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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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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Jul

10

When Is It Time For Gutter Replacement?

Day after day, year after year, your gutters and downspouts are always on call to channel damaging storm water away from the home. “Even if your gutters have provided you with decades of faithful, trouble-free service, every installation has an expiration date,” said Christopher Wittmann, CR, exterior product specialist with Callen Construction in Muskego. “If you’re not certain whether or not the time for replacement has come, look out for these telltale signs of failure to give you some insight.”

When Is It Time For Gutter Replacement?Look to see if there are cracks or splits of any kind. While small cracks in your gutters may not seem like a major concern at first, they will eventually turn into larger cracks, and it may happen sooner than you think. If you allow these cracks to remain, water will not only damage your gutters further, but it will also damage the fascia boards behind the gutters, the shingles above the gutter, and the foundation below.

Another warning sign is peeling paint on or around your gutters and or flecks of orange.

“The paint on your gutter is designed to withstand the typical wear and tear throughout the seasons. Unless your gutters are extremely old, peeling paint or orange flecks from the beginning stages of rust indicate that water is present on a continuous basis,” explained Christopher. This could mean that the gutter is not removing the water properly, or that cracks or other damage may be present.

Be on the look out for pools of water or signs of mildew around your home’s foundation. Gutters are designed with the purpose of keeping water flowing away from your home’s foundation. Pools of water or mildew can indicate that the gutters are not working as intended. This could be caused by something as simple as a clog, or as complex as a defect in the gutter system. Water can easily cause foundation damage, leading to costly, time-consuming repairs.

“Check your gutters at least once a year, preferably on a day that’s relatively sunny and free from rain, for water damage or watermarks directly beneath the gutters,” advised Christopher. “Water damage or marks underneath the gutter indicate that leaking or overflowing water is escaping the gutter. This type of water intrusion can damage your soffit and fascia board.”

One of the easiest ways to tell if your gutters require repairs or replacement is if you notice sagging or the gutters are beginning to pull away from the house. “This can indicate that the gutters are full of water and are pulling away from the house due to the weight,” he said “A full gutter means the gutter system may not be appropriate for the home, it’s draining improperly, or debris is causing blockage. Sagging gutters could require significant cost and can be a hassle to repair.

“Remember, gutters are an important part of your home. They direct water away from your home’s exterior walls, windows, doors, and foundation, preventing water from making its way inside. Be proactive when you look for these revealing cues, so you can address any concerns before they become major problems,” Christopher said.