Finding the Right Contractor

Many of you reading this may have attended the recent Milwaukee NARI Spring Home Improvement Show at the State Fair Park Exposition Center. For more than 30 years, Callen has been a member of what has blossomed into the country’s largest chapter of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.

Callen is one of the more than 700 members of the Milwaukee NARI chapter, which allows area homeowners to have peace of mind when contracting with remodeling companies. Callen’s focus on professionalism and commitment to the customer enables it to maintain its good standing within the association.

Many listeners of my “Remodeling Show” on WISN-AM News Talk 1130 have asked on and off the air, “How do I find a quality contractor, one I can trust?” Good question, right? Remodeling contractors are often in your house for weeks at a time, working around your family, pets, etc. and you want to find the right fit.

What other inquiries should be made when selecting a contractor? Here are some questions I believe are imperative to have answered before moving forward with a contractor on a remodeling project:

  • Are they good at what they do?
  • Are they professional?
  • Do they have insurance, including coverage in case of an on-site employee injury?
  • Do they pull the proper permits?
  • Are they working up to local codes?
  • Are they courteous, clean, and respectful while in your home?

These are all valid questions you should not be shy of asking. When dealing with Callen, the answer to all of these questions is a resounding YES! This is why Callen is part of NARI and other professional organizations.

In addition, being part of an organization like NARI allows Callen and its staff to have access to timely industry information and educational opportunities. This is a benefit to you, the homeowner, as you know that Callen is staying current with industry trends.

Through its Milwaukee NARI membership, Callen has regularly participated in the Wisconsin Remodeler of the Year Awards competition, winning awards in the kitchen, bathroom, and exterior remodeling categories for 18 consecutive years. Over the last dozen years, I have had the pleasure of serving as the emcee of this event several times and Callen’s projects stand out for their excellence and commitment to detail.

Completing a remodeling project should be exciting and something you never regret doing. Companies such as Callen have proven they work at a high level through continuing to play an active role in the NARI chapter here in Milwaukee.

We are in the final stages of winter (thankfully) and spring and summer are right around the corner. I know it is held in February, but the Home Improvement Show is called the “Spring Show” because the remodeling season starts now. Don’t wait until summer to plan, or you likely won’t be enjoying your completed project until late this year at the earliest.

Do what I have done many times and Call Callen, so you can be like me and my family – enjoying the comfort and amenities of a remodeled home completed by an experience and quality home improvement contractor.



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



Don’t Wait to Plan Your Remodeling Project

Last month I talked about even with the holiday, it is a good idea to get a head start on your remodeling project, whether it’s interior or exterior. Many of us are currently immersed in holiday celebrations because “it’s the most wonderful time of the year!” This includes end of year planning and of course, trying our best to enjoy the holidays.

However, let’s look ahead to 2018 for a minute. What are your goals around the house? Do you have any remodeling plans? Even the smallest projects take time to investigate, call for estimates, and compare quotes and contractors (more on that in a bit) to make sure it turns out the way you intended. Ever since I started my relationship with Callen (Gutter Topper was installed on our previous home), I became tuned in to how things take time and effort, but in the end, result in an exciting time for you and your family.

By thinking ahead, like planning for next spring for example, you will accomplish all of those goals while everyone else is just getting started. Many contractors tell me they get a flood of remodeling projects in spring – it’s just human nature to want new windows after the long winter, or decide it is finally time for new siding or roofing or an updated lower level or bathroom. The problem is everyone else have the same thoughts in spring.

Designers, both for inside and outside your house, need to work with you on planning the project, then order product, schedule the project, well you get the point. It doesn’t happen overnight. There is a certain sense of relief in getting things done ahead of your anticipated goals.

So, if spring is your goal for getting some estimates on a simple window install or a kitchen remodel, let’s move that date up and start now. Callen is there for you, as they have full time designers to assist you in every way.

One of my best memories working with Callen was the suggestion that I put heated floors in my bathroom remodel. We ended up putting heated floors in the bath and our new walk-in closet that Callen designed and remodeled. I would not have done it had they not brought it up. It is easily one of the best decisions I ever made! I no longer walk into cold tiles, but rather a cozy and warm tiled bathroom and closet. I absolutely recommend it.

Also, take time in getting ideas from Houzz or any good website, such as www.CallCallen.com, to get ideas and save photos for your designer. Then call Callen for an appointment to get an estimate. Callen’s award winning team have been remodeling Kronforst homes for more than 20 years. We trust them and listen to their ideas, because they’re the experts. They, in turn, will listen to what you want and then the fun begins.

Thank you to all of our WISN-AM 1130 listeners that tune in to my Remodeling show on Saturday mornings. Enjoy the Holidays and Merry Christmas to all of you.

Paul Kronforst



The Most Wonderful Time of Year to Plan a Remodeling Project

The Most Wonderful Time of Year to Plan a Remodeling Project

The holidays, the time of year we are supposed to enjoy with family, relax, and not be stressed out. This month, I’m going to give some personal remodeling advice that I hope helps alleviate some stress and give you something to ponder with regard to your next remodeling project.

The common thought is to wait to until after the holidays are done to begin thinking about remodeling the house. Now I know what a lot of you are thinking – we start the holidays way too early. If you’ve been to stores, you have seen holiday lights up since before Halloween. Is this early? Perhaps. My point is, at the mention of “the holidays,” many of you reading this begin to stress out. The last thing on your mind is likely your next remodeling project.

Here’s my advice – start thinking and planning for remodeling your home now. It takes your mind in another direction, and don’t worry, there will still be plenty of time to trim the tree and bake cookies. Giving your brain something else to work on is a healthy and positive move, in my opinion.

Also, designers need time to well, design. There is a great deal of communication and planning required for kitchen, bathroom, and lower level remodeling projects that you can do even before the Callen crew would show up at your house to begin that exciting project.

The sooner your start the planning, the sooner the project will be done. You get a jump-start on others and will likely be done before the first robin arrives in spring.

Exterior projects are the same. Callen can and will install windows, doors, siding, and roofing in winter!

So, go ahead and start the holidays – hang the lights, decorate your house, shop for gifts, and bake cookies. But don’t forget to start thinking, planning, and meeting with a designer at Callen to start your remodeling project. It may just take some of the stress out of the most wonderful time of year!

Happy Holidays (yes, a bit early) to everyone!

Paul Kronforst