Category Archives: Home Maintenance

Help B&E Celebrate Our 30th Anniversary

Happy Anniversary!

We invite you to our 30th Anniversary celebration throughout 2015. Since our founding in January 1985, B&E General Contractors has remained steadfast in our mission; providing our home owners with value that is deserved and professionalism that is expected.

We have enjoyed this fabulous journey with you, our loyal clients, employees, distributors, subcontractors, family and friends.

Remodeling involves a community of support and we are proud to have flourished for 30 years in southeast Wisconsin within this cherished community.

B&E has been at the forefront of embracing change within our industry: from lead pencil sketches to CAD design, Xerox machines to smart phone instant communications. Continuing education. Advanced  Certifications. Additional licensures. Incorporating energy efficient materials, recycling and re-purposing, all of this for the benefit of you the consumer.

We are proud to use local vendors, subcontractors and materials whenever possible. We depend upon each other to maintain our community growth and stability.

B&E has always maintained a “give back policy”. Whether constructing playhouses for charity auctions or bringing tech school students to project sites for “real world” training, it is our goal to always support those who support us.

Like the 30th Anniversary Pearl, starting small as sand and transforming into a polished jewel, follow our upcoming anniversary columns to enjoy our growth, evolution, and future.

Smart Remodeling Journey; Phase 1 = Planning

In the Remodeling Process a Smart Start = Valued Results. This week’s article is the first installment of 4 segments that outline the remodeling process to help you understand the journey.

Smart Remodeling Journey;  Phase 1 = Planning

January in Wisconsin. If you’re experiencing cabin/castle fever, put that pent-up energy to “construction use” by planning home improvement projects that will enhance your home and lifestyle.

Planning is crucial for your renovation’s success. Allow dedicated time to research and budget for your home project. Information you gather will lead to better understanding of the remodeling processes and thus your intended results will meet your expectations.

Ideas take time to develop. When it comes to your home, you want to be sure you make the right choice the first time. Function, value, and budget are the key components that must coordinate to create your desired project.

Determine your key priorities to accomplish. Consider the best materials, features, and option for your use. Decide on a realistic projected budget. Always include amenities and specialty adaptations to be incorporated. (i.e. universal access, mobility, etc.)

As you survey your home, make a checklist of features to be improved; traffic flow, failing materials, inadequate storage, etc.  An in-home consultation outlining all of these checkpoints is your introductory phase to remodeling.  Create your wish and priority lists first. Let’s meet and begin your personalized creative process. Call a B&E expert 414-351-5558 or visit us online at;


Next week’s segment;  Phase 2 =Design/Product Selection

Home Care Tips – Fall/Winter

We know how hard it can be to keep up with your home! There are so many other things demanding your time and pulling you in different directions.  We would like to remind you that the effects of cold winter months and howling winds may be diminished with timely, proactive home- maintenance tasks.  Allow B&E to assist you with tasks, such as those listed below, to make your home safe and comfortable no matter what winter throws at us in Wisconsin.

FURNACE – Don’t get left out in the cold! A quick inspection and tune-up by a certified professional is well worth the peace of mind that comes from knowing your family will be safe and warm this winter.

FIREPLACE – Inspect flue for creosote buildup, at least annually. If buildup is present, have the chimney cleaned by an experienced chimney sweep. Fire devastation & clean-up is far more costly than a brief visit from your favorite chimney professional. Check the flue cap to be sure there is no damage and birds have not taken up residence. Exercise the damper (The metal plate which opens & closes the flue, just above the firebox). Move it to the open and closed positions to ensure that it is working properly.

WOOD STOVE – Wood-burning stoves can be a great way to add atmosphere and warmth to your home. They can also be a real disaster if they are not inspected and maintained. Here are a few things to look at when inspecting stovepipes; Cracks (can release toxic fumes into your home), corrosion, holes, loose joints, or signs of deterioration. Look for corrosion and cracks in the stove’s body or legs. Check safety features including; Required wall protection present? Is the unit installed according to the manufacturer’s specifications? Does the unit sit on an approved floor material?

GAS HEATER – For safety and cost, maintain your gas heater by following these simple steps; First, shut off the heater. Then check the air-shutter openings and exhaust vents for potential dirt and dust. If they are dirty, vacuum the air passages to the burner and clean the burner until it is free of lint and dirt. Follow the manufacturer’s advice and have a professional check these devices annually.

FIRE /SAFETY HAZARDS – Clear out any old newspapers or hazardous chemicals . Especially keep a clear space around heaters, furnaces, and other heat-producing appliances.

Replace the batteries in every smoke detector and carbon monoxide (CO) detector. As an added step, vacuum them with a soft brush attachment. Test the detectors by pressing the test button or holding a blown-out candle near the unit. Install a smoke detector on each floor of your home, including the basement. Review your fire evacuation plan with your family. Make sure nothing is obstructing emergency exits such as windows.

Make sure you have at least one fire extinguisher in your home; ideally near the kitchen. Look for one rated A-B-C, which means it is effective for multiple types of fires. Check it annually to be sure the pressure gauge shows a charge and there are no visible damage or corrosion. Make sure the lock pin is in place. Replace after 6 years for safety.

WATER HEATER – Flush it once a year. Fall is a great time to give your home a once-over before winter’s abuse.

HUMIDIFIER – Clean the plates or pads to keep the unit operating properly.

WINDOWS/DOORS – Check for gaps and cracks. Seal up any spaces around windows and doors with weather-stripping and caulk.

ROOF – Be sure you have a safe ladder or contact a professional!! Look for loose shingles that may have been damaged by falling debris or wind.

GUTTERS – Check downspouts for clogging by leaves and other debris… especially pay attention for an accumulation of granules. This is a sign your shingles may be breaking down and need of repair or replacement.

FAUCETS – Prevent freezing by properly closing off and draining any outside faucets. First close off the valve inside which supplies water to outside faucet. Then open your outside faucet to clear the line of any remaining water. If your faucets do not have a valve, cover them with Styrofoam faucet covers to prevent freezing and bursting.

WALKS AND DRIVEWAYS – Check for shifting and cracking of cement; do spot patching as soon as possible to prevent a more costly repair later. The icy weather will only compound these small cracks. Those uneven sections and loose railings on steps can create a dangerous situation. Check for disintegration of asphalt or washing away of materials on stone or wood chip paths.


Contact B&E General Contractors, Inc., at 414-351-5558, for safe assistance with your seasonal maintenance needs.  Always seek out a certified, licensed professional to provide you with optimal guidance.

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