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

Roll In Shower

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

   

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

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

roll in shower in Austin

     All new construction or any bathroom remodel should include an accessible shower with head combinations in multiple locations to fit anyone's desires.  Incorporating universal design principles into your home's custom walk in shower design can facilitate aging-in-place goals, while comfortably addressing the diverse needs of all ages and mobility levels using your home. Rain heads coming out of the ceiling, body heads coming out of the walls in many locations, or hand held units attached to the shower walls can make things very interesting and relaxing.  These combinations of heads and locations can be used to create rain effects, provide relief for muscle aches through body massages, or simply provide pin point convenience with hand held variable heads.  The possibilities are endless as you dial in your bathing environment.  Steam generators are also being considered as an investment in today's fine bathroom designs.  The steam  heads can make the difference after a tough day when you're looking for that more therapeutic spa experience. This has certainly led the way to the thermostatic shower valve with plumbed-in hand held shower that is being used specifically in homes today where the owner is planning to retire.

     Roll in showers without curbs are advised for everyone on a universal level for an accessible bath.  The threshold is the most dangerous component in any shower. Not only is it impossible to overcome in a wheelchair but it isn't safe for those who are vision impaired or those with mobility issues. Low threshold shower bases with add on ramps can solve the shower entry problem when the floor cannot be lowered to form a true contoured roll in slope. ADA compatible curbless roll in showers are at a minimum 5 feet wide by 3 feet deep while a 5' by 5' floor is optimum. Using a 32-36" clear entrance in a shower partition with an out-swinging door is advised for everyone.  Remember wider is better. Upon exiting the shower a clear floor space having a five feet turning radius is desired. The roll in shower should contain a shower wand on a sliding bar mounted at 48" above the floor to be available for varying heights of use accompanied by a regular height fixed shower head above both of which are regulated with a diverting controller valve.  Always use a shower valve that is thermostatically controlled and pressure-balanced to prevent scalds. If you desire a full body wash, you can include a regular shower head as well. Installing fixtures with a scald guard or lowering the temperature at the water heater is a must to prevent burns. Fold down seats are useful if caretakers are involved. One of the most important things you can do early on in your remodeling project is add grab bars and rails. These can be installed nearly anywhere, and they should be mounted into studs to ensure that they’re as secure as possible.  Secure grab bars on wood grounds around the entire shower perimeter installed at 34-36" above the finished shower floor increasing the safety factor and helping to prevent falls.  A recessed shower can light fixture needs to be installed above the shower area for proper lighting. A well lit bathroom is a safer and more comfortable bathroom.  You’ll also want to consider other lights that can help you see if an overhead bulb goes out. 

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

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

 

     Many people find themselves needing accessible homes for themselves or family members. There are approximately 30 million Americans using wheelchairs and the number of people who need accessible homes will continue to increase as disabled and aging people are finding more ways to remain living in their homes. One important way to increase independent living is making a home accessible to an individuals personal needs which brought on the idea of wheelchair remodeling. Home modifications can increase safety, accessibility, and independence for people who want to live independently.

Home Accessibility Help

     Universal design and aging in place services in Austin have finally taken hold in the residential remodeling industry.  The current housing inventory doesn't offer the features needed for safety and accessibility in the numbers needed to accommodate the growing demand.  It is ultimately up to the homeowners and their families to plan for future housing needs.  Our existing architecture does not lend itself well to accomplishing any easy aging in place home remodels in Austin.  In fact, there are more inaccessible homes in all of the US than there are accessible homes and 45% of these existing homes are owned by the baby boomers representing the oldest group of homeowners.  Generally speaking in most residential US properties there are no easy ways to enter into bathrooms or utilize  kitchens without coming into contact with one architectural  barrier or another-especially if a wheelchair or walker is being used to help with mobility issues.  Everything requires the proper clearance and distance for a new customized accessible route in your home to function properly.  Please consider this aspect in your design if an elderly parent will be coming to visit or you yourself suffer an unfortunate accident or develop a debilitating disease.

  

Tub To Shower Conversions

    Designing around specific physical conditions for handicap accessibility will lessen the impact of say arthritis, restricted mobility, or loss of vision by using combinations of products, concepts, and techniques available today. Working as a team, a trained CAPS specialist along with any family caretakers or therapists is able to identify the day to day problems weighing on those with health limitations. If you are considering an aging in place remodel for your home don't just contact any local remodeler in your area and expect a satisfactory accessible home modification.  A professional design/build accessibility project can only be created for your specific needs by a qualified home remodeler having a nationally accepted CAPS (Certified Aging In Place Specialist) certification.  This credential is backed by the NAHB.  Only a CAPS  home remodeler possesses the specific knowledge that will insure a successful outcome for your accessibility or aging in place project and what's more, keep you in your home longer.

    The National Association of Home Builders, in partnership with the AARP and Home Innovation Research Labs, created the CAPS program, which includes training and education on the technical, business management and customer service skills essential to compete in the fastest growing segment of the residential remodeling industry--home modifications for aging in place.  David L. Traut, CAPS the owner of T-Square Company in Austin, Texas is one of the select group of professionals nationwide to earn the Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation, identifying him as a home remodeler and builder with the skills and knowledge necessary to remodel or modify a home to meet the unique needs of the older population, disabled owners or their visitors.  Call us at 512-444-0097 to see how we can help you design your bath for the future.

Austin Handicap Remodeling 

 

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Wheelchair Accessible Shower Stalls

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, Mar 05, 2019 @ 10:03 AM

      Roll in showers without curbs are advised for everyone on a universal level for an accessible bath.  The threshold is the most dangerous component in any shower. Not only is it impossible to overcome in a wheelchair but it isn't safe for those who are vision impaired or those with mobility issues. Low threshold shower bases with add on ramps can solve the shower entry problem when the floor cannot be lowered to form a true contoured roll in slope. ADA compatible curbless roll in showers are at a minimum 5 feet wide by 3 feet deep while a 60 inch by 60 inch floor is optimum for most any situation. Using a 32-36" clear entrance in a shower partition with an out-swinging door is advised for everyone.  Remember wider is better. Upon exiting the shower a clear floor space having a five feet turning radius is desired. If the shower is deep enough and you can get by with merely a splash panel this will eliminate installing another architectural barrier represented by a shower door.  The roll in shower should contain a shower wand on a sliding bar mounted at 48" above the floor to be available for varying heights of use accompanied by a regular height fixed shower head above both of which are regulated with a diverting controller valve.  Always use a shower valve that is thermostatically controlled and pressure-balanced to prevent scalds. If you desire a full body wash, you can include a body spray head as well. Installing fixtures with a scald guard or lowering the temperature at the water heater is a must to prevent burns. Fold down seats are useful if caretakers are involved. Sometimes it makes much more sense to have a moveable chair or bench, so you can enter and leave the shower or tub more easily. In other cases, it may be better to have a built-in option to which you can transfer. The only problem with making this choice is that you don’t absolutely know what specific issues you will have – nor the options you will prefer – in the future. Built-ins, along with enough room for removable selections, can be the way to go If you have the space. This gives you the highest number of choices possible as your needs change over time.  Most importantly, secure grab bars on wood grounds around the entire shower perimeter at 34-36" above the finished shower floor increases the safety factor and helps to prevent falls.  A recessed shower can light fixture needs to be installed above the shower area for proper lighting. All of the bathroom floor surface must be nonskid type to prevent slipping on a guaranteed wet floor. Especially if you live alone, falling in the shower or the bathroom can be physically devastating. It is also a frightening experience, and a lot of time can lapse before anyone discovers that you need help. Sometimes you can address this problem without making significant changes on your property. These include alarm systems that alert people to a fall, or arranging for someone to check on you at least once or twice a day. But not everyone who ages in place has these kinds of options.

     Remember, convenience issues are safety issues.  You must be able to move easily and safely to each part of the bathroom facilities, and you need to be able to do it conveniently enough that you are not tempted to do unsafe things. If your current bathroom is not safe, or you find that it is inconvenient, it may be time to seriously look at a remodel. 

     All new construction or any bathroom remodel should include an accessible shower with head combinations in multiple locations to fit anyone's desires.  Incorporating universal design principles into your home's custom walk in shower design can facilitate aging-in-place goals, while comfortably addressing the diverse needs of all ages and mobility levels using your home. Rain heads coming out of the ceiling, body heads coming out of the walls in many locations, or hand held units attached to the shower walls can make things very interesting and relaxing.  These combinations of heads and locations can be used to create rain effects, provide relief for muscle aches through body massages, or simply provide pin point convenience with hand held variable heads.  The possibilities are endless as you dial in your bathing environment.  Steam generators are also being considered as an investment in today's fine bathroom designs.  The steam  heads can make the difference after a tough day when you're looking for that more therapeutic spa experience. This has certainly led the way to the thermostatic shower valve with plumbed-in hand held shower that is being used specifically in homes today where the owner is planning to retire.

roll in shower in Austin

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

 

     Many people find themselves needing accessible homes for themselves or family members. There are approximately 30 million Americans using wheelchairs and the number of people who need accessible homes will continue to increase as disabled and aging people are finding more ways to remain living in their homes. One important way to increase independent living is making a home accessible to an individuals personal needs which brought on the idea of wheelchair remodeling. Home modifications can increase safety, accessibility, and independence for people who want to live independently.

Home Accessibility Help

     Universal design and aging in place services in Austin have finally taken hold in the residential remodeling industry.  The current housing inventory doesn't offer the features needed for safety and accessibility in the numbers needed to accommodate the growing demand.  It is ultimately up to the homeowners and their families to plan for future housing needs.  Our existing architecture does not lend itself well to accomplishing any easy aging in place home remodels in Austin.  In fact, there are more inaccessible homes in all of the US than there are accessible homes and 45% of these existing homes are owned by the baby boomers representing the oldest group of homeowners.  Generally speaking in most residential US properties there are no easy ways to enter into bathrooms or utilize  kitchens without coming into contact with one architectural  barrier or another-especially if a wheelchair or walker is being used to help with mobility issues.  Everything requires the proper clearance and distance for a new customized accessible route in your home to function properly.  Please consider this aspect in your design if an elderly parent will be coming to visit or you yourself suffer an unfortunate accident or develop a debilitating disease.

 

Tub To Shower Conversions

    Designing around specific physical conditions for handicap accessibility will lessen the impact of say arthritis, restricted mobility, or loss of vision by using combinations of products, concepts, and techniques available today. Working as a team, a trained CAPS specialist along with any family caretakers or therapists is able to identify the day to day problems weighing on those with health limitations. If you are considering an aging in place remodel for your home don't just contact any local remodeler in your area and expect a satisfactory accessible home modification.  A professional design/build accessibility project can only be created for your specific needs by a qualified home remodeler having a nationally accepted CAPS  or Certified Aging In Place Specialist certification.  This credential is backed by the NAHB.  Only a CAPS  home remodeler possesses the specific knowledge that will insure a successful outcome for your accessibility or aging in place project and what's more, keep you in your home longer.

    The National Association of Home Builders, in partnership with the AARP and Home Innovation Research Labs, created the CAPS program, which includes training and education on the technical, business management and customer service skills essential to compete in the fastest growing segment of the residential remodeling industry--home modifications for aging in place.  David L. Traut, CAPS the owner of T-Square Company in Austin, Texas is one of the select group of professionals nationwide to earn the Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation, identifying him as a home remodeler and builder with the skills and knowledge necessary to remodel or modify a home to meet the unique needs of the older population, disabled owners or their visitors.  Call us at 512-444-0097 to see how we can help you design your bath for the future.

Austin Handicap Remodeling 

 

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ADA Compliant Roll In Showers

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

     Disability is a complex phenomenon representing an interaction between one's physical impairments, the activities they need to perform, and the architectural barriers within the space in which this situation occurs.  The terminology and jargon used for disabilities evolves regularly whereas, "handicapped" is no longer acceptable.  It is no longer merely a description of intellectual or physical impairments.  Each individual with similar impairments describes his or her limitations differently.  The blind don't experience their world the same as a person with deafness and so on.

Bathroom With Disability Access

 

     The new evolving concept known as Universal Design and specialized handicap remodeling contractors for home remodeling is catching on nation wide and has been for several years as a sign of the times.  By 2019, all the 76 million baby boomers will be age 55 or older at a time when many people are planning for retirement.  Universal design techniques used in building makes a home more accessible to all regardless of their mobility or adaptive abilities. An evolution of new products used for disability home modifications is making those homes more accessible and has finally come about in the remodeling industry.  These new advances in accessible home remodeling in Austin not only keep the living environments safer but will not compromise the home's aesthetics.  Bathrooms can be both functional and attractive when planned with elements like cabinetry that allow someone to sit at a sink.  In fact, there are many benefits to using universal design techniques, including potential use by aging family members, added resale value appealing to multiple generations, and the fact that you'll be creating a space that can be used by anyone who visits your home, regardless of their range of abilities. Simple universal design updates for aging in place home modifications and handicap bathroom accessibility can include adding grab bars or handrails throughout the home, custom tub to shower conversions, adding a seat within the roll in shower, lowering upper cabinets and counter tops, adding non-slip flooring, widening hallways or installing stair lifts, and widening doors.  You might also consider lowering light switches and thermostats and installing easier to use door knobs.  Many considerations should be taken into account to provide safety and independence.  You should try to provide a clear barrier free path or accessible route to the most visited areas of your home as recommended by the ADA.  The three areas needing improvement for a person wanting to age in place is the bathroom, the kitchen, and the family area.

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

Austin Handicap Remodeling

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

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

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

     Ventilation is so important when planning a bathroom upgrade because of the humidity involved.  Too many times a single exhaust fan is installed above the toilet, or what is much worse, in the center of the room.   Heat and humidity naturally rise and will overtake the entire room if given a chance. Today's quiet bathroom exhaust fans should be sized according to the room's air volume.  They should be located above any bathing or showering facility and above the toilet.  Conditioned air along with adequately sized duct work supplied by your central unit will further accentuate a pleasant feeling within the bath.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     Who do you choose to help you with your dream?  It is true that a professional remodeling contractor with years of experience will cost you more than a handyman illegally playing among the trades at your peril but then again there are those professional guarantees to  consider.  The professional verses the handyman is more likely to seek your overall satisfaction that will follow him into his next job.  A true building professional can also orchestrate the job's smooth flow limiting the down time of a most useful room.  Subcontractors will not be covered up and each skilled  trade is brought onto the sight as needed in an orderly fashion.  Professional builders normally have insurance to cover on the job accidents to protect the homeowners from having legal action brought against them personally.  Be sure you ask for a certificate of insurance from your chosen professional contractor so that you aren't held personally liable for medical experiences covering a worker's accident while on your property.

     I tell my customers all the time that one of their main ways of choosing a reputable contractor with a good track record and BBB experience rating is the ability for them to do work with the particular residential building contractor they are interviewing.  Can they communicate easily relying on the contractor's experience and reputation and can they get along throughout the sometimes long and detailed construction process?  Are they compatible as human beings because the only energy that should be spent during the project should be directed toward it's completion.

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

Download Our Free Aging In Place Remodeling Considerations Checklist

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Home Modifications For Austin Veterans

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Mon, Feb 11, 2019 @ 13:02 PM

 

    Many of us will face at least a temporary disability during our lifetime requiring some alterations to our living space.  Those changes which will greatly aid in maneuvering through our daily routines.  The temporary or permanent use of mobility devices signifies a lifestyle change in anyone's future often as a result of an accident.  This situation can make getting around safely in our home much more difficult when planning for a disabled veteran.  The often used daily paths in their lives will be disrupted and complicated if they find themselves needing to use a wheelchair or walker as a permanent means of mobility. 

Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     Keeping ourselves independent requires planning during handicap remodeling projects providing accessible routes throughout the home.  Sometimes just entering the home can be a problem if you find yourself in a wheelchair pondering on how to negotiate the steps leading to your front door. Traditional home builders have never considered the issues affecting mobility for the disabled or elderly.

Home Accessibility Help

     ADA remodeling and universal design ideas begin at the front door using ramps to get around any stair issues.  The front door will need to have locking hardware complying with special needs users like levers.  Once inside the home, an accessible design and designated route will let you reach the kitchen or bath without restrictions.  The adjusted clearances between walls within a hallway will be wide enough (42" or more) for a smooth passage.  Widening the entrances to all rooms to 32" or greater means you can now maneuver throughout the home. By using the correct lever door hardware you will no longer impede mobility creating frustration while attempting to move about.  Having an unobstructed turning radius of five feet within each room is also very important for wheelchair maneuvering, especially in the bathroom.

Download Our Free Aging In Place Remodeling Considerations Checklist

     What really defines the accessible homes of Austin?  Barrier free architectural design and accessibility for all who enter the structure while approaching the main living areas of the home in question is a fair definition. Universal design and aging in place trends have taken hold in the residential remodeling industry.  The current housing inventory doesn't offer the features needed for safety and accessibility in the numbers needed to accommodate the ever growing demand.  It is ultimately up to the individual homeowners and their families to plan for future housing needs. Once it is discovered that modifications to an existing home are not possible to accomplish total accessibility then it is time to consider a newer or custom built accessible home.  What are the main design issues regarding aging in place home modifications in Austin?

  1. Low maintenance with little need for landscaping or exterior upkeep which could translate into newer rather than older homes that are the accessible homes of Austin.
  2. An accessible level entry either achieved with ramps or the rare flat lot in Austin.  Consumers are looking for the free maneuverability that more open floor plans offer having greater clear unobstructed floor space.  Wider doorways and unobstructed accessible routes are truly a concern.  These structures will provide flat floors without transitions requiring steps or stairs to move around.
  3. An accessible master suite and kitchen located on the same floor is preferable.  If two story homes are mandated by the community then the guests will inhabit the second floor.  If the master suite needs to be located on the second floor then closets can be stacked to house a future elevator installation.
  4. Evolving kitchens have sprung up due to the more open floor plans.  Fewer wall cabinets, lowered cabinet tops, pullout shelves or specialized drawers, and a reduced number of mobility obstructing doors represent the evolution of today's cabinetry. Knee spaces can be incorporated into a kitchen design for roll under access to the sink, prep area, and cook top.  Higher toe kicks can facilitate greater wheelchair access.
  5. Appliances are being installed at more comfortable heights due to decreased reach distances and bending motion.  Raised dishwashers, refrigerator drawers,  dish washing drawers, and non-stacked double ovens are just a few changes within the appliance world.  Microwaves can be installed below the cabinet top and cook tops with controls located on the front represent another appliance metamorphosis helping with reach problems.
  6. The lack of cabinet doors creating a new accessible open look for cabinetry is taking hold on the market.  This is becoming more popular in both the bath and kitchen of accessible homes.
  7. Bathroom vanities with universal height cabinet tops and open knee spaces are taking over the marketplace.  These new residential vanities do not need to look institutional.  They can be designed like any other piece of fine furniture. Comfort height toilets covered with any one of a multitude of available seats to fit every need prevent deep knee bends required for seating. Curbless roll in showers are advised for everyone on a universal level.  The shower should contain at least a shower wand on a sliding bar to be available for varying heights of use along with a regular height shower head with diverter control if desired.  Folding seats are useful if caretakers are involved and secure grab bars around the shower perimeter will increase the safety factor and prevent falls.  All of the bathroom floor surface must be nonskid to prevent slipping on a guaranteed wet floor. 

 

Wheelchair Accessible Remodeling

     Finding a contractor familiar with the guidelines of accessibility can be quite difficult. Be sure to check out the credentials of any potential bidders you contact.  Be sure they understand that the alterations you are seeking are for wheel chair accessible home remodeling and modifications.  Furthermore be sure this person knows and practices both the federal and most importantly your state's requirements before entering into any contract.

     Let's face it, accessible homes are needed by all of us at some time in our lives.  This is true whether it's for ourselves, a family member, or a guest.  The need is certainly not driven by age but is a result of life's experience.  Any family living with disability among any of the generations within it's group can always benefit from additional accessibility.  This will in turn increase safety and independence for all involved as they go through life. 

     Aging in place home modifications are available through T-Square Company. We are a certified aging in place specialist registered with the VA for our veterans.  Each design/build situation will be customized to fit your personal needs increasing your accessibility. Call 512-444-0097 today to begin the accessible second chapter of your life while remaining safe and secure in your existing home. CAPS #1636580

roll in shower in Austin

Austin Handicap Remodeling

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Home Remodeling For Disabled

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


     Our existing architecture does not lend itself well to accomplishing any easy aging in place home remodels in Austin.  In fact, there are more inaccessible homes in all of the US than there are accessible homes and 45% of these existing homes are owned by the baby boomers representing the oldest group of homeowners.  Generally speaking in most residential US properties there are no easy ways to enter into bathrooms or utilize  kitchens without coming into contact with one architectural  barrier or another-especially if a wheelchair or walker is being used to help with mobility issues.  Everything requires the proper clearance and distance for a new customized accessible route in your home to function properly provided by wheelchair remodeling.

Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     But you say to yourself that  your needed aging in place home modifications basically require general home remodeling in Austin, Texas or in any other town for that matter.  Aging in place services provided by a specialized remodeling contractor holding a national CAPS certificate is who you need as a partner to insure that  the accessibility issues of your home are solved correctly.  With over 30 years of remodeling experience I obtained my registered CAPS certificate.  By offering a design/build firm to my aging in place customers, I get personal satisfaction from giving my clients their independence back while the remain in their existing home.  Without the training required to earn the CAPS certificate on top of my decades of building knowledge I could not offer my customers such a thorough and complete solution for solving their accessibility issues.  Only an experienced qualified remodeler holding a CAPS certificate has the qualifications to design an accessible route and perform the construction required to make it safe and functional for the Aging In Place customer.  There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a person with mobility impairments be able to independently roll into his or her shower and be a part of that accomplishment.

Download Our Free Aging In Place Remodeling Considerations Checklist

     Let's compare the alternative costs associated with aging in place verses when you already own your home.   The more institutional alternative of assisted living accompanied by more medical expertise and staff training plus the access to emergency medical facilities is available as opposed to renting an apartment.  These are two of the main alternative choices for seniors who decide not to remain in their own homes.   According to a national study done in 2014, the average cost for assisted living ranged from $3,000 to $3,500 per month.  However, if you decide to age in place in a high quality one bedroom apartment, the rent will run around $1,300 per month.  Living in your own home or with loved ones represents a preference by most seniors and property taxes must be taken in account.

     An average Aging in Place bathroom home modification providing total accessibility given there is a large space to remodel at onset will come in around $30,000.  This can vary in many aspects if there is not enough room to change the existing floor plan.  Smaller bathrooms can cost $15-20,000 but will not have the barrier free accessibility as the larger modified bathroom.  Fully accessible kitchens will run on the average of $50,000 depending on the size of the existing kitchen.  These are both one time costs for sustainability of a given lifestyle and location providing future independence and safety for the homeowner who participates in accessible home remodeling.  A wheelchair accessible roll in shower alone can cost $15,000 depending on the given plumbing situation and the size required for maneuverability.

    Roll in showers without curbs are advised for everyone on a universal level for an accessible bath.  A 5'x5' clear floor space is an optimum size when a caretaker is involved. Using a 32-36"  wide barrier free entrance in a shower partition with an out-swinging door is advised for everyone.  Remember wider is better in all respects. Upon exiting the shower a clear floor space of 30"x48" for approach to the shower should be present and this area intersects with a five feet turning radius within the room. The shower should contain a shower wand on a sliding bar mounted at 48" above the floor to be available for varying heights of use accompanied by a regular height fixed shower head above.  These diverse shower heads are both regulated using a diverting controller valve.  Always use a shower valve that is thermostatically controlled and pressure-balanced to prevent scalds. If you desire a full body wash, you can include a regular shower head as well. Installing fixtures with a scald guard or lowering the temperature at the water heater is a must to prevent burns. Fold down seats attached to the shower wall are useful if caretakers are involved. Recessed shampoo niches are helpful to eliminate clutter on the shower floor.  Secure grab bars installed on wood grounds buried within the wall around the entire shower perimeter at 34-36" above the finished shower floor increases the safety factor and helps to prevent falls.  A recessed can light fixture should be installed above the shower area for proper lighting. All of the bathroom floor surface must be nonskid type to prevent slipping on a guaranteed wet floor. The ultimate goal in accessible design is to make the bathroom space safe for everyone who uses the bathroom. Universal design can better accommodate wheelchair users and can make the bathroom more comfortable for all users and many times can be done without sacrificing style. It is important to carefully plan the building or remodeling for a wheelchair accessible bathroom by taking inventory of the users capabilities and preferences.

     The best way to prepare for aging in place is to have a definite plan considering all possible outcomes and needs for those involved.  Aging in place isn't for everyone like those with major health issues.  For others with more independence, it can be a practical decision providing quality of life and safety for many years.  Everyone's needs are different as we age and one must allow for flexibility and change for all future decisions.

      Construction and design professionals are taking advantage of the CAPS training across the nation. This designation is taught through the National Association of Home Builders in collaboration with AARP. CAPS connects responsible professionals with home owners who need these services on an ever increasing basis. CAPS is a nationwide initiative and all active CAPS professionals can be found at nahb.org/CAPSdirectory David L. Traut, CAPS the owner of T-Square Company in Austin, Texas is one of the select group of professionals nationwide to earn the Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation, identifying him as a home remodeler and builder with the skills and knowledge necessary to remodel or modify a home to meet the unique needs of the older population, disabled owners, or their visitors.

A TYPICAL ACCESSIBLE BATHROOM WITH WHEELCHAIR ACCESS


Happy Trail AIP 016.jpg


 Aging In Place Home Modifications

Wheelchair Accessible Remodeling

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ADA Compliant Wheelchair Accessible Showers

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

     Disability is a complex phenomenon representing an interaction between one's physical impairments, the activities they need to perform, and the architectural barriers within the space in which this situation occurs.  The terminology and jargon used for disabilities evolves regularly whereas, "handicapped" is no longer acceptable.  It is no longer merely a description of intellectual or physical impairments.  Each individual with similar impairments describes his or her limitations differently.  The blind don't experience their world the same as a person with deafness and so on.

Austin wheelchair accessible roll in shower

     The new evolving concept known as Universal Design and specialized handicap remodeling contractors for home remodeling is catching on nation wide and has been for several years as a sign of the times.  By 2019, all the 76 million baby boomers will be age 55 or older at a time when many people are planning for retirement.  Universal design techniques used in building makes a home more accessible to all regardless of their mobility or adaptive abilities. An evolution of new products used for disability home modifications is making those homes more accessible and has finally come about in the remodeling industry.  These new advances in accessible home remodeling in Austin not only keep the living environments safer but will not compromise the home's aesthetics.  Bathrooms can be both functional and attractive when planned with elements like cabinetry that allow someone to sit at a sink.  In fact, there are many benefits to using universal design techniques, including potential use by aging family members, added resale value appealing to multiple generations, and the fact that you'll be creating a space that can be used by anyone who visits your home, regardless of their range of abilities. Simple universal design updates for aging in place home modifications and handicap bathroom accessibility can include adding grab bars or handrails throughout the home, custom tub to shower conversions, adding a seat within the roll in shower, lowering upper cabinets and counter tops, adding non-slip flooring, widening hallways or installing stair lifts, and widening doors.  You might also consider lowering light switches and thermostats and installing easier to use door knobs.  Many considerations should be taken into account to provide safety and independence.  You should try to provide a clear barrier free path or accessible route to the most visited areas of your home as recommended by the ADA.  The three areas needing improvement for a person wanting to age in place is the bathroom, the kitchen, and the family area.

Austin Handicap Remodeling

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

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

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

     Ventilation is so important when planning a bathroom upgrade because of the humidity involved.  Too many times a single exhaust fan is installed above the toilet, or what is much worse, in the center of the room.   Heat and humidity naturally rise and will overtake the entire room if given a chance. Today's quiet bathroom exhaust fans should be sized according to the room's air volume.  They should be located above any bathing or showering facility and above the toilet.  Conditioned air along with adequately sized duct work supplied by your central unit will further accentuate a pleasant feeling within the bath.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     Who do you choose to help you with your dream?  It is true that a professional remodeling contractor with years of experience will cost you more than a handyman illegally playing among the trades at your peril but then again there are those professional guarantees to  consider.  The professional verses the handyman is more likely to seek your overall satisfaction that will follow him into his next job.  A true building professional can also orchestrate the job's smooth flow limiting the down time of a most useful room.  Subcontractors will not be covered up and each skilled  trade is brought onto the sight as needed in an orderly fashion.  Professional builders normally have insurance to cover on the job accidents to protect the homeowners from having legal action brought against them personally.  Be sure you ask for a certificate of insurance from your chosen professional contractor so that you aren't held personally liable for medical experiences covering a worker's accident while on your property.

     I tell my customers all the time that one of their main ways of choosing a reputable contractor with a good track record and BBB experience rating is the ability for them to do work with the particular residential building contractor they are interviewing.  Can they communicate easily relying on the contractor's experience and reputation and can they get along throughout the sometimes long and detailed construction process?  Are they compatible as human beings because the only energy that should be spent during the project should be directed toward it's completion.

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

Download Our Free Aging In Place Remodeling Considerations Checklist

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Austin Home Accessibility Help

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

   

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

Certified Aging In Place Specialist 

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

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

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

Elder Construction

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

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

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

     CAPS stands for Certified Aging-in-Place Specialist. It is a construction credential that has builders, architects, remodelers, designers and even occupational therapists buzzing. Far beyond using universal design ideas, aging in place or independent living principles are sweeping changes designed to custom fit your home to you and your family as time goes by. CAPS design takes your current and future circumstances into consideration. CAPS design principles focus on elegant, aesthetically enriching, barrier free environments. Home modifications do not need to look institutional and this is why many seniors are resisting the very changes that can help them the most. The vast majority of builders and remodelers do not have the knowledge and training to perform home modifications for aging in place. When considering installing a grab bar which seems like a simple endeavor, a run of the mill contractor or handyman has no idea of the safety regulations involved or the knowledge of where to install the grab bar leaving the consumer in an unsafe situation. These are changes that can actually increase the value of your home once they are performed correctly.

     Construction and design professionals are taking advantage of the CAPS training across the nation. This designation is taught through the National Association of Home Builders in collaboration with AARP. CAPS connects responsible professionals with home owners who need these services on an ever increasing basis. CAPS is a nationwide initiative and all active CAPS professionals can be found at nahb.org/CAPSdirectoryDavid L. Traut, CAPS the owner of T-Square Company in Austin, Texas is one of the select group of professionals nationwide to earn the Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation, identifying him as a home remodeler and builder with the skills and knowledge necessary to remodel or modify a home to meet the unique needs of the older population, disabled owners, or their visitors.

     Accessible homes look much like other homes but they still help with handicap accessibility.  These homes often have a sunny open feeling since there are fewer walls between common areas.  Level floors create a comfortable flow between living areas and make rooms easier to keep clean.  The kitchen is more efficient having compact storage and the bathrooms are a little more spacious than in a traditional home.  The house is safe designed to reduce the potential for falls.  Adequate glare-free lighting is well positioned to prevent dark spots.  The accessible home is the home of the future representing the way we want to live right now.  Well-planned accessible homes lift the spirits and enhance dignity.  They have the ability to transform our relationships with our bodies and our homes.

      Whatever your situation please rely on the experiences of a local building professional.  Check out their credentials and references over merely price checks against other bidders.  Don't make the mistake of letting a cabinet making sub play the part of a general contractor because his knowledge will be limited to that of the cabinets and not much else.  You get what you pay for with proper planning.

ADA Compatible Shower In Austin

Wheelchair Accessible Remodeling

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Handicap Access Bathroom Remodel

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Fri, Dec 07, 2018 @ 11:12 AM

    The concept of the accessible home has evolved beyond the basic grab bars and ramps to one in which accessibility is built into the basic design.  Universal design makes living in a home easier for people of all ages and abilities.  Accessible can be both beautiful and functional and never needs to have any institutional appearance.  As our aging baby boomer population ages, the need for accessibility in the home is becoming ever more important.  Our new way of viewing the basic home in our society and our antiquated architecture is giving way to a revolution in home design.  Ordinary homeowners with extraordinary challenges can partner up with CAPS design professionals, architects, and their own families to create homes to restore capabilities, independence, and grace to daily living.  Bathroom accessibility remodels with roll in showers in Austin, Texas are possible with the right people involved.  

Most residential housing is geared toward young healthy adults. Builders do not take into account age-related conditions such as reduced mobility or limited range of reach. Hence, dwellings do not support the physical and sensory changes that older adults encounter as they age. What appear to be insignificant home features can have significant effect: for a person with even minor aging issues.

Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     Human problems must be solved using correct designs when remodeling which have been customized to match the abilities of the occupant.  People who have become seriously injured, people living with a debilitating disease, people with sensory limitations or intellectual limitations, and last but not least the people who are planning to stay in their homes for as long as possible all need accessible homes.  The need for dealing with disabilities empowers us all to ensure that we create environments wherein people can function effectively.  Quite often it is the home that presents the greatest difficulties through limited mobility or other physical impairments to seniors as they age in their existing living surroundings. Designing for specific physical conditions will lessen the impact of say arthritis, restricted mobility, or loss of vision by using combinations of products, concepts, and techniques available today. These aging in place changes can actually increase the value of your home as you are able to appeal to multiple generations of home buyers. In some cases, those who are doing only consultations are not the ones actually implementing those suggestions or doing the home modifications, which is left up to contractors. However, a CAPS certified remodeler or contractor providing a one stop shop is even more valuable to anyone wanting to age in place. Their construction knowledge enables any aging in place design to come to fruition via practicality and best practices. Complete aging in place services and the knowledge of how to carry them out are available to the homeowner through CAPS certified remodeling.  On the other hand, any knowledgeable advice from a CAPS certified individual is still valuable.  It’s up to these consultants to make sure they charge for their assessment and advise for modifying the home.  They will be additionally compensated for their design and once again for a detailed drawing. CAPS professionals are generally paid by the hour or receive a flat fee per visit or project. Typically an assessment takes approximately 60-90 minutes. It’s best if you or a family member can accompany the professional during the home safety assessment, as you or they can ask questions about specific safety items as they come up. A comprehensive Home Safety Assessment can pay for itself by avoiding the high cost of injury or assisted living.

 Home Accessibility Help

     But you say to yourself that  your needed aging in place home modifications basically require general home remodeling in Austin, Texas or in any other town for that matter.  That is true but a specialized handicap remodeling contractor holding a national CAPS certificate is who you need as a partner to insure that  the accessibility issues of your home are solved correctly.  With over 30 years of remodeling experience I obtained my registered CAPS certificate.  By offering a design/build firm to my aging in place customers, I get personal satisfaction from giving my clients their independence back while the remain in their existing home.  Without the training required to earn the CAPS certificate on top of my decades of building knowledge I could not offer my customers such a thorough and complete solution for solving their accessibility issues.  Only an experienced qualified remodeler holding a CAPS certificate has the qualifications to design an accessible route and perform the construction required to make it safe and functional for the AIP customer.  Accessible bathrooms with custom walk in showers and kitchens are available using the right education and experience.  There is nothing more rewarding than seeing a person with mobility impairments be able to independently roll into his or her shower in their disability access bath and witness that accomplishment.

     There are really three categories of aging in place customers.  Those who are simply and wisely planning ahead for their futures to remain in their present homes.  The second category concerns those people who know they have a chronic medical disorder and need to prepare in advance for accessibility issues which will come as a result of their disease.  People with diseases that are constantly causing increased physical or mental changes to their being are a good representative of this second group.  The third group involves those people who either have had a chronic problem that has  progressed severely altering their mobility or those who have sustained a life altering tragedy such as being involved in an accident.  All of these groups will drive the future metamorphosis of existing inaccessible dwellings. The goal of an accessible bathroom design in Austin is to make the bathroom a safe space for everyone who uses the facilities. Aging in place services use universal design to accommodate wheelchair use and can make the bathroom more comfortable for all generations with or without specific needs. It is important to carefully outline the scope of work during the remodeling of an accessible bathroom by first taking inventory of the users capabilities, needs, and preferences.  All disability home remodeling or disability bath remodels in Austin must be done considering all the data provided by the client, his or her family, and any caretakers involved. Aging in place design must be carried out by an aging in place specialist who is also a reputable residential remodeling professional.

    Mobility limitations vary dramatically but, depending on the personality of the individual, any diminished capacity creates feelings of dependence or depression. When considering an accessible home remodeling project, anticipate that any conditions you are experiencing will only progress for the worst with age. Simple changes to help with hand grip strength or coordination within the home can include large rocker type wall switches, touch controlled lamp switches, and converting round door knobs to lever sets. Mobility aids like walkers, canes, and wheelchairs need to be available at any time. People utilizing these mobility aids may use them all but at different times during the day or hopefully not at all. Accessible home remodeling must take this into account and be designed to accommodate them all as needed by the user.

      Interior modifications can include adding grab bars or handrails throughout the home, lowering upper cabinets and counter tops to universal design heights, adding non-slip flooring, widening hallways or installing stair lifts, and widening doors to a clear 32" width.  You might also consider lowering light switches and thermostats and installing easier to use door knobs.  You should try to provide a clear barrier free path or accessible route to the most visited areas of your home like a disability access bath.

      Modifying your bathroom for ADA compliance following practiced wheelchair accessibility guidelines is a great place to start any universal remodel during a handicap accessible bathroom remodel.  This will provide access to both wheelchairs and walkers.  Furthermore,  you can help avoid many future injuries.  Any wet area like the bath is the most dangerous of all your home's surrounding living space and is the most common area for falls and slips.  Simply getting in or out of the tub or shower, using the toilet and sink, or just maneuvering over wet surfaces can be hazardous to your health.  Installing properly positioned grab bars to increase safety is a great place to spend your money on a limited budget around the shower, toilet,  and tub. A walk in bath tub containing a water tight door can provide an easy alternative for people with mobility issues who cannot navigate over bathtub walls.  The main complaint for these very expensive tubs is that the user must sit there soaking wet and getting cold for a couple of minutes while the tub drains before they can open the door.  Another alternative to consider is a walk in shower design which has the option of having a door.  The shower door is not needed if the shower is designed properly protecting the adjacent bath floor areas from becoming drenched and hazardous.  Any door is just another barrier to negotiate along a designated route for a person with mobility issues.  If a wheelchair is needed for mobility,  a roll in or transfer shower should be of consideration.  A roll in shower is perfect for the person who wants to have a shower but doesn't have the strength to stand in the shower.  On the other hand, a transfer shower enables a wheelchair user to move from the wheelchair or walker onto a sturdily mounted seat contained within the shower area.  Again this will be determined by the shower user's mobility limitations.  A curbless or non-threshold shower entrance is a superior design for gaining access to the walk in shower but it must be correctly designed for drainage.  A curbless shower does not mean a shower door cannot be incorporated into the design.

     The National Association of Home Builders, in partnership with the AARP and Home Innovation Research Labs, created the CAPS program, which includes training and education on the technical, business management and customer service skills essential to compete in the fastest growing segment of the residential remodeling industry--home modifications for aging in place.  David L. Traut CAPS 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.

Handicap Accessible Bathroom Shower

bathroom accessibility remodeling in Austin

Handicap Home Modifications

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Handicap Accessible Home Renovations

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Thu, Nov 15, 2018 @ 11:11 AM

     In designing for specific physical conditions, we realize that aging doesn't always bring on disease while the body declines making certain physical limitations inevitable. Arthritis is the most common chronic condition to appear as it restricts ordinary daily activities. The lack of hand strength and stiff knees are indicative of this illness. This most reported arthritic condition affecting people over the age of 65 is followed by heart disease and vision loss in that order. Smart aging design and concepts can compensate for the introduction of frailty, lack of mobility, and blindness in aging in place families. We are constantly coming up with new methods for home modifications and household products to increase the comfort of our residential environments.

Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     Mobility limitations vary dramatically but, depending on the personality of the individual, any diminished capacity creates feelings of dependence or depression. When considering an accessible home remodeling project, anticipate that any conditions you are experiencing will only progress for the worst with age. Simple changes to help with hand grip strength or coordination within the home can include large rocker type wall switches, touch controlled lamp switches, and converting round door knobs to lever sets. Mobility aids like walkers, canes, and wheelchairs need to be available at any time. People utilizing these mobility aids may use them all but at different times during the day or hopefully not at all. Accessible home remodeling must take this into account and be designed to accommodate them all as needed by the user.

Custom Walk In Showers

Handicap accessible remodeling in Austin

 Home Accessibility Help

     Most residential housing is geared to young healthy adults. Builders do not take into account age-related conditions such as reduced mobility or limited range of reach. Hence, dwellings do not support the physical and sensory changes that older adults encounter as they age. What appear to be insignificant home features can have significant effect: for a person with even minor aging issues.

     Some permanent disabilities require constant wheelchair use. The home modifications must accommodate a person who is always seated. A five foot turning radius should be observed in the bathroom, kitchen, and living area so as not to restrict the movement of the wheelchair. An unobstructed barrier free accessible route will be determined during the assessment for wheelchair accessible remodeling. Clear wider hallways of at least 42" in width and doorways of at least a 32" clear width must be the standard. Light switches and cabinetry must be lowered where 48" is the reaching limit of a person sitting.

     Impaired memory and think presents a different set of problems to the aging in place specialist's design. Every effort must be made to limit the confusion of those utilizing the remodeled space. As with all progressive diseases , a patient's needs will change over time, any modifications or solutions may be effective only for short periods of time. Restricting the entrances to rooms that present the greatest hazards like the kitchen and bathroom must be taken into account during the assessment.

     Concerning visual challenges, good lighting that is not glaring, appropriate color choices, and contrasting elements within the room design are paramount as considerations for a design. Hearing limitations require LED lighting to indicate appliances being on. Doorbells, stove tops, and life safety devices need to be visual as well as audible.

     Accessible homes look much like other homes but they still help with handicap accessibility.  These homes often have a sunny open feeling since there are fewer walls between common areas.  Level floors create a comfortable flow between living areas and make rooms easier to keep clean.  The kitchen is more efficient having compact storage and the bathrooms are a little more spacious than in a traditional home.  The house is safe designed to reduce the potential for falls.  Adequate glare-free lighting is well positioned to prevent dark spots.  The accessible home is the home of the future representing the way we want to live right now.  Well-planned accessible homes lift the spirits and enhance dignity.  They have the ability to transform our relationships with our bodies and our homes.

     Knowledgeable construction and design professionals are utilizing their CAPS training across the nation. CAPS stands for Certified Aging In Place Specialist. This designation is taught through the National Association of Home Builders in collaboration with AARP. CAPS connects responsible professionals with home owners who need these services on an ever-increasing basis. CAPS is a nationwide initiative and all active CAPS members can be found at nahb.org/CAPSdirectory.

     What really defines accessible home modifications and elder construction in Austin?  Barrier free architectural design and accessibility for all who enter the structure while approaching the main living areas of the home in question is a fair definition. Universal design and aging in place trends have taken hold in the residential remodeling industry.  The current housing inventory doesn't offer the features needed for safety and accessibility in the numbers needed to accommodate the ever growing demand.  It is ultimately up to the individual homeowners and their families to plan for future housing needs. Once it is discovered that modifications to an existing home are not possible to accomplish total accessibility then it is time to consider a newer or custom built accessible home.

     Along with aging in place, the use of universal design in handicap accessible home renovations is becoming more of a household term. Essentially, it’s about building or modifying places and spaces—both public and private—to accommodate people of all ages and abilities. More than just an architectural concept, universal design is a win-win for sandwich generation boomers caring for aging parents and their children at home, for grandparents raising grandchildren and great-grandchildren, and for all who are facing the challenges of caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s or other chronic diseases.

Accessible Homes Of Austin

     Aging in place home modifications are available through T-Square Company in the Austin area. We have an A plus rating with the local BBB and have over 30 years of remodeling experience. We are additionally a certified aging in place specialist offering complete aging in place services.  Each design/build situation will be customized to fit your personal needs to increase your accessibility. Call 512-444-0097 today to begin the accessible second chapter of your life while remaining safe and secure in your existing home. CAPS #1636580

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Handicap Accessible Bathroom Remodeling

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Wed, Nov 14, 2018 @ 14:11 PM

 

    Aging in place construction and accessible home remodeling has become synonymous with handicap accessible home design and modification during our lifetime.  If you have been paying attention to the medical news concerning our society you are well aware we are living longer than just a few decades ago.  As a result, our senior populations are expanding and most people will experience health issues that are most common among the elderly.  Most seniors will reach a point in their lives when they require specialized home environments to safely retain their independence.  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 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 needing the modifications.

Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     Interior modifications can include adding grab bars or handrails throughout the home, lowering upper cabinets and counter tops to universal design heights, adding non-slip flooring, widening hallways or installing stair lifts, and widening doors to a clear 32" width.  You might also consider lowering light switches and thermostats and installing easier to use door knobs.  You should try to provide a clear barrier free path or accessible route to the most visited areas of your home like a disability access bath.

     Modifying your bathroom for ADA compliance following practiced wheelchair accessibility guidelines is a great place to start any universal remodel.  This will provide access to both wheelchairs and walkers.  Furthermore,  you can help avoid many future injuries.  Any wet area like the bath is the most dangerous of all your home's surrounding living space and is the most common area for falls and slips.  Simply getting in or out of the tub or shower, using the toilet and sink, or just maneuvering over wet surfaces can be hazardous to your health.  Installing properly positioned grab bars to increase safety is a great place to spend your money on a limited budget around the shower, toilet,  and tub. 

The Top Five Items To Include When Considering An Accessible Bathroom Design

1. Vanity Sink Accessibility

Wheelchair Accessible bathrooms today contain stylish ADA vanities set at a universal height of 34 inches with clear knee spaces.  Plan on 27 inches of vertical clearance for a wheelchair. The sink faucets must be easily controlled by either wrist handles or levers. The faucets can be fitted on the side of the sink to make them easier to reach. Or install infra-red faucets that detect motion. Hang the mirror low enough for a seated person to see themselves, and tip the top of the mirror out. Bathroom vanities with universal height cabinet tops and open knee spaces are taking over the marketplace.  These new residential 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. Ideally, the toilet should be positioned between two support bars 36 inches apart. A toilet seat 17 inches off the floor is a more comfortable height for everyone. Creating a toilet within an open area and not a closet is much more accessible. Elevated or special toilet seats are available with a heat feature and some have the ability to self close or have a night light. A more expensive bidet/toilet is available but an add on bidet attachment to a regular toilet can be handy.

3. Bathing Facilities

Curbless roll in showers that are 5 feet wide and 3 feet deep having 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 and they are much safer than a free standing shower seat which can fall over. 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. Install the slider bar for the hand held shower hose and head 4 feet off the floor so that the head can slide up to 6 feet high. Always use a shower valve that is thermostatically controlled and pressure-balanced to prevent scalds. If you desire a full body wash, you can include a regular shower head as well.

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. All doors should have levers instead of door knobs. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires a 5-foot turning radius for a wheelchair. But if space is tight, remodelers may be able to make do with less. "(The 5-foor turning radius) may not always be needed, especially with an electric chair, which will easily turn in a tighter space.

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. You can install switches with a push button or large toggle that doesn't require a pinching motion to turn on and off. Outlets that are ground protected should be installed at 18" above the floor.

Handicap Accessibility

     A walk in bath tub containing a water tight door can provide an easy alternative for people with mobility issues who cannot navigate over bathtub walls.  The main complaint for these very expensive tubs is that the user must sit there soaking wet and getting cold for a couple of minutes while the tub drains before they can open the door.  Another alternative to consider is a walk in shower design which has the option of having a door.  The shower door is not needed if the shower is designed properly protecting the adjacent bath floor areas from becoming drenched and hazardous.  Any door is just another barrier to negotiate along a designated route for a person with mobility issues.  If a wheelchair is needed for mobility,  a roll in or transfer shower should be of consideration.  A roll in shower is perfect for the person who wants to have a shower but doesn't have the strength to stand in the shower.  On the other hand, a transfer shower enables a wheelchair user to move from the wheelchair or walker onto a sturdily mounted seat contained within the shower area.  Again this will be determined by the shower user's mobility limitations.  A curbless or non-threshold shower entrance is a superior design for gaining access to the walk in shower but it must be correctly designed for drainage.  A curbless shower does not mean a shower door cannot be incorporated into the design.

     A wall mounted sink can add accessibility to a bathroom by adding additional free space underneath the sink.  This allows access with either a wheelchair or bench.  Installing a single handle or hands free faucet can ease the burden of those with dexterity issues.  Since a wheelchair bound person might bring their legs or the lower part of their body in contact with the plumbing below the sink, it is very important to insulate all the plumbing pipes to protect the user from scalds while the sink is in use.

Home Accessibility Help

     Standing and seating is taken for granted by most everyone but for those with strength, balance, and mobility issues it can be a difficult task.  This is why the toilet has to be a great consideration when designing an accessible, secure, and safe environment.  Not only will it help prevent injury but the optimal accessibility design will help preserve an individual's dignity by extending their ability to function independently.  Toilets should be of the correct comfort height and be equipped with the proper seat that allows for easy sitting and standing.  Toilet seat lights can very helpful while they provide light at night or in darker rooms to help with depth perception and also light the toilet area to prevent trips and falls.

     If you hire an experienced building remodeling contractor with infinite knowledge of accessibility home modifications they will be able to help you make the right ADA remodeling choices.  These will include the improvements offering the most service to the individual with mobility issues. Talk to your contractor about the disability and the activity level of the person needing the modifications.  Together you can arrive at a custom solution for your accessible home design.

A Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom

Wheelchair accessible remodeling in Austin, Texas

    Aging in place home modifications are available through T-Square Company in the Austin area. We have an A plus rating with the local BBB and have over 30 years of remodeling experience. We are additionally a certified aging in place specialist offering complete aging in place services.  Each design/build situation will be customized to fit your personal needs increasing your accessibility. Call 512-444-0097 today to begin the accessible second chapter of your life while remaining safe and secure in your existing home. CAPS #1636580

Wheelchair Accessible Remodeling

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