Finding the Right Contractor

Many of you reading this may have attended the recent Milwaukee NARI Spring Home Improvement Show at the State Fair Park Exposition Center. For more than 30 years, Callen has been a member of what has blossomed into the country’s largest chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

Callen is one of the more than 700 members of the Milwaukee NARI chapter, which allows area homeowners to have peace of mind when contracting with remodeling companies. Callen’s focus on professionalism and commitment to the customer enables it to maintain its good standing within the association.

Many listeners of my “Remodeling Show” on WISN-AM News Talk 1130 have asked on and off the air, “How do I find a quality contractor, one I can trust?” Good question, right? Remodeling contractors are often in your house for weeks at a time, working around your family, pets, etc. and you want to find the right fit.

What other inquiries should be made when selecting a contractor? Here are some questions I believe are imperative to have answered before moving forward with a contractor on a remodeling project:

  • Are they good at what they do?
  • Are they professional?
  • Do they have insurance, including coverage in case of an on-site employee injury?
  • Do they pull the proper permits?
  • Are they working up to local codes?
  • Are they courteous, clean, and respectful while in your home?

These are all valid questions you should not be shy of asking. When dealing with Callen, the answer to all of these questions is a resounding YES! This is why Callen is part of NARI and other professional organizations.

In addition, being part of an organization like NARI allows Callen and its staff to have access to timely industry information and educational opportunities. This is a benefit to you, the homeowner, as you know that Callen is staying current with industry trends.

Through its Milwaukee NARI membership, Callen has regularly participated in the Wisconsin Remodeler of the Year Awards competition, winning awards in the kitchen, bathroom, and exterior remodeling categories for 18 consecutive years. Over the last dozen years, I have had the pleasure of serving as the emcee of this event several times and Callen’s projects stand out for their excellence and commitment to detail.

Completing a remodeling project should be exciting and something you never regret doing. Companies such as Callen have proven they work at a high level through continuing to play an active role in the NARI chapter here in Milwaukee.

We are in the final stages of winter (thankfully) and spring and summer are right around the corner. I know it is held in February, but the Home Improvement Show is called the “Spring Show” because the remodeling season starts now. Don’t wait until summer to plan, or you likely won’t be enjoying your completed project until late this year at the earliest.

Do what I have done many times and Call Callen, so you can be like me and my family – enjoying the comfort and amenities of a remodeled home completed by an experience and quality home improvement contractor.



Why We’re a GAF Certified Master Elite™ Contractor

When you decide it is time to replace or repair your roof, there are many things to consider. First and foremost, it’s essential that your roof be installed properly, meet all manufacturer specifications and simply do its job of protecting your home from the elements.

You should also consider that your roof is an extension of your home’s overall look and curb appeal. Up to 40% of what is seen from the street is the roof, so when choosing a shingle style or color, it is important to consider how it will look for years to come, how it will match the style of the house, the overall ambiance of the neighborhood and even how it will appear to purchasers in the future.

When It’s Time for a New Roof

Callen recommends GAF roofing because these shingles offer improved performance, including superior durability and wind resistance. GAF also offers a myriad of shingle designs and colors to fit any style of home. Some installers use only three or four nails per shingle, which doesn’t provide adequate protection from wind damage. Callen’s preferred method of shingle installation is six nails per shingle, which ups the wind warranty from 80 to 130 mph. This gives shingles more stability and better protects your home.

The GAF color palette is broad-based to complement any siding, stone or brick exterior. When we visit your home for a roofing consultation, we will bring shingle options for you to look at. You can also check out the Virtual Home Remodeler which allows you to select from almost 50 different house styles. By clicking on the options, the virtual roof will be transformed to the color and style you imagined. You can also experiment with different colors of exterior siding and trim.

GAF offers the Golden Pledge® Lifetime Warranty, which includes a 40-point factory inspection after installation. The Golden Pledge warranty can only be offered by contractors that have achieved Master Elite status with GAF. Callen is proud to be among the top 2% of roofing contractors nationwide with Master Elite certification.

With our personalized consultation, extensive selection process and high-quality installation, Callen will add value to your home by helping you choose a beautiful roof that complements your home and provides stunning curb appeal. Give us a call today at (414) 765-2585 or schedule a no-obligation consultation with the best remodeling company in the Lake Country, Milwaukee, Waukesha and Brookfield areas.



Certifications and Training Building Blocks of Excellence

By Christopher Wittmann, CR

Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

Tom and Phil Callen have believed in this philosophy since 1986.  This is also the reason so many of our installers and sales people have certifications and training related to the specific fields they work in.

Building practices are ever evolving.  Years ago, a carpenter learned by doing, or they were taught by their father or grandfather on the methods of constructing a building or installing materials on a house.  Through the years, professional courses were developed to aid in the education of those practices.  While this teaching is still prevalent today, it doesn’t offer the continual education, requirements, and recommendations for installing residential building products.  This is why many manufacturers and organizations are taking an additional approach when it comes to ensuring accuracy and customer satisfaction by the ways of installer certifications and training.

GAF:ELK LogoAs a GAF® Master Elite Roofing installer, our roofers and sales people are required to take a yearly written exam on the best installation practices and the system of components used.  Our installers go one step further by being tested on physical installation standards based on GAF’s requirements.  Through the years, we have continually abided by this and have proved ourselves year after year by receiving GAF’s Training Excellence Award, Installation Excellence Award, Consumer Protection Award, and once again, the GAF President’s Award!

13ANG0007_SuperServiceLogo_Final_LessGradient-2200pxOur siding crew takes advantage of the numerous certifications available through companies like James Hardie (fiber cement products), Mastic (vinyl siding, aluminum trim, and gutters) and the Vinyl Siding Institute (VSI).  These courses help our installers learn the best methods and practices of not only installing the numerous products, but also troubleshooting situations that can help ensure future problems are avoided.  Callen was recently again recognized by Angie’s List with the Super Service Award for siding.

Our carpenters that install windows and doors also have many certifications.  As one of the leading Infinity from Marvin Fiberglass Window companies in the nation, our installers have received the factory installation standards training.  This is performed at Marvin’s Warroad, MN facility, in conjunction with the Installation Masters certification through the American Architectural Manufactures Associations (AAMA).  Again, Angie’s List recognized Callen for window installations with the Super Service Award.

certifiedSpeaking of carpenters, over the past few years, four of our lead carpenters earned the National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s (NARI) Certified Lead Carpenter (CLC) status.  This designation promotes the highest standards of carpentry remodeling through credentialing of remodeling professionals.  It assesses and improves the level of knowledge demonstrated by the carpenter and ensures professional growth and development.

Finally, the EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule requires firms performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities and pre-schools built before 1978 have their firm certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or an EPA authorized state, use certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved training providers and follow lead-safe work practices.  All of our lead carpenters have been trained under these rules and continue to receive updates on the methods used to perform all projects in a lead-safe manner.

This time spent learning ensures that not only do our clients receive the best possible installation, but also the best possible experience.  Becoming an expert is not only in our best interest as a company, it’s also undeniably the best way to keep up!  Our repeat business and referral rate proves this.