interesting compared to the room's overall vanilla tones within your design.  Help is just a phone call away but be sure the one who answers has the qualified experience you need for completing your new bathroom transformation.

Bathroom Remodel Contractor

bathroom remodel in Austin

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Principles Of Universal Design

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Fri, Jun 15, 2018 @ 12:06 PM

    Universal design refers to broad-spectrum ideas meant to produce buildings, products and environments that are inherently accessible to older people, people without disabilities and people with disabilities. Universal Design adaptations have a broad market appeal to everyone for achieving ease of use, safety, and convenience accommodating a certain reality. The reality is that all people exist along a continuum of human performance as per their personal traits and characteristics regardless of their age. A universal approach to design takes into account that everyone has varying degrees of ability and disability rather than someone is either fully-functional or disabled. A universal design approach is appealing to all users no matter their age, size, or physical well being. Universal Design is important because our current design standards for housing do not address the design needs of more than one third of our population.  Too often the designers of homes allow the built environment to define the capabilities of the resident.  Universal Design allows for our antiquated architecture to be defined by both our changing human needs and abilities.

Principles Of Universal Design

     There are seven criteria or principles which must be met to be considered a universal design no matter which area of the home you are referring to. Any design must be equally useful to everyone, have flexibility in it's usefulness, be simple and intuitive, be perceived by everyone, have a tolerance for error, require little physical effort, and it must maintain an adequate area for approach and use. Any complexity or discriminating attribute to a design will doom it in terms of  being considered universal in nature. However what better way can you improve on a home's total visitability by everyone? Universal Design is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.

 

ADA Compatible Kitchen

     Whether you refer to this revolution in housing today as accessible design, inclusive design, or universal design it is all about making a home safe, attractive, and easy to use for all of the inhabitants. It has nothing to do with the age, agility, or status of life for anyone living within the home. The main intent of this way of thinking is to be sure the inhabitants are able to enjoy their home throughout their entire lifetime utilizing the universal design principles which have been designed into their home when it was built. This way aging in place can be accomplished without the expense and hassle of having to make periodic changes to the home to meet a person's ever changing physical needs. You can plan for all stages of your life cycle with some fore thought which, once discovered, you find is just common sense. Even if you are in perfect health you can be disrupted by a minor mishap. A more serious injury can change things forever when you no longer have all your abilities.

     Universal Design principles do not equate to accessibility design even though they both are concerned with ergonomics and human function issues. The ADA guidelines for accessibility were created as a means to help those people with extreme disabilities within our society who are a narrow and specific cross section of the masses. A UD approach broadly takes into account moderate impairments or disabilities, temporary health conditions, and the varying abilities of anyone within a home regardless of their age or size. In other words, an ADA accessible home would be designed for the one person with the disability whereas a UD home is designed for everyone and should be used with any custom tub shower conversion.

     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 and safety of another generation's independence. As we age, our society is beginning to realize that our homes need to accommodate future life changes. The aging in place phenomena deals with home modifications to existing homes while a universal design home would hardly ever need to address these abrupt issues even though we cannot solve all the future issues for everyone. Everyone ages differently and has their own list of specific needs.

     A sensible checklist for a home concerning Universal Design would include but is not limited to:

1. Limiting stairs while avoiding sunken rooms or multi-story floor plans with raised entrances

2. Automating lighting while controlling groups of lighting throughout the home

3. Including natural lighting through doors, windows, and skylights

4. Using multiple shower heads in the shower with rain, conventional and hand held units

5. Incorporate curbless showers into the design of your bathroom for ease of entering no matter if a wheelchair is ever involved

6. When deciding on your faucets, door handles, or cabinet pulls always pass the closed fist test for operation

7. Use nonslip flooring especially in wet areas using cork or smaller floor tiles which in turn increase the grout lines

8. Create a correct kitchen work area with the shortest distance between the stove, sink, and refrigerator as possible

9. Provide accessible lower storage in base cabinets storing the most used items on pull out shelving or in drawers

10. Lower your upper cabinets to 15" above your 34" universal cabinet top

11. Leave at least 42" between your cabinets when 48" is much better

12. Have multiple height cabinet tops to double as work surfaces for those who are seated or other little helpers in the kitchen

Universal design ideas do not strictly deal with accessibility or aging in place design and does not implement precise ADA standards but it does offer flexibility to add accessories now and later to those planning ahead or to the end user. It also provides for a wide range of human performance characteristics for the way people use spaces within their homes including well integrated usability features. These adaptations have a broad market appeal to everyone for achieving ease of use, safety, and convenience accommodating a certain reality. That reality is that all people exist along a continuum of human performance as per their personal traits and characteristics regardless of their age. A universal approach to design takes into account that everyone has varying degrees of ability and disability rather than someone is either fully-functional or disabled. A universal design build project is appealing to all users.

Aging in place home modifications are available through T-Square Company in Austin. Each universal design/build situation will be customized to fit your personal needs. Call 512-444-0097 today to begin to prepare for the accessible second chapter of your life while remaining safe and secure in your existing home.

CAPS 1636580

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

 

 

 

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Universal Design Principles

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Mon, May 21, 2018 @ 16:05 PM

    There are seven criteria which must be met to be considered a universal design no matter which area of the home you are referring to. Any design must be equally useful to everyone, have flexibility in it's usefulness, be simple and intuitive, be perceived by everyone, have a tolerance for error, require little physical effort, and it must maintain an adequate area for approach and use. Any complexity or discriminating attribute to a design will doom it in terms of  being considered universal in nature. However what better way can you improve on a home's total visitability? Universal Design is the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.

Universal design bathroom

     Whether you refer to this revolution in housing today as accessible design, inclusive design, or universal design it is all about making a home safe, attractive, and easy to use for all of the inhabitants. It has nothing to do with the age, agility, or status of life for anyone living within the home. The main intent of this way of thinking is to be sure the inhabitants are able to enjoy their home throughout their entire lifetime utilizing the universal design principles which have been designed into their home when it was built. This way aging in place can be accomplished without the expense and hassle of having to make periodic changes to the home to meet a person's ever changing physical needs. You can plan for all stages of your life cycle with some fore thought which, once discovered, you find is just common sense. Even if you are in perfect health you can be disrupted by a minor mishap. A more serious injury can change things forever when you no longer have all your abilities.

Principles Of Universal Design

     Universal Design principles do not equate to accessibility design even though they both are concerned with ergonomics and human function issues. The ADA guidelines for accessibility were created as a means to help those people with extreme disabilities within our society who are a narrow and specific cross section of the masses. A UD approach broadly takes into account moderate impairments or disabilities, temporary health conditions, and the varying abilities of anyone within a home regardless of their age or size. In other words, an ADA accessible home would be designed for the one person with the disability whereas a UD home is designed for everyone and should be used with any custom tub shower conversion.

     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 and safety of another generation's independence. As we age, our society is beginning to realize that our homes need to accommodate future life changes. The aging in place phenomena deals with home modifications to existing homes while a universal design home would hardly ever need to address these abrupt issues even though we cannot solve all the future issues for everyone. Everyone ages differently and has their own list of specific needs.

     A sensible checklist for a home concerning Universal Design would include but is not limited to:

1. Limiting stairs while avoiding sunken rooms or multi-story floor plans with raised entrances

2. Automating lighting while controlling groups of lighting throughout the home

3. Including natural lighting through doors, windows, and skylights

4. Using multiple shower heads in the shower with rain, conventional and hand held units

5. Incorporate curbless showers into the design of your bathroom for ease of entering no matter if a wheelchair is ever involved

6. When deciding on your faucets, door handles, or cabinet pulls always pass the closed fist test for operation

7. Use nonslip flooring especially in wet areas using cork or smaller floor tiles which in turn increase the grout lines

8. Create a correct kitchen work area with the shortest distance between the stove, sink, and refrigerator as possible

9. Provide accessible lower storage in base cabinets storing the most used items on pull out shelving or in drawers

10. Lower your upper cabinets to 15" above your 34" universal cabinet top

11. Leave at least 42" between your cabinets when 48" is much better

12. Have multiple height cabinet tops to double as work surfaces for those who are seated or other little helpers in the kitchen

Universal design ideas do not strictly deal with accessibility or aging in place design and does not implement precise ADA standards but it does offer flexibility to add accessories now and later to those planning ahead or to the end user. It also provides for a wide range of human performance characteristics for the way people use spaces within their homes including well integrated usability features. These adaptations have a broad market appeal to everyone for achieving ease of use, safety, and convenience accommodating a certain reality. That reality is that all people exist along a continuum of human performance as per their personal traits and characteristics regardless of their age. A universal approach to design takes into account that everyone has varying degrees of ability and disability rather than someone is either fully-functional or disabled. A universal design build project is appealing to all users.

Aging in place home modifications are available through T-Square Company in Austin. Each universal design/build situation will be customized to fit your personal needs. Call 512-444-0097 today to begin to prepare for the accessible second chapter of your life while remaining safe and secure in your existing home.

CAPS 1636580

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

 

 

 

Tags: residential construction contractor, aging in place home modifications, wheelchair accessible baths and kitchens, handicap home modifications, CAPS certified remodeling in Austin, aging in place remodels, handicap accessible bathrooms, accessible home remodeling, Austin bathroom remodel, kitchen remodeling ideas, aging in place specialist, aging in place services, certified aging in place specialist, independent living in Austin Texas, disability home modifications in Austin, Austin elder construction, bathroom remodeling contractor Austin Texas, bathroom remodeling Austin Texas, handicap home modifications for disabled, handicap remodeling contractors, bathroom modifications for disabled, renovation contractor in Austin, texas, home modifications Austin, Texas, residential remodeling contractor in Austin, bathroom accessibility remodels in Austin, accessibility remodelers in Austin, residential remodeling company in Austin, Texas, accessibility designs Austin Texas, house remodeling Austin, Texas, home modifications for independent living Austin, universal design/build, universal design ideas, universal design/build ideas, Austin senior living solutions, Austin accessible home remodeling, certified aging in place consultant in Austin, aging in place specialist in Austin, age in place home design, why is aging in place important, universal designbuilding for the future, what is universal design, home remodeling contractor near Austin, Texas, residential general contractor Austin, Texas, remodeling companies in Austin TX, home accessibility help in Austin, home remodeling for disabled in Austin Texas, wheelchair accessible home remodeling in Austin, bathroom remodel Austin, kitchen remodeling company in Austin Texas, universal design kitchen ideas, universal design remodeling techniques, universal design remodeling contractor, universal design building contractor, why is universal design important, universal design principles

Custom Walk In Shower In Austin

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, May 08, 2018 @ 12:05 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 this feat 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 and is extremely important.  The way your home is structurally altered to accomplish these needs is the job of the professional remodeling contractor.  Universal design 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 restroom.  CAPS professionals in the remodeling industry can help with solutions in solving these Aging In Place issues to increase home access.

custom walk in shwer in Austin

     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 by-passing or sliding shower doors on silver 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.

Principles Of Universal Design

     Living with a dysfunctional bathroom layout reduces the total feeling of relaxation your master bath is capable of providing.   During those much deserved private moments you long for your bathroom's surroundings to provide both luxury and function.  There isn't adequate lighting for the many daily personal duties like applying makeup.   There needs to be adequate ventilation so you don't always feel as though you are housed in a "sweat box" while getting dressed. The outdated plate mirror extending from your vanity top's splash upward toward the drywall furrdown above has never been a design you thank the world of. You have always disliked that box above housing the poorly illuminating fluorescent tube lamps that are concealed by the yellowing plastic fluorescent light panel.  You are sick and tired of the poor storage facilities inherited when you purchased your home.  The height of the vanity is out of line according to your needs and it is also inadequate for your storage needs.  The existing cabinet layout contains unusable drawers beginning to come off their tracks and the cabinet doors have their own particular issues.  Your cabinets are either too deep to access what they contain or their storage capabilities have been limited by their total improper design.  What were those guys thinking?  What's more the out of fashion ceramic tiles are either partly missing or they are totally the wrong color for the day along with the colors within the rest of the room.  Having improperly working plumbing fixtures that are now also antiquated with their own set of problems is yet another quandary within itself.  The fixtures themselves can also be finished in a color that is long out of style.  So what do you do?

Bathroom Remodeling Austin

     If deleting the tub during a custom tub shower conversion to create a custom walk in shower design is your choice then you have a few options to consider.  Do you wall in two thirds of the width of the old tub placing the new door away from the shower head?   This new wall can be tiled in to match the shower.   Using natural stone or glass tiles will certainly be an upgrade for any Austin bathroom remodel. Do you desire a more expensive frameless door set beside a glass panel?  The enclosed shower can incorporate a couple of shampoo niches for convenience and clutter removal. The designs are limited only by your imagination and how you want the final product to turn out.  Be sure that all your research is justified and don't try to cram too much into your new bathroom remodel.  A good design is one that can come into being with the least time spent on alterations and additional costs.

     If you have the luxury of combining the tub and nearby shower areas into one large custom walk in or accessible handicap shower design your problem will be taking full advantage of the larger spatial situation.  A huge shower area is just that if it isn't efficient at using the new enlarged space. Remember that multiple heads like rain and body sprays require more water volume and this can only be accomplished by re-plumbing the water supply lines increasing their diameters from the 1/2" pipes commonly supplying baths.  Seats can also be incorporated into the design process and must be no taller than eighteen inches high.  Tiled niches recessed into the existing wall studs are a great place for shampoos and body washes.  Corner shelves are a good idea if they are out of the way.  Hooks and hangers for towels and wash cloths must be installed for efficiency and not be in the way of traffic or in a place to harm yourself once your eyes are closed fighting soap invasion.  Glass block designs can be used as a means of obtaining natural light through shower demising walls with individual installations or as a complete splash wall dividing the wet area from the rest of the bathroom.  This type of wall can be either straight or curved according to your preference.

     Redoing or enlarging your existing shower can also give you a feeling of comfort.  You can incorporate any entrance situation from walk in to roll in thresholds and you are only limited by space.  You will still have the feeling of a satisfactory bathroom remodel once everything is clean and new even if your new shower is the same size you started with.  Austin bathroom remodeling should involve multiple shower head combinations in multiple locations within the shower to fit anyone's desires. Rain heads coming out of the ceiling, body sprays coming out of the walls in many locations, or hand held units attached to the shower walls can be very practical.  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 utilize your bathing environment. 

Tub To Shower Conversions

     Keep in mind that moving plumbing, especially drains, is one of the more expensive aspects of a fine bathroom makeover. It always involves floor demolition.   Changing water supply line placement for new faucet locations is not as difficult as moving drains which rely on gravity flow for function.

Custom Walk In Showers in Austin

     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 wheelchair accessible 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.  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.

Glass Block Designs

     After choosing your residential construction contractor you should never pay for everything up front.  Payments should be associated with aspects of the job and you should always get something for your money.  Soft costs like designs, permits, or fees can be paid in advance to get the project rolling plus any custom made entities or materials ordered and stocked on the job sight.  Never let the contractor draw ahead of what is actually happening no matter how much you are caught up in the building process.  Paying for a little overhead to a legitimate construction professional will generally cost more but usually saves you a lot in the long run.  It's not always about the cheapest bid because you'll always get what you pay for. Get every aspect of the job in writing and both you and the chosen residential construction contractor must sign the document for it to be a binding contract.

  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.

 

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Bathroom Remodel Austin

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, May 08, 2018 @ 11:05 AM

    Young Austin homeowners are always looking for ways to bring their existing older home's bathrooms up to date.  Bathroom remodels for these smaller baths can incorporate a number of the items listed above in moderation to fit any budget.  Using beautiful ceramic tiles in an interesting design, updating plumbing fixtures, and the use of neutral colors can create a small bathroom with a "wow" factor. It is quite possible to produce a small but charmingly remodled bath on a budget.  A project that is affordable plus the fact that it will add resale value to your home cannot be denied.  Check out all the options before committing to a plan and then stick to it.  Always hire a local and professional builder.  Remember that producing change orders because no one thought of "that" can be expensive. Create the style for your Austin bathroom remodel that best gives you a feeling of pride! 

Bathroom Remodel Austin

     What makes a residential bathroom makeover more Austintaceous in a laid back Central Texas city like ours?  What propels a bathroom upgrade to stand alone in Austin like the proud lone star representing our beloved state?  What enhanced characteristics are shared but also contribute to all completed bathroom projects making them exclusive and individual?  Personality with pride is the only way to sum up all the major characteristics adding up to create a great Austin bathroom remodel.  There is a feeling within the new bath that only the great wide open spaces of Texas suggest denying the discomfort of confinement. We all express our individuality living here in Austin.  We meld together our backgrounds and cultural differences to form a diverse but unique city with style.  Certainly style is what is needed to compliment that pride that Texans feel so strongly. 

Principles Of Universal Design

    What about the costs involved?  In general, a typical small hallway bathroom remodel in the Austin area can run you about $19,000.  However a larger master bathroom makeover can push up your budget to around $40,000 as an average.  Don't forget that these are average costs and the client is limited only by their bank account.  Just the conversion of a tub into a walk in shower design can set you back around $14,000 as a good medium price range.  But what makes the costs appear so expensive?  Basically time, the difficulty of the job, and the actual labor costs performed by all the trades involved on top of the expenses to purchase the products chosen for the project.

Bathroom Remodeling Austin

     If you are fortunate to have a larger space to deal with there will be increased costs due directly to the larger area to finish -as in more tiles for a bigger area and the labor to install them.  Your costs may go down per square foot but you are certainly dealing with more square footage and the associated increased costs.  You need to consider that plumbers, electricians, tile setters, framers, drywall workers, carpenters, and insulation installers, just to name a few trades, will be involved in your bathroom remodel.  Now how about the demolition that will be involved before the actual construction begins?  Sometimes the preparations behind the walls or floors can take longer than building the new bathroom remodel itself.  Perhaps there isn't enough water volume to supply your chosen bathroom shower fixtures requiring a supply line to be enlarged or there just isn't sufficient fall for a gravity drain to work naturally that necessitates a lift pump system be installed.  What are the new electrical requirements and layout and do these require dedicated, GFI, or arc fault circuits and outlets and will the existing electrical panel handle the additional circuit breakers or is a sub-panel needed?

   In general, bathroom sizes are usually dictated in some respect by the length of the tub which in most cases is five to six feet long.  This is evidenced by a tub that has been installed opposite the entry wall to the bath producing a wall to wall tub situation.  In this configuration the toilet and vanity are generally placed on one of the walls that are perpendicular to the length of the tub. Here is a great starting point to gain space for a larger custom walk in shower to replace the tub you never use.  But if you are fortunate to have both wall lengths exceed the five or six feet norm then space is not an issue and you can proceed with ease.  Just choose your finishes wisely and keep all choices within your budget.

    Any bathroom transformation must stand out even to their owners after the job is complete and all the workers have gone away.  The use of granite, marble, onyx, limestone, or glass tiles during a bathroom upgrade can only be further enhanced when any design utilizing glass blocks is introduced into the mix.  Glass block designs can be inserted into an interior shower wall or on the exterior wall itself creating a waterproof window with both privacy and insulating capabilities.  Glass blocks also make a great toilet partition when you don't want the confinement of a toilet room. 

    If you're current situation is cramped but you already have a double vanity, you might gain space for a new shower expansion by either shortening the vanity while keeping the two sinks or by going with one single sink located in the middle of a shorter vanity.  This can be accomplished by capping off one sink drain completely and/or deleting the water supply stops.  If your toilet is located between the vanity and tub then shortening the vanity is all for naught.  You can move the toilet over but this means breaking out the floor to change the toilet plumbing floor flange plus the water supply.  Be careful as this alteration can be costly and should only be done to allow certain specific situations to evolve.  

Tub To Shower Conversions

     Let's move on to either the tub removal to produce a larger walk in shower design or the tub's replacement. A modern free standing soaking tub will require replacing the tub filler with one coming out of the floor or out of an adjacent wall.  An under mount tub will require a pedestal with a deck mounted faucet.   Even replacing the existing tub/shower valve and tub spout will give you a shiny feeling of newness.  A new glass enclosure for a tub/shower combination will provide a revived look plus the more expensive frameless models will bring your bathroom completely up to date.

     If deleting the tub during a tub shower conversion to create a custom walk in shower design is your choice then you have a few options to consider.  Do you wall in two thirds of the width of the old tub placing the new door away from the shower head?   This new wall can be tiled in to match the shower.   Using natural stone or glass tiles will certainly be an upgrade for any Austin bathroom remodel. Do you desire a more expensive frameless door set beside a glass panel?  The enclosed shower can incorporate a couple of shampoo niches for convenience and clutter removal. The designs are limited only by your imagination and how you want the final product to turn out.  Be sure that all your research is justified and don't try to cram too much into your new bathroom remodel.  A good design is one that can come into being with the least time spent on alterations and additional costs. Austin bathroom remodeling should involve multiple shower head combinations in multiple locations within the shower to fit anyone's desires. Rain heads coming out of the ceiling, body sprays coming out of the walls in many locations, or hand held units attached to the shower walls can be very practical.  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 utilize 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.

    Fine cabinetry is a must for any bathroom makeover.  As for the vanity, an upgraded cabinet top like quartz installed at the correct height for you is a personal must for function. Do you require a single or double sink configuration?  Under mount or drop in sinks? The vanity should have adequately accessible storage satisfying your needs.  Incorporating  easy operating and properly sized drawers and pull out shelves within the design can be very beneficial.  Linen, medicine, and "over the potty" wall cabinets need to be well thought out. The correct species of wood used for the construction of your fine cabinetry and the style of you cabinet doors are two very important factors to consider.  Remember, you do have a choice and you are going to be looking at these new cabinets for a while.

Aging In Place Home Modifications

     Bathroom plumbing fixture choices are numerous to say the least.  Always select reputable companies offering the best warranties especially when considering finishes for the faucets or fixtures installed in the project.   Larger walk in shower designs should have seamless fiberglass liners or state of the art shower bases to avoid leaks if the house ever shifts.  Toilets today come in array of choices. Don't just consider the shape of the new toilet but the height which is also important for universal design. Soft closing or night lit toilet seats are also an option.

     Colors for bathrooms today are natural and earthy creating a calming effect.  Accents of color reflected from the tiles, paint, fixtures, and woodwork are used to make things a little more interesting compared to a room's overall vanilla tones within your design.  Help is just a phone call away but be sure the one who answers has the qualified experience you need for completing your new bathroom transformation.   If you're uncertain about how to proceed with any bathroom remodeling project always rely on a local and trusted building professional.  Sometimes spending a little money for experienced help with design and construction techniques can save you a lot during the construction process.

     T-Square Company in Austin has been an accomplished design/build bathroom remodeling company for over three decades.  Call us today at 512-444-0097 to schedule an appointment.

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Austin Bath Remodel

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Mon, Jan 29, 2018 @ 12:01 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 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.  Both kitchen and bath remodeling projects will return the greatest value for your ROI.

Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist


      In general, smaller bathroom sizes are dictated in some respect by the length of the tub which in most cases is five to six feet long.  This is evidenced by a tub that has been installed opposite or adjacent to the entry to the bath producing a wall to wall tub situation.  In this configuration the toilet and vanity are generally placed on one of the walls that are perpendicular to the length of the tub. Here is a great starting point to gain space for a larger custom walk in shower to replace the tub you never use.  If you are fortunate enough to have wall lengths exceeding the five or six feet norm then space is not an issue and you can proceed with ease.  Just choose your finishes wisely and keep all choices within your budget. If you are lucky enough to have a larger bathroom space to deal with there will be increased costs due directly to the larger area to finish -as in more tiles for a bigger area and the labor to install them.  Your costs may go down per square foot but you are certainly dealing with more square footage and the associated increased costs. 

Bathroom Remodels

     Conventionally, the master bathroom has featured a giant master bath tub. This might be a traditional tub or a jetted unit – but it seems that more and more clients are asking for something else. They are saying ‘no’ to the large master bath tub taking up more room that could be used for other activities. Specifically, the current trend is for smaller, freestanding tubs with stand alone larger custom showers that might include body sprays, steam showers, duel heads, etc. or maybe no tub at all. The tub no longer needs to take up so much of the usable square feet as the main focal point in the bathroom. Most likely, large showers will remain popular, while tubs will remain a more personal choice. There will likely be a certain group of people who really enjoy and want a nice long bath, regardless of the trends. Each situation is personal, and a home should be full of personal choices.

Austin Bath Remodel

     The lack of any kind of tub anywhere in the house can make it difficult for resale. Young couples and families with young children are most likely to demand a tub (needed for washing babies). It is advisable to keep a small tub in the master bathroom or have a larger tub in one of the other bathrooms (which might be better for kids anyway). Looking at the situation using universal design techniques suggests considering where a tub might be added later if only a shower is desired at the time of construction and you need your square footage for storage. Install future plumbing as needed and disguise it's location. It costs very little to plan for it but can be very costly to ignore the possibility you may never need it after a bathroom remodel. When you go about rearranging your current bathroom, 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 not relying on gravity is easier than moving drains especially when they go into the main drainage system that resides underneath the finished floor.

     Fine cabinetry is a must for any bathroom makeover.  As for the vanity, you can work your way down from the upgraded cabinet top that has been installed at the correct height for you.  The vanity should have adequately accessible storage satisfying your needs.  Incorporating  easy operating and properly sized drawers and pull out shelves within the design can be very beneficial.  Linen, medicine, and "over the potty" wall cabinets need to be well thought out because storage is an issue. The correct species of wood used for the construction of your fine cabinetry and the style of you cabinet doors are two very important factors to consider.  Remember, you do have a choice and you are going to be looking at these new cabinets for a while.

     If you have recently replaced your old cabinets during a bath remodel with some new fine cabinetry or perhaps you are just needing a larger and updated work surface there are a few choices that need to be considered before making your final decision for your cabinet top.  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 bathroom makeover.  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 that you see are only small representations of any larger piece when choosing products.  Furthermore trivets and cutting boards should always be used no matter which top you choose for protection.

     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 mounted near head height will not only light the face directly but light bouncing off the mirror will additionally enhance the working area. Lighting can be designed around a new framed beveled mirror that you have chosen or the new LED mirrors are great at bouncing light to the face.  Cove lighting is always a great choice because it is indirect and can cascade down on any area like the shower or over the bath tub area. Floating vanities can appear to make the room look larger when they are lit at the toe kick using LED strip lights. The choice of bulbs utilized in some of your fixtures is yours for now.  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.  Larger units should be located next to any bathing or showering facility and additionally a smaller smaller fan above the toilet.  Conditioned air along with an adequately sized duct supplied from your central unit will further accentuate a pleasant feeling within the new bath with decreased humidity.

     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 amongst the trades at your peril.  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 neeeded 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 expences 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.

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.

Bathroom Remodeling Austin

 

 

 

 

 

Tags: Universal Design,, Austin bath remodeling, Austin bath remodel,, bathroom renovations in Austin, Texas, bathroom remodeling contractor Austin Texas, bathroom remodeling Austin Texas, remodel bathroom for handicap Austin Texas, bathroom cabinets Austin Texas

Accessibility Design Austin

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Wed, Jan 24, 2018 @ 16:01 PM

     No matter how old you are you should periodically evaluate your residence to determine whether it suits you not just for the present but the future. Your home assessments will be rethought every time your living situation changes. Whether childproofing for a newborn, making a home more accessible following a sickness or unfortunate accident to someone in the family, or making a toilet area safer for an aging residing parent, there will be an immediate evolution to your primary domicile. These same life span design features are even more important if you believe you're past the age of wanting to move and are relishing the thought of aging in your own home, no matter what physical limitations you might later develop.  Incorporating smart aging design concepts into a home will attract a larger group of buyers when you decide to finally sell your home.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     Universal Design does not equate to accessibility design even though they both are concerned with ergonomics and human function issues. The ADA guidelines for accessibility were created as a means to help those people with extreme disabilities within our society who are a narrow and specific cross section of the masses. A UD approach broadly takes into account moderate impairments or disabilities, temporary health conditions, and the varying abilities of anyone within a home regardless of their age or size. In other words, an ADA accessible home would be designed for the one person with the disability whereas a Universal Design home is designed for everyone for better home access.

Principles Of Universal Design

Universal Design Ideas Austin

 

This adequately sized universal design shower above has wood blocking in the walls for a future folding seat and grab bars to be installed at the appropriate time. The low threshold shower entrance accommodates all users. The shower controls are within a 48 inch height off the finished floors and graspable by all.  The dual shower heads are definitely user specific.  The shower entrance door has a 32 inch clearance when fully open.  There is adequate spacial lighting for showering.  The floors both in the shower and connecting bath floor have an adequate nonskid surface rating.

Home Accessibility Help

    There are seven criteria which must be met to be considered a universal design no matter which area of the home you are referring to. Any design must be equally useful to everyone, have flexibility in it's usefulness, be simple and intuitive, be perceived by everyone, have a tolerance for error, require little physical effort, and it must maintain an adequate area for approach and use. Any complexity or discriminating attribute to a design will doom it in terms of  being considered universal in nature.

    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. Physically challenged has become the more socially accepted description of a person with an impairment.

     Elder construction takes into account both visual and cognitive disabilities present a whole new set of problems concerning safety.  Visual impairment can be aided by creating an environment with many contrasts.  Something so simple as applying a contrasting color on the baseboards or varying the type of floor covering throughout the home can aid in room recognition.  Cognitive limitations really deal with safety and limiting a person from being exposed to hurting themselves. 

     Accessibility designs addressing 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. 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.

Download Our Free Aging In Place Remodeling Considerations Checklist

     Aging in place design, construction, and remodeling has become synonymous with handicap accessible home design and modification during our lifetime.   Home modifications can be used to accommodate anyone from people with mobility impairments to those with vision loss, hearing loss, or even cognitive or developmental disabilities.  Accessibility home modifications or wheelchair accessible kitchen and bathroom remodeling in Austin will allow anyone with limited mobility within your home to feel more empowered and independent.  The extent of a customized accessibility design is dependent upon the activity level of the person requiring the modifications.

     The National Association of Home Builders, in partnership with the AARP and Home Innovation Research Labs, created the CAPS program, which includes training and education on the technical, business management and customer service skills essential to compete in the fastest growing segment of the residential remodeling industry--home modifications for aging in place.  David L. Traut, CAPS owner of T-Square Company in Austin, Texas is one of the select group of professionals nationwide to earn the Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation, identifying him as a home remodeler and builder with the skills, training, and knowledge necessary to design and remodel or modify a home to meet the unique needs of the older population, disabled owners, or their visitors.

Aging In Place Home Modifications

     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.  Here we will need 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.  Just remember one thing and dispel any myth that aging in place construction and remodeling must appear institutional or out of the ordinary.  When the work is done with style and taste it will only compliment the home.

 Handicap Accessibility

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