Spring Clean-Up Tips for the Exterior of Your Home

While many people look forward to spring for its warm weather, bright colors, and fresh breezes, others see it as a chance to clear away the dust and cobwebs that accumulate over the long winter. Though not everyone is gung-ho about spring cleaning, it’s essential for a clean, well-maintained home. When you sit down to make your spring cleaning checklist, don’t neglect to address the exterior of your home as well.

Spring Clean-Up Tips for the Exterior of Your Home

  • Clear out the gutters. While your gutters should have been cleaned out in the fall, it’s a good idea to check them again in the spring and clear out any stray leaves and tree debris blown down by winter storms. Spring is also an excellent time for a little home exterior remodeling; in particular, installing a Gutter Topper® gutter protection system from Callen Construction. Available in a wide array of colors to coordinate with your roof and gutters, Gutter Topper will keep leaves and debris out of your gutters year-round, so you’ll have one less thing on your spring cleaning list to take care of next year.
  • Wash the windows. You’d be surprised by how much dirt and grime can accumulate on your windows in six months’ time. Washing the exterior of your windows until they shine will allow you a clear view of the beautiful colors of spring, even when you’re stuck inside cleaning.
  • Clean and rake. Walk around your yard and look for any trash that may have been dropped or blown onto the lawn, making sure to check that nothing has snagged on your trees or under the bushes. Then, lightly rake your lawn to gather up any remaining fall leaves, remove dead grass, and make way for the dormant grass blades that will soon be pushing their way to the surface.
  • Weed and prune. Make life easier for yourself by getting a jump on obnoxious weeds. Weeds are much easier to remove when they’re small with shallow roots, and the ground is still moist from spring rains. Consider laying down weed control fabric in your garden and around flower beds as well to help keep the weeds away permanently.

At Callen, we’re committed to making your remodeling experience as pleasant and pain-free as possible. We’re experienced in all forms of exterior remodeling, and our main goal is the comfort and satisfaction of our customers, no matter the size and scope of the job. To find out more, give us a call today at 414-765-2585 to schedule your FREE, no-obligation consultation.



New Window Keeps Out Frigid Temperatures

New Window Keeps Out Frigid Temperatures Paul KronforstI have written previously about the new Marvin Infinity Fiberglass window we had installed during the summer 2017.

The two-week sub zero stretch we experienced over the holidays reminded my family how drafty and cold our house used to be. My two daughters, who were both home form school for the holidays, said they immediately noticed that the home felt warm and cozy. Dawn and I agreed.

Well, when bitterly cold temperatures arrived with a vengeance, all I heard from callers on WISN’s “Remodeling Show” was “the condensation on our windows froze, and now we have ice on the inside of our window! I turn the thermostat higher and higher, but the house still feels cold and drafty.” Or, this one: “The window seemed fine in summer, but when these sub-zero temperatures hit, we noticed how cold the area around the window was.”

There is a solution – have Callen inspect your home’s windows and check your home’s humidity, which can be attributed to the condensation on your window glass. If the seal is broken, like we had with the large window above our main entrance, there’s nothing that can be done except getting a new window installed properly. I have not-so-fond memories of my college house at UW-Oshkosh that four friends and I shared for two years. We put that 3M plastic stuff on our windows, but it really didn’t help, and it looked horrible (fitting for that house!) The windows clearly were shot, wood was rotted, but it was just a college rental.

Your home is your castle. If you need to have windows replaced, but budget is a concern, start with  one or two. Prioritize and work your way through the ones that need replacement.

New Window Keeps Out Frigid Temperatures Paul KronforstThe new window above our front door, with its proper installation (which included fixing some rotted wood) and additional insulation has been tremendous. I knew the new window would help make the house more comfortable, but I didn’t realize it would make such a difference that sub-zero temps don’t scare me anymore.

Be sure to Call Callen if you are considering replacement windows. Just like me, you’ll be happy you did.

Paul Kronforst



“Why Is There Moisture on My Windows?”

“Why is There Moisture on My Windows?”

“Why is There Moisture on My Windows?”

This is a common question asked by many homeowners annually in the winter when the temperature drops. More often than not, people with homes that are less than 20 years old ask the question, or people with homes that are much older with newly installed windows. While the simple answer would be to just blame the windows, it is actually much more complicated than that.

For those of you that are not meteorologists, Wikipedia defines the dew point as “the temperature below which the water vapor in a volume of humid air at a constant barometric pressure will condense into liquid water.” Have you ever had an ice-cold glass of lemonade outside on a warm, humid day? Did you notice how the outside of the glass accumulated moisture? The reason that the water collected on the outside of the glass has everything to do with the dew point.

“So what does this have to do with my windows?” you might ask.

When discussing window condensation with homeowners, I always tell them there are two parts to solving their window moisture problems.  One part is my job, and one part is their job.

The first part (my job) is to make sure that the home has windows with a high quality glass package that will keep that glass temperature as high as possible. It is important to set realistic expectations at this point. When the temperature outside is 0° and the inside temperature is 70°, it is unrealistic to expect your inside glass temperature to be 70°. Typically, depending on the quality of the window, the inside glass temperature will be somewhere between 30° and 55°. Obviously, the warmer it is, the better. This is important because, if that glass drops below the dew point, you will see moisture appear on the glass.

The second part (the homeowner’s job) is to control the humidity levels in the home in order to keep the dew point as low as possible. There are many sources of humidity in the home, including humidifiers, heating systems, cooking, showers and baths, plants, pets, and even our bodies. All of these things contribute to the amount of moisture in the air inside our homes. As newer homes have been built tighter with less air leakage, and older homes are being retrofitted with tighter energy efficient products, this moisture cannot escape to the outside like it used to be able to.

So what can a homeowner do?

During the winter months, carefully monitor the humidity levels in the home. The following chart shows where your indoor humidity levels should be based on the outdoor air temperature.


Outside Temperature (°F) Inside Relative Humidity (%)
-20 15-20%
-10 15-20%
0 20-25%
10 25-30%
20 30-35%


Another solution that has proven to be very effective is to use a heat recovery ventilator (HRV) to exchange the moist inside air with the dry outside air. These systems work by drawing the warm moist air from the house into the unit through your cold air returns, sending it to the outside of the home through a duct, and then drawing cool dry air from the outside back into the house to replace it. An HRV can be purchased from your local heating and cooling contractor, who will typically do the installation and adjustments required.

In addition to maintaining lower humidity levels, open any heavy curtains and move furniture away from windows that may block air circulation. Also, keep plants out of your bow and bay windows in the winter.  Be sure to use an exhaust fan in any bath or shower areas to take the moisture outside of the home, because that moisture doesn’t just stay in the bathroom.

If all of this sounds like a lot of work, or if you like to have a little more humidity in the air than what is listed above, you should expect to see some moisture on your glass. If you have wood windows, you can expect this moisture to seep into the sash frames and damage the finish, rot the wood, or grow mold along the edge of the glass.

However, if you have windows that are made of fiberglass or vinyl, this moisture will typically dry up once the weather outside warms up or the humidity level in the home drops, without causing damage to the finish or function of your window.

To alleviate the issue of window condensation, consider installing Infinity Fiberglass Replacement Windows. Contact Callen to schedule a free consultation.

by Mike Wood, Sales Manager



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.


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.


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!