Dec

11

4 Super-Easy Front Porch Holiday Decorating Ideas

4 Super-Easy Front Porch Holiday Decorating IdeasFor many people, decorating is one of the most enjoyable parts of the Christmas season. With so many different types of holiday decorations available, from cute and quaint to glittering and elegant, your holiday decorating budget can quickly start encroaching on your gift-buying budget if you’re not careful.

Fortunately, you don’t have to spend an arm and a leg on fancy decorations for your house to look festive and inviting. This holiday season, keep things simple and try out a few of these easy ideas for decorating your front porch, shared by your favorite remodeling company, Callen Construction.

Mini Christmas Trees

What could be cuter than miniature Christmas trees standing sentinel at your front door? Add some bows and a few shiny ornaments, and you’ll have the perfect pair to frame the entryway.

Poinsettias

Another plant that looks great flanking the porch steps or the front door is the poinsettia. A pair of colorful, artificial poinsettia plants add a classic element that is quintessentially Christmas, and is an inexpensive way to dress up your porch and bring some holiday cheer.

Garland Green

Whether embellished with ribbons and lights or left in its natural glory, a pine garland adds the perfect wintry touch to any holiday setting. Wind some around the porch banisters to enhance your outdoor decor, and don’t forget to add some around the doorway as well.

Wreaths

If you do nothing else when it comes to decorating, at least hang a cheery holiday wreath on your door. Start with a simple grapevine wreath and add whatever embellishments you prefer, or perhaps a fragrant pine wreath to match your garland is the way to go. Whichever style you choose, a beautiful wreath is sure to lift the spirits of any visitor.

If you’re hosting the big family dinner next year and want your house to look its best, some exterior remodeling or basement finishing may be in order. Give Callen a call today at 414-765-2585 and let’s start planning your next remodeling project!

Dec

04

Siding in Colder Climates

Siding in Colder Climates

If you are looking for new siding, cost, style, and color are probably the first three factors that come to mind. However, the elements should actually be at the forefront of your thoughts because you want to choose siding that is well suited for any type of weather. As we rapidly approach the official start of the winter season, it’s especially important to ensure your home’s siding is durable enough to withstand freezing temperatures.

Your home’s siding is the first line of defense against inclement weather conditions. Since we live in a climate that experiences very cold weather, it’s natural to have some concerns about the material you’re putting on your home. If they aren’t installed or maintained properly, any siding material can experience issues caused by the cold weather.

A primary concern when selecting siding for cold climates is insulation. You want to ensure that your siding can help keep out the winter elements that can drive your utility bills through the roof. Products like composite wood siding paired with rigid foam board insulation or premium insulated vinyl siding are made just for this purpose and create an excellent barrier against the cold. Most types of insulation used with these siding options are formed to fit perfectly behind the siding, leaving no gaps where air or moisture can infiltrate your home. Installing a rigid insulation board under the new siding will also reduce “thermal bridging” where cold temperatures can pass through conductive materials such as wall sheathing and more importantly, wall studs, causing considerable heat loss and discomfort.

Another concern most people have is the freeze/thaw cycle. In cold climates, any moisture that seeps into a material can freeze very quickly when temperatures drop. When water freezes, it expands, which can do serious damage to siding and the structure of a home. While most siding in good condition is fairly watertight, products like cedar wood that is losing its paint or mortar that has some cracks in it can become problematic because water can seep in just enough to freeze and expand. Composite wood siding and premium insulated vinyl siding are made up of elements that are water resistant. These products don’t absorb water, swell, or expand, so you don’t have to worry about how a freeze/thaw cycle will affect your siding over time. In addition to these products, the installation of a weather-resistant barrier, otherwise known as a house-wrap, will minimize moisture intrusion and ensure the materials behind the wall cladding remain dry.

Be sure your home’s defenses are up this winter with proper insulation and siding. Remember, even though the exterior style, color, and look of your home is important, protecting your home from the elements using high quality, durable materials should be number one on your list. Not only will new siding extend the life of the exterior of your home and increase curb appeal, but it can also save you money on your energy bills.

Nov

20

What Is Ice Damming and How Do I Prevent It?

What Is Ice Damming and How Do I Prevent It?Ice damming is the result of a continuous cycle where snow on your roof is melted by the sun or heat from inside your home escaping, possibly due to inadequate attic insulation and/or roof ventilation. The ice dam occurs when water runs down to the roof edge where it refreezes, then continues to build up higher until it eventually backs up under your roof shingles. Ice dams can be very dangerous and costly. Plus, some damage may not be easily seen, sometimes for years.

When the outside temperature warms up, the ice buildup will begin to melt. Since the ice buildup has worked its way up under the shingles, the water from the ice melting can work its way into your home, damaging the attic walls, floors, furniture, and eventually your basement. If the ice dam breaks free, it can pull shingles and gutters off with it, and it will damage anything it falls on: shrubs, cars, and people.

Proper roof ventilation and adequate attic insulation are vital to maintaining your home and reducing ice damming. Homeowners can also reduce ice dams by raking the roof with a snow rake to expose the shingles at the eaves. A good rule of thumb is to clear off your roof after every 4-6 inches of snowfall. Snow raking will also lessen the weight on your roof, which will ease stress on the structure and reduce any leaks or weak points.

If the condition of your roof or adequate insulation are a concern, a quick call to Callen Construction at 414-765-2585 will get you a FREE estimate, as well as the knowledge and advice of seasoned professionals.

 

Oct

09

Tips for Home Winterization

Winter weather will be coming to Wisconsin before too long, so now is the time for area homeowners to prepare their homes for what can be a harsh time of year. Homes can be winterized with these tips from Callen professionals.

Tips for Home WinterizationOutside

  • Homeowners should make sure they have the necessary tools for the season in good working order: shovels, ice melting salt, and a roof rake for removing snow from the roof to help reduce ice damming issues.
  • Checking windows and doors for air leaks should start with a visual inspection of the exterior. Where the old caulking has failed, there will be a gap between the window or doorframe and the home’s siding. If your home has single-paned windows, look for damaged glazing, which is the hard putty that holds the individual panes of glass in place.
  • Clean gutters of any debris, which could add to ice damming issues. Consider seamless aluminum gutters and larger aluminum downspouts to reduce the amount of ice build-up and the possibility of leaks and damage.
  • Water is the enemy to your exterior chimney. Water getting into the masonry, freezing, and then causing failure gets costly to fix. Make sure the concrete cap or crown on the chimney has an overhang and is not cracked.
  • Make sure the flue that vents your furnace and water heater has the proper size liner in it, and that it is in good condition.
  • When the ground freezes, animals that normally seek shelter and food underground may instead cause damage to trees and shrubs. Flowering crab trees and burning bushes are especially susceptible. Protect plants with either wire or netting across or around the plant.

Heating

  • Check your furnace filter and replace it needed. Now is also a good time to have the furnace inspected and tuned up.
  • Regarding the air conditioner, turn off the breaker for the A/C and clean it thoroughly and properly.
  • It is necessary to make sure the fireplace chimney is clean from soot before using it this season to prevent a chimney fire. Also, be sure you close your fireplace damper when not in use. Otherwise the heat you are paying for while running your furnace is going up the chimney.