Oct

30

Exterior Home Improvements: Where to Splurge

When planning an extensive remodel like a roof or window replacement, the number of offered options, and decisions you have to make, can be overwhelming. While in the long run you want to spend the least amount possible, it’s hard to know when it’s okay to go cheap and when something is worth a bigger investment. When it comes to home remodeling, Callen experts believe there are three home elements worth splurging on.

Exterior Home Improvements: Where to SplurgeWindows

While you may think you’re saving money by installing low quality, cheaper windows, the opposite is true. These cheaper versions are not nearly as energy-efficient as high-quality wood or fiberglass windows, so you will end up spending more money in the long run due to higher energy costs. In addition, the design options are much more limited, so it may be harder to get the customized style you’re looking for with lower quality windows.

Entry Doors

Many people don’t realize the impact a beautiful entry door can have on the appearance of a home. A sturdy, attractive front door draws the eye and gives off a welcoming vibe that adds to a home’s curb appeal. It’s also a great investment, as you will get back almost all you put into it when you sell. In addition, a well-built, durable entry door helps keep out the Wisconsin elements as well as intruders.

Roofing

Your roof is your home’s shield and should be composed of materials of the highest quality. The strength and durability of roofing shingles have increased over the years, and there are now a good variety of affordable styles and materials available to help customize just the right look for your home. While high-quality roofing is an investment, it’s worth it knowing you’re protecting your largest investment of all: your home.

Stay tuned for a future blog with ideas on where to cut corners to save your exterior remodeling dollars! If you got in over your head with your latest remodeling project and need the expert help of a top remodeling company, Callen Construction has the experience to get you back on track. Give us a call today at 414-765-2585 to find out how we can help.

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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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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May

22

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!

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