Jun

26

New Window – WOW!

In my first two blogs, I explained I was starting with the most current remodeling projects that Callen completed on our home and work backwards. The timing was perfect, because we just finished the biggest window installation that I’ve ever been through.

 

In the pictures accompanying this blog, you can clearly see a large platform lift was needed to not only remove the old rotted wood window, but also install the new Infinity from Marvin Fiberglass Replacement Window we chose. There was also an urgency to the project, as my wife and I were leaving the country for a couple weeks and we wanted the installation completed before we left.

Then the rain came, which delayed the install. Callen, which excels in communication, worked around all of those obstacles and got everything done and finished on time before we left, so we could rest at ease.

The old window had a broken seal, you could visibly see fog and condensation, and it was just hideous. We even had some rain coming in on the north side of our house due to this rotted window and broken seal. The Callen crew leader, Robert, brought my phone up on the lift and took photos of the cavity so I could see the rotted window and what the inside of the wall looked like. The new window went in with ease, and they finished off the wood trim inside. They fixed everything!

In my previous blogs, I stated this was the final window to be installed by Callen, as over the years, we did three or four each year. Now we are completely sealed with new Infinity from Marvin Fiberglass Replacement Windows.

Here’s an interesting point, which I didn’t think about before we left for vacation – we returned home to 90° temperatures in early June. The air conditioning is not going on nearly as often, and my house is to the point where my kids noticed the rooms are chilly! So I turned the thermostat up a couple degrees. Obviously, we’re saving money and the air conditioner is running more efficiently.

As you can see, it looks much better as well, with the grids on the inside of the glass giving a cleaner, more streamlined appearance. This window was so large that I probably didn’t realize how much heat we lost in winter and of course I have a tight and very cool home for these warm summer days! The best part is the curb appeal. This window is now our WOW factor!

Next month’s blog will talk about little details, like painting the inside trim. I don’t like ladders (or painting), so I have the experts at Callen care for those things. Talk to you soon.

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May

29

Window Remodel: Before (Paul Kronforst Review)

Window Remodel: Before | Paul KronforstI am going to do things backwards in terms of the projects that Callen has done on our home, starting with the current project. Callen is going to replace a VERY large original window (23 years old) that is a focal point of our home. The current window has rotted wood and the seal is broke. You may have seen this in windows – the milky or foggy look between the panes of glass. Once the seal is broken, there is no fixing a window.

The photo that accompanies this blog post shows the window. Note that it will be a challenge to take the original glass out, and replace it with two windows instead of the one big piece of glass. This is where Callen shines. I cannot say enough about the quality of the install and the professionalism, courtesy, and cleanliness of the guys that come into your home. Callen lets you know well in advance when the crews are coming, they will call you on the way, and they thoroughly explain every job before and after. There is no confusion and the communication is excellent.

We are going with the Marvin Infinity window, which is fiberglass. These windows are outstanding, as Callen has installed them throughout our entire home. I will talk about that installation, including the bay window, our patio door, and entry door, in future blogs.

Every home should have at least one WOW factor – this window is what you see when you walk up the path to our front door. The front of our house has a northern exposure and rotted wood is very common with the lack of sunshine. Several of the neighbors up and down the block have had the same problem with the northern side of their homes. For more strength and durability, Callen designers suggested going with two windows. Instead of wood, there will be a composite material on the outside, which will eliminate the potential for rotting. Added benefits of the new window are energy efficiency for summer and winter, plus aesthetics.

We cannot wait for this window to be installed. My next blog will have the finished photos, as well as an explanation of the installation process. Talk to you soon!

– Paul Kronforst of “The Remodeling Show” on News/Talk 1130 WISN

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Apr

24

A Satisfied Customer

Paul Kronforst, WISN-AM 1130 and Proud Callen CustomerAs a customer and spokesperson for Callen more than 15 years, I have come to appreciate the quality installation of windows, a patio door, front door, Gutter Topper, roofing, and shutters, plus what it’s like to experience a major bathroom suite remodeling job.

I have never officially written a blog; I am a radio guy through and through, but I also know a thing or two about remodeling as host of “The Remodeling Show” on WISN-AM 1130 for over 25 years. In that time, I’ve learned a lot and gained a lot of respect for the guys in the field. So, this official first blog entry of mine will start with an overview of my experiences with Callen and also lay out what I believe will be a great series of blogs that will both inform and educate you about remodeling.

When Tom Callen and I met at my previous home in Saukville, it was for a smaller job: a gutter protection system called Gutter Topper. Callen had me – the personal service, the responsible phone call before to check up, and ultimately what matters the most, a quality install of the product I really needed at the time; yes, I lived on a heavily wooded lot! The relationship started with exterior jobs… Gutter Topper, windows, roofing, and vents. After we moved to Cedarburg more than 10 years ago after buying a 10-year-old home, I thought there wouldn’t be a whole lot of maintenance.

Was I wrong! This home, just like yours, requires regular upkeep and maintenance. A newer home does not equate to less upkeep. I would argue it requires just as much, if not more. Why? More on that in future blogs.

In the coming months, I will tell you my story with Callen. How new windows and doors were just a start. Not just making my home look much better, producing the “wow” factor we talk so much about, but how to make my home comfortable and more efficient! That’s not just sales talk; you will notice your home is much tighter, quieter, and overall more efficient – yes, that will save you dollars.

This blog will conclude with the current project Callen is completing on our home. The seal failed on the largest window in our home, meaning we need a new window due to rotting wood frames, which could cause serious trouble inside and outside the home. What did I do? I called Callen after once again visiting CallCallen.com!

In future blogs, I will explain our projects and what it meant to our house, what it meant to the overall “value” of our home. After all, your home is your castle, most likely your biggest investment and something you take tremendous pride in. Check back next month for my next Callen blog.

Paul Kronforst, WISN-AM 1130 and Proud Callen Customer

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Feb

24

Certifications and Training Building Blocks of Excellence

By Christopher Wittmann, CR

Benjamin Franklin once said, “An investment in knowledge pays the best interest.”

Tom and Phil Callen have believed in this philosophy since 1986.  This is also the reason so many of our installers and sales people have certifications and training related to the specific fields they work in.

Building practices are ever evolving.  Years ago, a carpenter learned by doing, or they were taught by their father or grandfather on the methods of constructing a building or installing materials on a house.  Through the years, professional courses were developed to aid in the education of those practices.  While this teaching is still prevalent today, it doesn’t offer the continual education, requirements, and recommendations for installing residential building products.  This is why many manufacturers and organizations are taking an additional approach when it comes to ensuring accuracy and customer satisfaction by the ways of installer certifications and training.

GAF:ELK LogoAs a GAF® Master Elite Roofing installer, our roofers and sales people are required to take a yearly written exam on the best installation practices and the system of components used.  Our installers go one step further by being tested on physical installation standards based on GAF’s requirements.  Through the years, we have continually abided by this and have proved ourselves year after year by receiving GAF’s Training Excellence Award, Installation Excellence Award, Consumer Protection Award, and once again, the GAF President’s Award!

13ANG0007_SuperServiceLogo_Final_LessGradient-2200pxOur siding crew takes advantage of the numerous certifications available through companies like James Hardie (fiber cement products), Mastic (vinyl siding, aluminum trim, and gutters) and the Vinyl Siding Institute (VSI).  These courses help our installers learn the best methods and practices of not only installing the numerous products, but also troubleshooting situations that can help ensure future problems are avoided.  Callen was recently again recognized by Angie’s List with the Super Service Award for siding.

Our carpenters that install windows and doors also have many certifications.  As one of the leading Infinity from Marvin Fiberglass Window companies in the nation, our installers have received the factory installation standards training.  This is performed at Marvin’s Warroad, MN facility, in conjunction with the Installation Masters certification through the American Architectural Manufactures Associations (AAMA).  Again, Angie’s List recognized Callen for window installations with the Super Service Award.

certifiedSpeaking of carpenters, over the past few years, four of our lead carpenters earned the National Association of the Remodeling Industry’s (NARI) Certified Lead Carpenter (CLC) status.  This designation promotes the highest standards of carpentry remodeling through credentialing of remodeling professionals.  It assesses and improves the level of knowledge demonstrated by the carpenter and ensures professional growth and development.

Finally, the EPA’s Lead Renovation, Repair and Painting (RRP) Rule requires firms performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities and pre-schools built before 1978 have their firm certified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) or an EPA authorized state, use certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved training providers and follow lead-safe work practices.  All of our lead carpenters have been trained under these rules and continue to receive updates on the methods used to perform all projects in a lead-safe manner.

This time spent learning ensures that not only do our clients receive the best possible installation, but also the best possible experience.  Becoming an expert is not only in our best interest as a company, it’s also undeniably the best way to keep up!  Our repeat business and referral rate proves this.