Easy Ways to Brighten Up Your Basement

A basement can be a blessing, especially in tornado-prone areas, but the absence of natural light often results in a space that is dim and depressing. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to brighten up your basement in addition to basement finishing in Greenfield, WI. Not only will this impact the ambiance of basement rooms, it can make a huge difference in how big the rooms feel, and can lower your energy bill by letting you turn your lights on less often.

  • Mirrors. When situated across from a window, mirrors do a remarkable job of reflecting light back into the room. A long mirror placed on the wall behind a sofa will not only aid in illuminating the room, but it also makes a great statement piece. Try including other décor that will catch the sunlight coming in, such as pieces made of crystal, metal, or glass.
  • Color. To bring a fresh look to a dreary basement, start with a new coat of paint. Light-colored paints are more reflective and will help increase the light in your basement. Use bright white flat paints on the ceiling, and focus on soft, pale-colored flooring, fabrics, and furnishings to further brighten things up. Choose light- or natural-colored blinds and sheer curtains instead of heavy window treatments to let in more light.
  • Ceilings. If you have the dreaded popcorn ceilings, or just find a plain white ceiling to be a tad boring, a ceiling update is a great way to achieve a more modern look and move light throughout your rooms. To avoid the hassle and expense of tearing out the whole ceiling, think about installing white wood planks or sheets of white beadboard over your existing ceilings.
  • Windows and doors. Homeowners who have more time and money to work with might consider replacing solid exterior basement doors. Sliding patio doors or French doors will make your basement entrance more attractive and maximize natural light in the basement. If your basement walls sit below ground, take advantage of what exterior wall space is available by adding high windows to bring in more light.

Callen Blog Photo - Brighten Your Basement 112315 - BasementCallen Specializes in Beautiful Basements

Do you have a dingy, dark basement that needs new life? A basement remodel is a great way to enhance your living space and increase the value of your property. Call Callen today at 414-765-2585 to schedule a no-obligation consultation for basement finishing in Greenfield, WI, and surrounding areas. We’ll be happy to provide you with a FREE quote for your basement finishing project.



Create a Welcoming Entrance With Your Front Door

Callen Blog Photo - Create a Welcoming Entrance with Your Front Door 111615No other door of your home gets as much exposure or attention as the front door. It serves as a place to greet your friends and family, plus it commands attention from the street. Your front door can make a statement about who you are and what people can expect when they walk into your home. Replacing a front door can also add value to your home. Here are some ideas for creating an inviting entryway as well as choosing a door that fits your personal style and your home’s design.

When choosing a new front door, there are different materials to consider: wood, fiberglass, and steel.

Wood is a common choice for a front door. It offers a traditional look and provides a sense of warmth and richness. Homeowners can choose from a variety of styles and types of wood, and doors can also be custom made. A wood door should be carefully finished with stain or paint according to manufacturer specifications. When purchasing, look for a door with durable stains and high-gloss finishes – these are best for protecting the wood. While wood doors add a beautiful element to the outside of your home, they require a fair amount of upkeep. Wood is sensitive to moisture, and wetness can cause the door to crack and warp.

Fiberglass doors are perfect for harsh and humid climates we have here in Wisconsin because they can go several years without needing any paint or stain touchups. They come with an environmentally friendly polyurethane core that provides insulation properties that are at least four times greater than wood doors, and they also have a high-impact compression molded skin that will not splinter, warp, or rot. Wood grains that replicate the look of cherry, fir, mahogany, and oak are available.

Steel doors provide performance, safety, and beauty. They come pre-painted or pre-stained in a smooth or textured finish. Premium steel doors have a vinyl coating for improved weather resistance or sometimes even a wood veneer that can take a stain. Steel doors are durable and resist splintering and cracking; however, they are somewhat less energy efficient than wood or fiberglass. Heat or cold can be conducted to the inside surface unless a thermal break is incorporated into the door’s construction.

Next, consider the look of your door. Doors can be flat panel or have high definition panel profiles. Glass options include clear, double-insulated glass or a variety of triple-glazed designer glass styles. Homeowners have the option of choosing privacy ratings as well as choosing options in any size, shape, texture, pattern, or designer glass. The glass can be etched, patterned, textured, beveled, and designed with simulated divided lite and grilles between the glass. Homeowners can also choose from brass or lead caning. These decorative glass designs are sealed between two panes of tempered “safety” glass, providing the energy efficiency of triple glazing.

Just like glass packages, door hardware comes in many colors and shapes. Handles and hinges can be ornate or simple and finishes run the gamut, including nickel, satin nickel, bright brass, antique brass, oil-rubbed bronze, matte black, and satin stainless steel.

Other door options to take into consideration are whether you want to have a kick panel, peep hole, mail slot, and depending on the size of your opening, sidelights and transoms.

With all the customization options available, homeowners may become overwhelmed. That is where a trained product specialist from Callen with an eye for design can help by explaining and offering ideas of what will look and work best with the architecture and performance standards required. Call Callen today at 414-529-5509.



You Might Need a New Roof When…

Most people don’t think much about their roof until it starts to leak. Although a leak may indicate that you need a new roof, there are a number of other signs that may indicate you need to replace your roof. Inspecting your roof every six months will help you to identify potential problems before they become serious. Here are some signs you should look for:

Callen Blog Photo - You Might Need a New Roof When 110915Dark Spots

Dark spots on your roof are an indication that your roof is losing granules. Without granules to protect the asphalt in the shingles, they will break and become brittle from the sun. They will also lose their ability to prevent water from leaking into the house.

Dark spots on the north side of the house are often a sign of algae or contaminates. Algae feed on the limestone filler used to give the shingles weight. After a period of time, the granules will begin to loosen and wash off, leaving your shingles unprotected.

Curled Shingles

Curled shingles are often seen on the west side of the house, which gets a lot of exposure to the hot sun. The sun can cause the asphalt layers in the shingle to shrink and curl, which makes the shingle more likely to fly off your roof in the wind.

Improper Ventilation

Ventilation can lead to shingle failure. The majority of houses do not have proper ventilation in the attic, which prevents air flow from the soffit vent to the ridge vent. Without ventilation, in the summer when it is 90 degrees outside, the attic can heat up to 130 degrees, which hurts the shingles. In the winter, improper ventilation can lead to mold and mildew on the roof decking due to trapped moisture.

Missing Shingles

This is often an obvious indication that a roof needs to be replaced, and is often a result of improper installation. Some installers use only three or four nails per shingle, which does not protect against wind damage. Callen’s preferred method is six nails per shingle, which ups the wind warranty from 80 to 130 miles per hour.

Faulty Underlayment

The material used under the shingle, or underlayment, can also be a source of leaks. An underlayment should have ice and watershield to protect the roof. Tarpaper is not a material recommended for underlayment.

If you need a roof replacement, call Callen today at 414-765-2585 for a FREE inspection and estimate. We’re the exterior remodeling company Milwaukee homeowners have trusted since 1986.



Time-Tested Tips for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving

As the Thanksgiving holiday approaches, visions of plump brown turkeys and mouth-watering pumpkin pies begin to dance in everyone’s heads. However, if you’re the one cooking the dinner, this vision may be one of pans bubbling over and smoke pouring out of the oven. Fortunately, there are ways reduce the stress of holiday cooking and still achieve a perfectly-cooked Thanksgiving dinner.

Callen Blog Photo - Tips for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving 110215Preparation is key. Create a plan for your dinner several weeks in advance. Decide which recipes you want to use, and take stock of the supplies and ingredients you already have. From there you can make a shopping list of everything you need. Shop well ahead of time and purchase as much as you can in advance so you aren’t frantically searching nearly-bare shelves for one particular ingredient the night before Thanksgiving.

Keep it simple. One of the best parts of Thanksgiving is the traditional foods that everybody looks forward to, along with family and regional favorites. It’s not necessary to add new and elaborate side dishes to the menu. These will just add more time and stress to your day, and will often fall to the wayside as guests reach for their customary favorites. If you do decide to get creative, experiment by putting a new twist on one or two traditional dishes, and be sure to try them out in advance.

Plan ahead. A large turkey can take up to five days to thaw. Make sure to give yourself plenty of wiggle room by thawing your turkey in the refrigerator several days in advance. Another option is to buy a fresh turkey from the butcher, or to deconstruct your turkey, which will drastically cut down on your prep and cooking time. Also, determine which recipes can be made ahead of time, such as pies and veggie dishes.

Don’t be afraid to delegate. Your friends and family are not going to think less of you if you don’t do it all yourself. Many guests will ask what they can bring or how they can help – don’t hesitate to take them up on it. After all, Thanksgiving is about gratitude for friends and family, and less time in the kitchen means more time to spend with those you love.

Call Callen for Stress-Free Home Improvements

Next holiday season, have the kitchen you’ve always dreamed of! Call Callen at 414-765-2585 for a no-obligation consultation. From Lake Country kitchen remodeling to exterior remodeling in Muskego, WI, our team knows how to put the “WOW” in home remodeling!