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.



Designing An Easy-To-Clean Bathroom

By Doreen Schofield

I do not enjoy cleaning my bathrooms, and I know that I’m not alone in feeling this way.  The worst part about it, though, is 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.

Unfortunately, the bathroom that never gets dirty has yet to be invented.  That doesn’t mean there aren’t ways for you to help make bathroom cleanup easier, however.  Here are a few tips for designing a neater, easier-to-clean bathroom.

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.  The larger the tiles, the fewer the grout lines required.  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.  These surfaces can be great for a vanity countertop or backsplash.

I know that many homeowners are partial to the look of a mosaic pattern tile, but the number of grout lines in mosaic tile can be difficult to keep clean.  Consider how much smaller mosaic tiles you truly want in your bathroom’s design.  Each of the Callen designers has extensive experience designing with tile and can help you create a shower that’s both nice to look at and easy to clean.

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.

Clutter-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.  Bathroom fixtures can be especially difficult to clean around, creating hard to reach spaces for filth to pile up.  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.  Think outside the box and consider a vanity with outlets within a drawer, so that your blow dryer and other items can stay out of sight and out of the way for cleanup.

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.



Project Scheduling and Clean Up

By Brad Flannigan

When you call Callen for any of your home improvement needs, you receive the total customer experience.  By that I mean we don’t just sell you a product; we sell service.

In this blog, I am going to talk about what happens after the purchase is made.  When you have agreed to the sale, I will explain the timeline to you – when your product is expected to arrive and how we go about scheduling.  We are not a company that just shows up with your order.  Scheduling at your convenience is an important part of the service we provide.  We schedule to your schedule.

After the paperwork is finished, one of our project managers will revisit your home and take a second set of measurements to ensure absolute accuracy (measure twice, cut once!).  The project manager will again go over the installation process and the timeline.  We will have an approximate time when we expect your order to come in, but the project manager won’t set up an install date until after your order arrives.

Then the install is set at your convenience, and I want to stress it is at your convenience.  Also, if you are not able to be home because of work or other commitments, you can be assured of your home’s security.  All our installers are employees of Callen Construction, fully bonded and insured.

Each exterior job requires a different time when we are on the premises.  With windows, for example, we can do about four windows a day.  A roof may take one or two days, depending on the scope of work.  We are also impacted by weather; we won’t tear off your roof in the middle of a downpour.  Should weather conditions or unforeseeable delays occur, we will call to inform you about it.

One thing to add about windows is that Callen offers professional interior staining.  That is done after the windows are installed and it is also a separate scheduling item.

We Protect Your Property and Clean Up Daily

When the installers arrive, they will protect your home, interior and/or exterior with the appropriate materials.

There are some companies out there that don’t clean up the various construction debris until the job is complete.  The Callen difference is that we clean up each day so when you come home you are not walking into a mess.  Even with roofing and tear offs, the crew will be cleaning as debris accumulates.

After the exterior job is complete, your project manager has a meeting with you to see if the job is done to your satisfaction or if any tweaks are needed.  When that is done, the person who sold you the product will come back with a warranty packet and explain the warranties.

At that time, you also will be asked if there is any additional work you are considering.  We are a full service company and offer a full line of products for the home, interior and exterior and we are available to help you with any other additional work.  We want to keep you as our customer.  It’s all about building a strong and trusted relationship with you.

We genuinely care for people, our customers and their homes. We believe in the philosophy: Quality Craftsmanship Works.



Product Feature – Summer Storm Gutter Waterfalls Cause Home Damage

Did you know that just an inch of a summer rainfall pours close to 1,500 gallons of water onto your roof?  That’s why the performance of your gutters is so important to protecting your home.  Waterfalls flowing over your gutters during a strong summer rainfall are a strong indication that you have clogged gutters – and clogged gutters can lead to some expensive home repairs.

Investing in gutter protection is one of the wisest home improvements you can make, especially when you consider the damage caused by overflowing gutters.  Your home’s gutters and downspouts are designed to move water down from the roof and away from your home and foundation for proper drainage.  Water that can’t flow through your gutters finds the easiest path – and that often means the water comes right into your ceiling and walls.

A common call to Callen is from homeowners that have water flowing over the front and ends of their gutters and flooding their home.  Upon inspection, we usually find that the gutters are clogged with leaves or other debris.

When gutter debris gets wet, it absorbs the water from summer rainfalls like a large sponge – and you know how heavy a saturated sponge can get.  This extra weight stresses your gutters and hanging brackets, and can result in your gutters pulling off of your house.

Overflowing water from your gutters can also damage the paint and siding on your home, but even that is a small problem when you think of what happens if the water gets inside of a wall.  Wet wood behind siding can rot, and you often don’t know how much damage has been caused until it’s too late.

Callen installs Gutter Topper, independently tested and certified to withstand anything Mother Nature can throw at it, to safeguard your home from the problems caused by clogged and overflowing gutters.

In addition to the original Gutter Topper product, Callen can also install…

  • The Leaf Terminator – a heavy-duty gutter guard that allows water to flow through the patented perforation design, while at the same time, strengthens your gutter system.
  • The Solution – a budget priced gutter system that has been independently certified to outperform the competition.
  • Needle Beetle – specifically designed for areas where pine needles present unique gutter clog challenges.
  • Hott Topper – helps to eliminate the problems caused by icicles and heavy snow.

With so many gutter system solutions available, you don’t have to learn your gutters are clogged when that summer storm comes and you wake up to find a basement full of water.  Contact Callen to learn how a gutter protection system can be one of the wisest summer home improvements you can make.