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

The Universal Design Laundry

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Wed, Dec 23, 2020 @ 13:12 PM

     Like in the garage of the home, the laundry is often overlooked when planning a Universal Design setting to Age in Place. The washer and dryer are separate units arranged side by side. If stacking, the upper drying unit is not accessible for a seated user. They are front loading machines not top loading models. This arrangement allows the user to look directly into either machine while accomplishing their duties. One problem concerning these appliances is like that of the dishwasher. If they are sitting directly on the floor, a seated person does not have a direct line of sight inside to see the garments. To solve this problem, just like the dishwasher, the machines are raised placing them upon a platform or pedestal. Many manufacturers offer matching pedestals around twelve inches tall. The advantage of using the matching pedestals is they often include a drawer unit for storing items.

A Universal Design Laundry in Austin

When configuring the Universal Design laundry room, provide a clear five foot turning radius directly in front of the washer and dryer for approaching both machines. If the laundry room is large enough, a 30 x 48 inch approach area is associated with the machines as with all appliances. This configuration is also used if the machines are in a closet. A useful detail for either situation is to have machines provided with opposite swing doors both opening from the middle. This way a person is between the machines with access to both for sorting clothes at the same time. Otherwise one machine door becomes an architectural barrier for anyone in a wheelchair.

A larger laundry room has both natural and layered lighting. A window is so important in the heat gaining laundry for additional ventilation during certain times of the year and providing natural light for working. Along with an AC duct, install a vented exhaust fan in the laundry decreasing humidity as it becomes a problem. As with any Aging in Place designs, well-lit rooms are much easier to work in for everyone. Additional task lighting is installed wherever needed like underneath wall cabinets.

To gain entrance to the laundry room, a minimum 36” door coming off the accessible route is required. A five foot clear turning radius in the middle of the room offers clear approaches to the sink, machines, ironing and hanging facilities. Pocket or barn doors are a great choice for a laundry entrance requiring no planning for their swing or the space needed when they are opened. Laundry activities are loud at times so plan for deadening them with the door choice. The laundry room needs ample room in order to approach and maneuver. Accessible and adequate storage is a major consideration. Just like in the kitchen, a laundry sink has roll under capability for a wheelchair user. The sink has an associated 30 x 48 inch clear area in front for approach in the layout. The faucet is an easily operated accessible pull out model and the cabinet top is installed at a universal 34 inch height. Here again, multiple height cabinet tops work well in different areas of the room. Additional cabinets and adjustable shelving are placed as space permits using universal heights and reach distances. A fold down clothes folding shelf is great as needed with roll under capability. When not in use it is folded away against the wall gaining back the original floor space.

Principles Of Universal Design

Racks and shelving are installed for hanging and sorting clothes. Keep in mind the 48 inch reach limit for a seated person. Ironing clothes is a usual chore with the laundry but ironing boards are always in the way no matter where they are assembled. To solve this problem, install an adjustable fold up model which is also rolled under. When not in use the ironing board is stored in the accompanying wall cabinet regaining the floor space. These ironing board units are available with a separate electrical outlet inside for the iron preventing running extension cords creating trip hazards. There are also folding ironing board drawer units which are installed in a base cabinet or below a work top. The drawback with these units is the lack of flexibility since they are installed at a fixed location and height.

Aging In Place Home Modifications

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Handicap Bathroom Remodel

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Fri, Sep 06, 2019 @ 16:09 PM

 

    Life happens and your present way of going about it includes newly discovered physical barriers which were never an issue before.  You've lost your mobility and are now forced to rely on a wheelchair for assistance at least for the present time.  The maneuvering of familiar areas within your home you'd always taken for granted are now presenting barriers that are limiting your new means of mobility.  Clear openings of 32" or greater, elevation changes steeper than 1:12, and being able to have access to all your home's facilities have been affected springing forth handicap remodeling.  The removal of these home grown barriers that now disrupt your accessible route for handicap bathrooms in Austin, Texas needs to be done by a qualified building professional holding a CAPS certificate.  Any ADA remodeling should comply with both ADA and local building code standards along with the TDLR guidelines.  A handicap bathroom remodel is not age related but becomes a major aspect concerning remodeling for seniors.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     Problems encountered while accessing your home when you are wheelchair bound generally begin before or at the front door.  Given that you can reach the front porch approach without obstruction is surely a great start.  The stairs leading onto the front porch are yet another matter all together.  A correctly designed ramp having the correct slope can adequately solve this problem.  The use of grab bars and any railings will be dictated by the ramp's design and the regulations involved.   Once your safely upon the porch, your home's front door width can become an issue.  Any entry door less than three feet in width will cause a problem in maintaining a required 32 inch clear entry way that starts the new accessible route within your home.  Once inside the structure a new set of problems concerning your accessibility will be discovered.

Home Accessibility Help

     An accessible bathroom for your convenience becomes the first issue.  The disability access bathroom will be located within the accessible route.  Any barriers encountered while approaching the bathroom entrance will need to be removed.  The minimum clear widths have to be observed.  This will include the bathroom door itself.  Twenty four to twenty eight inch wide doors are commonly used during the construction of American homes for accessing the bathroom and must be widened during a bathroom transformation.  Anything below three feet does not meet the clear 32 inch requirement mentioned above and will need to be altered for clearance of your wheelchair. This work may involve moving light switches.  These alterations should be done by a licensed electrician assuring your safety.

     Once inside the accessible bathroom you should try to maintain a five foot turning radius for your wheelchair if at all possible. You will need to have your plumbing facilities brought into compliance to enable your freedom and safety.  Bathroom modifications for the disabled involve the use of grab bars within the tub or shower and around the toilet which can be very helpful 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 34" high ADA compliant vanity can be very helpful while you are in the wheelchair.  Exact clearances should be complied with underneath the vanity.  The proper safety equipment should be installed on the plumbing pipes that don't allow scalding of your legs. The toilet may need to be replaced providing a comfort level height for easier access.  The handicap bath or roll in shower may need to be altered to become only a shower with roll in or possibly transfer capabilities. Roll in showers are always easier to deal with than handicap baths having walk in ability. However, these tubs are not for everyone especially those with dementia so do your homework before buying such an expensive addition to your bathroom.   All of these changes must be done along the  ADA guidelines for your safety but these are only to be used as a reference.  At this point every individual has their own set of needs according to their disabilities.

handicap bathroom remodel in Austin

Handicap Accessibility

     The referenced door situation above will be true for any room in the house if you are to enter them barrier free.  The kitchen, your bedroom, and any other rooms you require accessibility to enter could be affected.  Even the closet door within your bedroom will need to be wide enough so that you can manage getting your clothes to dress.  Any other bedrooms that you may need to enter with your wheelchair will need alterations.

     The accessible kitchen is another story altogether.  You will at least need the roll under capability as mentioned above at the sink.  Upper kitchen cabinet heights may become an issue if you still plan to do meal preparations.  No matter what you end up doing, make sure to hire an experienced building professional who understand the ADA guidelines for your well being.

     Aging in place design is mostly used for homeowners who require home modifications to allow them to remain in their home safely and comfortably as they age while their physical abilities change over time. Universal design is a much broader term covering the design of products and environments that are usable by all members of the household, from the youngest to the oldest, to the largest extent possible, without the need for further alterations, adaptations, or specialized design.  Universal Design provides a pathway to seamlessly age in place.  It is truly thinking ahead when it comes to accommodating the living environment for better home access.

     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 (CAPS) 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

 

Wheel Accessible Remodeling In Austin, Texas

    Elder Construction

      

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Accessibility Home Modifications

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Wed, Sep 04, 2019 @ 12:09 PM

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

Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

    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.  If your home needs modifications for a disabled child, remember that each type of disability is different and each requires special modifications to the house.  This statement also holds true for aging adults.

Accessibility Remodeling In Austrin

Handicap Accessibility

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

   When mobility becomes an issue for any homeowner or family member, regardless of age, the question arises concerning physically moving to a different home on one level with at least a bath that is more accessible. Austin handicap remodeling can help in preparing for one of those highly likely events involving someone in your home needing room modifications for even a short time while recovering from surgery is surely a smart move. Solving aging in place issues will soon become the number one challenge concerning the present obsolete housing inventory in our country.  Our present day obsolete homes now inhabited by the baby boomer generation will slowly and increasingly raise their outdated and obsolete ugly heads and expose their true lack of accessibility to those very people inhabiting them.  The situation will only become ever more expanding in time.   When these homes were previously purchased,  they represented an absolute castle in the world of their owners in which to prepare for a day and they also acted  as a retreat from life's tough interactions.  They housed our families, our memories, and our stuff.  They represented a place where we could be ourselves.  Our homes have always been exempt from any and all of the accessibility regulations that have been put in place since 1968 when our Viet Nam veterans were returning home. The new evolving concept known as Universal Design for home remodeling is catching on nation wide and has been for several years as a sign of the times.  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.  In fact, there are many benefits to using universal design techniques, including potential use by aging family members, added resale value, 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 accessibility can include adding grab bars or handrails throughout the home, 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.  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. Remember that a more open space gives room for maneuverability while using any mobility aid required.

Download Our Free Aging In Place Remodeling Considerations Checklist

   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.

    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 and ADA accessibility in Austin, Texas.  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.

Home Accessibility Help

 

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Home Remodeling Austin, Texas

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

     When it finally becomes apparent  that your existing home no longer fits the needs of your family,  it's time to reach out for professional help.  Whether you're looking for a local residential remodeling contractor in Austin, Texas to accomplish a kitchen remodel or a construction professional to complete an entire gutting and remodel of your entire home including a home office transformation,  the final accenting finishes most likely will include the use of fine cabinetry. The choice between frameless European and Northern face frame cabinetry styles will highlight practically any design.   Choosing the correct wood species can further add to the richness of the job.  Then there are those needed additions for a growing or multi-generational families that must blend with your home without being noticed.

Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

Kitchen Remodeling

      To begin with, kitchen upgrades and bathroom remodels return the most money at resale on the initial investment of the remodeling project.  National averages show that kitchen remodels recoup around 70% of the costs of the upgrade at the time of resale of the home.  However, your kitchen remodeling costs should never exceed 15% of the total value of your home.  Here is where you need to get your thinking cap on and plan for an affordable budget that is within your means.  Your material choices are very important and if you need to stay mid-level to fit the budget then do so.  The labor involved for the project will be around 1.6 times the cost of the materials used.  The total budget should allow $100 per square foot for your kitchen upgrade project.

     Any kitchen remodel will need to produce a better service or work triangle between the sink, refrigerator, and stove placement.  The shorter the sum of the triangle legs the more efficient the layout but islands can also be incorporated into the design to increase the efficiency.  The prep sink within the island can become it's own focal point of the work triangle displacing the duties of the main kitchen sink.  The orientation of the island toward the work triangle is very important making sure traffic can still flow freely within the designated triangle. Islands can contain all sorts of special storage areas.  Mixer lifts, produce storage drawers, wine storage, and dough board pullouts are just a few of the many useful aspects that can be incorporated into the island.

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

     It is well past time to undergo a fine bathroom upgrade and makeover.  Bathroom remodeling can either be a pain or a pleasant experience according to the participants involved.  Bathroom remodeling in Austin, Texas like most other cities includes many of the same aspects.  Be sure to choose a qualified residential construction contractor whose personality and qualifications are agreeable with you personally.  You are about to undertake a very important short term relationship in your life with someone you may know by reputation only.  The relationship needs to be comfortable and free flowing thus enabling the contractor's creativity level to be at it's highest during your remodeling project. Look at it as a partnership between your needs and the remodeling contractor's abilities.  His professional remodeling experience will include his capacity to identify many construction limitations and hazards.   These variables underlie the major pitfalls that can be avoided while making a bathroom remodeling design come into reality.  His experience can also aid you in accomplishing bathroom upgrades that include disability issues.  Accessibility is what the project is about anyway.  The job needs to flow between the various trades involved to produce a better final outcome.  This too is a reflection on his remodeling experience for which there is no substitute.

     Bathroom plumbing fixture choices are numerous to say the least.  Select reputable companies offering the best warranties especially when considering finishes used on control valve trims and the fixtures installed in the project.   Larger walk in shower designs should have seamless fiberglass liners to avoid leaks if the house ever shifts.  Using natural stone or glass tiles while additionally designing in glass blocks will certainly be an upgrade. 

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

Bathroom Remodels

Home Remodeling In Austin

home remodeling Austin, Texas

 

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

 

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What Is Aging In Place

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

     Regardless of your age, you may want to recognize and take under advisement some universal design techniques for your next new construction or home remodeling project. Some people confuse aging in place with universal design.  Both are a method to increase accessibility within the home but aging in place strictly deals with an existing home. Aging in place design also implies modifying any home for it's older occupants to insure that the inhabitants can safely remain there as long as they possibly can through elder living solutions.  This time will expire once they need assisting medically trained help for safeguarding their personal safety in a nursing home or an assisted living environment.  Universal design is just that; offering choices to all of a home's residents no matter their age or physical capabilities.  It starts with a design and then the construction begins. When universal design ideas are incorporated into their floor plan, homes can accommodate the needs of their owners as those needs evolve over time.  Better yet, at time of resale your home will be available to a much larger market of consumers.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

Aging In Place Living Area In Austin

     There are really three categories of aging in place customers requiring home modifications.  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.

Principles Of Universal Design

Elder Construction

      Each individual with similar impairments describes his or her limitations differently when undergoing elder construction.  The blind don't experience their world the same as a person with deafness.  The checklist below contains features you may want to consider for your next new construction or renovation project. It also provides a quick reference for various aging in place issues. Because this list is not comprehensive due to people's differing needs, it’s best to also consult with a Certified Aging In Place Specialist. To find one in your area, go to nahb.org/capsdirectory

Download Our Free Aging In Place Remodeling Considerations Checklist

 

Aging In Place Designs

The interior floor plan

A single story one level living area without steps between living areas or attached rooms

A 5-foot by 5-foot clear/turn space in living area, kitchen, a bedroom, and one bathroom

A clear hallway of at least 36" in width being well lit providing an accessible barrier free route of travel throughout the home

All thresholds and transitions along the clear floor space should be tapered and no more than 1/2" in height

All doors should be minimally 36" wide along the accessible route producing a 32" clear opening. All doors should have lever hardware

Kitchen and laundry

Wall support and provision for adjustable and/or varied height counters and removable base cabinets

Upper wall cabinetry three inches lower than conventional height

Accented stripes on edge of counter tops to provide visual orientation to the work space

Counter space for dish landing adjacent to or opposite all appliances

Base cabinet with roll out trays and lazy Susans

Pull-down shelving

Glass-front cabinet doors

Open shelving for easy access to frequently used items

Appliances

Easy to read controls located at front

Washing machine and dryer raised 12-15 inches above floor

Front loading laundry machines

Microwave oven at counter height or below

Side-by-side refrigerator/freezer

Side-swing or wall oven

Raised dishwasher with push-button controls

Electric cook top with level burners for safety in transferring between the burners, front controls and downdraft feature to pull heat away from user; light to indicate when surface is hot

Miscellaneous

A 30-inch by 48-inch clear space at appliances or 60-inch diameter clear space for turns

Multi-level work areas to accommodate cooks of different heights

Open under-counter seated work areas

Placement of task lighting in appropriate work areas

Loop handles for easy grip and pull

Pull-out spray faucet; levered handles

Bathroom

Wall support and provision for adjustable and/or varied height counters and removable base cabinets

Contrasting color edge border at counter tops

At least one wheelchair maneuverable bath on main level with 60-inch turning radius or acceptable T-turn space and 36-inch by 36-inch or 30-inch by 48-inch clear space

Bracing in walls around tub, shower, shower seat, and toilet for installation of grab bars to support 250-300 pounds

If stand-up shower is used in main bath, it is curbless and minimum of 36-inches wide or for any custom tub shower conversions

Bathtub - lower for easier access

Fold down seat in the shower

Adjustable/handheld shower heads, 6-foot hose

Tub/shower controls offset from center and below 48"

Low profile shower stall with built-in antibacterial protection

Light over shower stall

Comfort height toilet two and half inches higher than standard toilet (17-19 inches) or height-adjustable

Design of the toilet paper holder allows rolls to be changed with one hand

Wall-hung sink with knee space and panel or insulation to protect user from scalding pipes

Slip-resistant flooring in bathroom and shower

Electrical, lighting, safety, and security

Light switches by each entrance to halls and rooms

Light receptacles with at least two bulbs in vital places (exits, bathroom)

Light switches, thermostats, electrical panels and other environmental controls placed in accessible locations no higher than 48 inches from floor

Electrical outlets 18-inches above the floor and may need to be closer than 10-feet apart

Clear access space of 30-inches by 48-inches in front of switches and controls

Rocker or touch light switches

Easy-to-see and read thermostats set at or below 48"

Programmable thermostats

Home wired for security

Other ideas

Separate apartment for rental income or future caregiver

Flex room that can used as a nursery or playroom when the children are young and as a home office later; if combined with a full bath, room could also be used for an aging parent/aging in place

     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 sometimes requiring wheelchair remodeling.  Any family living with disability among any of it's generations within it's group can always benefit from additional home accessibility.   This will in turn increase safety and independence for all involved as they go through life. 

     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.

     For additional information about the CAPS program, visit nahb.org/CAPS.  For more information about T-Square Company, visit www.tsquareco.com or call 512-444-0097.

Aging In Place Home Modifications

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Accessible Design

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, Aug 27, 2019 @ 12:08 PM

     When mobility becomes an issue for any homeowner, regardless of age, the question arises concerning physically moving to a different home with a bath that is more accessible. Preparing for one of those highly likely events involving someone in your home needing room modifications for even a short time while recovering from surgery is surely a smart move. Solving aging in place issues will soon become the number one challenge concerning the present obsolete housing inventory in our country.  Our present day obsolete homes now inhabited by the baby boomer generation will slowly and increasingly raise their outdated and obsolete ugly heads and expose their true lack of kitchen or bathroom accessibility to those very people inhabiting them.  The situation will only become ever more expanding in time. When these homes were previously purchased,  they represented an absolute castle in the world of their owners in which to prepare for a day and they also acted  as a retreat from life's tough interactions.  They housed our families, our memories, and our stuff.  They represented a place where we could be ourselves.  Our homes have always been exempt from any and all of the accessibility regulations that have been put in place since 1968 when our Viet Nam veterans were returning home. 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.  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.  In fact, there are many benefits to using universal design techniques, including potential use by aging family members, added resale value, 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, 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.  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. 

     Finding the right contractor with ADA knowledge and experience can be as much of a challenge as maintaining your independence throughout an accessible design in Austin.  You should be looking for a contractor who understands life changes.  A contractor who offers specialty products and services standing out from the rest of the pack.  A contractor who has the ability, through experience,  to help clear the murky water impeding your accessible route and how it can be accomplished.  One who takes ADA remodeling to another level promoting safety.  A well versed construction professional can take on and solve any residential ADA challenge creating an accessible design.  These can include widening doorways, ADA compliant kitchen cabinets, or ADA compatible baths

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     When increasing home accessibility, door widening is a common problem especially where wheelchair access is a must.  All doors should be 36" wide with the correct locking hardware installed.  The rule is 32" clear within the accessible route but 32" doors don't give enough clearance because of their stops.  You also need to pay attention to which side the lockset is installed on to not limit any wheelchair access or operation of the door's locking hardware.

     ADA compliant kitchen cabinets give you the ability to freely roll under the correct depth sink with covered or insulated water and drain lines.  The sink should be equipped with a proper automatic or wrist handle faucet.  A finished cabinet top height of 34" will also be observed.  Wall cabinets should be mounted around 4" lower than usual for reachability from a sitting position.  An unobstructed five feet turning radius on the floor should also be maintained.

ADA Kitchen Cabinetry

     Bathroom transformations complying with ADA revisions also require the same turning radius noted in the kitchen along with a correct bathing facility.  If a tub is useful, correctly placed grab bars must be installed for safety reasons.  Showers can be either the roll in or transfer type dictated by the individual user's physical abilities.  The comfort height toilet should have grab bars installed at 34" on the side wall as well as at the rear at a minimum.  The flush handle should be oriented toward the middle of the room away from the side wall.  The bathroom sink should be accessible as in the kitchen mentioned above.

Home Accessibility In Austin

Home Accessibility In Austin

     Traditional home builders and remodelers don't really consider the needs of the disabled or elderly like ADA vanities or roll in showers which are universal in nature.  It takes a special breed of contractor to realize special needs for special people. 

     A revolution in building design standards is long overdue.  Our current building design standards do not address the needs of more than one third of our existing population.  Many more people can greatly benefit from accessible design versus conventional design.  Our rapidly aging population is experiencing the limitations of our personal living environments.  Any evolution in building practically always begins in the common areas of the commercial building sector.  The American Disabilities Act of 1990 increased the attention needed for those people having the right to equally access their work place and any recreational or leisure facilities.  These rules at least offer minimal solutions for those needing the most help with any building access.  In Austin, we now must  provide access to one bathroom on the first floor in new homes as deemed by our newly adopted building regulations.  This basic right to a handicap accessible bathroom is finally being enforced by the city's building inspectors.  What a tremendous needed and basic design improvement!

Home Accessibility Help

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

     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

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Home Access In Austin

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Fri, Jul 12, 2019 @ 14:07 PM

     When mobility becomes an issue for any homeowner, regardless of age, the question arises concerning physically moving to a different home with a bath that is more accessible. Preparing for one of those highly likely events involving someone in your home needing room modifications for even a short time while recovering from surgery is surely a smart move. Solving aging in place issues will soon become the number one challenge concerning the present obsolete housing inventory in our country. Our present day obsolete homes now inhabited by the baby boomer generation will slowly and increasingly raise their outdated and obsolete ugly heads and expose their true lack of kitchen or bathroom accessibility to those very people inhabiting them. The situation will only become ever more expanding in time. When these homes were previously purchased, they represented an absolute castle in the world of their owners in which to prepare for a day and they also acted as a retreat from life's tough interactions. They housed our families, our memories, and our stuff. They represented a place where we could be ourselves. Our homes have always been exempt from any and all of the accessibility regulations that have been put in place since 1968 when our Viet Nam veterans were returning home.

ADA Accessible Bathroom In Austin

     The new evolving concept known as Universal Design and specialized handicap remodeling contractors for home access remodeling is catching on nation wide and has been for several years as a sign of the times. 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. In fact, there are many benefits to using universal design techniques, including potential use by aging family members, added resale value, 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, 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. 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. Home modifications can increase safety, accessibility, and independence for people who want to live independently.

Handicap Accessibility

     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 and ADA accessibility in Austin, Texas. 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.

If you ever find yourself needing better accessibility within your home during a recuperation or as a general more permanent need please don't hesitate to reach out to me directly.

Sincerely,

David

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

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ADA Wheelchair Ramp

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Wed, Jul 10, 2019 @ 12:07 PM

ADA wheelchair ramp guidelines are as follows:

  • The minimum ramp width must be 36 inches minimum but 48 inches is preferable.
  • Ramps must have edge protection to keep anyone from slipping off their surface in the form of a raised outer curb or railing.
  • All wheelchair ramps must have level or flat unobstructed landings at the top and bottom of the rise being overcome that are 60 inches by 60 inches to provide a proper five foot wheelchair turning radius. The landing areas cannot have more than a 30 feet long ramp separating them. If the rise distance requires longer than a 30 foot run to overcome it then a series of landings can be used creating a switchback design.
  • Thirty six inch handrails are required on both sides of all ramps that rise steeper than 6 inches from the ground below.
  • All surfaces must be slip resistant and stable.

     A wheelchair ramp is basically an inclined plane installed in addition to or instead of stairs. Ramps provide wheelchair users or users of other mobility aids as well as people pushing strollers,carts, or other wheeled objects, better access to any building. When designing a wheelchair ramp, you need to consider the users physical limitations. The ramp should be wide enough to be safe and maneuverable and sturdy enough to carry the weight of an electric wheelchair and it's cargo (this can approach 6-700 pounds in many instances) and have a slope that is gradual enough for a manual wheelchair user to navigate. 

ADA wheelchair ramp in Austin, Texas

     Let's say your front porch is 24 inches tall and you are needing easier access to your home while using a wheelchair or walker. A straight ADA prescribed 1:12 ramp will let you overcome the 24 inch porch rise over a span of 24 feet. This is as steep a ramp that is allowed but it may not work for everyone and it may need to be of less slope as in 1:16-1:20. However, if your porch is 36 inches tall, a maximum thirty feet long straight ramp will overcome only 30 inches of the rise of your porch and the remaining six inches can be overcome by an additional six feet long ramp which occurs only after a five feet by five feet flat turning area is installed. This is referred as a switchback and the additional six feet ramp can be added on any face of the flat area. It can be installed as a straight run or as a ninety degree turn in either direction. If adequate room isn't available for the above scenario, then the switchback can occur along the path of travel anywhere as long as the approaching ramp doesn't exceed thirty feet in length which is a maximum. Don't forget to include another flat 60" by 60" landing at the front door and at the end of the incline ramp to allow for greater maneuverability and door operation.

Home Accessibility Help

     Upon entering the home, you can begin the accessible route which is designed to take you through the home to the most visited areas like the bathroom, kitchen, and living areas in that order. Our homes have always been exempt from any and all of the accessibility regulations that have been put in place since 1968 when our Viet Nam veterans were returning home. 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.  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.

      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 and ADA accessibility in Austin, Texas.  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.  Schedule an appointment by calling 512-444-0097 today.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

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Professional Construction Services In Austin

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Thu, May 02, 2019 @ 15:05 PM

     The Basic Room Scenario

     A combination of six faces defines nearly any given room.  The four walls receive the most preparation since they are usually the focal point as one enters the room.  Much time is spent to achieve just the right color, texture, and appearance to create that lasting impression.  The fifth surface, the floor, is generally designed for durability and comfort keeping with the rooms color scheme.  It too has a great deal to do with the general feeling of the room and as such is always considered in conjunction with the walls.  The final surface at the ceiling level is hardly ever taken into account in the finish schedule beyond that of getting a coat of color scheme blending paint. 

Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

Bathroom Remodeling Austin

Kitchen Remodeling

     One may never realize this last face even exists until they are lying in bed staring upward at a very common and unimaginable sight.  This most recently neglected surface having  such great potential has simply been made boring with the invention and use of drywall.  The old out of sight, out of mind gesture kicked in following the sheetrock revolution.  Consulting with a residential construction professional in Austin can give you some workable ideas.

     Long before drywall was slapped upon the ceiling and left to disappear in monotony, ceilings were both ornate and beautiful.  Wood was generally used on the ceiling enabling beams, coffered units, and box ceilings to be limited only by creativity. Clap board houses had boarded ceilings covered with cheese cloth so that colorful wall paper could be hung.  Beaded and v-groove boards were another way to make ceilings interesting.  A metallic look was obtained using stamped tin panels of many patterns.  When all else failed and a homogeneous look was desired plaster was used.

Custom Ceilings

     The look of fine cabinetry along with detailed woodwork and trim can be used on the ceiling to make any job more interesting and "kick it over the top".  You can combine creative  woodwork with faux or actual metal surfaces for that certain but different look.  Beamed and coffered ceilings also create a warm and rich feeling that is beyond the norm. Any use of these special ceilings will give any bath or kitchen upgrade a unique overall feel and look.  They can enhance bedrooms, home offices, libraries, vestibules or any room you'd like to reveal a looming accent. 

How would you like waking up to this Oak ceiling daily?

coffered ceilings in Austin, Texas

Try spending some of those building funds on the aspects that are only seen when you're at total rest and staring up into dullness!

Home Accessibility Help

     No matter which room you are wanting to upgrade, from kitchens to bathrooms, take everything into consideration because this is what represents your home to your visitors through their sensory perception. 

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Home Remodeling Near Me

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Thu, May 02, 2019 @ 15:05 PM

     Whether you're looking for a local residential remodeling contractor in Austin, Texas to accomplish a kitchen remodel or a construction professional to complete an entire gutting and remodel of your entire home including a home office transformation,  the final accenting finishes most likely will include the use of fine cabinetry. The choice between frameless European and Northern face frame cabinetry styles will highlight practically any design.   Choosing the correct wood species can further add to the richness of the job.  Then there are those needed additions that must blend while being added onto your home without notice.

Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

Kitchen Remodeling

      To begin with, kitchen upgrades and bathroom remodels return the most money at resale on the initial investment of the remodeling project.  National averages show that kitchen remodels recoup around 70% of the costs of the upgrade at the time of resale of the home.  However, your kitchen remodeling costs should never exceed 15% of the total value of your home.  Here is where you need to get your thinking cap on and plan for an affordable budget that is within your means.  Your material choices are very important and if you need to stay mid-level to fit the budget then do so.  The labor involved for the project will be around 1.6 times the cost of the materials used.  The total budget should allow $100 per square foot for your kitchen upgrade project.

     Any kitchen remodel will need to produce a better service or work triangle between the sink, refrigerator, and stove placement.  The shorter the sum of the triangle legs the more efficient the layout but islands can also be incorporated into the design to increase the efficiency.  The prep sink within the island can become it's own focal point of the work triangle displacing the duties of the main kitchen sink.  The orientation of the island toward the work triangle is very important making sure traffic can still flow freely within the designated triangle. Islands can contain all sorts of special storage areas.  Mixer lifts, produce storage drawers, wine storage, and dough board pullouts are just a few of the many useful aspects that can be incorporated into the island.

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

     It is well past time to undergo a fine bathroom upgrade and makeover.  Bathroom remodeling can either be a pain or a pleasant experience according to the participants involved.  Bathroom remodeling in Austin, Texas like most other cities includes many of the same aspects.  Be sure to choose a qualified residential construction contractor whose personality and qualifications are agreeable with you personally.  You are about to undertake a very important short term relationship in your life with someone you may know by reputation only.  The relationship needs to be comfortable and free flowing thus enabling the contractor's creativity level to be at it's highest during your remodeling project. Look at it as a partnership between your needs and the remodeling contractor's abilities.  His professional remodeling experience will include his capacity to identify many construction limitations and hazards.   These variables underlie the major pitfalls that can be avoided while making a bathroom remodeling design come into reality.  His experience can also aid you in accomplishing bathroom upgrades that include disability issues.  Accessibility is what the project is about anyway.  The job needs to flow between the various trades involved to produce a better final outcome.  This too is a reflection on his remodeling experience for which there is no substitute.

     Bathroom plumbing fixture choices are numerous to say the least.  Select reputable companies offering the best warranties especially when considering finishes used on control valve trims and the fixtures installed in the project.   Larger walk in shower designs should have seamless fiberglass liners to avoid leaks if the house ever shifts.  Using natural stone or glass tiles while additionally designing in glass blocks will certainly be an upgrade. 

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

Bathroom Remodels

Residential Remodeling Creating A Custom Walk In Shower

Custom Walk In Showers In Austin, Texas

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