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.

Mar

13

Installation of Energy Efficient Windows Continues to be a Popular Home Improvement

Does your home seem cool in the winter and warm in the summer? If so, it may be worth your while to investigate this inconvenience, rather than ignore it. Chances are, the culprits of your discomfort are outdated windows.

Older windows often leak air between your house and the outdoors, which makes your heating and cooling systems work overtime. “Replacing your home’s old windows with properly sealed, energy efficient replacement windows is a step in the right direction,” said Christopher Wittmann, CR, an exterior product specialist with Callen. “Installing energy-efficient windows will not only lower energy bills, but also improve your comfort and reduce condensation,” Christopher said.

Faulty windows are one of the primary sources of energy drain in an average home. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, traditional windows can waste up to 30% of energy used to heat or cool a building. “If you don’t want your energy dollars to seep through the cracks, it’s important to replace your out-of-date windows with Energy Star rated windows,” Christopher said.

Installation of Energy Efficient Windows Continues to be a Popular Home ImprovementThere are two main ways in which new windows can increase home energy efficiency and comfort. First, they eliminate air exchange. When windows are sealed improperly, there is an exchange between the warm and cool air in your home and the outdoors. “Every time your home loses air, your heating and cooling systems have to work overtime to replace it and maintain the optimum temperature,” he said. “Properly sealed windows will eliminate these leaks and seal any drafts.”

Second, they provide proper insulation. Even with storm windows installed, single paned windows allow radiant energy to leave your home, while newer windows with insulated double-paned Energy Star rated glass provides a proper insulating seal around your home.

“The window replacement process is enjoyable and hassle-free at Callen,” Christopher said. “We offer a one-stop shopping experience, with knowledgeable guidance from your first visit all the way through installation. Whether it be a vinyl, wood or the more prevalent fiberglass products, Callen offers all the popular energy efficient patio door and window styles – double-hung, casement, glider, awning, bow, and bay.”

For more information or to arrange an initial showroom consultation, call Callen at 414-529-5509.

Jan

16

Siding Options and How to Choose Siding Colors

Siding allows you to add definition and color to your home. Nowadays, there are numerous options to help you create your desired look, and a great deal of consideration goes in to making an informed choice.

“While aesthetics are important, you will also want to consider durability, maintenance, and energy efficiency,” said Christopher Wittmann, CR, a NARI Certified Remodeler, Senior Sales Representative, and Exterior Product Specialist with Callen. “From a functional standpoint, siding offers protection. From an architectural standpoint, it is common to utilize an array of materials to highlight particular features on a home.” Keeping this in mind, Christopher provides an overview of the six most popular types of siding available today.

“Insulated and non-insulated vinyl siding has become the most popular choice for homeowners in the United States,” said Christopher. Available in horizontal, vertical, and shake-styles, vinyl can either retain certain architectural elements of a house or dramatically change the overall appearance. “Although the ‘plastic look’ of certain vinyl siding products deters some design professionals and homeowners, the wide selection of colors and styles and its low investment price explains the siding’s status. If energy efficiency is desired as part of the upgrade, insulated vinyl siding reduces ‘thermal bridging’ where energies can transfer through the siding and framing materials, reducing the thermal insulation properties of the building.”

Fiber-cement siding offers the natural look of wood, stucco, or shake. In addition, it’s fairly low-maintenance, non-flammable, termite and woodpecker-resistant, and typically lasts at least 25 years or more. “Available in a range of styles and textures, factory painting or finishes are highly recommended,” he said. “Since fiber-cement siding can experience moisture-related issues if not installed properly, special care is needed for certain areas on the house to ensure the materials remain sustainable.”

Engineered, composite wood siding has gained popularity through the years. Like fiber-cement, this product also shares some of the same characteristics. One of the benefits of composite wood siding is that it is more impact resistant than fiber cement and vinyl. It’s also light-weight and easy to install, which can lower labor costs.

“While more costly than vinyl or composite siding products both initially and long-term, wood siding offers a rich look and is quite durable when maintained properly,” said Christopher. When contemplating this option, note that it does require regular maintenance (painting or staining to prevent weather damage) and can be susceptible to insect and rodent attacks. Depending on maintenance, wood siding has a varying life expectancy, lasting anywhere from 10 to sometimes 100 years. “Wood siding comes in clapboard as well as shakes and shingles. Western red cedar and redwood are known for being attractive and durable and are considered the best choices if real wood is desired,” added Wittmann.

Callen Blog - Siding Options and Color 011617The final option is brick, stone, and stone-veneer siding. “Homeowners who prefer siding that adds texture and visual interest to their home are drawn to the natural beauty and durability of brick or stone,” said Christopher. Because brick or stone requires certain installation requirements and is more labor intensive, cost concerns should be taken into account. Brick or stone-veneer siding is more lightweight and less expensive than natural brick and stone and is available in both natural and synthetic materials. There are several styles available to help enhance a home’s curb appeal. If properly maintained, these options can last a home’s lifetime.

In terms of siding color, “Changing the color not only has the ability to affect how a person views their home, but it can impact the home’s value as well,” he said. If unsure about what siding colors to choose, Wittmann suggests contemplating the following questions to help in the decision making process:

  1. 1.  What is the neighborhood like? Although you may want to put your stamp on your own unique siding color scheme, you also want to consider your home’s location when making a selection.
  2. 2.  What is the home’s architecture style? The type of home can offer visual cues, but don’t feel restricted to these when it comes to siding color selection. “For example, although Colonial homes are notably painted in a single color (usually white), unusual accents can offer a subtle, yet modern twist to a classic scheme. If you live in a cottage or country style home, you may have more freedoms when it comes to siding color,” said Wittmann.
  3. 3.  How big is the house? A dark color may look diverse and rich, but when painted on the exterior of a mid- to large-scale home, it could seem gloomy and overbearing. On the opposite spectrum, colors that are too light may cause a smaller home to blend in to its surrounding landscape, preventing it from standing out. “Keep this in mind: lighter colors neutralize features that you wish to de-emphasize, while darker colors draw attention to places you want to highlight,” said Wittmann.
  4. 4.  What color is the roof? Although siding colors have a varying lifespan, a roof will probably last from 20 to 30 years. As a result, roof color should be an element considered when choosing siding colors. “If your roofing material is dark, you may want to utilize a lighter color scheme for your siding,” Wittmann said. “If you have a more neutral roof hue, this may give you a broader selection of color schemes from which to choose.”
  5. 5.  What landscaping style is in place or is planned? A contemporary landscape combined with a candy-colored exterior color scheme may not be the most complementary choice, especially in a conservative neighborhood. It’s just one instance of how landscape plays an important role when determining siding colors.
  6. 6.  What is the climate? The look of a particular siding color can change based on the weather. For instance, a siding color may look different on a sunny day than it does on a snowy afternoon. It’s considered a rule of thumb that the intense sunlight during the summertime makes colors feel brighter.
  7. 7.  How do favorite paint colors look at different times of the day? Apply sample swatches of the desired siding colors on different sides of the home and look at them closely in the morning, afternoon, and evening. Be sure to paint the swatches close to items on your home that won’t change color, such as brick foundations.
  8. 8.  Have you considered complementary colors? One siding color does not constitute a color scheme. A main hue requires lighter or darker accents. Choose two or three shades to update window trim, doors, and railings. “If you’re unsure, pick one complementary color that offers a bright focal point and one hue that’s a shade or two lighter or darker than your main siding color,” said Wittmann.

 

“Once you understand all the siding materials and color options and you’ve weighed the pros and cons of each, you are sure to make an informed decision that you can be confident in and proud of,” said Christopher.

For more information or to arrange an initial showroom consultation, call Callen at 414-529-5509.

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