Six Easy and Instant Curb Appeal Projects for Summer

Even if you aren’t interested in selling your home, enhancing its curb appeal can do wonders for the aesthetics of your home. Plus, it’s not as hard as you might think.

The experts at Callen Construction, a leading exterior remodeling company in Waukesha County, have a few ideas to get you started.

Install Window Boxes

Adding a few window boxes to your home’s facade provides fragrant aromas along with the welcoming touch of brightly colored blooms. If you find the windows themselves need attention, call Callen to get an estimate for window replacement.

Perk It Up With Paint

Add a coat of paint to a wooden fence or the garage door for an instant upgrade. If your window and door trim is looking dingy, now is a good time to give those areas some love too.

Six Easy and Instant Curb Appeal Projects for SummerAdd a Doorbell or Knocker

You may not use the front entryway often, but remember this area makes the first impression to your guests. A shiny new door knocker, stone accents, welcoming entry door color, or doorbell provides an eye-catching hint of newness to the entry of your home.

Invest in Solar Lighting

Solar lighting does more than simply illuminate a sidewalk or front entryway. Use it to highlight architectural features, lawn ornamentation, and landscape designs.

Hide the Trash Cans

If your outside trash cans are an eye sore to your neighbors, consider storing them out of sight behind a fence or landscaping.

Stain the Deck or Porch

Staining the deck and porch, particularly if it sits on the side or front of your home, is a great way to upgrade your home’s curb appeal.

We hope these tips have given you a ideas on improving your home’s curb appeal quickly and easily. If you’d like help with window replacement or another exterior improvement, give Callen a call at 414-765-2585 for fast, professional service. We proudly serve Brookfield, Waukesha, Milwaukee and surrounding communities.



Tips for Selecting Patio Doors

“Sliding, swinging, French, and bi-fold patio doors are just a few selections available today, allowing you to create a truly custom design that complements your home’s architectural style and helps define your outdoor living space,” said Christopher Wittmann, CR, exterior product specialist with Callen Construction in Muskego. “There is an array of new options for homeowners to choose from, such as low-maintenance fiberglass that mimics the look of wood, architectural inspired-styles, decorative glass, custom colors and designs and energy efficient systems,” he added. Ultimately, the type of patio door you choose should depend on your home’s design, your lifestyle, and convenience. The following is a list of five design tips to help you choose the right patio door for your home.

Tips for Selecting Patio Doors“First, you will want to consider furniture and wall placement before determining which opening method works best for the space,” Christopher said. For instance, swinging and French doors need room to open. Conversely, if space is tight, consider using a stationary panel with a single swinging door or sliding doors that will fit well in any sized space.

Next, choose a design that has a wide doorway to provide greater access and stronger connection to your outdoor living space. Look for folding patio door systems to integrate multiple French and swing doors into your design.

Third, you’ll want to select the right type of glass with the most benefits and efficiency, since glass is a major component of patio doors. “Low-E glass helps lower energy bills all year and protect against UV fading,” he said. In addition, decorative tempered glass provides privacy and added style, all while letting in natural light. Options like internal blinds and grills allow you to control the light and views.

Afterwards, choose a durable material with low maintenance, especially if you plan on using your patio door as a main entrance to your home. Fiberglass, vinyl, aluminum, and clad-wood patio doors weather well and never need painting.

Finally, be sure the quality and style of your patio door complements your home. Just like your home’s exterior siding, the material of your patio door is equally important to your home’s overall look. “For instance, if your home is cedar, you’ll want to use a solid wood or high-end fiberglass patio door rather than a vinyl siding door,” Christopher said. French siding doors offer the most design flexibility, because you can hand select the door style, accessories and glass. If you want your patio door to match the architectural style and feel of your front entry and garage doors, then you’ll want a hinged or French door, rather than a sliding patio door, which is mostly comprised of glass.




Spring Cleaning Tips for Sparkling Windows

Spring Cleaning Tips for Sparkling Windows Window cleaning is one of the essential spring chores for keeping your home looking neat and fresh. It’s especially important if you’ve had a window replacement recently to keep your new windows looking as beautiful as the day they were installed. Fortunately, cleaning windows isn’t complicated. All it takes is a few common household cleaning supplies and a little elbow grease!

Phase One: The Cleaners and Supplies

Most people attack their windows with a bottle of store-bought window cleaning solution and a roll of paper towels. While many commercial sprays do an adequate job cleaning off dirt and smudges, a more effective and economical method for cleaning windows involves using common household cleaners you probably already have: alcohol, vinegar, and sudsy ammonia. Plus, ditch the paper towels, which will leave behind lint. Instead, use clean rags or coffee filters.

  • The cleaners: Alcohol, vinegar, and sudsy ammonia.
  • Other recommended supplies: Two buckets, rubber gloves, a squeegee, clean rags or coffee filters, and a ladder (if needed).

Phase Two: The Cleaning Solution

Squeaky-clean windows require a lot of hot water, so start by filling two buckets with 1-2 gallons each of hot water. Make it as hot as you can tolerate with your rubber gloves on.

To the first bucket, add one cup each of vinegar and ammonia; this will be your wash water. For your rinse water, add two tablespoons of rubbing alcohol. This will give your windows that streak-free shine by helping the water evaporate more quickly.

  • Bucket 1 (wash water): 1-2 gallons hot water, one cup vinegar, one cup ammonia
  • Bucket 2 (rinse water): 1-2 gallons hot water, two tablespoons rubbing alcohol

Phase Three: The Cleaning Process

Now it’s time for the real work to begin. Dip a clean rag in the wash water. Starting at the top and working your way down, use circular motions to clean the whole window. If you encounter sticky spots or dried-on materials that don’t want to come off, try using a synthetic scraper (metal ones will scratch your glass).

Quickly rinse down the window with your rinse water, then immediately use a squeegee to clear off the water, using solid vertical strokes. Be sure to clean off the squeegee between each pass to avoid leaving behind drips and water lines. Finally, use a dry coffee filter or rag to catch any water left in the corners or on the sill.

If you need a full service window replacement company, Callen would be happy to take care of that for you. Just call 414-765-2585 and we’ll have your new Infinity® from Marvin fiberglass windows installed and ready to enjoy in no time!




Where Your Money Goes in a Kitchen Remodel

Where Your Money Goes in a Kitchen RemodelAccording to the 2017 REMODELING Cost vs. Value Report, when a homeowner calls in a remodeling company like Callen Construction to do a kitchen remodel, the amount they can expect to invest in this popular home remodeling project varies widely. It may range from a low of $21,303 up to $125,000 or more for a high-end job, with the national average being $62,158. If your kitchen is due for a remodel, it’s important to know the cost breakdown to be able to more accurately plan and prepare your budget.

Finished Products and Appliances

The majority of money in a kitchen remodel (65-70%) will be spent on finished kitchen products such as cabinets, countertops, flooring, and large appliances. The easiest way to keep your budget down is to look for less expensive manufactured appliances and products. Kitchen cabinets make up a large chunk of the cost of your finished products. If you’re trying to lower costs, you might want to look into re-facing or refinishing your cabinets, or purchasing stock cabinets, as opposed to ordering custom-built.

Labor Costs

The labor costs for a kitchen remodel will comprise about 30-35% of your budget. These costs stay fairly steady unless you want a lot of custom detailing or plan on doing extensive remodeling. This includes moving your sink or large appliances, which will require additional labor costs if you have to relocate wiring, water lines, or gas lines.

When to Save and When to Splurge

If you are planning on selling within a few years, it doesn’t make sense to splurge on

top-of-the-line appliances and materials that most likely won’t give you a return on your investment. A better choice is to buy mid-range products that are serviceable and reasonably priced. If, however, you plan to stay in your home for years to come, now is the time to invest in high-quality appliances and finished products that will last longer, rather than go the more economical route and potentially having to do another remodel down the road.

Here at Callen, we have certified designers who would love to help you with your remodel, whether it’s a one-time improvement or a multi-stage project. Call us today at 414-765-2585 for a free consultation to find out how we can help.

Learn more about where your money goes in a bathroom remodel.