Oct

09

Tips for Home Winterization

Winter weather will be coming to Wisconsin before too long, so now is the time for area homeowners to prepare their homes for what can be a harsh time of year. Homes can be winterized with these tips from Callen professionals.

Tips for Home WinterizationOutside

  • Homeowners should make sure they have the necessary tools for the season in good working order: shovels, ice melting salt, and a roof rake for removing snow from the roof to help reduce ice damming issues.
  • Checking windows and doors for air leaks should start with a visual inspection of the exterior. Where the old caulking has failed, there will be a gap between the window or doorframe and the home’s siding. If your home has single-paned windows, look for damaged glazing, which is the hard putty that holds the individual panes of glass in place.
  • Clean gutters of any debris, which could add to ice damming issues. Consider seamless aluminum gutters and larger aluminum downspouts to reduce the amount of ice build-up and the possibility of leaks and damage.
  • Water is the enemy to your exterior chimney. Water getting into the masonry, freezing, and then causing failure gets costly to fix. Make sure the concrete cap or crown on the chimney has an overhang and is not cracked.
  • Make sure the flue that vents your furnace and water heater has the proper size liner in it, and that it is in good condition.
  • When the ground freezes, animals that normally seek shelter and food underground may instead cause damage to trees and shrubs. Flowering crab trees and burning bushes are especially susceptible. Protect plants with either wire or netting across or around the plant.

Heating

  • Check your furnace filter and replace it needed. Now is also a good time to have the furnace inspected and tuned up.
  • Regarding the air conditioner, turn off the breaker for the A/C and clean it thoroughly and properly.
  • It is necessary to make sure the fireplace chimney is clean from soot before using it this season to prevent a chimney fire. Also, be sure you close your fireplace damper when not in use. Otherwise the heat you are paying for while running your furnace is going up the chimney.

Sep

04

Roof Remodeling Tips

A roof is more than just the “hat” that finishes the look of your home. “The roof is arguably the most important component of your house; after all, it helps protect you from the elements,” said Lance Dahl, CR, exterior product specialist with Callen Construction in Muskego. “Before you make any decisions on potential roof replacement, make sure you understand all of the various components of this type of project.”

roof remodeling tips from callen constructionFirst, keep up appearances. In planning your next major remodeling project, don’t forget to reflect on the look and style of roofing materials. “When you consider that the average roof comprises 40 percent of a home’s visible exterior, you want it to look attractive,” he said.

Next, you’ll want to sneak-a-peak. In other words, inspect your roof from a safe vantage point using binoculars. “Specifically look for cracking, curling, and missing shingles, and if your roof is made of asphalt shingles, also look for areas that seem to lack granular covering,” Lance said. “You can examine your roof from the inside, too. Visit your attic space and use a flashlight to look for water stains that may indicate a growing roof leak.”

Check with your local municipal building department to see how many times you may re-cover an existing roof with another layer of similar materials. Some communities only allow two layers of roofing material, and require any additional layers to be torn off before more roofing can be installed.

Next, provide your contractor with a picture. “At Callen, we are able to use a digital photo of your home and show you a variety of options for the house featuring different roofing materials,” he said.

Regardless of the project size, all work to be done needs to be explained in writing. “You should be given a detailed proposal that describes the type of roofing material and color; other materials to be used; and the scope of work to be done,” Lance said. “It is important to specify whether the existing roofing will be removed or covered with a layer of new shingles, and to state who will be responsible for installing new flashing and vents. Most importantly, make sure the proposal indicates an approximate starting time and completion deadlines.”

According to the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association, asphalt shingles are installed on approximately four out of every five residential roofs in the United States. Asphalt products are available in two types – organic and fiberglass – and in a wide variety of colors, styles, and visual textures. Organic shingles are made of cellulose fibers, such as recycled waste paper or wood fibers, while fiberglass shingles are made of glass fibers. “Both shingle types are covered with an asphalt coating and surfaced with weather-resistant mineral granules,” he said.

While asphalt shingles are by far the most popular option, consider the alternatives. “Do you love the appearance of cedar or redwood roofing, but worry about fire safety? There are fire-resistant wood shingles, or metal and synthetic products that mimic the look,” Lance said. “Such products can also match slate and tile roofs. Real clay or concrete tiles often appear in Southwest-style or Mission-style roofs. If you desire this look, you will need to make sure your home can adequately support the additional weight.”

Finally, it’s important to vent a little. “Attic ventilation ensures that your roof has a long and functional life,” he said. While ventilation requirements vary by region, the National Roofing Contractors Association generally recommends a minimum of one square foot of free vent area for each 150 square feet of attic floor.

Replacing a roof is a major investment, so make sure you stay as informed as possible and weigh each of your options carefully before making decisions,” Lance said. “In the end, your new roof should last at least 20 years, so it’s important that you’re happy with the products selected.”

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Aug

14

Excellent Entryways: Five Ways to Add Design and Function

The entryway is where visitors get their first glimpse into your home, so it’s important that it feels warm and welcoming. An attractive entryway should be both functional and organized, and should also reflect your own personal style. Here are some tips from Callen Construction, your favorite local remodeling company, on how to create a fabulous entryway without spending a lot in the process.

Excellent Entryways: Five Ways to Add Design and Function Start Outside

Contrary to popular belief, the entryway actually starts outside your home. A clear, unobstructed path, ample outdoor lighting, and cozy seating will all set the tone as guests prepare to enter your home. The type of seating will vary depending on the size of your porch or stoop, but it could range from matching rockers to a small bistro set brightened by colorful cushions. A cheery seasonal wreath and stately stone planters will help frame the front door and make it more inviting.

Mark Your Space

While having the same type of flooring throughout the main areas of your home is great for the flow of your rooms, it doesn’t do much to add interest or personality. A rug is the perfect way to define your entry space while also adding color and texture, plus catch the dirt and debris tracked in by friends and family. Indoor/outdoor rugs are a good choice because they’re durable and easy to care for.

Make a Statement with Lighting

An eye-catching overhead fixture, such as a chandelier or unique pendant, is the perfect way to make a statement with lighting. Make sure you pay attention to scale, however. If you have a small entryway, a heavy chandelier could be overpowering. The soft glow of sconces or a table lamp may be a better fit in this situation.

Make It Functional

Another important feature every entryway needs is a place to drop keys and mail when you come in the door. Choose one piece of furniture for this purpose, and keep it in scale with the entryway’s size. A place for guests to hang their personal items is also important, and could be as simple as a row of hooks on the wall or as elaborate as a fancy hall tree. Whatever you do, don’t go overboard with furniture, as this will give the entryway a cluttered feel and make it hard to maneuver.

Personalize the Entryway

You are now ready to personalize your space! Select accessories for your entryway that show your personal taste and style, but still fit well with the home’s overall design. Hang a mirror or beautiful piece of art over your table or console, display a stack of interesting books, or set out a flower arrangement. Whatever you decide to do, make it say something about you!

Whether you’re interested in kitchen or bathroom remodeling or are looking to upgrade the exterior of your home, call Callen. Contact us at 414-765-2585, and we will be ready to tackle all of your remodeling needs.

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Jul

31

Window Project Enhances Look and Improves Comfort

So, you saw photos of the latest window installed by Callen at our home in Cedarburg. It has the “WOW” factor that Callen refers to when talking about the remodeling jobs it completes.

Callen Bog - Paul Kronforst July 2017 073117 IMG_4822Well, the project is now all done! This was a BIG window that required new insulation all around it. Callen not only showed me the old rotted wood, but explained what they planned to do after the window was in. Yes, those details like caulking, sealing it up, and cleaning the job site so everything looks perfect.

I don’t have much time for household jobs, as cutting the grass and general maintenance inside and outside is about all I want and have time to do. I despise painting, and do it only when absolutely necessary.

I know some homeowners want to paint to save a bit of money. Great, if that’s your thing. This job required scaffolding and a VERY large ladder. The inside trim was entirely replaced and required priming, a coat of paint… and lots of work up high on that ladder (Did I mention that I’m also terrified of heights). I told Callen I would prefer not to paint and have them do it. They said they have their own painting crews (avoiding subcontractors) and these skilled painters did what they do best – paint!

Callen Bog - Paul Kronforst July 2017 073117 IMG_4844I could not be happier with how it matched our existing white trim and how clean and precise the painting was. Callen really does it all… I didn’t have to lift a finger, except to take the pictures when it was finished!

This window has been in for a few weeks and the air conditioner is on this summer in the Kronforst household, but it is not kicking in as much. It is also much cooler, with less humidity in the house. I am convinced the previous large window was the culprit. As I explained in my blog last month, when the seals on that window became ineffective (it was the biggest piece of glass in our home), we were in trouble.

I cannot wait to discuss our master bath (featuring a large glass walk-in shower) and bump out walk-in closet project done a few years ago for the next blog, complete with before and after photos. This renovation added so much to our entire home’s “WOW” factor and value.

Until then, check out Callen’s website with a gallery of photos or its Facebook page, which is loaded with terrific information (and more photos).

Paul Kronforst, WISN-AM 1130

Callen Bog - Paul Kronforst July 2017 073117 IMG_4856

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