Dec

11

4 Super-Easy Front Porch Holiday Decorating Ideas

4 Super-Easy Front Porch Holiday Decorating IdeasFor many people, decorating is one of the most enjoyable parts of the Christmas season. With so many different types of holiday decorations available, from cute and quaint to glittering and elegant, your holiday decorating budget can quickly start encroaching on your gift-buying budget if you’re not careful.

Fortunately, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on fancy decorations for your house to look festive and inviting. This holiday season, keep things simple and try out a few of these easy ideas for decorating your front porch, shared by your favorite remodeling company, Callen Construction.

Mini Christmas Trees

What could be cuter than miniature Christmas trees standing sentinel at your front door? Add some bows and a few shiny ornaments, and you’ll have the perfect pair to frame the entryway.

Poinsettias

Another plant that looks great flanking the porch steps or the front door is the poinsettia. A pair of colorful, artificial poinsettia plants add a classic element that is quintessentially Christmas, and is an inexpensive way to dress up your porch and bring some holiday cheer.

Garland Green

Whether embellished with ribbons and lights or left in its natural glory, a pine garland adds the perfect wintry touch to any holiday setting. Wind some around the porch banisters to enhance your outdoor decor, and don’t forget to add some around the doorway as well.

Wreaths

If you do nothing else when it comes to decorating, at least hang a cheery holiday wreath on your door. Start with a simple grapevine wreath and add whatever embellishments you prefer, or perhaps a fragrant pine wreath to match your garland is the way to go. Whichever style you choose, a beautiful wreath is sure to lift the spirits of any visitor.

If you’re hosting the big family dinner next year and want your house to look its best, some exterior remodeling or basement finishing may be in order. Give Callen a call today at 414-765-2585 and let’s start planning your next remodeling project!

Dec

04

Siding in Colder Climates

Siding in Colder Climates

If you are looking for new siding, cost, style, and color are probably the first three factors that come to mind. However, the elements should actually be at the forefront of your thoughts because you want to choose siding that is well suited for any type of weather. As we rapidly approach the official start of the winter season, it’s especially important to ensure your home’s siding is durable enough to withstand freezing temperatures.

Your home’s siding is the first line of defense against inclement weather conditions. Since we live in a climate that experiences very cold weather, it’s natural to have some concerns about the material you’re putting on your home. If they aren’t installed or maintained properly, any siding material can experience issues caused by the cold weather.

A primary concern when selecting siding for cold climates is insulation. You want to ensure that your siding can help keep out the winter elements that can drive your utility bills through the roof. Products like composite wood siding paired with rigid foam board insulation or premium insulated vinyl siding are made just for this purpose and create an excellent barrier against the cold. Most types of insulation used with these siding options are formed to fit perfectly behind the siding, leaving no gaps where air or moisture can infiltrate your home. Installing a rigid insulation board under the new siding will also reduce “thermal bridging” where cold temperatures can pass through conductive materials such as wall sheathing and more importantly, wall studs, causing considerable heat loss and discomfort.

Another concern most people have is the freeze/thaw cycle. In cold climates, any moisture that seeps into a material can freeze very quickly when temperatures drop. When water freezes, it expands, which can do serious damage to siding and the structure of a home. While most siding in good condition is fairly watertight, products like cedar wood that is losing its paint or mortar that has some cracks in it can become problematic because water can seep in just enough to freeze and expand. Composite wood siding and premium insulated vinyl siding are made up of elements that are water resistant. These products don’t absorb water, swell, or expand, so you don’t have to worry about how a freeze/thaw cycle will affect your siding over time. In addition to these products, the installation of a weather-resistant barrier, otherwise known as a house-wrap, will minimize moisture intrusion and ensure the materials behind the wall cladding remain dry.

Be sure your home’s defenses are up this winter with proper insulation and siding. Remember, even though the exterior style, color, and look of your home is important, protecting your home from the elements using high quality, durable materials should be number one on your list. Not only will new siding extend the life of the exterior of your home and increase curb appeal, but it can also save you money on your energy bills.

Nov

06

How to Select a Front Door

How to Select a Front DoorEntry doors must be tough enough to withstand wind, rain, cold temperatures, sweltering sun and potential intruders, yet attractive enough to make a good first impression. Whether your front door is old and warped, or you just want to trade your solid door in for one with glass panels that offers more light, you will find plenty of options available.

With the advent of materials that look like real wood, resist the elements better than earlier wood versions, and provide greater security, replacing your entry doors is a low cost project that can also yield high returns on investment and update the front entry. So, here are a few items to consider when it comes to choosing a front entry door for your home.

The first thing to look at when it comes to installing a new entry door is how much of the elements your door will be exposed to. It’s important to look very closely at the durability of the material and the quality of the weatherstripping system to make sure the door will hold up and keep air and water out.

After examining exposure to the elements, it’s time to consider the three different types of materials entry doors are typically made of – steel, fiberglass, or wood. Made of an inner frame of wood or steel with a 24-gauge steel skin (or thicker on premium doors), the cavities of most steel doors are filled with high-density foam insulation. Finishes are usually a baked-on polyester, with premium doors having a vinyl coating for improved weather resistance or sometimes even a textured finish that can be factory stained.

Steel doors require little maintenance. These highly durable doors are resistant to rust, cracking, and bowing, which means they last longer and save you money in the long run. Since steel doors offer insulating properties, they are energy-efficient and can even lower your heating and cooling costs.

Fiberglass entry doors are also tough and virtually maintenance-free. With manufacturers offering products that resemble the look of Mahogany, Cherry, Knotty Alder, Fir, and Oak, these doors provide the look and feel of a solid wood door without the required maintenance. Typically made of molded skins of fiberglass on a framework of wooden stiles and rails, these doors also contain high-density foam insulation that ensures the best protection against energy loss inside the house.

Steel or fiberglass doors typically carry the longest warranties of any of the three material options, and can range anywhere from a basic unit without any glazing to a complete entry system with decorative glass, sidelights, and upscale hardware.

While still a popular choice for homeowners that want a period-correct appearance, wood doors come in a wide variety of styles and can accept nearly any stain or paint color. Most wood doors now are actually veneer skins over an engineered wood core that helps them resist shrinking, swelling, and warping that is common with solid wood doors.

Wood doors work best when installed in a dry, protected area. Unless they’re under an overhang or located in a shaded area, homeowners will have to perform some routine maintenance, such as periodic resealing, while keeping an eye out for warping and weather damage.

With the potential to increase the value of the home 7-10%, a front door is a major aesthetic of any house. It’s typically the first thing people see when they look at your house. So, be sure to take the time and explore each of these three materials and their various styles when deciding on the type of front entry door is right for your home.

Oct

30

Exterior Home Improvements: Where to Splurge

When planning an extensive remodel like a roof or window replacement, the number of offered options, and decisions you have to make, can be overwhelming. While in the long run you want to spend the least amount possible, it’s hard to know when it’s okay to go cheap and when something is worth a bigger investment. When it comes to home remodeling, Callen experts believe there are three home elements worth splurging on.

Exterior Home Improvements: Where to SplurgeWindows

While you may think you’re saving money by installing low quality, cheaper windows, the opposite is true. These cheaper versions are not nearly as energy-efficient as high-quality wood or fiberglass windows, so you will end up spending more money in the long run due to higher energy costs. In addition, the design options are much more limited, so it may be harder to get the customized style you’re looking for with lower quality windows.

Entry Doors

Many people don’t realize the impact a beautiful entry door can have on the appearance of a home. A sturdy, attractive front door draws the eye and gives off a welcoming vibe that adds to a home’s curb appeal. It’s also a great investment, as you will get back almost all you put into it when you sell. In addition, a well-built, durable entry door helps keep out the Wisconsin elements as well as intruders.

Roofing

Your roof is your home’s shield and should be composed of materials of the highest quality. The strength and durability of roofing shingles have increased over the years, and there are now a good variety of affordable styles and materials available to help customize just the right look for your home. While high-quality roofing is an investment, it’s worth it knowing you’re protecting your largest investment of all: your home.

Stay tuned for a future blog with ideas on where to cut corners to save your exterior remodeling dollars! If you got in over your head with your latest remodeling project and need the expert help of a top remodeling company, Callen Construction has the experience to get you back on track. Give us a call today at 414-765-2585 to find out how we can help.