Oct

27

Are Your Old Windows Howling? Infinity from Marvin® Windows are Sealed Like a Coffin

callen-blog-picAre Your Old Windows Howling? Infinity from Marvin® Windows are Sealed Like a Coffin

Energy prices continue to rise across the nation, and as a result, heating costs consume an increasingly large portion of the average household budget. Callen offers beautiful, exceptionally strong replacement windows to help energy-conscious homeowners keep costs down.

With winter just around the corner, now is the time to evaluate your home’s energy efficiency to ensure your valuable heating dollars aren’t wasted again this season. If your existing windows are no longer keeping warm air inside and cold air outside, consider replacing them with highly efficient Infinity from Marvin® windows.

Get the Superior Performance of Infinity from Marvin®

Infinity from Marvin windows deliver a level of energy performance not achievable with older windows. They exceed the requirements for energy reduction established by the U.S. Department of Energy and qualify for the ENERGY STAR® rating in all U.S. climate regions. Replacing old windows with ENERGY STAR-qualified windows has been shown to lower household energy bills by 7-15%. To achieve greater efficiency and slash energy costs instantly, Infinity also offers an optional inside surface coating that reflects escaping heat back into the room. This is an excellent solution to keep out the winter’s cold for greater comfort and energy efficiency.

Call Now for Installation Before Winter

Before another cold Wisconsin winter arrives, call Callen for quality window replacement that will make your home more comfortable and keep those escalating energy bills at bay for decades to come. We proudly provide window replacement in Waukesha, Brookfield, Milwaukee and surrounding communities.

Our windows not only exceed performance standards, they are also available in a range of styles, including double-hungs, awnings, casements, gliders, bows and bays, so you can custom-design the perfect look for every opening. Call Callen today at (414) 529-5509 or click here for scary-low prices on Infinity from Marvin replacement windows!

Oct

21

10 Ways to Extend Your Roof’s Life

by Mike Wood

At Callen, we know that a roof is one of the most important home-related investments you’ll make.  We do dozens of roofing projects each year, and we see the dramatic impact and improvement that comes from upgrading a home’s roof.

However, we have also seen that roofs are one of the most neglected parts of the home’s exterior after they have been replaced.  Just as you keep your lawn watered and trimmed, your roof requires maintenance to help prolong its life and ultimately save you money.

Caring for your roof doesn’t need to be difficult or time-consuming if done regularly and correctly.  Callen suggests following these steps to help your roof reach its anticipated life span.

1. Remove Debris
Removing debris to prevent water buildup since pine needles and tree limbs can prevent the roof from properly shedding water, plus debris adds weight to the roof that can eventually cause sagging or even failure.  Bird droppings and certain types of leaves and/or pine needles can eat away at the roof, causing premature aging.
Use a push broom to sweep debris from the roof, but avoid using a broom with hard bristles because it may remove an excessive amount of asphalt granules from the shingles.  You can also spray off the roof with a garden hose.  Avoid using a power washer because a high-pressure stream of water can damage most any type of roof, even putting dents in metal roofing.

2. Trim Back Tree Limbs
Trim tree branches that appear to be on the verge of falling on the roof.  If you notice water collecting in a particular area, or if water damage is already visible, it may be because tree limbs are blocking the sun from properly drying the roof.  Consider pruning trees to help control water drainage issues.

3. Remove Algae and Fungus
Algae, moss, and fungi can grow on virtually any type of roof, even roofs designed to prevent it.  Remove the growth by mixing equal parts bleach and water in a sprayer and applying it to the affected areas.

Once the roof is cleared, installing a zinc strip near the roof ridge can prevent future problems.  As rainwater runs over these strips, the zinc particles are absorbed in the water, which then coats the roof with a protective layer.

These strips are easy to install by sliding them about an inch under a line of shingles near the ridge and nailing them down with galvanized nails.  Apply a little sealant to each nail head to protect against leaks.

4. Snow and Ice Removal
With a roof rake, clear heavy snow and ice from the roof, as snow and ice can put stress on a roof structure, so do your best to keep the roof free and clear of ice dams, icicles, and heavy snow.

5. Clean the Gutters
Clear leaves, sticks, and shingle granules from gutters to prevent clogs.  Gutters can only handle so much weight before failing.  Trapped water in your gutters are also a popular breeding ground for pesky mosquitos.

6. Apply Roof Cement to Lifted Shingles
If you notice raised shingles, you may be able to solve the problem with roofing cement.  Just apply a little to the underside of the lifted shingle, and it should help it lay flat.  Not addressing this problem can lead to future water damage and blown off shingles with the next heavy storm.

7. Remove Standing Water
Brush or squeegee puddled water from the rooftop.  This is particularly important if you have a flat roof and/or the roof gets little direct sunlight during the day.
Once ponding water is cleared from the roof, try to determine its cause (i.e., roof pitch is incorrect, tree limbs shade the roof all day, roof is sagging, etc.).  If necessary, have a roofing contractor visit, as fixing the problem early can save money down the road.

8. Inspect Flat Roofs for Cracks, Blistering, and Seam Failure
Flat roofing products should be checked at least once a year for cracking and blistering, paying special attention to the seams where water tends to sneak under the roofing material.  For small holes or cracks, use a roofing sealant for the repair.

9. Roof Flashings
The majority of roof leaks occur because of damaged or improperly installed flashing.  Inspect the flashing around vents and chimneys to ensure a watertight seal.  If minor damage is noticed, apply polyurethane sealant to help keep the water out.

10. Inspect Seals around Skylights
The seals around skylights can wear out over time, so inspect the seals for damage.  If necessary, have a contractor re-apply sealant made specifically for skylights.

Oct

01

Kitchen Design – Remember the Food

callen-kitchenby Paulette Sodemann

The many functions of the modern kitchen mean that most kitchens today are designed in zones, with each zone targeted to a specific purpose and need.  While you are busy planning the zones your new kitchen will include, don’t forget that the main purpose of your kitchen is still food!

Whether you are a passionate amateur chef or just cook the occasional meal on the run, your newly designed kitchen must be fully equipped to meet your food storage, preparation, and cooking needs before you address any other requirements.  Your kitchen’s “food zones” should be designed with a workable layout allowing you to move smoothly between food storage, preparation, cooking, and clean up, plus allow easy access to all the tools you need.

How you personalize these food zones will be dictated by several characteristics, including the members of your household and the types of meals your family eats.  For example, if you have children, you may consider including a separate zone with convenient access to healthy snacks and beverages away from the main cooking area.  If you entertain guests frequently, then a separate beverage center may be favorable to allow guests to get drinks without passing through the cooking zone.

Your main food storage areas should be easily accessible to the cooking area, though you may choose to have a separate pantry for additional food storage.  The food preparation area should allow plenty of workspace, and could even include butcher blocks built into the island or main countertop.  Access to tools such as knives will simplify your food preparation, and a pullout garbage bin makes it easier to clear away food waste.

When you are ready to get cooking, it helps to have your pots and pans close at hand and well organized.  Other utensils, spices, and oils that are used regularly in cooking should be within arm’s reach of your cooktop.  Ideally, purpose-built storage guarantees these items are well organized and reduces clutter on your countertop.

Your kitchen island is a great place to include an extra cooktop, stove, steam oven, microwave, and more importantly, to ensure you never run out of cooking space, even when preparing a special holiday meal.  A second dishwasher, like a dishwasher drawer, in the kitchen island can also make the messy dishes and cooking utensils disappear more quickly.  If you bake, don’t forget to include storage for your baking supplies, measuring cups and bowls, and even your stand mixer.  For the avid baker, a specialized worktop space for mixing and rolling out pastry would make your kitchen complete!

Finish off your design with well-placed task lighting and plenty of electrical outlets in suitable locations for small appliances.  Even better, if the outlets are angled power strips, hidden underneath your kitchen cabinets, they will not interfere with your backsplash design.

Get the basics of your kitchen zones right first, and then you can have fun planning and adding on all of those extra features you want to include, like a built-in television, custom-designed drop zone and charging station, and pet feeding station!

Sep

09

Home Checklist for Fall and Winter

  • Get your mind in the gutters – inspect and clean gutters and downspouts.
  • Button up your overcoat – seal gaps and cracks around windows and doors with weather-stripping and caulk.
  • Get on top of roof problems – inspect your roof for damaged or curled shingles, corroded flashing, or leaky vents.
  • Walks the walks (and drives) – take steps to repair damaged sidewalks, driveways, and steps.
  • Chill out – drain and winterize outdoor faucets and irrigation systems.
  • Freshen your filter – clean or replace dirty furnace filters.
  • Give your furnace a physical – have a professional inspect your heating system.
  • Gather round the hearth – check fireplaces for soot or creosote build-up. Better yet, schedule a visit from a reputable chimney sweep.
  • Keep the humidifier humming – clean the plates or pads to ensure efficient operation.
  • Head-off gas problems – if you have a gas-fired room heater, have it inspected by a pro.  Also, perform any routine maintenance recommended by the maker.
  • Keep the wood fires burning brightly – wood stoves are making a comeback.  To avoid a deadly situation, be sure to inspect yours before firing it up.
  • Reverse that fan
 – reverse your ceiling fan to push warm air downward and force it to recirculate, keeping you more comfortable.
  • Wrap those pipes – a burst pipe caused by a winter freeze is a nightmare.  Shut off your hose inside your house (via a turnoff valve) and drain the lines.  Wrap pipes that aren’t insulated, or that pass through unheated spaces, such as crawlspaces, basements or garages.
  • Keep your family safe at home – a home safety check should be an annual ritual in every household. Test smoke and CO monitors, inspect (or install) fire extinguishers, review fire escape plans, and rid your home of old newspapers and other fire hazards.