How to Design an Easy-to-Clean Bathroom

by Doreen Schofield, Callen Designer

Most people do not enjoy the task of cleaning bathrooms, with the worst part often being how much grime and clutter can affect a bathroom’s appearance. A beautiful, enjoyable space can become not so nice to look at or use when it’s dirty.

The bathroom that never gets dirty has yet to be invented. However, there are ways to help make bathroom cleanup easier.

Fewer Grout Lines

Tile is a popular choice for many aspects of bathroom design, and for good reason – it can look very nice. The downside of tile is the grout lines that come along with it. Grout is a magnet for dirt, grime, mildew, and general filth in the bathroom, especially in a shower or tub surround. Not only do grout lines attract a lot of dirt, but they can be especially difficult to clean properly. Design your bathroom with fewer grout lines, and you will have a space that’s much easier to keep clean.

There are a couple of simple ways to cut down on the amount of grout lines. The first is to select larger size tiles. Solid surfaces, instead of tile, are another method. Surfaces such as stone, glass, or marble are nonporous, resistant to bacteria and mold, and many are also stain resistant.

Keep Showers Simple

Like grout lines, showers just seem to attract dirt and grime. Soap scum is another nuisance. Glass shower doors and their metal frames can be especially difficult to keep clean and looking nice, so think about an open shower design if the room’s footprint will allow it. If you want or need to have a glass enclosure, opt for a frameless shower to cut down on the amount of hard-to-clean components.

Also consider the shape of your shower and any built-in shelves or cutouts in the shower wall. The more corners and surfaces within your shower, the more difficult it will be to clean. Finally, a handheld showerhead is a simple solution, since you can quickly and easily rinse shower surfaces.

Callen Blog - Easy to Clean Bathroom 083115Clutter-free Surfaces

Since bathrooms are so heavily used, they tend to collect a lot of dust, hair, and dirt. The most important solution to combat this reality is to keep a clear floor and have plenty of simple storage solutions. Generally, the fewer fixtures on the floor, the better off you’ll be from a cleaning standpoint. Consider a wall-mounted vanity and wall-mounted toilet. These will make sweeping or vacuuming the floor a straightforward task.

Another friend of dirt and grime in a bathroom is clutter. Toiletry items living on the vanity countertop can leave water rings and attract other messes. The same thing holds true for any items on the floor. Make sure your bathroom design uses enough built-in storage to hold everything you need.

At Callen, we pride ourselves on designing and building high-quality spaces that meet the needs and desires of the homeowner. When it comes to bathrooms, we can help you create an easy-to-clean room that looks as nice as you ever dreamed.

For more ideas to improve your home with high-quality bathroom remodeling in Milwaukee, Brookfield, and surrounding areas, call Callen today at (414) 765-2585.



Extend Your Living Space with a Front Porch

Just like your front door, a charming front porch can boost the curb appeal of your house and also act as a protected extension of your indoor living space. No matter the style of your home, there are a number of products and designs that you can choose from to build a front porch.

Callen Blog - Extend Your Living Space with a Front Porch 082415First consider the materials available. Like decks, a porch can be built from various materials: wood, vinyl, composite, and cellular PVC.

  • Wood: Many homeowners choose wood due to its cost and appeal. The advantage of wood is that you can paint, stain, and customize it to your personal taste. However, since porches are exposed to the elements, it requires more maintenance. You may have to repaint and restain the wood on a regular basis, depending on the environment.
  • Vinyl: Vinyl is popular among homeowners because it requires almost no maintenance. Since it is a plastic material, it is prone to expansion and contraction and possible warping and fading. Compared to wood, it is slightly more expensive.
  • Composite: Composite porches are made from a mixture of two or more materials, such as wood flour and plastic. This makes the porch more durable than wood or vinyl; however, homeowners may need to use a sealant to protect the wood element.
  • PVC: PVC is a very low maintenance material because it does not warp, fade, twist or require painting or staining. It requires minimal cleaning when things are spilled, and it is impervious to moisture and insects. One of the most popular PVC brands is AZEK.

Porch railings give you the opportunity to add more flair to your design with color and detail. Today, there are even more options available with the advent of metal, tempered glass, and cable-type systems. Aluminum or iron railings are the most durable. They can withstand the elements as well as require minimal maintenance. Vinyl porch railings are becoming a more popular choice as an inexpensive option, and they are available in a wide variety of colors and finishes.

Another option to enhance the curb appeal of a porch is to incorporate sustainable and long-lasting, low-voltage LED lighting in the steps, under the rails, or on the perimeter. With the availability of options, you can put your custom signature on your porch’s design.

Whether you are replacing an old porch or want to add one to your home, Callen can design and build the porch of your dreams. From a simple porch roof to the most complex bi-level deck structure, our carpentry crews have done it all. We deliver the highest level of care and attention to detail, no matter how big or small the project. Call us for a free consultation today at 414-765-2585.



Why We’re a GAF Certified Master Elite™ Contractor

When you decide it is time to replace or repair your roof, there are many things to consider. First and foremost, it’s essential that your roof be installed properly, meet all manufacturer specifications and simply do its job of protecting your home from the elements.

You should also consider that your roof is an extension of your home’s overall look and curb appeal. Up to 40% of what is seen from the street is the roof, so when choosing a shingle style or color, it is important to consider how it will look for years to come, how it will match the style of the house, the overall ambiance of the neighborhood and even how it will appear to purchasers in the future.

When It’s Time for a New Roof

Callen recommends GAF roofing because these shingles offer improved performance, including superior durability and wind resistance. GAF also offers a myriad of shingle designs and colors to fit any style of home. Some installers use only three or four nails per shingle, which doesn’t provide adequate protection from wind damage. Callen’s preferred method of shingle installation is six nails per shingle, which ups the wind warranty from 80 to 130 mph. This gives shingles more stability and better protects your home.

The GAF color palette is broad-based to complement any siding, stone or brick exterior. When we visit your home for a roofing consultation, we will bring shingle options for you to look at. You can also check out the Virtual Home Remodeler which allows you to select from almost 50 different house styles. By clicking on the options, the virtual roof will be transformed to the color and style you imagined. You can also experiment with different colors of exterior siding and trim.

GAF offers the Golden Pledge® Lifetime Warranty, which includes a 40-point factory inspection after installation. The Golden Pledge warranty can only be offered by contractors that have achieved Master Elite status with GAF. Callen is proud to be among the top 2% of roofing contractors nationwide with Master Elite certification.

With our personalized consultation, extensive selection process and high-quality installation, Callen will add value to your home by helping you choose a beautiful roof that complements your home and provides stunning curb appeal. Give us a call today at (414) 765-2585 or schedule a no-obligation consultation with the best remodeling company in the Lake Country, Milwaukee, Waukesha and Brookfield areas.



Decking: More Than Just Wood Planks

Callen Blog - Decking - More Than Just Wood Planks 081015A new deck is a wonderful opportunity to spread your living space outdoors in months when temperatures are conducive to spending more time outside. Whether you’re looking to build a simple deck to host a grill, or a more elaborate deck with multiple levels, there are endless designs to fit your lifestyle.

Before considering a contractor, you should first consider how you are going to use your deck. Do you want a large deck with space for furniture and a grill? Are you considering building an area of the deck for a hot tub or fire pit? What about building a deck with multiple levels?

Start thinking about the material you are going to use for your deck. The most common deck material today is wood, and the most common wood deck is made from treated southern yellow pine. This material is durable and long lasting, but requires cleaning and resealing on a periodic basis.

Additional wood decking materials you can select are redwood or cedar. Both materials are more attractive, typically a bit more costly, and require the same periodic cleaning and resealing as southern yellow pine. When properly maintained, all three wood deck materials will be long lasting.

Another option for your deck is composite decking, which has become a popular choice. This deck material can be made from either wood and plastic fibers or a cellular PVC material.

Some common composite deck materials include Trex, TimberTech, and AZEK. All exterior building materials require cleaning. Composites provide less maintenance and more colors than wood; however, it is important to look at the care and cleaning instructions from the manufacturer you choose.

After considering the material, start thinking about deck railing systems. They not only provide a safety element, required by building codes, but they also serve as a design element and provide an opportunity for you to personalize your deck. There are many materials and styles to consider, and each manufacturer has railings to complement its brand.

Some options include glass panels and cable rails, which preserve views without compromising safety. You can also use wrought iron or aluminum. Built-in planters also can be used instead of rails, which add some texture and color to the deck. Use taller plants if you want to add a layer of privacy.

Decks can also be gated as a safety factor if you have children or pets. Building code dictates any deck around a pool needs a gate and a rail.

Lighting is another element that can add character and function to your deck. Low-voltage LEDs can be placed under rails, on steps, or flush into the decking.

Consider the design and appeal of your deck. Today, multi-level decks are a big trend, as they incorporate unique designs and allow those on the main deck to be able to easily interact with others from different levels. They also have more opportunities for built-in features such as seating, lighting, and planters.

Before building your deck, it is important to check with your community’s regulations. In some cases, you have to submit plans or a plot survey for your deck, and some communities require submitting plans to an architectural review board. Decks attached to the house will always require a building permit. For freestanding decks, check with your local building inspector before proceeding.

Callen can design and build the deck or porch that works best for your home. From a simple porch roof to the most complex bi-level deck structure, our carpentry crews have done it all. We deliver the highest level of care and attention, no matter how big or small the project. Call Callen at 414-765-2585 to schedule a no-obligation consultation.