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

Austin, Texas Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Thu, Sep 12, 2019 @ 14:09 PM

    Designing for specific physical conditions during a handicap retrofit 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.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

 

handicap bathroom design in Austin

 Tub To Shower Conversions

    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.

    Physical limitations affect many more people than the daily users of walkers and wheelchairs.  Many members of our life experienced or elder society have significant problems in dealing with their home environment.  Today's conventional building standards conflict with most people's accessibility when you consider our created architectural barriers concerning cabinetry and door opening widths, individual strength, range of motion, movement,  manual dexterity, balance, and coordination .  Once the demands of our built environment exceed their capacities we become excluded from a room or even the entire home.  This has brought about the realization that handicap bathrooms are needed.  The building world must work in unison to be sure the entire living environment meets basic needs in addition to affordability and structural integrity for the consumer and home owner.  This includes both the home and the components within the home being accessible to all inhabitants.  Privacy, sense of belonging, sense of control, and the sense of safety and security make up the quality of life for any home and should be considered for any accessibility design.

    Wheelchair accessible bathrooms today contain stylish 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 even though they are wheelchair accessible.  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.

    The threshold is the most dangerous component for any ADA compatible 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. Curbless roll in showers that are 5 feet wide and 3 feet deep having a 36" clear entrance are advised for everyone.  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. The accessible 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.  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 installed below or at 48" from the finished floor 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. 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 fixtures and finishes. Built-in shower seats provide comfort and safety but can sometimes get in the way of accessibility. Folding seats are an option in the shower and are useful if caretakers are ever involved or a shower chair is ever required. These seats are much safer than a free standing shower seat which can collapse and cause a fall. Recessed shampoo niches located 48" above the floor help keep shower floors or seats free of trip hazards. Grab bars around the bath and especially on each wall in the shower installed at 34-36" above the floor should be used. All grab bars must be secured into either adequate wood blocking or existing wall studs so they can hold at least 250 pounds of downward force. Non slip floor covering should always be considered with a 0.5 friction coefficient rating. Enclosures can vary by the accessibility needed by all and can be everything from an out-swinging frame-less door to just a simple glass splash panel or even a curtain on a curved rod.  Walk in tubs are also a consideration but some people get chilled while the tub is draining.

Handicap Accessibility

     Austin handicap remodeling,  aging in place home modifications, and ADA Accessible kitchens are available through T-Square Company. Each design/build handicap accessibility situation will be customized to fit your personal needs. 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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Home Remodeling Contractors Residential

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Thu, May 02, 2019 @ 14:05 PM

     You have contemplated and dreamed of an addition to your home for years but now it's time for you to make a decision as to how you accomplish your basic needs for living.  Certain changes in your lifestyle have dictated an expansion.  Your living space has grown more crowded over time with additional family members being added as children, extended family members, or you may now find yourself having to provide care for an elderly family member.  Any and all of these life changing situations can add stress to  your daily lifestyle creating the need for additional living space or home improvements Austin. 

Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     As our children grow older they generally require more space and sometimes privacy.  This sparks a need for additional bedroom space alone once an aging relative or spouse is introduced into the original home's square footage who requires special care.   Here, privacy can truly become an issue just to keep everyone happy while underneath the same roof.  Perhaps even private entrances will be required for some of the home's new residents.  These private entries could  be required to begin a new accessible route if there are ADA compatibility issues involved. 

A Local & Trusted Builder

 

     It's time to find yourself either a qualified architectural firm and residential remodeling contractor or a local experienced residential construction contractor with in house design capabilities who can build what is designed.  The latter situation is usually your best shot at getting what you basically need to solve your living situation problems allowing you to cut out the beyond budget frills.  You will also save on the soft costs of your construction project that have nothing to do with the structual building process itself.  Many local residential contractors are quite capable of pushing out a wall in your home and putting a top on the structure.  This capability is based on both their experience and knowledge of all the building trades, especially the framing aspect that will be involved.  Actual experience in this particular facet of the project could proove to be very helpful for visualizing the construction and it's possibilities.  Has this contractor ever done this kind of project before?  Does he himself have skilled experience or does he appear to be a drive by limited contractor at the mercy of his subcontractor's capabilities?  Any depth of design is totally based on experience.  You will need to completely check out the contractor's references and any memberships in  local business organizations like the  Better Business Bureau.  What kind of rating does the residential remodeling professional have and how long has he been an accredited member?  Does the company have both general liability and Workman's Comp insurances and did the company offer you a certificate of insurance verifying their coverage.  You need the kind of information that can't be paid for and posted by the residential remodel contractor in question.  Don't be taken in by contractor listing  and referral sights that promise you successful and competent businesses.  They were listed there for one and only one reason, somebody paid for the listing fee.  Membership to national associations like NARI reflect only a self paid fee but says nothing about the contractor's experience and creativity.  That only comes from past customer's testimonials that you can fact check.

     Now how about the competitive bid prices you have collected?  A good rule of thumb is to toss out the lowest and highest numbers and go with the mid price.  This is true if and only if the company can pass the litmus test outlined above.  However, the project should be based on overall quality and remember you usually get what you pay for.  This situation will be solved with how the personalities of you and the contractor mesh together.  You must be able to communicate with this person who has come into your life throughout the construction process while keeping a level head for problem solving.  There will be problems because every construction and remodeling project has at least one.  There also needs to be a norm in the way the proposal is written.  Has the bidder been transparent and detailed to you in writing what is being covered within the bid?  Are there meaningful and fair allowances contained within the bid covering the materials that will be used but have no specifications as of yet?  You must do your homework before entering into any contract without regret.

T-Square company is a residential construction contractor in Austin, Texas

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Universal Design Kitchen Ideas

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Fri, May 18, 2018 @ 19:05 PM

     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 specifically for the one person with the disability whereas a UD home is designed for everyone.

Universal Design Kitchen Ideas

     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 through universal design build ideas throughout a home will attract a larger group of buyers when you decide to finally sell your home. Everyone has special needs and there is no one size fits all solutions using universal design. A twenty five year old homeowner with a bad back is really not similar in needs to his or her aging eighty year old grandmother, although they both need added accessibility only in different but similar ways.

Kitchen Remodeling

     Kitchens have evolved because fewer cabinets are needed within the more open designs using Universal Design techniques.  Fewer wall cabinets are needed because of personal reach limitations. For those that are used, they can be installed at 14" above the base cabinet work top instead of the standard 18" spacing.  Dishes can be stored in specialized pull out shelves. Pull down upper shelving is available but can be very costly. The cabinet top is now lowered by two inches and installed at a universal 34" height.  This makes a net 6 inch lower installation height for the bottom of the wall cabinet from the floor.  All types of cabinet inserts like pull out shelves, lazy Susans, and specialized drawers are now available for installation in both base and wall cabinets to increase accessibility.  These devices will certainly help solve the reach problem.  Base cabinet kick spaces can be raised to 9" and deepened to 6" instead of the standard 4" to accommodate future wheelchair access.  Recessed knee spaces can be incorporated into the design for roll under access at the sink, prep area, and cook top. A shallow cabinet with doors can be creatively installed in these areas disguising their intended future use.

     The lack of bending motion and ever decreasing reach distances is changing the way we purchase and install appliances at comfortable heights. Placing dishwashers higher by a few inches to limit bending has become a reachable fad and the new height is changing the old look of our kitchens.  Refrigerator or freezer drawers, dishwasher drawers, and double ovens that are no longer stacked represent just a few changes within the present day appliance marketplace.  The ovens can be installed at the height the homeowner finds most comfortable. Cooking ranges and cook tops with the controls located on the front represent another metamorphosis helping with reach problems.  Microwaves can be installed onto the now lowered 34" height counter top or preferably within the upper area of the lowered base cabinet according to the consumers need for adequate reach. The refrigerator should be a cabinet depth french door model giving access to the lower freezer and maybe an additional refrigerated drawer. Raising the dishwasher up at least 6" can be very helpful for access if you choose to use a conventional model.

      Fewer doors represents a change in the cabinet market.  The new open look lets homeowners access what is stored within the cabinet without an open door blocking their clear path for approach.  No matter in what manner the doors are hung they always interfere with accessibility if they swing.  They will become architectural barriers within the home at some time. Sliding doors are an option but can become a problem if dexterity and coordination ever become an issue. The open cabinet look is seen in both the bath and kitchen as the open shelves make it easier to find the items you need. If a more structural look is needed then glass fronts can be installed. The glass doors maintain the feeling of openness but with order.

     The space between cabinets in a "C" or "U" configuration should be between 42-48" for wheelchair access. A 60" turning radius should be observed for a wheelchair turn if entirely possible within a larger kitchen floor plan. Cabinet hardware should be considered for the future. Small knobs can be a problem for people with arthritis. Graspable "D" handles are a better option. The larger the pulls the easier it is for everyone to use.

Principles Of Universal Design

     Cabinet tops at varying heights should be installed using universal design. A lower island top can become a work surface for someone seated or a six year old helper. This area can be sectioned off using a higher 42" top used for bar stools. Cabinet top materials must have eased edges at the angles to prevent injury. The choice of materials you use for your cabinet top must be both durable and easy to maintain.

      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.

     Aging in place services are available through T-Square Company. We are a certified aging in place specialist.  Each design/build situation will be customized to fit your personal needs. 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

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

 

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Aging In Place Home Modifications In Austin

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, Nov 04, 2014 @ 10:11 AM

     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 it's 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 needing elder living solutions.

Principles Of Universal Design 

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     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.

Home Accessibility Help

      Disability is a complex phenomenon representing an interaction between one's physical impairments, the activities they need to perform, and the architectural barriers within the space in which this situation occurs.  The terminology and jargon used for disabilities evolves regularly whereas, "handicapped" is no longer acceptable.  It is no longer merely a description of intellectual or physical impairments.  Each individual with similar impairments describes his or her limitations differently.  The blind don't experience their world the same as a person with deafness.  Some of our societal statistics that weigh into aging in place situations include reports stating that 19% of the population between the ages of 16 and 64 and 42% of those of us 65 and over have a physical disability affecting the activities of their daily lives.  For a progressive condition,  aging in place home remodeling in Austin definitely comes into play.  This is the only way to insure both the safety and mobility for the homeowner or family member requiring the home modifications.  The two main groups driving this aging in place market are those people who are 65 and over and the baby boomers.  The first group is projected to reach 55 million in 2020.  The baby boomer generation born between 1946 and 1965 today make up 28% of the U.S.  population and are made up of some 77 million people.  Modifications of existing homes using aging in place services is important because people of age 50 and older want to remain in their current home for as long as possible.  Aging in place design in Austin should only be done by a CAPS certified remodeling company providing aging in place services.  This is the only way that you can be assured that the home modifications are the right choices to satisfy your needs.  There is no need to waste money only to find out that the wrong alterations were done by an inexperienced and non-qualified remodeling company.  Always check their credentials to verify that the remodeler holds a CAPS certification. All registered CAPS program graduates and their remodeling company will be listed in a national registry in Washington.  The information can be found by simply visiting nahb.org/CAPS.

Download Our Free Aging In Place Remodeling Considerations Checklist

      

     We provide a means for our customers to remain in their homes for as long as possible through certified aging in place design.  Gaining accessibility is the key component.  Let us help you design and build a new accessible awareness for your existing home.  Aging in place home modifications in Austin can show you how an accessible route will give you access to any part of your home no matter what your mobility situation is or will become.  For obvious reasons, the bathroom and kitchen are the rooms most affected by a lack of accessibility when aging in place is a concern.

Aging In Place Specialist Austin, Texas

We are able to handle any remodeling project, and focus on collaborative client centered solutions. We are not afraid to think outside of the box for solutions that meet our client's needs. We are a company with extensive experience in physical and occupational therapy as well as construction, remodeling, and design. Services we offer include: individualized assessments, architectural design, interior design, accessible remodeling & construction, wheelchair lifts & ramps, stair lifts, residential/commercial elevators, ceiling transfer lifts, and other simple solutions such as grab bar & railing installations.

Please call T-Square Company for all your CAPS building and remodeling needs!

      

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Custom Walk In Shower

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Fri, Mar 15, 2013 @ 16:03 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 bathroom remodeling all across the internet.

Principles Of Universal Design

     All fine bathroom transformations 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.  The owner's eyes will see the intense natural sparkle provided by the glass block's ability to diffuse natural light that will brighten any setting and create an open feeling.  Glass blocks can be inserted into an interior shower wall's opening providing light from a nearby outside window or on the exterior wall itself creating a waterproof window with both privacy and insulating capabilities.  The blocks also make a great toilet partition when you don't want the confinement of an additional toilet room.  Here they can be stair stepped toward the top to the wall's highest point and their raw ends covered in cuts from your field tiles or by using special glass tiles that are available.  If you are lucky enough to be able to borrow natural light from an outside source like a light shaft or hallway you can create a brilliant room having no windows visible from the outside.

Elder Construction

          All new construction or any bathroom remodel should involve multiple shower head combinations in multiple locations to fit anyone's desires. 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.  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.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     What about the costs involved?  In general, a typical bathroom remodel in the Austin area can run you about $19,000.  However a large master bathroom makeover can push up your budget to around $35,000 as an average.  Don't forget that these are average costs and the client is limited only by their bank account totals.  A custom tub to shower conversion can set you back around $13,000 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?

Home Accessibility Help

     As for the new custom walk in glass block 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 $600.  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.

Custom Walk In Shower in Austin, Texas

   

    

    

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Austin Bathroom Remodel

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Wed, Feb 20, 2013 @ 11:02 AM

 

    You should never consider hiring a "jack of all trades but master of none" type handyman to tear your bathroom apart.  What's more, you certainly do not want to witness such a person struggling to piece the room back together attempting to achieve your long desired Austin bathroom remodel idea.  If so, you will absolutely learn a hard and invaluable lesson in getting what you pay for by accepting the handyman's cheapest bid.

Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     It is well past time to undergo a fine bathroom upgrade and makeover.  An Austin bathroom remodel 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 remodeling professional 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 residential remodeling 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 dissability 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 Remodels

     Just look at the different types of housing represented througout this city and it's surrounding areas.  Smaller homes, cottages, sprawling historical townhomes surrounded by architectually 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 alongwith personal preference formulates where we choose to live in a town with such diversity.

     Committing to a bathroom remodel means taking many factors into account in the planning stages.  No matter which type of the structures listed above you're dealing with,  you must lean toward making the new bathroom upgrade blend with your existing home's design existing in harmony with it's surroundings.  All efforts must be made to prevent it from appearing as a "dirt dobber" design.  Putting an ultra modern updated bath into a dated urban cottage really doesn't blend well.  The types of architecture dealt with will clash and one will override the other taking away the prospect of a blending project to your home.

     Certainly there are many upgrades available when planning a bathroom transformation.  The replacement of the tub with a new walk in shower can create a bold  look but will run you around $10,000.  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 alongwith the labor will compose the overall cost of the remodeling project.

       Young Austin homeowners are always looking for ways to bring their existing older home's bathrooms up to date.  They can't afford a major residential remodel while providing for a new family.  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 that feeling of pride!

A Bathroom Remodel Should Provide A Pop For Your Home

Bathroom Remodeling In Austin, Texas

    

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Austin, Texas Bathroom Remodels

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, Dec 04, 2012 @ 22:12 PM

    

     What makes a bathroom remodel 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 transformation 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

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     Just look at the different types of housing represented throughout this city and it's surrounding areas.  Smaller homes, cottages, sprawling historical townhomes 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.

     Committing to a bathroom remodel means taking many factors into account in the planning stages.  No matter which type of the structures listed above you're dealing with,  you must lean toward making the new bathroom upgrade blend with your existing home's design existing in harmony with it's surroundings.  All efforts must be made to prevent it from appearing as a "dirt dobber" design.  Putting an ultra modern updated bath into a dated urban cottage really doesn't blend well.  The types of architecture dealt with will clash and one will override the other taking away the prospect of a blending project to your home.

Bathroom Remodels

     Certainly there are many bathroom upgrades available when planning a bathroom transformation.  The replacement of the tub with a new walk in shower from a custom tub to shower conversion can create a bold  look but will run you around $11,000.  There are no spending limits for bathroom remodels.   You can plan on spending around $12,000 to $15,000 for a hall bath remodel.   The price tag can approach or exceed $35,000 for a complete master suite remodel.  The type of fixtures and building components chosen along with the labor will compose the overall cost of the remodeling project. The price for a custom walk in shower will begin at around $13,000 by itself depending on the size.

     Updated Austin, Texas bathroom remodels consist of a blending of hardwoods used to create fine cabinetry, granite tops, oil rubbed bronze fixtures, faucets, and hardware accessories just to name a few.  Simply changing the bathroom cabinets can create the look of a new space. They come with matching light fixtures.  They have walk in showers with elegant frameless door enclosures and artfully framed beveled mirrors.  These bathrooms can be accented using glass blocks, glass and travertine tiles, pebbled backsplashes, and seats within the walk in shower design where shampoo niches can often be found.  Colors remain natural and vanilla but are accentuated using a light to dark contrast between the richly stained woods and the natural stone tiles. 

    Young Austin homeowners are always looking for ways to bring their existing older home's bathrooms up to date.  They can't afford a major remodel while providing for a new family.  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 that feeling of pride!

    Bathroom remodeling in Austin, Texas

Bathroom Remodeling Austin

 

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Home Improvements Austin

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Mon, Nov 05, 2012 @ 09:11 AM

     You have contemplated and dreamed of an addition to your home for years but now it's time for you to make a decision as to how you accomplish your basic needs for living.  Certain changes in your lifestyle have dictated an expansion.  Your living space has grown more crowded over time with additional family members being added as children, extended family members, or you may now find yourself having to provide care for an elderly family member.  Any and all of these life changing situations can add stress to  your daily lifestyle creating the need for additional living space or home improvements Austin. 

Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     As our children grow older they generally require more space and sometimes privacy.  This sparks a need for additional bedroom space alone once an aging relative or spouse is introduced into the original home's square footage who requires special care.   Here, privacy can truly become an issue just to keep everyone happy while underneath the same roof.  Perhaps even private entrances will be required for some of the home's new residents.  These private entries could  be required to begin a new accessible route if there are ADA compatibility issues involved. 

A Local & Trusted Builder

 

     It's time to find yourself either a qualified architectural firm and residential remodeling contractor or a local experienced residential construction contractor with in house design capabilities who can build what is designed.  The latter situation is usually your best shot at getting what you basically need to solve your living situation problems allowing you to cut out the beyond budget frills.  You will also save on the soft costs of your construction project that have nothing to do with the structual building process itself.  Many local residential contractors are quite capable of pushing out a wall in your home and putting a top on the structure.  This capability is based on both their experience and knowledge of all the building trades, especially the framing aspect that will be involved.  Actual experience in this particular facet of the project could proove to be very helpful for visualizing the construction and it's possibilities.  Has this contractor ever done this kind of project before?  Does he himself have skilled experience or does he appear to be a drive by limited contractor at the mercy of his subcontractor's capabilities?  Any depth of design is totally based on experience.  You will need to completely check out the contractor's references and any memberships in  local business organizations like the  Better Business Bureau.  What kind of rating does the residential remodeling professional have and how long has he been an accredited member?  Does the company have both general liability and Workman's Comp insurances and did the company offer you a certificate of insurance verifying their coverage.  You need the kind of information that can't be paid for and posted by the residential remodel contractor in question.  Don't be taken in by contractor listing  and referral sights that promise you successful and competent businesses.  They were listed there for one and only one reason, somebody paid for the listing fee.  Membership to national associations like NARI reflect only a self paid fee but says nothing about the contractor's experience and creativity.  That only comes from past customer's testimonials that you can fact check.

     Now how about the competitive bid prices you have collected?  A good rule of thumb is to toss out the lowest and highest numbers and go with the mid price.  This is true if and only if the company can pass the litmus test outlined above.  However, the project should be based on overall quality and remember you usually get what you pay for.  This situation will be solved with how the personalities of you and the contractor mesh together.  You must be able to communicate with this person who has come into your life throughout the construction process while keeping a level head for problem solving.  There will be problems because every construction and remodeling project has at least one.  There also needs to be a norm in the way the proposal is written.  Has the bidder been transparent and detailed to you in writing what is being covered within the bid?  Are there meaningful and fair allowances contained within the bid covering the materials that will be used but have no specifications as of yet?  You must do your homework before entering into any contract without regret.

T-Square company is a residential construction contractor in Austin, Texas

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Home Remodeling Austin, Texas(part 3 0f 3)The Envelope

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Mon, Mar 08, 2010 @ 18:03 PM

     Now that you've worked so diligently to attain the most efficient envelope for your building it's time to consider the finer points and a few energy minded construction techniques. This is why home remodeling Austin, Texas is a unique problem and furthermore why professional residential remodelers exist.   From here on out you will be dealing  with the penetrations going through your envelope perimeter that are deducting from all your efforts.  These areas include not only the electrical boxes, wires,  pipes, and registers that are coming through your walls, floor, and ceilings,but in particular the doors and windows that connect us to the outside.

     Austin house remodeling criteria demand that any penetrations concerning your utilities must be dealt with using expanding foams, caulks, or gaskets that limit infiltration into your envelope.  You can use clear paintable caulks in conjunction with all your interior trim eliminating small leaks that add up to large problems.  You can also caulk your A/C buckets to the ceiling before replacing the grilles.  Use insulation dams above attic stair units and weatherstrip the pull down door to the ceiling.  Repeat this procedure at any additional attic skuttles within your building.

     Your return air closet can also be a conditioned air thief.  Caulk all inside corners of the closet and seal your air handler to the platform it rests upon.  Weatherstrip the closet door.  If you have a gas furnace you can either remove the closet ceiling or install combustion air pipes that connect the closet to the unconditioned attic above.

     Now to attack the most wasteful of all the efficient envelope penetrators that connect us to the great outdoors-your windows. They make up a great percentage of surface area in your now upgraded and insulated exterior walls.  You must access whether or not to replace the original leaky windows and what value they add while preserving the look of your exterior.  If you choose to keep them, either efficient storm windows or insulating shutters may be installed on the interior. If, on the other hand, you favor replacing them always remember a good rule of thumb.  A single pane of glass only offers an R-1 resistance to the outside.  You are basically dealing with aesthetics  so don't be taken in by all the bell and whistle talk.  The main specification to consider is the E-factor concerning how well light is transmitted  into the building helping with direct gain problems during the summer months.

     All solid exterior doors offer insulating qualities through their makeup and must be weatherstripped.  If your doors contain glass inserts treat them as windows installing insulating shutters on the interior or a storm door on the exterior. Any penetrations through the conditioned envelope reduces it's total efficiency. 

Energy Efficient Building Techniques

Tankless Hot Water Heaters DON'T Waste Energy Heating Water

Energy minded tankless water heaters in Austin, Texas

Check out Part 1: Ceilings which covers your attic wastes

Check out Part 2: Walls which covers your wall R-factors and underpinning

 Phote Credit: Compact fluorescent...By Mike Dykstra

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Home Remodeling Austin, Texas (Part 2 of 3) Walls

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Mon, Mar 08, 2010 @ 18:03 PM

    Now that you've taken care of the energy being wasted "through the roof" how about those walls and what energy minded construction techniques can be utilized?  What type of construction makes up your walls and what are the best ways to go about eliminating some of the waste caused by air infiltration?  Let's define what home remodeling Austin, Texas means.

    Any remodeling contractor will tell you that Very old buildings have wall construction which is limited only by the materials that were available at the building sight for any specific time. These structures were normally composed of sod, masonry,  or logs that were chinked  with mud set into their joints relying on the principle of thermal massBy building thicker walls the same logic of the R-factor was used.  It took longer for outside temperatures to transfer into the building through these massive resistant walls into the living space.   

    Once lumber became available it was used at a premium.  The presence of clapboard or weather board construction came about using one by (one inch thick) boards in varying widths on  both sides of a 2x4 stud forming the outside walls. 

    The joints between the boards allowed air to infiltrate the building.  Batten boards were nailed over these joints on the exterior to eliminate some of the air flow and  later cheesecloth covered by wallpaper was applied on the inside boards.  The walls still had too much air infiltration relying on the dead air space and the composition of the wood itself to comprise the R-factor.  Finally 1/4" sheetrock was applied over the wallpaper as a first generation drywall application.

     If this clapboard system is plaguing your building you must access which side of the wall you need to attack.  Do you need new exterior siding that allows you to install and bury additional rigid insulation or desire a newer looking drywall finish on the interior? The only way to gain access to your stud space for applying batt insulation is to remove one side of the clap boards.  The kraft face must be turned toward your living space to create a vapor barrier against the outside and R-13 is the thickest product you can place in a four inch cavity.  Don't be misled by an offer using a blown in product that can be held up by wiring and never reach the bottom of the wall cavity which defeats the whole process.

     Once you have accomplished this task you have helped to maintain your envelope but you need to look down.  If your floor is on a pier and beam structure do you have an underpinning present?  It's purpose is to stop the wind from robbing you of additional infiltration from below your floor.  If present, the underpinning can eliminate having to install insulation between your floor joist.  It acts by literally raising the constant temperatures that existing naturally below ground.  This natural occurence will temper the crawl space beneath your floor joists and prevent energy robbing infiltration.  You now have a reasonably efficient envelope given your existing situation.

Check out Part 1:  Ceilings which covers your attic wastes

Check our Part 3:  The Envelope covering penetrations and their energy wastes

Photo Credit: Energy Savings By Prophet of the Haze

Energy Savings!

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