Aug

29

Advice on When It’s Time to Replace Windows

By Brad Flannigan

Callen Blog - When to Replace Windows 082916Warm weather really calls to attention the many things that need to be done to keep the exterior of the home in good condition. Homeowners often find that when they tackle that spring cleaning chore of window washing, they run into problems. Mainly, they can’t open the window properly, find that the “fogging” can’t be removed by cleaners, and discover the wood frames are showing signs of rot.

Callen offers other signs that it’s time to consider window replacement.

  • Sticking windows: Difficulty opening and closing or windows are painted or nailed shut and impossible to open. This is the most obvious sign you need a window replacement.
  • Windows that need to be propped open: The balance is the mechanism that keeps the window up when you open it. When the balance fails, the window no longer remains up when opened and can slam shut, posing a serious safety hazard.
  • Condensation/Fogging: This is a sign that water vapor or even rain or ice is able to penetrate the seal. When you see damp spots by the seal after a storm, this is a sign the window is losing its ability to be a barrier between the external elements and your home.
  • Noise: Hearing the sounds of traffic, noisy neighbors, or even the sounds of nature.
  • Drafts: You should never feel or notice cold air seeping in. Your cooling and heating systems will have to work harder to compensate for infiltration, resulting in higher energy bills.
  • Warping: Wood windows can warp as a result of exposure to moisture of the elements. Poor seals can lead to flooding in rain events, diminished durability, and even window failure.
  • Hardware: Rusty, too tight, or too loose.
  • Single-Pane Windows: Old single-pane windows are not constructed to keep out drafts and damaging UV rays.
  • Appearance: Chipping, deterioration, water stains, or an outdated style that doesn’t blend well with the rest of the house.

“Choosing replacement windows is an important decision because you want your new windows to not only save money and keep your home free of drafts, but also you want them to be easy to clean and operate, be virtually maintenance free, durable, and enhance the home’s beauty and character,” said Brad Flannigan, exterior product specialist for Callen.

Installation options include both full frame replacement and insert replacement. With a full frame installation, the entire window, sashes, frame, stops, and interior casing are removed down to the framing studs. Full frame replacement allows for a complete restoration of the opening and addresses any problems that may be occurring behind the casing.

An insert installation starts with the sashes and stops of the existing window being removed, while the interior casings and frame of the existing window stay and the new window is installed into the frame of the existing window.

“When choosing a replacement window, visiting a showroom is very helpful because you can get an idea of the professionalism of the staff and the scope of options available – not just what you may view in a sample book, but in actually seeing how it looks. I have found that some homeowners want a certain style of window, but after visiting our showroom and seeing all the options, often ask if they can change out a casement window for an awning, or a double-hung for a glider. The answer is yes – the possibilities are numerous,” Brad said.

Callen’s exterior product specialists can help you determine the best option for your window replacement. Call Callen, the leading remodeling company in Brookfield, to schedule an in-home consultation.

Aug

22

Tips to Stay Organized During a Remodeling Project

No doubt about it, remodeling is disruptive to your house, your family, your personal routine, and even your pets. But with some planning, it is possible to survive major renovations without excessive stress.

Callen offers some tips to minimize the inconvenience. First, and very important, have a designated place to keep the paperwork relevant to the remodel – quotes, invoices, receipts, contact information, contracts, and the like. While some correspondence will be done electronically, you will still have hard copies of items that you will want to access. When it comes to email, create a separate sent and received folder designated specifically for remodeling correspondence.

Stay Organized During A RemodelStaging your temporary kitchen

If you plan to stay in your home during a kitchen remodel, set up a temporary kitchen elsewhere – living room, dining room, spare bedroom, even the basement, with your microwave, electric frying pan, slow cooker, and toaster oven. You may be getting a new fridge with your project, so have your old one relocated to the garage or within another area of the house if you have room for it.

Stay organized when packing goods from the cabinets and pantry. When storing items you won’t need during the remodel, label the storage boxes specifically with what is inside them. Avoid the word miscellaneous. It will be much more pleasant when you are putting things back after the project is finished.

Prepare as many meals in advance as possible, freezing them in individual portions for easy-to-fix dinners. Keep a stash of granola bars, fruit, peanut butter, and crackers for easy snacking.

Plastic and paper rule as dishwashing will be a challenge. Pots and pans will most likely be washed in the bathtub or laundry tub. Be prepared with a dishpan, dish drainer, and lots of cloths for washing and wiping.

There may be times when water and electric will be shut off. Your project manager should alert you to those so you can make alternate plans, staying with relatives, arranging a sleep-over for your children with their friends, or booking a motel.

Bathroom strategies

Remodeling a bathroom may pose no extra inconveniences if you have a second full bath or at least a powder room. But if it’s your only facility, you need to plan in advance.

If your home has only one toilet, arrange with your project manager to take out and reset the toilet on a daily basis. However, there will be at least several days when you won’t be able to access the toilet at all, such as when flooring is installed.

Your contractor may also be able to arrange a temporary shower and toilet in the basement. But this may not be possible in every situation and you should inquire in advance.

If you had been thinking of joining a gym or health club, this might be the time to do it to get some time away from your house. Take advantage of showers, toilets, and play areas for the children while you work out.

Keep children and pets safe

If children are in the home while the workers are there, they no doubt will be fascinated by what is going on. But a work zone is hazardous and you will need to make sure they know their boundaries and stay clear of the project. Plus, distraction and interruptions to tradesmen on the job will prolong its completion date.

All the noise and strangers in the home can be very stressful to your pet. Have a place in the home where it can be contained away from the project. Have soothing music playing or the television on to help mask noises, and make sure the pet gets exercised more than normal to expend pent-up energy.

Remodeling may involve sprays, fumes, paints, and other toxic or irritating substances that could harm your children and pets. Have your project manager alert you when this may occur and insist on proper, even excessive ventilation. While this work is going on, it’s best to get everyone out of the house for the day.

Even though there will be plastic sheeting between the work area and the rest of the home, fine dust particles will still filter out. It’s advisable to remove or cover electronic equipment, fine furniture, or other valuables.

There will be many deliveries during the project. Let your project manager know where the staging area will be; inside the garage is a good choice. Keep your driveway clear of your own vehicles to facilitate delivery and parking of construction vehicles. If your community doesn’t allow on-street parking, visit the police department to get a variance for temporary parking.

Knowing what will occur and when, and planning in advance for disruptions, will help keep your family’s routine as normal as possible under the circumstances. The key to any successful remodel is extensive communication with your contractor and project manager. Planning to the most infinite detail, selecting and making product and material purchases well in advance, and having a start and completion date as well as a production schedule, are important elements that will ensure a predictable remodeling process that provides you and your family the home you desire.

Callen’s design specialists can assist you throughout the remodeling process. Call Callen, the leading remodeling company in Brookfield, to get the process started.

Aug

15

Four Ways to Keep Your House Cool This Summer (Other Than Air Conditioning)

The heat of late summer can lead to skyrocketing energy use and high utility bills. The good news is there are several things you can do to help cool off your house and take some of the stress off your air conditioner unit.

Shut Out the Light

This may seem like a no-brainer, but many people do not realize that up to 30% of unwanted summer heat comes from sunlight streaming in through the windows. Surprisingly, you can reduce the temperature in your home by up to 20 degrees simply by keeping blinds and curtains closed, and replacing sheers with thicker draperies to block out more light.

Switch the Direction of Your Ceiling Fans

Did you know that ceiling fans have two rotational settings? Make sure that your fan is set to rotate counter-clockwise at a high speed in the summer. This will help you take advantage of the cooling effect that takes place when the breeze hits your skin and sweat starts evaporating.

Grills & Slow Cookers are Your Friends

Summer cooking can add a lot of heat to your house. Limiting the use of the stove and oven during the summer will go a long way toward combating the heat in your home. Eat cold meals when possible, and if you do have to cook, double or triple the recipes so there will be plenty of leftovers. Try using slow cookers, which put out much less heat. Grilling is another great summer cooking method. From pizza to seafood, check out these amazingly delicious recipes for the grill!

Callen Blog - Cool House in Summer 081516Create a Cross Breeze

Take advantage of cooler nighttime temperatures by opening the windows before you go to bed. Strategically-placed box fans can help natural breezes along. You can create cross-ventilation by placing one fan facing in on the side where the breeze is entering, and another facing out on the opposite side of the house. Just don’t forget to close all windows and blinds before temperatures heat back up in the morning.

The right windows will go a long way toward keeping your home cool in summer and warmer in winter. For the most energy-efficient replacement windows in Brookfield, WI, call Callen at 414-765-2585. As your leading Milwaukee remodeling company, we have the knowledge and experience to help you with all your window needs.

Aug

08

Kitchen Upgrade Ideas

By Paulette Sodemann

Kitchens are where home-cooked meals are shared and memories are made, meaning they should be bright, welcoming, and well-maintained to mesh with the style trends that continuously pop up.

Kitchen Upgrades

Paulette Sodemann, designer with Callen, suggests some ways in which you can upgrade your kitchen. “You don’t have to be extravagant to have a fabulous kitchen,” she said. “Sometimes all you need to upgrade your kitchen is a fresh coat of paint and new accessories to add a pop of color.”

Lighting: “Kitchens should be bright with the combination of natural and overhead lighting,” said Paulette. Adding a pendant light will stylishly illuminate your entire kitchen. The addition of under cabinet lighting will also bathe your countertop in bright light to find your recipes and make it easier to see everything you’re slicing and dicing.

Hardware: “Adding new knobs and pulls to cabinets and drawers is one of the simplest upgrades you can make,” said Paulette. There are countless styles to choose from that will allow you to modernize your kitchen with a simple swap.

Rugs: Most kitchens are adorned with a worn kitchen mat that no one takes a second look at. “Put a twist on the average kitchen mat and add a stylish runner or area rug to your kitchen instead,” she said. “It will add a stylish flare to the floor and feel nice on your bare feet.”

Faucet: Instead of getting a whole new sink, simply change out the faucet. “A new faucet is an easy installation and a fun way to jazz up a kitchen,” Paulette said. Replace an old dripping faucet with a sleek pull-down faucet to transform your kitchen from dingy to dashing.

Cabinetry: “As long as the frames and doors of your cabinets are structurally sound, you can spice them up with some strong cleaner and a new coat of paint,” she said. Whether you decide to paint your kitchen cabinets the same color or a whole new color, it’ll add a new clean look to your kitchen.

Bright Accessories: For a finishing touch, enhance your new upgrades with matching accessories. “New, bright dishtowels, decorative bowls, fresh flowers, new drapes, or fun plates and utensils are easy ways to brighten your kitchen for spring and create a welcoming area for your family and guests,” Paulette said.

Callen’s design specialists have plenty of ideas on how to enhance your kitchen space. Call Callen, the leading remodeling company in Brookfield, for inspiration on how to get started.