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 Kitchen Remodel

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Thu, Aug 29, 2019 @ 17:08 PM

     If you have been considering an Austin kitchen remodel project there are a few things you should take into consideration.  Kitchen upgrades in Austin, Texas can take on many looks and facets.  The scope of work you choose to accomplish this task should effectively solve your problems and most importantly, your needs as the home owner-- for now and for the future.  The identification of these specific needs belongs to you the home owner.  The way your home is structurally altered to accomplish these needs is the job of the professional remodeling contractor.  Aging in place and accessibility should be a concern no matter what your age.  If your concerns are not for you,  barring any life changing accident, they could concern the accessibility of another generation's independence is using the bathroom.  A CAPS professional in the remodeling industry can help with solutions in solving these issues while performing design/build home modifications.  T-Square Company is a nationally registered CAPS remodeling contractor.   We have over three decades worth of kitchen design/build experience.

Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

    When you are replacing your old cabinets during a kitchen remodel with some new fine cabinetry or perhaps you are just needing an updated work surface there are a few choices that need to be considered before making your final decision.  Plastic laminates, solid surface material, granite, quartz, stainless steel, wood, and concrete are the most popular choices today when considering new or replacement counter tops for a fine kitchen upgrade.  Each surface has it's own set of pros and cons to take under advisement before a conclusion is reached making sure your selection blends with your lifestyle.  Remember that any samples of materials you see are only small representations of any larger piece when choosing products.  Furthermore protection from heat sources and cutting boards should always be used no matter which top you choose.   Kitchen upgrades and bathroom remodels return the most money at resale on the initial investment of the remodeling project.  National averages show that kitchen remodels recoup around 70% of the costs of the upgrade at the time of resale.  However, your kitchen remodeling costs should never exceed 15% of the total value of your home.  Here is where you need to get your thinking cap on and plan for an affordable budget that is within your means.  Your material choices are very important and if you need to stay mid-level to remain in your budget then do so.  The labor involved for the project will be around 1.6 times the cost of the materials used.  The total budget should allow $100 per square foot for your kitchen upgrade project at a minimum. 

Austin kitchen remodel

     Kitchen remodeling in Austin, Texas is no different than anywhere else.  Basically, for an average size kitchen of between 200-300 square feet you can budget a minimum of $30,000 for your kitchen upgrade.  There are very few DIY kitchen remodeling projects.  Once the demolition is accomplished the inexperienced homeowner should consider his part in the remodel to be complete.  It's time to get the building professionals involved to make sure that the resulting kitchen upgrade functions correctly.  The correct electrical wiring with the new outlets and appliance rough ins should be installed within the kitchen's frame work.  Dedicated circuits per the national electrical code should be wired by a qualified electrician.  This will insure that two appliances can be running simultaneously without tripping any circuit breakers.  The electrician will also install the needed GFI  protected circuits that keep you safe around any wet areas.  It's also a great time to install all the upgraded lighting fixtures with the new switching they require.  Skimping on the electrical budget can cause many problems including an electrical fire.

Kitchen Remodeling

     Plumbing upgrades need to be addressed and the use of a master plumber will make sure that everything functions correctly.  Moving a sink over a small amount can add an additional $2,500 to your project's hard costs as it affects both the plumbing and the floor.  The plumber can be sure that you have adequate water volume for any additional fixtures that will be involved.  The plumber will be involved through the setting of the sink, fixtures, and all appliances requiring water to operate.  When choosing a kitchen sink, whether it is a drop in model or an under mount,  you can never go wrong with a good grade of stainless steel.  These sinks never go out of style and you can outfit them with any color and kind of faucet finish that you see fit.

    Any kitchen remodeling ideas will need to include a better service or work triangle between the sink, refrigerator, and stove placement when remodeling an Austin kitchen.  The shorter the sum of the triangle legs the more efficient the layout.  Twelve to fifteen feet is an optimum size for efficiency.  Islands can also be incorporated into the design to increase your functionality.  The prep sink within the island can become it's own focal point of the work triangle reducing the duties of the main kitchen sink.  The orientation of the island toward the work triangle is very important making sure traffic can still flow freely within the designated triangle. Islands can contain all sorts of special storage areas.  Mixer lifts, produce storage drawers, pullout shelving, divided drawers, wine storage, and dough board pullouts are just a few of the many useful aspects that can be incorporated into the island.

     Moving on to the fine cabinetry for the project, you are limited by what you have budgeted for.  Traditional face frame medium grade oak or maple cabinets will cost you around $160 per linear foot.  Any exotic wood species are even more costly. Special cabinet amenities like pullouts beyond the basic drawer and shelf storage will add more to the total cabinet price.   If the intent of your upgrade is to increase your accessibility via an ADA remodel as in wheelchair accessible,  the new cabinets will most likely have to be custom made.  These alterations should be done by a qualified residential construction contractor who is accomplished in dealing with the local ADA codes. 

     Frameless European full overlay style cabinets are a type of fine cabinetry having either a painted or stained wooden exterior or one with the exterior  totally covered on all exposed surfaces in plastic laminate per your choice of color, pattern, or manufacturer.  The laminated exterior application provides a much cleaner and more modern look for easier maintenance.  The doors and drawer fronts on all European cabinetry are flat having no crevices to conceal grease and grime and directly overlay the cabinet box. Each door is mounted on the inside of the box using fully concealed and adjustable two part hinges.  The frameless European style is represented only by the cabinet carcass or box, composed of the walls, bottom and top (if needed), and back without any face frame components yielding only a 3/4" outward appearance for all the stiles and rails.  This European style which eliminates the usual two inch face frame gives full access to any stored contents with more usable room.  These frameless cabinets limit the amount of exposed stile and rail surface area between the door and drawer faces.  The exposed cabinet area is normally limited to 1/8-3/16 of an inch.  This holds true between any two finished faces coming together presenting a half overlay situation on either a horizontal rail or vertical stile; hence, exhibiting the full overlay method.  This clearance is also typical at the juncture toward the outside walls beside the cabinets. One other characteristic of the European design lies in the adjustable shelving.  A series of 5mm holes are repeatedly drilled in 32mm increments (approximately 1 1/4") continuously at the front and back of all vertical cabinet pieces receiving shelves.  This configuration allows for shelf supports to be inserted to adjust the shelves.  In time, the shelf supporting "dogs" might wear out the holes and become loose causing the shelves to collapse.  The retro use of metal pilasters will remedy the problem.

     Following cabinet installation,  there is no room for the application of wall trim in the European method.   Spaces against the walls should be caulked in place to seal the carcass to the walls.  If the gap toward  the side walls is greater than 1/8 inch preventing a reasonable caulk joint, a laminated filler must be installed.  This new filler should be cut and sanded to fit the taper tightly filling the gap. As mentioned above, the narrow but typical gap from the side of the cabinets to the wall can and will be a problem when European style cabinets are specified for a remodel. Don't forget that the 1/8th inch spacing rule means that no passage door or window trim can be any closer to the new cabinet faces than the cabinet drawers themselves are deep.  Any such trim will always be 1/2 inch or more in thickness thus impedes cabinet function.  By practicing this rule of thumb you will allow the drawers to fully extend. Cabinet doors will also have a clear swing radius and not be wedged against any perpendicular entry door trim.  If the above needed clearance from the cabinet faces to the door trim is nonexistent the entry doors themselves must be relocated.  This aspect will include any wiring for light switches or outlets and should be done by a qualified electrician.

     There are many textured nonporous plastic laminates available today that will help keep your project costs in the black for the cabinet top.  However, the premium grades of plastic laminate counter tops will still cost upwards of $45 per linear foot. Common grades of granite run around $100 per square foot including prep work like edges and sink cut outs and these granite choices can be purchased at square foot pricing. Premium or exotic granite tops must be purchased at slab pricing meaning you will end up with the remnants you don't use to complete the project. Quartz tops are somewhere in the middle and now some are becoming common stock materials in the storage yards available at square foot pricing. Back splashes can either match or be totally different from the surface of the counter top.  Poured in place concrete tops are available as well as stainless steel or solid surface materials. Back splashes using tile patterns and designs must blend well with any of the chosen counter top surface choices. 

    Whatever your situation rely on the experiences of a local building professional.  Check out their credentials and references over merely price checks against other bidders.  Don't make the mistake of letting a cabinet maker subcontractor or tile installer play the part of a general contractor because his knowledge will be limited to that of the cabinets or tile and not the whole project.  You get what you pay for with proper planning and by using an experienced and qualified contractor. T-Square Company has been an accomplished general contracting firm and builder in the Austin area for 35 years.  Our design/build construction techniques will not only save you money but bring your dreams into reality in a seamless manner without confusion. Our team of master tradesmen will work together to make your ideas a reality.  Call us at 512-444-0097 today to set up an in home appointment.

 ADA Kitchen Cabinetry

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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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Wheelchair Ramp Slope

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Mon, Jun 24, 2019 @ 10:06 AM

DETERMINING SLOPE RATIO

     To determine the slope of your ramp and how much horizontal space it will require, use the following calculation per the ADA guidelines: Multiply the inches your ramp will rise by the slope ratio you desire, and then divide the sum by 12 (to convert the horizontal space you'll need to feet). For example: 31-inch rise x 20 slope ratio = 620. That divided by 12 gives you a 51-foot horizontal projection.

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 can be permanent, semi-permanent or portable providing wheelchair accessibility. Permanent ramps are designed to be bolted or otherwise attached in place. Semi-permanent ramps rest on top of the ground or concrete pad and are commonly used for the short term. Permanent and semi-permanent ramps are usually of aluminum, concrete or wood. Portable ramps are usually aluminum and typically fold for ease of transport. Portable ramps are primarily intended for home and building use but can also be used with vans to load an unoccupied mobility device or to load an occupied mobility device when both the device and the passenger are easy to handle. Ramps can be constructed from a variety of different materials, though some are better than others and friction is of upmost importance.

     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. 

Austin Wheelchair Ramp

     The ADA guidelines recommend a slope ratio of 1:16 to 1:20. The Americans with Disabilities Guidelines dictate how ramps are designed for all public places. A noted 1:12 ratio is too steep for some people to navigate using a manual wheelchair. This translates into an 8% slope or grade. These ratios must be followed in all public places; however, there are no rules for residential construction. On a residential basis, the ramps can be customized for the user without having to rely on the ADA averages. The ADA rules become simply guidelines. The publication assists private homeowners to create ramps that are usable, safe and sturdy. Homeowners aren't required to follow these slope guidelines but if you have the available area then less slope is always better.

Home Accessibility Help

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

 

 

    Whether your family needs the support now or down the road, universal design features are a good long-term investment for the home itself. Whatever your situation please remember to rely on the experiences of a local building professional.  Check out their credentials and references and don't limit yourself to only price checks against other bidders.  Don't make the mistake of letting a cabinet making subcontractor or tile installer play the part of a general contractor.  Their knowledge will be limited to that of the cabinets or tile and not much else.  More importance needs to be given to the reputable contractor's personality and knowledge and how well you two communicate.  You are making your choice for a professional to lead the way enabling your dream to be realized.  You get what you pay for with proper planning when using an experienced and qualified local contractor. T-Square Company is CAPS certified and can be reached at 512-444-0097 in Austin, Texas.  Find out how a design/build remodeling contractor can save you money during your next project.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

 

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Wheelchair Ramp Specifications

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, Jun 11, 2019 @ 17:06 PM

     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. Safety is a paramount concern for the user.

wheelchair ramp in Austin

     The ADA guidelines recommend a slope ratio of 1:16 to 1:20. The Americans with Disabilities Guidelines dictate how ramps are designed for all public places. A noted 1:12 ratio is too steep for some people to navigate using a manual wheelchair. This translates into an 8% slope or grade. These ratios must be followed in all public places; however, there are no rules for residential construction. On a residential basis, the ramps can be customized for the user without having to rely on the ADA averages. The ADA rules become simply guidelines. The publication assists private homeowners to create ramps that are usable, safe and sturdy. Homeowners aren't required to follow these slope guidelines but if you have the available area then less slope is always better.

Home Accessibility Help

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.

DETERMINING SLOPE RATIO

     To determine the slope of your ramp and how much horizontal space it will require, use the following calculation per the ADA guidelines: Multiply the inches your ramp will rise by the slope ratio you desire, and then divide the sum by 12 (to convert the horizontal space you'll need to feet). For example: 31-inch rise x 20 slope ratio = 620. That divided by 12 gives you a 51-foot horizontal projection.

     A wheelchair ramp can be permanent, semi-permanent or portable. Permanent ramps are designed to be bolted or otherwise attached in place. Semi-permanent ramps rest on top of the ground or concrete pad and are commonly used for the short term. Permanent and semi-permanent ramps are usually of aluminum, concrete or wood. Portable ramps are usually aluminum and typically fold for ease of transport. Portable ramps are primarily intended for home and building use but can also be used with vans to load an unoccupied mobility device or to load an occupied mobility device when both the device and the passenger are easy to handle. Ramps can be constructed from a variety of different materials, though some are better than others and friction is always your friend.

Handicap Accessibility

 

    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.

    Whether your family needs the support now or down the road, universal design features are a good long-term investment for the home itself. Whatever your situation please remember to rely on the experiences of a local building professional.  Check out their credentials and references and don't limit yourself to only price checks against other bidders.  Don't make the mistake of letting a cabinet making subcontractor or tile installer play the part of a general contractor.  Their knowledge will be limited to that of the cabinets or tile and not much else.  More importance needs to be given to the reputable contractor's personality and knowledge and how well you two communicate.  You are making your choice for a professional to lead the way enabling your dream to be realized.  You get what you pay for with proper planning when using an experienced and qualified local contractor. T-Square Company is CAPS certified and can be reached at 512-444-0097 in Austin, Texas.  Find out how a design/build remodeling contractor can save you money during your next project.

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

 

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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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Kitchen Remodel Near Me

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, May 08, 2018 @ 15:05 PM

    Any kitchen remodeling ideas will need to include a better service or work triangle between the sink, refrigerator, and stove placement.  The shorter the sum of the triangle legs the more efficient the layout.  Twelve to fifteen feet is an optimum size for efficiency.  Islands can also be incorporated into the design to increase your functionality.  The prep sink within the island can become it's own focal point of the work triangle reducing the duties of the main kitchen sink.  The orientation of the island toward the work triangle is very important making sure traffic can still flow freely within the designated triangle. Islands can contain all sorts of special storage areas.  Mixer lifts, produce storage drawers, pullout shelving, divided drawers, wine storage, and dough board pullouts are just a few of the many useful aspects that can be incorporated into the island or peninsula.

kitchen remodel Austin

Kitchen Remodeling

    When you are replacing your old cabinets during a kitchen remodel with some new fine cabinetry or perhaps you are just needing an updated work surface there are a few choices that need to be considered before making your final decision.  Plastic laminates, solid surface material, granite, quartz, stainless steel, wood, and concrete are the most popular choices today when considering new or replacement counter tops for a fine kitchen upgrade.  Each surface has it's own set of pros and cons to take under advisement before a conclusion is reached making sure your selection blends with your lifestyle.  Remember that any samples of materials you see are only small representations of any larger piece when choosing products.  Furthermore protection from heat sources and cutting boards should always be used no matter which top you choose.   Kitchen upgrades and bathroom remodels return the most money at resale on the initial investment of the remodeling project.  National averages show that kitchen remodels recoup around 70% of the costs of the upgrade at the time of resale.  However, your kitchen remodeling costs should never exceed 15% of the total value of your home.  Here is where you need to get your thinking cap on and plan for an affordable budget that is within your means.  Your material choices are very important and if you need to stay mid-level to remain in your budget then do so.  The labor involved for the project will be around 1.6 times the cost of the materials used.  The total budget should allow $100 per square foot for your kitchen upgrade project at a minimum. 

Principles Of Universal Design

     Basically, for an average size kitchen of between 200-300 square feet you can budget a minimum of $30,000 for your kitchen upgrade.  There are very few DIY kitchen remodeling projects.  Once the demolition is accomplished the inexperienced homeowner should consider his part in the remodel to be complete.  It's time to get the building professionals involved to make sure that the resulting kitchen upgrade functions correctly.  The correct electrical wiring with the new outlets and appliance rough ins should be installed within the kitchen's frame work.  Dedicated circuits per the national electrical code should be wired by a qualified electrician.  This will insure that two appliances can be running simultaneously without tripping any circuit breakers.  The electrician will also install the needed GFI  protected circuits that keep you safe around any wet areas.  It's also a great time to install all the upgraded lighting fixtures with the new switching they require.  Skimping on the electrical budget can cause many problems including an electrical fire.

     Plumbing upgrades need to be addressed and the use of a master plumber will make sure that everything functions correctly.  Moving a sink over a small amount can add an additional $2,500 to your project's hard costs as it affects both the plumbing and the floor.  The plumber can be sure that you have adequate water volume for any additional fixtures that will be involved.  The plumber will be involved through the setting of the sink, fixtures, and all appliances requiring water to operate.  When choosing a kitchen sink, whether it is a drop in model or an under mount,  you can never go wrong with a good grade of stainless steel.  These sinks never go out of style and you can outfit them with any color and kind of faucet finish that you see fit.

    Moving on to the fine cabinetry for the project, you are limited by what you have budgeted for.  Traditional face frame medium grade oak or maple cabinets will cost you around $160 per linear foot.  Any exotic wood species are even more costly. Special cabinet amenities like pullouts beyond the basic drawer and shelf storage will add more to the total cabinet price.   If the intent of your upgrade is to increase your accessibility via an ADA remodel as in wheelchair accessible,  the new cabinets will most likely have to be custom made.  These alterations should be done by a qualified residential construction contractor who is accomplished in dealing with the local ADA codes. 

     Frameless European full overlay style cabinets are a type of fine cabinetry having either a painted or stained wooden exterior or one with the exterior  totally covered on all exposed surfaces in plastic laminate per your choice of color, pattern, or manufacturer.  The laminated exterior application provides a much cleaner and more modern look for easier maintenance.  The doors and drawer fronts on all European cabinetry are flat having no crevices to conceal grease and grime and directly overlay the cabinet box. Each door is mounted on the inside of the box using fully concealed and adjustable two part hinges.  The frameless European style is represented only by the cabinet carcass or box, composed of the walls, bottom and top (if needed), and back without any face frame components yielding only a 3/4" outward appearance for all the stiles and rails.  This European style which eliminates the usual two inch face frame gives full access to any stored contents with more usable room.  These frameless cabinets limit the amount of exposed stile and rail surface area between the door and drawer faces.  The exposed cabinet area is normally limited to 1/8-3/16 of an inch.  This holds true between any two finished faces coming together presenting a half overlay situation on either a horizontal rail or vertical stile; hence, exhibiting the full overlay method.  This clearance is also typical at the juncture toward the outside walls beside the cabinets. One other characteristic of the European design lies in the adjustable shelving.  A series of 5mm holes are repeatedly drilled in 32mm increments (approximately 1 1/4") continuously at the front and back of all vertical cabinet pieces receiving shelves.  This configuration allows for shelf supports to be inserted to adjust the shelves.  In time, the shelf supporting "dogs" might wear out the holes and become loose causing the shelves to collapse.  The retro use of metal pilasters will remedy the problem.

     Following cabinet installation,  there is no room for the application of wall trim in the European method.   Spaces against the walls should be caulked in place to seal the carcass to the walls.  If the gap toward  the side walls is greater than 1/8 inch preventing a reasonable caulk joint, a laminated filler must be installed.  This new filler should be cut and sanded to fit the taper tightly filling the gap. As mentioned above, the narrow but typical gap from the side of the cabinets to the wall can and will be a problem when European style cabinets are specified for a remodel. Don't forget that the 1/8th inch spacing rule means that no passage door or window trim can be any closer to the new cabinet faces than the cabinet drawers themselves are deep.  Any such trim will always be 1/2 inch or more in thickness thus impedes cabinet function.  By practicing this rule of thumb you will allow the drawers to fully extend. Cabinet doors will also have a clear swing radius and not be wedged against any perpendicular entry door trim.  If the above needed clearance from the cabinet faces to the door trim is nonexistent the entry doors themselves must be relocated.  This aspect will include any wiring for light switches or outlets and should be done by a qualified electrician.

ADA Kitchen Cabinetry

     There are many textured nonporous plastic laminates available today that will help keep your project costs in the black for the cabinet top.  However, the premium grades of plastic laminate counter tops will still cost upwards of $45 per linear foot. Common grades of granite run around $100 per square foot including prep work like edges and sink cut outs and these granite choices can be purchased at square foot pricing. Premium or exotic granite tops must be purchased at slab pricing meaning you will end up with the remnants you don't use to complete the project. Quartz tops are somewhere in the middle and now some are becoming common stock materials in the storage yards available at square foot pricing. Back splashes can either match or be totally different from the surface of the counter top.  Poured in place concrete tops are available as well as stainless steel or solid surface materials. Back splashes using tile patterns and designs must blend well with any of the chosen counter top surface choices. 

      If you have been considering an Austin kitchen remodeling project there are a few things you should take into consideration.  Kitchen upgrades in Austin, Texas can take on many looks and facets.  The scope of work you choose to accomplish this task should effectively solve your problems and most importantly, your needs as the home owner-- for now and for the future.  The identification of these specific needs belongs to you the home owner.  The way your home is structurally altered to accomplish these needs is the job of the professional remodeling contractor.  Aging in place and accessibility should be a concern no matter what your age and should be accomplished using Universal Design techniques.  If your concerns are not for you,  barring any life changing accident, they could concern the accessibility of another generation's independence is using the bathroom.  A CAPS professional in the remodeling industry can help with solutions in solving these issues while performing design/build home modifications.  T-Square Company is a nationally registered CAPS remodeling contractor.  Both kitchen and bath remodels return the greatest result for your ROI.

     Whatever your situation please rely on the experiences of a local building professional.  Check out their credentials and references over merely price checks against other bidders.  Don't make the mistake of letting a cabinet maker subcontractor or tile installer play the part of a general contractor because his knowledge will be limited to that of the cabinets or tile and not much else.  You get what you pay for with proper planning and by using an experienced and qualified contractor.  T-Square Company has over three decades of kitchen remodeling experience to help you with a design/build kitchen remodeling project.  Call us today to schedule an appointment at 512-444-0097.

 

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Bathroom Remodel Austin

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

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

Bathroom Remodel Austin

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

Principles Of Universal Design

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

Bathroom Remodeling Austin

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

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

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

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

Tub To Shower Conversions

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

     If deleting the tub during a tub shower conversion to create a custom walk in shower design is your choice then you have a few options to consider.  Do you wall in two thirds of the width of the old tub placing the new door away from the shower head?   This new wall can be tiled in to match the shower.   Using natural stone or glass tiles will certainly be an upgrade for any Austin bathroom remodel. Do you desire a more expensive frameless door set beside a glass panel?  The enclosed shower can incorporate a couple of shampoo niches for convenience and clutter removal. The designs are limited only by your imagination and how you want the final product to turn out.  Be sure that all your research is justified and don't try to cram too much into your new bathroom remodel.  A good design is one that can come into being with the least time spent on alterations and additional costs. Austin bathroom remodeling should involve multiple shower head combinations in multiple locations within the shower to fit anyone's desires. Rain heads coming out of the ceiling, body sprays coming out of the walls in many locations, or hand held units attached to the shower walls can be very practical.  These combinations of heads and locations can be used to create rain effects, provide relief for muscle aches through body massages, or simply provide pin point convenience with hand held variable heads.  The possibilities are endless as you utilize your bathing environment.  Steam generators are also being considered as an investment in today's fine bathroom designs.  The steam  heads can make the difference after a tough day when you're looking for that more therapeutic spa experience.

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

Aging In Place Home Modifications

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

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

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

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Austin Accessible Home Remodeling

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Mon, Feb 05, 2018 @ 15:02 PM

     Aging in place design, construction, and remodeling has become synonymous with accessible home remodeling 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. A revolution in building design standards is long overdue in Austin.  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.  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 an accessible bathroom is finally being enforced by the city building inspectors.  What a tremendous needed and basic design improvement!  This change in thought works great for new home owners but what about our existing inventory of older homes and their occupants? 

Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

Austin ADA vanity

 

Increase Your 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.  David L. Traut, CAPS owner of T-Square Company in Austin, Texas as a handicap remodeling contractor is one of the select group of professionals nationwide to earn the Certified Aging-In-Place Specialist (CAPS) designation, identifying him as a home remodeler and builder with the skills, training, and knowledge necessary to design and remodel or modify a home to meet the unique needs of the older population, disabled owners, or their visitors.

Download Our Free Aging In Place Remodeling Considerations Checklist

    Elder construction most definitely falls under the category of aging in place. People are living significantly longer with the advent of specialized medicine, care, and a healthier lifestyle. The Center for Disease Control defines aging in place as the ability to live in one’s own home and community safely, independently, and comfortably regardless of age, income, or ability level.  Aging in place construction and remodeling has become synonymous with handicap accessible home design and modification during our lifetime.   Home modifications can be used to accommodate anyone from people with mobility impairments to those with vision loss, hearing loss, or even cognitive or developmental disabilities.  Accessibility home modifications or wheelchair accessible kitchen and bathroom remodeling in Austin will allow anyone with limited mobility within your home to feel more empowered and independent.  The extent of a customized accessibility design is dependent upon the activity level of the person requiring the modifications.  Whether someone needs a cane, walker, or wheelchair to help with mobility it is definitely a game changer for accessibility within the home.  Aging in place home modifications help people maintain their living environment for as long as it works for them before they might need assisted living care or a nursing home.

    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 any individual personal needs. Home modifications can increase safety, accessibility, and independence for people who want to live independently. Falls and slips are among the most common causes of injury to senior and elderly people.  Smooth surfaces in combination with wet areas make the bathroom one of the most dangerous areas within the home.  It is of paramount importance that the bathroom be updated providing safety for any person with limited mobility or the elderly.  If you are on a tight budget and can only afford a few modifications, the bathroom is the first place to begin an accessibility remodel.  The most basic improvements to enhance safety issues are fairly inexpensive.

    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. 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 like a roll in shower into a home will attract a larger group of buyers when you decide to finally sell your home. 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. 

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

    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 concerning Austin accessible home remodeling.  The total assessment of any situation involving increased accessibility requires the input of the qualified building remodeler and any caretakers or family members who are involved with the person requiring the home modifications.

    Aging in place home modifications 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 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

Aging In Place Home Modifications

 

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Kitchen Makeovers Austin, Texas

Posted byDavid L. Traut, CAPS on Tue, Oct 31, 2017 @ 13:10 PM

     For an average size kitchen of between 200-300 square feet you can budget a minimum of $25,000 for your Austin kitchen makeover.  There are no larger DIY kitchen remodeling projects.  Once the demolition is accomplished the inexperienced homeowner should consider his part in the remodel to be complete.  It's time to get the building professionals involved to make sure that the resulting kitchen upgrade functions correctly.  The correct electrical wiring with the new outlets and appliance rough ins should be installed within the kitchen's frame work.  Dedicated circuits per the national electrical code should be wired by a qualified electrician.  This will insure that two appliances can be running simultaneously without tripping any circuit breakers.  The electrician will also install the needed GFI  circuits that keep you safe around any wet areas.  It's also a great time to install all the upgraded lighting fixtures with the new switching they require.  Skimping on the electrical budget can cause many problems including an electrical fire.

Kitchen Remodeling

Kitchen Makeovers Austin, Texas

Principles Of Universal Design

Certified Aging In Place Specialist

     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 Austin kitchen remodel 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 $150 per square foot for your kitchen upgrade project.

     Austin kitchen remodeling 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.  Twelve to fifteen feet is an optimum size for efficiency.  Islands can also be incorporated into the design to increase your functionality.  The prep sink within the island can become it's own focal point of the work triangle reducing the duties of the main kitchen sink.  The orientation of the island toward the work triangle is very important making sure traffic can still flow freely within the designated triangle. Islands can contain all sorts of special storage areas.  Mixer lifts, produce storage drawers, wine storage, and dough board pullouts are just a few of the many useful aspects that can be incorporated into the island.

     Plumbing upgrades need to be addressed and the use of a master plumber will make sure that everything functions correctly.  Moving a sink over a small amount can add an additional $2,500 to your project's hard costs as it affects both the plumbing and the floor.  The plumber can be sure that you have adequate water volume for any additional fixtures that will be involved.  The plumber will be involved through the setting of the sink, fixtures, and all appliances requiring water to operate.  When choosing a kitchen sink, whether it is a drop in model or an under mount,  you can never go wrong with a good grade of stainless steel.  These sinks never go out of style and you can outfit them with any color and kind of faucet that you see fit.

     Placing the dishwasher beside the sink and raising it up slightly obove the floor makes reaching in to load or empty the machine a more comfortable activity.  Placing the spice drawers or shelves next to the cook stove also makes good sense.  Storage of pots and pans must also be placed within the vicinity of the stove.  Cooking and eating utensils must have their place between the stove and sink according to use.  Task lighting is a concern making sure there is plenty of light to function properly as well as placing adequate light used over the main kitchen sink.  Roll out trash bins or pull out shelves are a consideration during the layout process.  Let's not forget ADA remodeling concepts for comfort if you are preparing for the future. 

     Moving on to the fine cabinetry for the project, you are limited by what you have budgeted for.  Traditional face frame medium grade oak or maple cabinets will cost you around $160 per linear foot.  Any exotic wood species are even more costly. Special cabinet amenities like pullouts beyond the basic drawer and shelf storage will add more to the total cabinet price.   If the intent of your upgrade is to increase your accessibility via an ADA remodel as in wheelchair accessible,  the new cabinets will most likely have to be custom made.  These alterations should be done by a qualified residential construction contractor who is accomplished in dealing with the local ADA codes. 

      A traditional home builder has never truly considered the special needs of the disabled or aging within any home design. Unfortunately the design emphasis is always put on aesthetics and takes for granted everyone's mobility.  There certainly are no guarantees or clauses within any home's sales contract that will prevent our future personal life experiences from  introducing us to at least a temporary disability.  Accidents will always happen and you could find yourself having to utilize a wheelchair or walker to facilitate your independence for mobility.  Limitations in our mobility or constantly changing needs experienced by both the disabled and the elderly have sprung a new dimension in construction known as ADA remodeling to accomplish increased accessibility.  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.

      Kitchens have evolved because fewer cabinets are needed within the more open designs.  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.  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.  All types of cabinet inserts like pull out shelves and specialized drawers are now available for installation in both base and wall cabinets.  These devices will certainly help solve the reach problem.  Base cabinet kick spaces can be raised to 9" and deepened instead of the standard 4" to accommodate wheelchair access.  Knee spaces can be incorporated into the design for roll under access at the sink, prep area, and cook top.

      The lack of bending motion and 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 drawers, dishwasher drawers, and double ovens that are no longer stacked are just a few changes within the present day appliance marketplace.  Cooking ranges with the controls located on the front represents another metamorphosis helping with reach problems.  Microwaves can be installed on the now lowered 34" height counter top or within the lowered base cabinet according to the consumers need for adequate reach.

      The lack of 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.  The open cabinet look is seen in both the bath and kitchen.

 

ADA Kitchen Cabinetry

      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.

      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

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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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