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Milwaukee lies along the shores and bluffs of Lake Michigan at the confluence of three rivers: the Menomonee, the Kinnickinnic, and the Milwaukee. Smaller rivers, such as the Root River and Lincoln Creek, also flow through the city.

Milwaukee's terrain is sculpted by the glacier path and includes steep bluffs along Lake Michigan that begin about a mile (1.6 km) north of downtown. In addition, 30 miles (48 km) southwest of Milwaukee is the Kettle Moraine and lake country that provides an industrial landscape combined with inland lakes.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 96.80 square miles (250.71 km), of which, 96.12 square miles (248.95 km2) is land and 0.68 square miles (1.76 km) is water. The city is overwhelmingly (99.89% of its area) in Milwaukee County, but there are two tiny unpopulated portions that extend into neighboring counties.[A]

North–south streets are numbered, and east–west streets are named. However, north–south streets east of 1st Street are named, like east–west streets. The north–south numbering line is along the Menomonee River (east of Hawley Road) and Fairview Avenue/Golfview Parkway (west of Hawley Road), with the east–west numbering line defined along 1st Street (north of Oklahoma Avenue) and Chase/Howell Avenue (south of Oklahoma Avenue). This numbering system is also used to the north by Mequon in Ozaukee County, and by some Waukesha County communities.

Milwaukee is crossed by Interstate 43 and Interstate 94, which come together downtown at the Marquette Interchange. The Interstate 894 bypass (which as of May 2015 also contains Interstate 41) runs through portions of the city's southwest side, and Interstate 794 comes out of the Marquette interchange eastbound, bends south along the lakefront and crosses the harbor over the Hoan Bridge, then ends near the Bay View neighborhood and becomes the "Lake Parkway" (WIS-794).

One of the distinctive traits of Milwaukee's residential areas are the neighborhoods full of so-called Polish flats. These are two-family homes with separate entrances, but with the units stacked one on top of another instead of side-by-side. This arrangement enables a family of limited means to purchase both a home and a modestly priced rental apartment unit. Since Polish-American immigrants to the area prized land ownership, this solution, which was prominent in their areas of settlement within the city, came to be associated with them.

The tallest building in the city is the U.S. Bank Center.

Milwaukee's location in the Great Lakes Region often has rapidly changing weather, producing a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfa), with cold, snowy winters, and hot, humid summers. The warmest month of the year is July, with a mean temperature of 73.3 °F (22.9 °C), while January is the coldest month, with a mean temperature of 24.0 °F (−4.4 °C).

Because of Milwaukee's proximity to Lake Michigan, a convection current forms around mid-afternoon in light wind, resulting in the so-called "lake breeze" – a smaller scale version of the more common sea breeze. The lake breeze is most common between the months of March and July. This onshore flow causes cooler temperatures to move inland usually 5 to 15 miles (8 to 24 km), with much warmer conditions persisting further inland. Because Milwaukee's official climate site, Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport, is only 3 miles (4.8 km) from the lake, seasonal temperature variations are less extreme than in many other locations of the Milwaukee metropolitan area.

As the sun sets, the convection current reverses and an offshore flow ensues causing a land breeze. After a land breeze develops, warmer temperatures flow east toward the lakeshore, sometimes causing high temperatures during the late evening. The lake breeze is not a daily occurrence and will not usually form if a southwest, west, or northwest wind generally exceeds 15 mph (24 km/h). The lake moderates cold air outbreaks along the lakeshore during winter months.

Aside from the lake's influence, overnight lows in downtown Milwaukee year-round are often much warmer than suburban locations because of the urban heat island effect. Onshore winds elevate daytime relative humidity levels in Milwaukee as compared to inland locations nearby.

Thunderstorms in the region can be dangerous and damaging, bringing hail and high winds. In rare instances, they can bring a tornado. However, almost all summer rainfall in the city is brought by these storms. In spring and fall, longer events of prolonged, lighter rain bring most of the precipitation. A moderate snow cover can be seen on or linger for many winter days, but even during meteorological winter, on average, over 40% of days see less than 1 inch (2.5 cm) on the ground.

Milwaukee tends to experience highs that are 90 °F (32 °C) or above on about nine days per year, and lows at or below 0 °F (−18 °C) on six to seven nights. Extremes range from 105 °F (41 °C) set on July 24, 1934, down to −26 °F (−32 °C) on both January 17, 1982, and February 4, 1996. The 1982 event, also known as Cold Sunday, featured temperatures as low as −40 °F (−40 °C) in some of the suburbs as little as 10 miles (16 km) to the north of Milwaukee.

According to the United States' Environmental Protection Agency, Milwaukee is threatened by ongoing climate change which is warming the planet. These risks include worsened heat waves because many of its residents do not possess air conditioners, concerns about the water quality of Lake Michigan, and increased chances of flooding from intense rainstorms. In 2018, Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett announced that the city would uphold its obligations under the Paris Agreement, despite the United States' withdrawal, and set a goal moving a quarter of the city's electricity sources to renewable energy by 2025. These have included expansions in the city's solar power-generating capacity and a wind turbine's installation near the Port of Milwaukee. Other actions being taken include local incentives for energy-saving upgrades to homes and businesses.

In the 1990s and 2000s, Lake Michigan experienced large algae blooms, which can threaten aquatic life. Responding to this problem, in 2009 the city became an "Innovating City" in the Global Compact Cities Program. The Milwaukee Water Council was also formed in 2009. Its objectives were to "better understand the processes related to freshwater systems dynamics" and to develop "a policy and management program aimed at balancing the protection and utilization of freshwater". The strategy used the Circles of Sustainability method. Instead of treating the water quality problem as a single environmental issue, the Water Council draws on the Circles method to analyze the interconnection among ecological, economic, political and cultural factors. This holistic water treatment helped Milwaukee win the US Water Alliance's 2012 US Water Prize. In 2009 the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee also established the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee School of Freshwater Sciences, the first graduate school of limnology in the United States.

As of 2021, there are more than 3,000 drinking fountains in the Milwaukee Public School District; 183 had lead levels above 15 parts per billion (ppb). 15 ppb is the federal action level in which effort needs to be taken to lower these lead levels. In the city, more than 10% of children test positive for dangerous lead levels in their blood as of 2019.

The etymological origin of what is today officially known as the "city of Milwaukee" is disputed. As Wisconsin academic Virgil J. Vogel has said, "the name [...] Milwaukee is not difficult to explain, yet there are a number of conflicting claims made concerning it.

One theory says it comes from the Anishinaabemowin/Ojibwe language word mino-akking, meaning "good land", or words in closely related languages that mean the same. These included Menominee and Potawatomi. Another theory is that it stems from the Meskwaki or Algonquian languages, whose term for "gathering place" is mahn-a-waukee. The city of Milwaukee itself claims that the name is derived from mahn-ah-wauk, a Potawatomi word for "council grounds".

Some sources have claimed that Milwaukee stems specifically from an Algonquian word meaning "the good land", something popularized by a line read by Alice Cooper in the 1992 comedy film Wayne's World.

Regardless of its provenance, the name of the future city was spelled in a wide variety of ways prior to 1844. In particular, people living west of the Milwaukee River preferred to use the modern-day spelling, while those east of the river often called it "Milwaukie". Other spellings included:

  • Melleokii (1679)
  • Millioki (1679)
  • Meleki (1684)
  • Milwarik (1699)
  • Milwacky (1761)
  • Milwakie (1779)
  • Millewackie (1817)
  • Milwahkie (1820)
  • Milwalky (1821)
  • Milwaukie (Milwaukee Sentinel headline until November 30, 1844)
  • Milwaukee (November 30, 1844, onwards)

Indigenous cultures lived along the waterways for thousands of years. The first recorded inhabitants of the Milwaukee area were various Native American tribes: the Menominee, Fox, Mascouten, Sauk, Potawatomi, and Ojibwe (all Algic/Algonquian peoples), and the Ho-Chunk (Winnebago, a Siouan people). Many of these people had lived around Green Bay before migrating to the Milwaukee area about the time of European contact.

In the second half of the 18th century, the Native Americans living near Milwaukee played a role in all the major European wars on the American continent. During the French and Indian War, a group of "Ojibwas and Pottawattamies from the far [Lake] Michigan" (i.e., the area from Milwaukee to Green Bay) joined the French-Canadian Daniel Liénard de Beaujeu at the Battle of the Monongahela. In the American Revolutionary War, the Native Americans around Milwaukee were some of the few groups to ally with the rebel Continentals.

After the American Revolutionary War, the Native Americans fought the United States in the Northwest Indian War as part of the Council of Three Fires. During the War of 1812, they held a council in Milwaukee in June 1812, which resulted in their decision to attack Chicago in retaliation against American expansion. This resulted in the Battle of Fort Dearborn on August 15, 1812, the only known armed conflict in the Chicago area. This battle convinced the American government to remove these groups of Native Americans from their indigenous land.[dubious ] After being attacked in the Black Hawk War in 1832, the Native Americans in Milwaukee signed the 1833 Treaty of Chicago with the United States. In exchange for ceding their lands in the area, they were to receive monetary payments and lands west of the Mississippi in Indian Territory.

Europeans had arrived in the Milwaukee area prior to the 1833 Treaty of Chicago. French missionaries and traders first passed through the area in the late 17th and 18th centuries. Alexis Laframboise, coming from Michilimackinac (now in Michigan), settled a trading post in 1785 and is considered the first resident of European descent in the Milwaukee region.

One story on the origin of Milwaukee's name says,

The spelling "Milwaukie" lives on in Milwaukie, Oregon, named after the Wisconsin city in 1847, before the current spelling was universally accepted.

Milwaukee has three "founding fathers": Solomon Juneau, Byron Kilbourn, and George H. Walker. Solomon Juneau was the first of the three to come to the area, in 1818. He founded a town called Juneau's Side, or Juneautown, that began attracting more settlers. In competition with Juneau, Byron Kilbourn established Kilbourntown west of the Milwaukee River. He ensured the roads running toward the river did not join with those on the east side. This accounts for the large number of angled bridges that still exist in Milwaukee today. Further, Kilbourn distributed maps of the area which only showed Kilbourntown, implying Juneautown did not exist or the river's east side was uninhabited and thus undesirable. The third prominent developer was George H. Walker. He claimed land to the south of the Milwaukee River, along with Juneautown, where he built a log house in 1834. This area grew and became known as Walker's Point.

The first large wave of settlement to the areas that would later become Milwaukee County and the City of Milwaukee began in 1835, following removal of the tribes in the Council of Three Fires. Early that year it became known that Juneau and Kilbourn intended to lay out competing town-sites. By the year's end both had purchased their lands from the government and made their first sales. There were perhaps 100 new settlers in this year, mostly from New England and other Eastern states. On September 17, 1835, the first election was held in Milwaukee; the number of votes cast was 39.

By 1840, the three towns had grown, along with their rivalries. There were intense battles between the towns, mainly Juneautown and Kilbourntown, which culminated with the Milwaukee Bridge War of 1845. Following the Bridge War, on January 31, 1846, the towns were combined to incorporate as the City of Milwaukee, and elected Solomon Juneau as Milwaukee's first mayor.

Milwaukee began to grow as a city as high numbers of immigrants, mainly German, made their way to Wisconsin during the 1840s and 1850s. Scholars classify German immigration to the United States in three major waves, and Wisconsin received a significant number of immigrants from all three. The first wave from 1845 to 1855 consisted mainly of people from Southwestern Germany, the second wave from 1865 to 1873 concerned primarily Northwestern Germany, while the third wave from 1880 to 1893 came from Northeastern Germany. In the 1840s, the number of people who left German-speaking lands was 385,434, in the 1850s it reached 976,072, and an all-time high of 1.4 million immigrated in the 1880s. In 1890, the 2.78 million first-generation German Americans represented the second-largest foreign-born group in the United States. Of all those who left the German lands between 1835 and 1910, 90 percent went to the United States, most of them traveling to the Mid-Atlantic states and the Midwest.

By 1900, 34 percent of Milwaukee's population was of German background. The largest number of German immigrants to Milwaukee came from Prussia, followed by Bavaria, Saxony, Hanover, and Hesse-Darmstadt. Milwaukee gained its reputation as the most German of American cities not just from the large number of German immigrants it received, but for the sense of community which the immigrants established here.

Most German immigrants came to Wisconsin in search of inexpensive farmland. However, immigration began to change in character and size in the late 1840s and early 1850s, due to the 1848 revolutionary movements in Europe. After 1848, hopes for a united Germany had failed, and revolutionary and radical Germans, known as the "Forty-Eighters", immigrated to the U.S. to avoid imprisonment and persecution by German authorities.

One of the most famous "liberal revolutionaries" of 1848 was Carl Schurz. He later explained in 1854 why he came to Milwaukee,

Schurz was referring to the various clubs and societies Germans developed in Milwaukee. The pattern of German immigrants to settle near each other encouraged the continuation of the German lifestyle and customs. This resulted in German language organizations that encompassed all aspects of life; for example, singing societies and gymnastics clubs. Germans also had a lasting influence on the American school system. Kindergarten was created as a pre-school for children, and sports programs of all levels, as well as music and art were incorporated as elements of the regular school curriculum. These ideas were first introduced by radical-democratic German groups, such as the Turner Societies, known today as the American Turners. Specifically in Milwaukee, the American Turners established its own Normal College for teachers of physical education and a German-English Academy.

Milwaukee's German element is still strongly present today. The city celebrates its German culture by annually hosting a German Fest in July and an Oktoberfest in October. Milwaukee boasts a number of German restaurants, as well as a traditional German beer hall. A German language immersion school is offered for children in grades K–5.

Although the German presence in Milwaukee after the Civil War remained strong and their largest wave of immigrants had yet to land, other groups also made their way to the city. Foremost among these were Polish immigrants. The Poles had many reasons for leaving their homeland, mainly poverty and political oppression. Because Milwaukee offered the Polish immigrants an abundance of low-paying entry level jobs, it became one of the largest Polish settlements in the USA.

For many residents, Milwaukee's South Side is synonymous with the Polish community that developed here. The group maintained a high profile here for decades, and it was not until the 1950s and 1960s that families began to disperse to the southern suburbs.

By 1850, there were seventy-five Poles in Milwaukee County and the US Census shows they had a variety of occupations: grocers, blacksmiths, tavernkeepers, coopers, butchers, broommakers, shoemakers, draymen, laborers, and farmers. Three distinct Polish communities evolved in Milwaukee, with the majority settling in the area south of Greenfield Avenue. Milwaukee County's Polish population of 30,000 in 1890 rose to 100,000 by 1915. Poles historically have had a strong national cultural and social identity, often maintained through the Catholic Church. A view of Milwaukee's South Side skyline is replete with the steeples of the many churches these immigrants built that are still vital centers of the community.[citation needed]

St. Stanislaus Catholic Church and the surrounding neighborhood was the center of Polish life in Milwaukee. As the Polish community surrounding St. Stanislaus continued to grow, Mitchell Street became known as the "Polish Grand Avenue". As Mitchell Street grew more dense, the Polish population started moving south to the Lincoln Village neighborhood, home to the Basilica of St. Josaphat and Kosciuszko Park. Other Polish communities started on the East Side of Milwaukee. Jones Island was a major commercial fishing center settled mostly by Kashubians and other Poles from around the Baltic Sea.

Milwaukee has the fifth-largest Polish population in the U.S. at 45,467, ranking behind New York City (211,203), Chicago (165,784), Los Angeles (60,316) and Philadelphia (52,648). The city holds Polish Fest, an annual celebration of Polish culture and cuisine.

In addition to the Germans and Poles, Milwaukee received a large influx of other European immigrants from Lithuania, Italy, Ireland, France, Russia, Bohemia and Sweden, who included Jews, Lutherans, and Catholics. Italian Americans total 16,992 in the city, but in Milwaukee County, they number at 38,286. The largest Italian-American festival in the area, Festa Italiana, is held in the city, while Irishfest is the largest Irish-American festival in southeast Wisconsin. By 1910, Milwaukee shared the distinction with New York City of having the largest percentage of foreign-born residents in the United States. In 1910, European descendants ("Whites") represented 99.7% of the city's total population of 373,857. Milwaukee has a strong Greek Orthodox Community, many of whom attend the Annunciation Greek Orthodox Church on Milwaukee's northwest side, designed by Wisconsin-born architect Frank Lloyd Wright. Milwaukee has a sizable Croatian population, with Croatian churches and their own historic and successful soccer club The Croatian Eagles at the 30-acre Croatian Park in Franklin, Wisconsin.

Milwaukee also has a large Serbian population, who have developed Serbian restaurants, a Serbian K–8 School, and Serbian churches, along with an American Serb Hall. The American Serb Hall in Milwaukee is known for its Friday fish fries and popular events. Many U.S. presidents have visited Milwaukee's Serb Hall in the past. The Bosnian population is growing in Milwaukee as well due to late-20th century immigration after the war in Bosnia-Herzegovina.

During this time, a small community of African Americans migrated from the South in the Great Migration. They settled near each other, forming a community that came to be known as Bronzeville. As industry boomed, more migrants came and African-American influence grew in Milwaukee.

By 1925, around 9,000 Mexicans lived in Milwaukee, but the Great Depression forced many of them to move back south. In the 1950s, the Hispanic community was beginning to emerge. They arrived for jobs, filling positions in the manufacturing and agricultural sectors. During this time there were labor shortages due to the immigration laws that had reduced immigration from Eastern and Southern Europe. Additionally, strikes contributed to the labor shortages.

In the mid-20th century, African-Americans from Chicago moved to the North side of Milwaukee. Milwaukee's East Side has attracted a population of Russians and other Eastern Europeans who began migrating in the 1990s, after the end of the Cold War.[citation needed] Many Hispanics of mostly Puerto Rican and Mexican heritage live on the south side of Milwaukee.

During the first sixty years of the 20th century, Milwaukee was the major city in which the Socialist Party of America earned the highest votes. Milwaukee elected three mayors who ran on the ticket of the Socialist Party: Emil Seidel (1910–1912), Daniel Hoan (1916–1940), and Frank Zeidler (1948–1960). Often referred to as "Sewer Socialists", the Milwaukee Socialists were characterized by their practical approach to government and labor.

In 1892, Whitefish Bay, South Milwaukee, and Wauwatosa were incorporated. They were followed by Cudahy (1895), North Milwaukee (1897) and East Milwaukee, later known as Shorewood, in 1900. In the early 20th century, West Allis (1902), and West Milwaukee (1906) were added, which completed the first generation of "inner-ring" suburbs.

In the 1920s, Chicago gangster activity came north to Milwaukee during the Prohibition era. Al Capone, noted Chicago mobster, owned a home in the Milwaukee suburb Brookfield, where moonshine was made. The house still stands on a street named after Capone.

In the 1930s the city was severely segregated via "redlining". In 1960, African-American residents made up 15 percent of the Milwaukee's population, yet the city was still among the most segregated of that time. As of 2019, at least three out of four black residents in Milwaukee would have to move in order to create "racially integrated" neighborhoods.

By 1960, Milwaukee had grown to become one of the largest cities in the United States. Its population peaked at 741,324. In 1960, the Census Bureau reported city's population as 91.1% white and 8.4% black.

By the late 1960s, Milwaukee's population had started to decline as people moved to suburbs, aided by ease of highways and offering the advantages of less crime, new housing and lower taxation. Milwaukee had a population of 594,833 by 2010, while the population of the overall metropolitan area increased. Given its large immigrant population and historic neighborhoods, Milwaukee avoided the severe declines of some of its fellow "Rust Belt" cities.

Since the 1980s, the city has begun to make strides in improving its economy, neighborhoods, and image, resulting in the revitalization of neighborhoods such as the Historic Third Ward, Lincoln Village, the East Side, and more recently Walker's Point and Bay View, along with attracting new businesses to its downtown area. These efforts have substantially slowed the population decline and have stabilized many parts of Milwaukee.

Milwaukee's European history is evident today. Largely through its efforts to preserve its history, Milwaukee was named one of the "Dozen Distinctive Destinations" by the National Trust for Historic Preservation in 2006.

Historic Milwaukee walking tours provide a guided tour of Milwaukee's historic districts, including topics on Milwaukee's architectural heritage, its glass skywalk system, and the Milwaukee Riverwalk.

Milwaukee's health care industry includes several health systems. The Milwaukee Regional Medical Complex, between 8700 and 9200 West Wisconsin Avenue, is on the Milwaukee County grounds. This area includes the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Froedtert Hospital, BloodCenter of Wisconsin, the Ronald McDonald House, Curative Rehabilitation, and the Medical College of Wisconsin. Aurora Health Care includes St. Luke's Medical Center, Aurora Sinai Medical Center, Aurora West Allis Medical Center, and St. Luke's SouthShore. Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare includes St. Joseph's Hospital, St. Francis Hospital, The Wisconsin Heart Hospital, Elmbrook Memorial (Brookfield), and other outpatient clinics in the Milwaukee area. Columbia St. Mary's Hospital is on Milwaukee's lakeshore and has established affiliations with Froedtert Hospital and the Medical College of Wisconsin. The Medical College of Wisconsin is one of two medical schools in Wisconsin and the only one in Milwaukee.

Other health care non-profit organizations in Milwaukee include national headquarters of the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology and the Endometriosis Association.

Milwaukee has two airports: Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport (KMKE) on the southern edge of the city, which handles the region's commercial traffic, and Lawrence J. Timmerman Airport (KMWC), known locally as Timmerman Field, on the northwest side along Appleton Avenue.

Mitchell is served by twelve airlines, which offer roughly 240 daily departures and 245 daily arrivals. Approximately 90 cities are served nonstop or direct from Mitchell International. It is the largest airport in Wisconsin and the 34th largest in the nation. The airport terminal is open 24 hours a day. Since 2005, Mitchell International Airport has been connected by the Amtrak Hiawatha train service, which provides airport access via train to Chicago and downtown Milwaukee. Southwest, Frontier Airlines, American Airlines, United Airlines, Air Canada, and Delta Air Lines are among the carriers using Milwaukee's Mitchell International Airport gates. In July 2015, it served 610,271 passengers.

Milwaukee's Amtrak station was renovated in 2007 to create Milwaukee Intermodal Station near downtown Milwaukee and the Third Ward to provide Amtrak riders easy access to intercity bus services. The station itself replaces the previous main railway station, Everett Street Depot. Milwaukee is served by Amtrak's Hiawatha Service passenger train up to seven times daily between Milwaukee Intermodal Station and Chicago Union Station, including a stop at the Milwaukee Airport Railroad Station, Sturtevant, Wisconsin, and Glenview, Illinois. Amtrak's Empire Builder stops at Milwaukee Intermodal Station and connects to Chicago and the Pacific Northwest, with several stops along the way.

In 2010, $800 million in federal funds were allocated to the creation of high-speed rail links from Milwaukee to Chicago and Madison, but the funds were rejected by the then newly elected Governor of Wisconsin Scott Walker. and the trains were sold to Michigan. In 2016, WisDOT and IDOT conducted studies to upgrade service on the Amtrak Hiawatha line from seven to ten times daily between downtown Milwaukee and downtown Chicago. As a result of the 2021 infrastructure bill and the "Amtrak Connects Us" initiative, the Milwaukee Intermodal Station is again projected to serve passenger trains to Madison and Green Bay, with the goal of the new routes being operational by 2035.

Intercity bus services to the city include Amtrak Thruway, Badger Bus, Flixbus, Greyhound Lines, Indian Trails, Jefferson Lines, Lamers Bus Lines, Megabus, Wisconsin Coach Lines and other intercity bus operators.

  • Bus: The Milwaukee County Transit System provides bus services within Milwaukee County. The Badger Bus station in downtown Milwaukee provides bus service between Milwaukee and Madison. An East/West Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) line between downtown and the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center is also currently under construction.
  • Streetcar: A modern streetcar system, The Hop, connects Milwaukee Intermodal Station, downtown Milwaukee, and Ogden Avenue on the city's Lower East Side. The initial M-Line opened for service on November 2, 2018. Service to the lakefront, through the Couture, on the L-Line opened on October 29, 2023.
  • Commuter rail: Milwaukee currently has no commuter rail system. Previous efforts to develop one proposed a 0.5% sales tax in Milwaukee, Racine and Kenosha counties to fund an expansion of Metra's Union Pacific / North Line from Kenosha to Milwaukee Intermodal Station. However, Wisconsin repealed the legislation authorizing such efforts in June 2011, and the project is now defunct.
  • Light rail: A 1990s Wisconsin DOT plan determined the path forward for east-west transportation in Milwaukee to be a mix of a comprehensive light rail system, an expansion of I-94 with HOV lanes, and increased bus service to Waukesha County. Despite being awarded $289 million for this plan from the federal government, local Republican leaders rescinded support for light rail. The "locally preferred alternative" would have connected destinations including downtown Milwaukee, UW-Milwaukee, and the Milwaukee Regional Medical Center.

Three of Wisconsin's Interstate highways intersect in Milwaukee. Interstate 94 (I-94) comes north from Chicago to enter Milwaukee and continues west to Madison. The stretch of I-94 from Seven Mile Road to the Marquette Interchange in Downtown Milwaukee is known as the North-South Freeway. I-94 from downtown Milwaukee west to Wisconsin 16 is known as the East-West Freeway.

I-43 enters Milwaukee from Beloit in the southwest and continues north along Lake Michigan to Green Bay via Sheboygan and Manitowoc. I-43 southwest of I-41/I-894/US 41/US 45 Hale Interchange is known as the Rock Freeway. I-43 is cosigned with I-894 East and I-41/US 41 South to I-94 is known as the Airport Freeway. At I-94, I-43 follows I-94 to the Marquette Interchange. I-43 continues north known as the North-South Freeway to Wisconsin Highway 57 near Port Washington.

Approved in 2015, Interstate 41 follows I-94 north from the state line before turning west at the Mitchell Interchange to the Hale Interchange and then north to Green Bay via Fond du Lac, Oshkosh and Appleton. I-41/US 41/US 45 from the Hale Interchange to Wisconsin Hwy 145 is known as the Zoo Freeway.

Milwaukee has two auxiliary Interstate Highways, I-894 and I-794. I-894 bypasses downtown Milwaukee on the west and south sides of the city from the Zoo Interchange to the Mitchell Interchange. I-894 is part of the Zoo Freeway and the Airport Freeway. I-794 extends east from the Marquette Interchange to Lake Michigan before turning south over the Hoan Bridge toward Milwaukee Mitchell International Airport, turning into Highway 794 along the way. This is known as the Lake Freeway.

Milwaukee is also served by three US Highways. U.S. Highway 18 (US 18) provides a link from downtown to points west heading to Waukesha along Wells Street, 17th/16th Streets, Highland Avenue, 35th Street, Wisconsin Avenue, and Blue Mound Road. US 41 and US 45 both provide north–south freeway transportation on the western side of the city. The freeway system in Milwaukee carries roughly 25% of all travel in Wisconsin.

Milwaukee County is also served by several Wisconsin highways. These include the following:

  • Hwy. 24 (Forest Home Avenue)
  • Hwy. 32 (Chicago Avenue, College Avenue, S. Lake Drive, Howard Avenue, Kinnickinnic Avenue, 1st Street, Pittsburgh Avenue, Milwaukee Street, State Street, Prospect Avenue NB/Farwell Avenue SB, Bradford Avenue, N. Lake Drive, Brown Deer Road)
  • Hwy. 36 (Loomis Road)
  • Hwy. 38 (Howell Avenue, Chase Avenue, 6th Street)
  • Hwy. 57 (27th Street, Highland Avenue, 20th Street, Capitol Drive, Green Bay Avenue)
  • Hwy. 59 (Greenfield Avenue/National Avenue)
  • Hwy. 100 (Ryan Road, Lovers Lane Road, 108th Street, Mayfair Road, Brown Deer Road)
  • Hwy. 119 (Airport Spur)
  • Hwy. 145 (Fond du Lac Ave, Fond du Lac Freeway)
  • Hwy. 175 (Appleton Avenue, Lisbon Avenue, Stadium Freeway)
  • Hwy 181 (84th Street, Glenview Avenue, Wauwatosa Avenue, 76th Street)
  • Hwy. 190 (Capitol Drive)
  • Hwy. 241 (27th Street)
  • Hwy. 794 (Lake Parkway)

In 2010, the Milwaukee area was ranked the 4th best city for commuters by Forbes.

Milwaukee's main port, Port of Milwaukee, handled 2.4 million metric tons of cargo through its municipal port in 2014. Steel and salt are handled at the port.

Milwaukee connects with Muskegon, Michigan, through the Lake Express high-speed auto and passenger ferry. The Lake Express travels across Lake Michigan from late spring to the fall of each year.

As of 2022, Milwaukee has 195 miles (314 km) of on-street bicycle facilities, including various kinds of bicycle lanes, bicycle boulevards, and trails. In the following year, the city set a goal of increasing their protected bicycle lanes from 2.6 miles (4.2 km) to 50 miles (80 km) by 2026.

In 2006, Milwaukee obtained bronze-level status from the League of American Bicyclists, a rarity for a city its size, then silver-level status in 2019.

The Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin holds an annual Bike to Work Week. The event, held in May each year, has frequently featured a commuter race between a car, a bus, and a bike; and also a morning ride into work with the mayor.

In 2008, the city identified over 250 miles (400 km) of streets on which bike lanes will fit. It created a plan labeling 145 miles (233 km) of those as high priority for receiving bike lanes. As part of the city's Bicycle and Pedestrian Task Force's mission to "make Milwaukee more bicycle and pedestrian friendly", as of 2008, over 700 bike racks have been installed throughout the city. Since October 2018, when it enacted a Complete Streets policy, the city continuously considers the addition of bicycle facilities to roadways as part of new road projects.

In 2009, the Milwaukee County Transit System began installing bicycle racks to the front of county buses. This "green" effort was part of a settlement of an asbestos lawsuit filed by the state against the county in 2006. The lawsuit cites the release of asbestos into the environment when the Courthouse Annex was demolished.

In August 2014, Milwaukee debuted a bicycle sharing system called Bublr Bikes, which is a partnership between the City of Milwaukee and a local non-profit, Midwest Bike Share (dba Bublr Bikes). As of August 2023, the system operates over 100 stations in the city and neighboring West Allis and Wauwatosa.

A 2015 study by Walk Score ranked Milwaukee as the 15th most walkable out of the 50 largest U.S. cities. As a whole, the city has a score of 62 out of 100. However, several of the more densely populated neighborhoods have much higher scores: Juneautown has a score of 95; the Lower East Side has a score of 91; Yankee Hill scored 91; and the Marquette and Murray Hill neighborhoods both scored 89 each. Those ratings range from "A Walker's Paradise" to "Very Walkable."

According to the 2022 American Community Survey, 66% of working city of Milwaukee residents commuted by driving alone, 11.1% carpooled, 4.5% used public transportation, and 4.3% walked. About 2% used all other forms of transportation, including taxicab, motorcycle, and bicycle. About 12.1% of working city of Milwaukee residents worked at home. In 2015, 17.9% of city of Milwaukee households were without a car, which increased to 18.7% in 2016. The national average was 8.7 percent in 2016. Milwaukee averaged 1.3 cars per household in 2016, compared to a national average of 1.8 per household.

On February 10, 2015, a streetcar connecting the Milwaukee Intermodal Station with the city's Lower East Side was approved by the Common Council, bringing decades of sometimes acrimonious debate to a pause. On a 9–6 vote, the council approved a measure that established the project's $124 million capital budget, its estimated $3.2 million operating and maintenance budget and its 2.5-mile (4.0 km) route, which includes a lakefront spur connecting the line to the proposed $122 million, 44-story Couture. Construction on the Milwaukee Streetcar began March 2017, with initial operation by mid-2018. This project was later named to The Hop, and became a free transit system. The Lakefront service was expected to start operation by 2019.

Northwestern Mutual Tower and Commons stands 550 feet (170 m) tall and has 32 stories, making it the second tallest building in Milwaukee.

Fiserv Forum, a new multipurpose arena at 1111 Vel R. Phillips Avenue, has been built to accommodate the Milwaukee Bucks and Marquette Golden Eagles, as well as college and professional ice hockey games. Construction on the $524 million project began in November 2015 and opened to the public on August 26, 2018. The arena is intended to be the focal point of a "live block" zone that includes public space surrounded by both commercial and residential developments. The arena has a transparent facade and a curved roof and side that is meant to evoke the water forms of nearby Lake Michigan and the Milwaukee River.

Milwaukee was situated as a port city and a center for collecting and distributing produce. Some of the new immigrants who were settling into the new state of Wisconsin during the middle of the 19th century were wheat farmers. By 1860, Wisconsin was one of the major producers of wheat. Rail transport was needed to transport this grain from the wheat fields of Wisconsin to Milwaukee's harbor. Improvements in railways at the time made this possible.

There was intense competition for markets with Chicago, situated across the state line in Illinois, and to a lesser degree, with Racine and Kenosha in Wisconsin. Eventually Chicago won out due to its superior financial markets and transportation position, including the Chicago Portage and being the hub of the railroad lines in the United States. Milwaukee did solidify its place as the commercial capital of Wisconsin and an important market in the Midwest.

Because of its easy access to Lake Michigan and other waterways, Milwaukee's Menomonee Valley has historically been home to manufacturing, stockyards, rendering plants, shipping, and other heavy industry. Manufacturing was concentrated on the north side, with a peak of over 50 manufacturers in that industrialized area.

Reshaping of the valley began with the railroads built by city co-founder Byron Kilbourn to bring product from Wisconsin's farm interior to the port. By 1862 Milwaukee was the largest shipper of wheat on the planet, and related industry developed. Grain elevators were built and, due to Milwaukee's dominant German immigrant population, breweries sprang up around the processing of barley and hops. A number of tanneries were constructed, of which the Pfister & Vogel tannery grew to become the largest in America.

In 1843 George Burnham and his brother Jonathan opened a brickyard near 16th Street. When a durable and distinct cream-colored brick came out of the clay beds, other brickyards sprang up to take advantage of this resource. Because many of the city's buildings were built using this material it earned the nickname "Cream City", and consequently the brick was called Cream City brick. By 1881 the Burnham brickyard, which employed 200 men and peaked at 15 million bricks a year, was the largest in the world.

Flour mills, packing plants, breweries, railways and tanneries further industrialized the valley. With the marshlands drained and the Kinnickinnic and Milwaukee Rivers dredged, attention turned to the valley.

Along with the processing industries, bulk commodity storage, machining, and manufacturing entered the scene. The valley was home to the Milwaukee Road, Falk Corporation, Cutler-Hammer, Harnischfeger Corporation, Chain Belt Company, Nordberg Manufacturing Company and other industry giants.

Early in the 20th century, Milwaukee was home to several pioneer brass era automobile makers, including Ogren (1919–1922).

Milwaukee became synonymous with Germans and beer beginning in the 1840s. The Germans had long enjoyed beer and set up breweries when they arrived in Milwaukee. By 1856, there were more than two dozen breweries in Milwaukee, most of them owned and operated by Germans. Besides making beer for the rest of the nation, Milwaukeeans enjoyed consuming the various beers produced in the city's breweries. As early as 1843, pioneer historian James Buck recorded 138 taverns in Milwaukee, an average of one per forty residents. Today, beer halls and taverns are abundant in the city, but only one of the major breweries—Miller—remains in Milwaukee.

Milwaukee was once the home to four of the world's largest beer breweries (Schlitz, Blatz, Pabst, and Miller), and was the number one beer producing city in the world for many years. As late as 1981, Milwaukee had the greatest brewing capacity in the world. Despite the decline in its position as the world's leading beer producer after the loss of two of those breweries, Miller Brewing Company remains a key employer by employing over 2,200 of the city's workers. Because of Miller's position as the second-largest beer-maker in the U.S., the city remains known as a beer town. The city and surrounding areas are seeing a resurgence in microbreweries, nanobreweries and brewpubs with the craft beer movement.

The historic Milwaukee Brewery in "Miller Valley" at 4000 West State Street, is the oldest functioning major brewery in the United States. In 2008, Coors beer also began to be brewed in Miller Valley. This created additional brewery jobs in Milwaukee, but the company's world headquarters moved from Milwaukee to Chicago.

In addition to Miller and the heavily automated Leinenkugel's brewery in the old Blatz 10th Street plant, other stand-alone breweries in Milwaukee include Milwaukee Brewing Company, a microbrewery in Walker's Point neighborhood; Lakefront Brewery, a microbrewery in Brewers Hill; and Sprecher Brewery, a German brewery that also brews craft sodas. Since 2015, nearly two dozen craft brewing companies have been established in the city.

Three beer brewers with Wisconsin operations made the 2009 list of the 50 largest beermakers in the United States, based on beer sales volume. Making the latest big-breweries list from Wisconsin is MillerCoors at No. 2. MillerCoors is a joint venture formed in 2008 by Milwaukee-based Miller Brewing Co. and Golden, Colorado-based Molson Coors Brewing Company. The Minhas Craft Brewery in Monroe, Wisconsin, which brews Huber, Rhinelander and Mountain Crest brands, ranked No. 14 and New Glarus Brewing Company, New Glarus, Wisconsin, whose brands include Spotted Cow, Fat Squirrel and Uff-da, ranked No. 32.

Milwaukee is the home to the international headquarters of seven Fortune 500 companies: Johnson Controls, Northwestern Mutual, Fiserv, Manpower, Rockwell Automation, Harley-Davidson and WEC Energy Group. Other companies based in Milwaukee include Briggs & Stratton, Brady Corporation, Baird (investment bank), Alliance Federated Energy, Sensient Technologies, Marshall & Ilsley (acquired by BMO Harris Bank in 2010), Hal Leonard, Direct Supply, Rite-Hite, the American Society for Quality, A. O. Smith, Rexnord, Master Lock, Marcus Corporation, REV Group, American Signal Corporation, GE Healthcare, Diagnostic Imaging and Clinical Systems, and MGIC Investments. The Milwaukee metropolitan area ranks fifth in the United States in terms of the number of Fortune 500 company headquarters as a share of the population. Milwaukee also has a large number of financial service firms, particularly those specializing in mutual funds and transaction processing systems, and a number of publishing and printing companies.

Service and managerial jobs are the fastest-growing segments of the Milwaukee economy, and health care alone makes up 27% of the jobs in the city.

Services Near Me

 1-Day Roof Replacement in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

1-Day Roof Replacement

There will come a time in the life of any home owner when they will need to get their roof replaced. This could be because it's old and worn out, or it's been damaged by forces of nature, like a hail or wind storm. Either way, it's never a pleasant experience. Most homeowners assume that it will take weeks to replace their roof and will have to move out, cover their furniture with sheets or plastic, and wait until the work is complete. That is, unless they are lucky enough to find a professional roofing contractor that can do the job in just one day.

That's right, many professional roofing contractors can finish a roof replacement in just a single day for an average-sized home under 2,500 square feet. This is possible because these roofing companies are a team of experienced and trained roofers that have perfected the process. They know what it takes to finish the job in a timely manner, and they also know how to clean up the mess and debris afterward.

The first thing you will need to do before the day of your roof replacement is to hire a reputable professional roofing company. It's important to choose a roofing contractor that has years of experience and can handle any type of roof. They should be able to provide you with an accurate quote upfront so that you can plan accordingly. After all, a full roof replacement can cost anywhere from $5,000 to $15,000 depending on the materials you're using.

Once you've hired a qualified roofing contractor, they will need to inspect your existing roof and gather measurements. They will then discuss with you the different options for your new roof and make recommendations based on the results of their inspection. Then, they'll draft a contract outlining the details of your project and give you the chance to review it before it's signed.

Having good access to your roof is another factor that influences how long it will take to replace. This is because your roofers will need to climb up and down from the roof multiple times throughout the day to dispose of old material and grab new supplies. If your roof is difficult to access because it's surrounded by bushes, trees, or has no paved surface near it, the job will probably take longer than if it was easy to reach.

Another big factor that can impact how long your roof replacement will take is if it rains while the roofers are working on it. The roofers will tarp your roof to protect it from the rain, but they will have to leave the job and pick it up again the next day when it's dry.

Finally, if you have children or pets, you'll want to keep them inside the house when the roofers are working on it. The banging noise from hammering nails can disturb infants, upset young children, or distract older children. It might be best to have them stay at Grandma's or a neighbor's house during the roof replacement.

 Cedar Shake Roof Replacement in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Cedar Shake Roof Replacement - 5 Warning Signs to Schedule a Repair

Cedar Shake Roof Replacement

A cedar shake roof is a beautiful accent to your home, but it does require regular maintenance and inspections to ensure it continues to perform well. If you have a cedar shake roof, watch out for these 5 warning signs to schedule a repair as soon as possible before the damage can get worse.

One of the most common indicators that a cedar shake roof needs repair is the splitting of the shakes. This is caused by extreme weather conditions that can cause the shakes to expand and contract at different times. This can result in the shakes cracking and exposing your home to moisture.

Splitting can also be caused by rot, pests, or other damage to the shakes. Regardless of the cause, this is a serious issue that should be addressed immediately to avoid further damage to your home and potential leaks in your roof.

Another sign that your shake roof is in need of repair is the occurrence of moss or fungus growing on the surface. These organisms can cause significant damage to the shakes and underlying layers of your roof, which can lead to water leaks or even a complete roof replacement.

You should never attempt to climb up on your own to do an inspection or repairs on a cedar shake roof, as this could be extremely dangerous. A professional will have the skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to inspect your roof properly and repair any damage before it becomes a major problem. Additionally, a professional will have access to high-quality materials and roofing warranties to protect your investment.

 Commercial Roof Replacement in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Factors That Affect the Cost of Commercial Roof Replacement

Commercial roofs are critical to the operation of many types of businesses. They are also a significant investment. So when it comes time to replace a commercial roof, property owners have a number of considerations to weigh, including how much the project will cost and how long it will take.

The type of roofing material is one of the biggest factors in determining commercial roof replacement costs. There are a lot of different options out there, from traditional shingles to upgraded designer shingles and metal. A roofer will help you decide which materials are best for your business.

Other factors that impact the price of a commercial roof include whether or not the existing roof is being replaced with an overlay or will require a tear off. This is because a tear off takes longer and requires more work to complete than an overlay.

The condition of the underlayment, or the substrate material that is underneath the membrane, can also affect the cost of a commercial roof replacement. If it is in bad shape and has water damage, a roofer will likely need to replace this, too. If the underlayment has air moisture pockets, a roofer may also need to use moisture detecting equipment to identify and fix this issue.

The location of the business and the local weather will also play a role in how much a commercial roof replacement will cost. If the building is in an area with a lot of high winds, for instance, the roof structure and system will need to be designed to withstand this and may require stronger fasteners or even a different type of roof assembly altogether.

 Flat Roof Coating in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Benefits of Flat Roof Coating

Flat Roof Coating is an option that allows you to extend your flat roof’s lifespan at a fraction of the cost of a full replacement. A well-maintained coating will typically last for a decade or more, saving you the cost of replacing your roof down the line.

A silicone roof coating is becoming the go-to material for flat roofing because of its benefits ranging from leak-free protection to improved aesthetics and sustainability. These coatings are highly durable, and they can endure a lot of debris and moisture without breaking down.

If you’re thinking about getting a roof coating, it’s important to work with a reputable contractor that is experienced in this type of installation. These contractors will take a thorough look at your roof and recommend the best solution for your needs. In addition, they will ensure that your flat roof is free of any damage or leaks before applying the sealant.

Leaks are often the result of ponding water on your flat roof. When water pools, it can damage your roof’s membrane and create a habitat for algae or fungus. You can prevent ponding water on your roof by ensuring that you have good drainage and keeping it well-maintained with regular cleanings and inspections. A roof coating will also help to improve your flat roof’s energy efficiency by reflecting the sun’s rays and keeping your building cooler. This could help you save a significant amount of money on your energy bills down the road.

 Flat Roof Replacement in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Flat Roof Replacement Costs

Flat Roof Replacement

The cost of a flat roof can vary depending on the size and complexity of your roof. Other factors include the materials you choose, labor, and accessories/tools. You will also need to factor in the price of a flat roof permit, if required. The location of your building can also affect the price, since flat roofs require extra insulation and weatherproofing to prevent leaks and moisture damage.

Generally speaking, most flat roofs have a lifespan of 10-15 years and are considered to be near the end of their life when they start showing signs of wear and tear. Some common symptoms of roof failure are leaking, brown spots on the ceilings, or large rips and tears. If you notice a puddle of water in the middle of your building, you will probably want to hire a pro to inspect your roof for damage and determine if it needs replacement or just a repair.

When replacing a flat roof, you must first remove any existing membranes and underlayment layers. Then, the new underlayment is laid and the roofing material is installed. Special care is taken around vents, skylights, chimneys, and other protrusions as they tend to be hotspots for leaks. A final layer of asphalt is typically torch down for a watertight seal.

Other roofing materials are also available, such as rubber, PVC, TPO, and modified bitumen. Each has its own unique benefits and costs, so be sure to consult with a qualified professional to find the best option for your needs.

 Hail Damage Repair in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Hail Damaged Roof Repair

Hail Damaged Roof Repair

The damage that hail can do to your roof is a serious issue. It can be easy to spot major problems like holes or shingles ripped off by high impact storms, but minor damage may be difficult to identify without a professional inspection. The first place to look for signs of a hail damaged roof is in your gutters. If your gutters and downspouts are dented, it’s a good indication that your roof has suffered significant damage from high-speed hail.

Other hail damage symptoms that you can watch out for include shingle fragments around your home, patterned granule loss on asphalt shingles and dents on metal roofs, skylights, gutters, and roof vents. You can also check for color patches on your roof that expose the underlying materials.

A damaged roof that’s left unrepaired can leak water into the underlying materials of your roof, like plywood and insulation. Over time, this can cause structural damage and deteriorate your interior walls and ceilings. Water-damaged drywall and paint can lead to mold and mildew that can spread through your home and damage your possessions.

Homeowners insurance usually covers the cost of repairing or replacing your roof after it’s damaged by hail. However, the exact process and amount covered will vary depending on your home insurance provider and policy. It’s important to know the details of your policy to decide if filing a claim is a good idea and if you need to take immediate action.

 Multi Family Roof Replacement in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Should Multi Family Roof Replacement Be Considered?

The roof of a multifamily residential building has a bigger impact than many property owners realize. It affects how much energy the building consumes, how well it holds up to storms and other elements, and how attractive the property is to tenants.

However, because multiple families share the same roof over a long period of time, it can be difficult to keep track of what’s going on with the roofing system. It is not uncommon for a leak in one townhome to cause water damage in another unit. As a result, it can often make sense to replace the entire roof rather than repair a small area of the roof that might not be visible from the ground.

A skilled professional roofing contractor can help property management companies and individual homeowners determine whether or not it makes sense to replace a multifamily roof. This starts with a complete inspection that includes identifying what the underlying cause of a leak is. It also involves assessing shingle condition and placement as well as flashing, which protects HVAC systems and areas where the roof meets the wall of a home. Any areas where the material is showing signs of wear should be addressed as soon as possible.

Lastly, it is important to consider how a new roof can be used to upgrade the appearance of a multifamily residential property. The right look can enhance a community and attract tenants. In addition, a new roof may provide the opportunity to increase property value.

 Roof Replacement in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

How Much Does Roof Replacement Cost?

Roof Replacement

A new roof is one of the most expensive home renovation projects, averaging $9,117 on a U.S. home, according to online contractor search service Angi. It's also a necessary one, since a worn-out roof can lead to water leaks and other damage that can reduce a house's value or even cause it to collapse.

The cost of a new roof will vary depending on the size of the home and its features. For example, a large roof may require more materials than a smaller one to accommodate the extra space. And if the home has skylights or other special features, they'll add to the overall expense as well.

Another major factor in the cost of a new roof is its pitch, or how steeply it slopes. Steep, sharply angled roofs require more labor and painstaking effort to replace, and thus can increase the price of the project significantly.

Once all the roofing materials are delivered to the job site, contractors begin by removing the old shingles. They'll then make any required repairs, such as replacing rotted wood or installing ice dam protection (if needed). Next, the roof sheathing is installed, which is a plywood board or 1 by 6 boards that forms the inner barrier against moisture penetrating the home. Finally, the shingles are installed, which are either asphalt shingles or a more luxurious slate or clay tile.

Some roof repair and replacement expenses are eligible for federal, state and local grants or loan programs that are aimed at helping low-income homeowners keep their homes safe and in good condition. However, these programs have income limitations that can affect how much a homeowner is able to receive.

 Roofing Contractor in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

How to Choose a Roofing Contractor

A roofing contractor is a professional who oversees the repair or replacement of residential and commercial roofs. These contractors inspect the condition of a roof and may also install roof shingles or other materials that protect a structure from moisture, sun damage, and heat loss. They can also help to improve energy efficiency by adding insulation or ventilation to the home or business.

A good roofing contractor should be licensed and insured to ensure that they have the necessary insurance coverage in case an accident occurs on your property while they are working. You can check this information by asking to see their license, checking with local licensing and permitting offices (such as the Oneida County Building Department in Utica, NY), and running their name through social media sites like LinkedIn.

Look for a roofing contractor with a strong track record of customer satisfaction. Check online reviews for roofing contractors and read carefully written estimates to ensure that they include all items of work and are clear about pricing. Ask if they have a contingency plan in place for unexpected obstacles that could delay the completion of the job and who will be responsible for any landscaping or interior finishes that are damaged by construction.

Roofing contractors often have teams of skilled workers who assist them in installing new roofs. Ask about these team members and what sort of training they have had in the field. Also, be sure to look at the contractor’s branding and website; a company that is serious about its business will likely have a well-defined brand and an impressive website.

 Roofing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

The Benefits of Roofing

A roof (also called a roof or a hipped roof) is the top covering of a building, providing protection against rain, snow, sunlight, wind, and extremes of temperature. It can be constructed in a variety of forms-flat, pitched, vaulted, or domed, as dictated by technical, economic, or aesthetic considerations.

While a new roof isn’t the sexiest home improvement project, it can significantly boost a house’s resale value. Lincon estimates that homeowners recoup more than half of the money they spend on a new roof upon sale.

The earliest roofs were thatched, bundled reeds secured to rafters. The labor-intensive process could take weeks to complete. Subsequently came shingles, clay tile, and cedar shakes. Today, shingles are the workhorse of modern roofing. They are available in a wide variety of colors, shapes and styles, and cost from $6 to $14 per square foot.

Roofs that are older may leak, especially in the valleys or eaves of the roof. These leaks often occur where a roof meets chimneys, plumbing vents or walls.

A leaking roof is not only a hazard, but also wastes energy and raises utility bills. Newer roofs are more efficient and can save owners money on heating and cooling costs. An updated, sturdy roof will also protect the contents of a home and keep moisture from creeping in to cause mold and mildew. An attractive, well-maintained roof will boost a property’s curb appeal, too. And that can be especially important for homeowners looking to sell their homes.

 Shingle Roof Replacement in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Shingle Roof Replacement

Shingle Roof Replacement

When it comes to home roofing, shingle roofs are one of the most popular styles of roofing materials used in the United States. They're durable, affordable, and easy to maintain. But, like any type of roofing system, shingles can be damaged by severe weather conditions. If your shingle roof starts to show signs of damage, it may be time to consider replacing it.

Before repairing or replacing your shingle roof, it's important to take the necessary safety precautions. Make sure you use a secure ladder when climbing up onto your roof, and have someone help you secure it at the base. Once on top of the roof, walk slowly and carefully. It's a good idea to keep an eye out for other areas that need touch-up, too -- curled and weathered shingles can allow water to seep in underneath, leading to roof rot and other serious problems.

To replace a shingle, first loosen the adhesive under the tabs two rows above the damaged shingle. This can be done with a large hayfork-sized scraper or with a flat pry bar. Then, work your way progressively closer to the damaged shingle, releasing the shingles and their nails with each pass of the pry bar.

Once the shingle is loose, break the sealant bond by sliding your pry bar under it's edge. This is best done in cool weather, as the adhesive will be more easily sheared by the flat edge of your pry bar. After breaking the sealant bond, apply a small spot of asphalt plastic roof cement under each of the shingle's tabs, evenly spaced along its length. Press each shingle down firmly and securely into place.

 Storm Damage Repair in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

5 Things You Need to Know About the Storm Damaged Roof Repair Process

Whether from hail, heavy rains, high winds, or falling tree limbs, roof storm damage can happen fast and leave your home at risk for further damages. It is important to contact your homeowner’s insurance right away when you think you may have roof storm damage and to call a roofing contractor as soon as possible after the storm to begin the process of an insurance claim. We’ve put together 5 Things You Need to Know about the Storm Damaged Roof Repair Process to help you navigate the process as smoothly as possible.

After the storm subsides, it’s a good idea to take a walk around your home and look for signs of roof storm damage. Take pictures (as many as you can!) and note the type of damage you see. Then, call your homeowner’s insurance provider to file a roof storm damage claim and have an insurance adjuster sent out for a walk-through. They’ll likely contact a roofing contractor to get a quote on the roof repair or replacement, as well.

It’s also a good idea to check the integrity of your gutters, soffits, fascia, and flashing. Dents, cracks, and loose fittings can indicate storm damage and the potential for leaks. You’ll also want to be sure to trim any low-hanging limbs that could fall and further damage your roof or dislodge shingles. If your homeowners’ insurance company schedules a meeting with you and a roofing contractor, get project quotes from several roofing contractors before the appointment to be prepared to submit them to the insurance adjuster.

 Synthetic Shake Roof Replacement in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Synthetic Shake Roof Replacement

For homeowners looking to achieve a traditional, rustic look, natural cedar shakes are an excellent roofing option. In addition to the rugged beauty they add to a home, these shingles are durable, require minimal maintenance and have a long lifespan. They also have great fire resistance qualities, and are able to resist damage from conventional storms and hail. Unfortunately, natural cedar shakes can be expensive to replace when they are damaged or deteriorated. However, there are synthetic alternatives that provide a similar look with significant cost savings.

The most popular alternative to natural cedar is synthetic shake shingles. These products are made with the same aesthetics and resilience as natural cedar, but they are more affordable and easier to install. They also come with a 50 year warranty from the manufacturer.

When deciding on a shake roof replacement, you should talk to several roofing contractors about pricing and the specific product you would like to use. Some manufacturers will even have a “find contractor” option on their website to help you find a local roofer that specializes in their products.

A good roofer will be able to explain all the costs associated with the project, including labor and material. They should also be able to give you an estimate of how much the replacement will cost, and can often help you save money by completing repairs in stages or offering financing options. In most cases, a shake roof should be re-coated at least once per year to prevent premature deterioration and the need for replacement. The ridge pieces should also be checked regularly to make sure they are in place and not separated from each other.

 Structural Framing in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

What Is Structural Framing?

Structural Framing is the process of constructing the load-bearing walls of a building. These walls transfer structural loads down to the foundation and soil via a system of support beams and columns. It’s important for home inspectors to understand the different types of framing methods so they can better evaluate a structure’s overall strength and performance.

Framing structures are typically made of wood or steel. Both materials have their advantages and disadvantages when it comes to construction. For example, wood is a renewable resource and has an overall lower environmental impact than steel. On the other hand, steel has a higher carbon footprint and requires more energy to produce.

Some architects have an aesthetic goal in mind dictating the entire choice of materials including the framing system. Moreover, some designers want to show off their engineering skills by using a novel structural system that showcases creativity. Consequently, high-end buildings are constructed with uniquely curved framing members and expansive interiors.

Generally, there are two types of frame constructions: braced frames and moment resisting frames. Differences between these systems are based on how the connections between beams and columns are made. For example, braced frames use diagonal bracing to resist loads, while moment resisting frames don’t.

While the differences between basic framing systems may seem small, there is a big difference in the amount of forces transferred down to the foundation and soil. This is why it’s critical to know the different framing systems so you can accurately evaluate a structure’s ability to stand up against lateral loads and other natural occurrences.

 General Carpentry in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

General Carpentry Program

The General Carpentry program consists of a comprehensive mix of theoretical knowledge and practical skills to prepare students to work as professional carpenters. The program begins with an overview of the entire trade and then moves into advanced topical coverage of framing, finish carpentry, concrete carpentry, and form carpentry. The unique three tier approach to the curriculum enables a four year apprenticeship program to utilize the full scope of the trade while providing shorter programs the flexibility to focus on specific Carpentry career pathways.

Carpenters are employed by construction businesses and private homeowners. Many trade schools have relationships with local construction companies and offer pre-apprenticeship training that helps students find employment upon graduation. Apprenticeships are also available through commercial and industrial building contractors and construction unions.

A typical job description for a General Carpenter includes performing rough carpentry and finishing tasks on residential, commercial or industrial structures. Some carpenters specialize in timber framing which is a method of building with large wood beams. Some carpenters construct the formwork into which concrete is poured for highway overpasses and other major projects. Other skilled carpenters work in cabinetry, furniture making, fine woodworking, model building, instrument making and parquetry. Cabinetry carpenters are responsible for installing, repairing and maintaining wooden cabinets, shelving and other woodworking products.

To be a successful carpenter, you need good manual dexterity, the ability to read and interpret blueprints, and basic mathematics skills. You must be able to measure accurately, cut precisely, and erect structures based on those measurements. Most carpenters use measurement tools such as tape measures, calipers, steel squares and levels. They also use hand and power tools, as well as hand and power saws. Carpenters need to be aware of the hazards associated with their trade and must understand and follow all occupational safety requirements.

 Exterior Remodeling in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

3 Reasons to Remodel Your Home's Exterior

Whether you’ve been dealing with a leaky roof, hail damage or simply an outdated exterior, remodeling your home with doors, windows and siding can beautify your house and increase your property value. In addition, it can also make your home more functional and livable.


The main reason to remodel your home’s exterior is to improve its curb appeal, which can be a huge boost to your confidence in your home’s appearance. It’s easy to forget how important a clean, well-maintained exterior is for the overall appearance of your home. New, energy-efficient windows and doors with durable materials and tamper-proof hinges not only make your home more attractive but they also cut costs on energy bills.

In addition, a quality window and door replacement can make your home more efficient during every season by improving air circulation, ventilation and insulation. This can significantly reduce your heating and cooling costs.

Increased home property value

Remodeling your exterior is a great way to boost the resale value of your home, which can help you recoup the initial investment. Replacing your old and outdated windows, doors and trim with high-quality products will give your home a more attractive and streamlined look, which can be a big selling point for potential buyers. The right lighting, landscaping and other features can also enhance your home’s visual appeal.

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