May

22

Spring Cleaning Tips for Sparkling Windows

Spring Cleaning Tips for Sparkling Windows Window cleaning is one of the essential spring chores for keeping your home looking neat and fresh. It’s especially important if you’ve had a window replacement recently to keep your new windows looking as beautiful as the day they were installed. Fortunately, cleaning windows isn’t complicated. All it takes is a few common household cleaning supplies and a little elbow grease!

Phase One: The Cleaners and Supplies

Most people attack their windows with a bottle of store-bought window cleaning solution and a roll of paper towels. While many commercial sprays do an adequate job cleaning off dirt and smudges, a more effective and economical method for cleaning windows involves using common household cleaners you probably already have: alcohol, vinegar, and sudsy ammonia. Plus, ditch the paper towels, which will leave behind lint. Instead, use clean rags or coffee filters.

  • The cleaners: Alcohol, vinegar, and sudsy ammonia.
  • Other recommended supplies: Two buckets, rubber gloves, a squeegee, clean rags or coffee filters, and a ladder (if needed).

Phase Two: The Cleaning Solution

Squeaky-clean windows require a lot of hot water, so start by filling two buckets with 1-2 gallons each of hot water. Make it as hot as you can tolerate with your rubber gloves on.

To the first bucket, add one cup each of vinegar and ammonia; this will be your wash water. For your rinse water, add two tablespoons of rubbing alcohol. This will give your windows that streak-free shine by helping the water evaporate more quickly.

  • Bucket 1 (wash water): 1-2 gallons hot water, one cup vinegar, one cup ammonia
  • Bucket 2 (rinse water): 1-2 gallons hot water, two tablespoons rubbing alcohol

Phase Three: The Cleaning Process

Now it’s time for the real work to begin. Dip a clean rag in the wash water. Starting at the top and working your way down, use circular motions to clean the whole window. If you encounter sticky spots or dried-on materials that don’t want to come off, try using a synthetic scraper (metal ones will scratch your glass).

Quickly rinse down the window with your rinse water, then immediately use a squeegee to clear off the water, using solid vertical strokes. Be sure to clean off the squeegee between each pass to avoid leaving behind drips and water lines. Finally, use a dry coffee filter or rag to catch any water left in the corners or on the sill.

If you need a full service window replacement company, Callen would be happy to take care of that for you. Just call 414-765-2585 and we’ll have your new Infinity® from Marvin fiberglass windows installed and ready to enjoy in no time!

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May

15

Where Your Money Goes in a Kitchen Remodel

Where Your Money Goes in a Kitchen RemodelAccording to the 2017 REMODELING Cost vs. Value Report, when a homeowner calls in a remodeling company like Callen Construction to do a kitchen remodel, the amount they can expect to invest in this popular home remodeling project varies widely. It may range from a low of $21,303 up to $125,000 or more for a high-end job, with the national average being $62,158. If your kitchen is due for a remodel, it’s important to know the cost breakdown to be able to more accurately plan and prepare your budget.

Finished Products and Appliances

The majority of money in a kitchen remodel (65-70%) will be spent on finished kitchen products such as cabinets, countertops, flooring, and large appliances. The easiest way to keep your budget down is to look for less expensive manufactured appliances and products. Kitchen cabinets make up a large chunk of the cost of your finished products. If you’re trying to lower costs, you might want to look into re-facing or refinishing your cabinets, or purchasing stock cabinets, as opposed to ordering custom-built.

Labor Costs

The labor costs for a kitchen remodel will comprise about 30-35% of your budget. These costs stay fairly steady unless you want a lot of custom detailing or plan on doing extensive remodeling. This includes moving your sink or large appliances, which will require additional labor costs if you have to relocate wiring, water lines, or gas lines.

When to Save and When to Splurge

If you are planning on selling within a few years, it doesn’t make sense to splurge on

top-of-the-line appliances and materials that most likely won’t give you a return on your investment. A better choice is to buy mid-range products that are serviceable and reasonably priced. If, however, you plan to stay in your home for years to come, now is the time to invest in high-quality appliances and finished products that will last longer, rather than go the more economical route and potentially having to do another remodel down the road.

Here at Callen, we have certified designers who would love to help you with your remodel, whether it’s a one-time improvement or a multi-stage project. Call us today at 414-765-2585 for a free consultation to find out how we can help.

Learn more about where your money goes in a bathroom remodel.

May

08

What You Need to Ask When Planning Your Porch

“If you are thinking about adding a porch to your home, you’ll want to consider everything from how you want it to look to how you plan to use the space,” said Brad Flannigan, exterior product specialist with Callen. “You want to maximize the use of your porch and make sure the location flows with the rest of your property.” Ask yourself these five crucial questions as you plan the porch of your dreams.

What You Need to Ask When Planning Your PorchFirst, how do you want to use the porch? The answer to this question will help determine the depth and length of your porch. For instance, a porch with a small café table and two chairs will have different size specifications, than a porch suited for dining and entertaining. “You need to incorporate room for circulation; it helps to think of a porch as a small-scale house with a foundation, roof and walls,” Brad said.

When do you want to use your porch? Due to Wisconsin’s often cool climate, you may want to include details that will make your porch usable throughout the year. A fireplace, insulation in the ceiling, and screens to keep out bugs are just a few options to consider.

Third, is your porch user-friendly? Consider the best entry to and from your porch into your home, to make the space easily accessible and encourage good traffic flow. “Large patio or French doors can offer easy access to side and back porches and be an excellent source of natural light for your home,” explained Brad.

Do you want a porch made for entertaining? If you have the space, make your porch a destination for guests by creating separate seating and dining areas. A seating area with all-weather furniture and an indoor/outdoor rug gives visitors a spot to enjoy cocktails and conversation. You can make a separate dining area inviting by including a table and chairs with comfortable outdoor pillows and cushions.

And lastly, do you know how you want your porch to look? “The best porches are designed with scale and proportion in mind,” he said. For inspiration, talk to a professional designer, go online, cut pages out of magazines, and get ideas from your own neighborhood. Once you have a solid concept for how you plan to use the porch, have a rough drawing of the basic floor plan created. Be sure to note all existing windows, doors, and obstructions. You can even trace a photo of your home and add the details you would like to see on your porch. This will help when you explain your ideas to a design professional.

May

01

Insight on Bathroom Remodeling Trends

No longer just a utilitarian space, today’s bathroom can be a place of luxury and convenience. “Achieving this is a matter of keeping up with the latest design elements,” said Marie Owens, designer with Callen. “There are many common themes incorporated into this year’s bathroom remodels, including man-made products that mimic natural materials, plenty of texture, and decorative details,” added Marie. So, if contemplating a bathroom renovation, here are some popular trends to consider for the remodeled space.

Insight on Bathroom Remodeling TrendsRecent technological advances have led to porcelain tile that looks exactly like hardwood flooring. “There are plenty of colors and plank sizes to choose from, allowing for the creation of everything from a rustic to modern aesthetic,” Marie said. “Additionally, because porcelain is not a natural material like wood, it can get wet and the only maintenance required is a basic cleaning.”

Next, are decorative shower niches, which are getting a little something extra – beautiful accent tiles. The design element not only adds a focal point to the bathroom, but also helps to break up the shower wall. Additionally, it can allow for the introduction of color into the space.

Another trend is utilizing engineered stone instead of marble. “Quartz and porcelain do a beautiful job of impersonating marble down to the veins. Plus, they offer a slew of benefits,’ she said. “Unlike a natural marble stone, these materials are non-porous and do not need to be sealed. Their non-porous nature also means that tile or countertops will not stain should something accidentally spill.”

White on white follows. White is considered to be the color of perfection, evoking a feeling of wholeness and completion. With this current trend, various shades of white cabinetry, countertops, and tile are all working together to create a striking, monochromatic space.

Next is texture, which is being incorporated into a bathroom space to create interest. “Texture is particularly used in monochromatic color schemes,” said Marie. “This includes textured wallpaper, tiles, glass, and metals.”

While not considered a necessity, many homeowners are opting for heated flooring in their master bath. This popular amenity is a welcome comfort during the cold winter months, plus it can be programmed to make it more energy efficient.

Lastly, sound systems are incorporated into the bathroom design. For many, music is a part of their morning routine. “Therefore, more bathrooms have blue tooth speakers installed into the ceiling or showerheads with music streaming capabilities,” she said.