What Is Ice Damming and How Do I Prevent It?

What Is Ice Damming and How Do I Prevent It?Ice damming is the result of a continuous cycle where snow on your roof is melted by the sun or heat from inside your home escaping, possibly due to inadequate attic insulation and/or roof ventilation. The ice dam occurs when water runs down to the roof edge where it refreezes, then continues to build up higher until it eventually backs up under your roof shingles. Ice dams can be very dangerous and costly. Plus, some damage may not be easily seen, sometimes for years.

When the outside temperature warms up, the ice buildup will begin to melt. Since the ice buildup has worked its way up under the shingles, the water from the ice melting can work its way into your home, damaging the attic walls, floors, furniture, and eventually your basement. If the ice dam breaks free, it can pull shingles and gutters off with it, and it will damage anything it falls on: shrubs, cars, and people.

Proper roof ventilation and adequate attic insulation are vital to maintaining your home and reducing ice damming. Homeowners can also reduce ice dams by raking the roof with a snow rake to expose the shingles at the eaves. A good rule of thumb is to clear off your roof after every 4-6 inches of snowfall. Snow raking will also lessen the weight on your roof, which will ease stress on the structure and reduce any leaks or weak points.

If the condition of your roof or adequate insulation are a concern, a quick call to Callen Construction at 414-765-2585 will get you a FREE estimate, as well as the knowledge and advice of seasoned professionals.




The Most Wonderful Time of Year to Plan a Remodeling Project

The Most Wonderful Time of Year to Plan a Remodeling Project

The holidays, the time of year we are supposed to enjoy with family, relax, and not be stressed out. This month, I’m going to give some personal remodeling advice that I hope helps alleviate some stress and give you something to ponder with regard to your next remodeling project.

The common thought is to wait to until after the holidays are done to begin thinking about remodeling the house. Now I know what a lot of you are thinking – we start the holidays way too early. If you’ve been to stores, you have seen holiday lights up since before Halloween. Is this early? Perhaps. My point is, at the mention of “the holidays,” many of you reading this begin to stress out. The last thing on your mind is likely your next remodeling project.

Here’s my advice – start thinking and planning for remodeling your home now. It takes your mind in another direction, and don’t worry, there will still be plenty of time to trim the tree and bake cookies. Giving your brain something else to work on is a healthy and positive move, in my opinion.

Also, designers need time to well, design. There is a great deal of communication and planning required for kitchen, bathroom, and lower level remodeling projects that you can do even before the Callen crew would show up at your house to begin that exciting project.

The sooner your start the planning, the sooner the project will be done. You get a jump-start on others and will likely be done before the first robin arrives in spring.

Exterior projects are the same. Callen can and will install windows, doors, siding, and roofing in winter!

So, go ahead and start the holidays – hang the lights, decorate your house, shop for gifts, and bake cookies. But don’t forget to start thinking, planning, and meeting with a designer at Callen to start your remodeling project. It may just take some of the stress out of the most wonderful time of year!

Happy Holidays (yes, a bit early) to everyone!

Paul Kronforst



How to Select a Front Door

How to Select a Front DoorEntry doors must be tough enough to withstand wind, rain, cold temperatures, sweltering sun and potential intruders, yet attractive enough to make a good first impression. Whether your front door is old and warped, or you just want to trade your solid door in for one with glass panels that offers more light, you will find plenty of options available.

With the advent of materials that look like real wood, resist the elements better than earlier wood versions, and provide greater security, replacing your entry doors is a low cost project that can also yield high returns on investment and update the front entry. So, here are a few items to consider when it comes to choosing a front entry door for your home.

The first thing to look at when it comes to installing a new entry door is how much of the elements your door will be exposed to. It’s important to look very closely at the durability of the material and the quality of the weatherstripping system to make sure the door will hold up and keep air and water out.

After examining exposure to the elements, it’s time to consider the three different types of materials entry doors are typically made of – steel, fiberglass, or wood. Made of an inner frame of wood or steel with a 24-gauge steel skin (or thicker on premium doors), the cavities of most steel doors are filled with high-density foam insulation. Finishes are usually a baked-on polyester, with premium doors having a vinyl coating for improved weather resistance or sometimes even a textured finish that can be factory stained.

Steel doors require little maintenance. These highly durable doors are resistant to rust, cracking, and bowing, which means they last longer and save you money in the long run. Since steel doors offer insulating properties, they are energy-efficient and can even lower your heating and cooling costs.

Fiberglass entry doors are also tough and virtually maintenance-free. With manufacturers offering products that resemble the look of Mahogany, Cherry, Knotty Alder, Fir, and Oak, these doors provide the look and feel of a solid wood door without the required maintenance. Typically made of molded skins of fiberglass on a framework of wooden stiles and rails, these doors also contain high-density foam insulation that ensures the best protection against energy loss inside the house.

Steel or fiberglass doors typically carry the longest warranties of any of the three material options, and can range anywhere from a basic unit without any glazing to a complete entry system with decorative glass, sidelights, and upscale hardware.

While still a popular choice for homeowners that want a period-correct appearance, wood doors come in a wide variety of styles and can accept nearly any stain or paint color. Most wood doors now are actually veneer skins over an engineered wood core that helps them resist shrinking, swelling, and warping that is common with solid wood doors.

Wood doors work best when installed in a dry, protected area. Unless they’re under an overhang or located in a shaded area, homeowners will have to perform some routine maintenance, such as periodic resealing, while keeping an eye out for warping and weather damage.

With the potential to increase the value of the home 7-10%, a front door is a major aesthetic of any house. It’s typically the first thing people see when they look at your house. So, be sure to take the time and explore each of these three materials and their various styles when deciding on the type of front entry door is right for your home.



Exterior Home Improvements: Where to Splurge

When planning an extensive remodel like a roof or window replacement, the number of offered options, and decisions you have to make, can be overwhelming. While in the long run you want to spend the least amount possible, it’s hard to know when it’s okay to go cheap and when something is worth a bigger investment. When it comes to home remodeling, Callen experts believe there are three home elements worth splurging on.

Exterior Home Improvements: Where to SplurgeWindows

While you may think you’re saving money by installing low quality, cheaper windows, the opposite is true. These cheaper versions are not nearly as energy-efficient as high-quality wood or fiberglass windows, so you will end up spending more money in the long run due to higher energy costs. In addition, the design options are much more limited, so it may be harder to get the customized style you’re looking for with lower quality windows.

Entry Doors

Many people don’t realize the impact a beautiful entry door can have on the appearance of a home. A sturdy, attractive front door draws the eye and gives off a welcoming vibe that adds to a home’s curb appeal. It’s also a great investment, as you will get back almost all you put into it when you sell. In addition, a well-built, durable entry door helps keep out the Wisconsin elements as well as intruders.


Your roof is your home’s shield and should be composed of materials of the highest quality. The strength and durability of roofing shingles have increased over the years, and there are now a good variety of affordable styles and materials available to help customize just the right look for your home. While high-quality roofing is an investment, it’s worth it knowing you’re protecting your largest investment of all: your home.

Stay tuned for a future blog with ideas on where to cut corners to save your exterior remodeling dollars! If you got in over your head with your latest remodeling project and need the expert help of a top remodeling company, Callen Construction has the experience to get you back on track. Give us a call today at 414-765-2585 to find out how we can help.