The Gold Pages
Best Roofing Contractors
It’s lonely at the top, but roofers prefer the perch. And most love the outdoors. Roofing is a dangerous occupation, though: you’ve got to be sure-footed and fearless. Recommending roofers is dangerous, too: a number of practitioners fall into the category of “riffraff roofers” – sly fellows who just nail over existing shingles. Then there’s the question of liability. While workers’ compensation is carried by many contractors, it doesn’t cover the guy most likely to get hurt, so make certain that the roofing company you deal with is bonded. This would be less necessary if the state of Texas licensed roofers. Fortunately, a number of professionals we encountered are lobbying for this very thing. A handsome roof can make a significant difference in the appearance of your house, a notch in the belt of curb appeal. When you need a new roof installed or an old roof repaired, consider one of these go-to roofers:
Big “D” Roofing Company, Inc.
Established in 1954, Big “D” is one of the longest-serving roofing companies in Dallas. Acting president Larry Portman got swept unwittingly into the field as a lad in Lansing, Michigan. In the early ’70s, jobs were scarce in the university town. Asked at the unemployment office if he was afraid of heights, he answered “no.” Before he knew it, he was up on a roof hammering shingles part-time and going to school part-time. He moved to Texas where he attended UTD and worked as a supervisor for one of the major homebuilders in town. One of their contractors was Howard Wingfield of Big “D” Roofing. “He liked my style and attitude. When I quit working for the builder, Big ’D’ hired me as a salesman.” As the senior partners neared retirement, they sold their stock to the junior partners (all except founder and titular head of the company, E.C. Holt, who held onto his shares out of emotional attachment.) Today, Portman oversees the paperwork – financing, sales, estimating, purchasing – while partner Terry Dobson supervises the fieldwork. They specialize in residential roofing, re-roofing, and insurance claims. 131 E. Buckingham. Garland. 972-495-8000. www.bigdroofing.com.
Canyon Creek Roof Company, Inc.
The entrepreneurial gene seems to run in the Bolanz family: Fred Bolanz’s grandfather started the first insurance and real estate company in Dallas in 1872. More than a century later, Bolanz founded Canyon Creek Roof Company. His diverse background includes electromechanical engineering and general contracting. You know this firm is doing something right when they’re asked to roof their competitors’ homes. What they do: wood, composition, modified, and speciality shingles; and built-up roofs. They also offer a service via their website wherein claim forms may be filled out online, after an insurance adjustor has inspected a resident’s hail damage. Canyon Creek will take over and handle the claim. While there is no state-mandated licensing for roofers, an association called the Roofing Contractors Association of Texas is devoted to protecting consumers from unscrupulous roofers. Bolanz was certified for residential and commercial roofing by this association and has also served on its board. The company, which includes Bolanz’s wife Donna, participates in the Center for Housing Resources project in Dallas each year by donating a roof installation to a needy family. Bolanz was the first roofer to win the Golden Hammer award for both residential and commercial work in the same year, 2000. The commercial project? The former Texas School Book Depository building that houses the Sixth Floor Museum. 526 N. Interurban. Richardson. 972-669-2700. www.ccroofing.com.
Central Roofing, Inc.
Chad Walker’s uncle Billy preferred flying helicopters, first for the military and then for care flights, but started a little roofing company on the side. When Billy was killed in a helicopter crash in 1982, Chad’s father assumed management of the business part-time. Meanwhile, Chad graduated from UT with a B.B.A. in international business and marketing and an intention not to go into the roofing business. Still, he kept getting calls from customers of the family business and “the next thing I knew I was into roofing full-time.” His vision helped refocus the company from single-family residential roofing into new construction and the commercial market. Today Central Roofing is a full-range roofing contractor serving Austin, Abilene, San Antonio, Houston, Dallas, and surrounding areas. His most daunting project: “The gorgeous carousel building in Bear Mountain State Park in New York.” Central Roofing is bonded and fully insured, has never been involved in a workers’ comp claim, and offers a written warranty of its work. 10490 Brockwood Rd. 214-349-0202. www.centralroofinginc.com.
Creative Roof Systems, Inc.
There’s much to be said for being passionate about something mundane. Without it, energy is dissipated, and workmanship becomes just a job. So it was gratifying to hear about Kirk Hopper, who architect David Stocker describes as “a great roofer – he sees and understands the art of roofing.” In 1979, after serving as a concrete-roof tile installer and crew leader for Monier, a leading roofing products manufacturer, Hopper hung out his own shingle. He opened for business with one truck and a crew of five and was joined several years later by his brother John. “Kirk is the brains and craftsman,” John says. “I’m the mouthpiece and rainmaker.” Today the company owns six trucks including an 18-wheeler and four forklifts, and enlists 40 or 50 people in some 15 to 20 projects. John says he and Kirk serve their clients directly. “We pride ourselves on our responsiveness to customers, whether homeowner or builder. Kirk and I talk to folks.” While they specialize in tile and slate, both new and historical, they also do metal “standing seam” roofs and fabricate gutters and downspouts, louvers and dormers. Because they carry extensive insurance, they’re able to handle large commercial projects. Their firm is aptly named. Take the rustic roof on a well-known house on Meadowwood. It’s an original and artful combination of thick, irregularly-shaped slate, flat stone, and clay tile. Their roofs cover custom houses in the better sections of Dallas as well as in Fort Worth and other towns across Texas. If beauty is your bag, go here. 1816 Jeffries St. 214-999-1100. www.creativeroofsystems.com.
Haley-Greer, Inc. Curtain, Wall, Glass & Glazing
“Everyone loves the glass roof in the Nasher Sculpture Center,” says senior project manager Neil McGlennon. No wonder. The translucent, undulating crown on the two-story building (one level below ground) allows in maximum light, so that Raymond and Patsy Nasher’s unrivaled collection of many of the world’s most important contemporary sculptures may be viewed in all their glory, sans shadows. Problem: how to protect these priceless works of art from the wounding light of the Texas sun. Solution: a sunscreen so ingenious it is unique. Configured like a gigantic egg carton, the screen is composed of more than 500,000 skin-thin aluminum shells pierced with computer-cut, oblique holes. Each opening has been geometrically designed to account for the movement of the sun across the Dallas sky, blocking out and allowing in light accordingly. (The Nasher logo derives from these holes.) The roof, vertical glass facade, and doors, cost $8 million and took the combined talents of architects, designers, engineers, glaziers, ironworkers, mechanics, and materials testers. Aside from the sheer complexity of designing a glass roof, the extensive amount of glass fabricated in Italy that was to be shipped by freighter, had to be flown over instead; the dollar declined against the Euro in the process, and the entire effort had to be coordinated between offices in Dallas, London, Florence, and Genoa. Then, once the design had been approved and the materials delivered, the roof had to intersect just so with the building’s stone walls. McGlennon cannot praise enough the Dallas tradespeople representing some 20 separate subcontractors who came together to offer their expertise on “raising the roof.” The installation was overseen by Mark Hogan of Dallas-based Haley-Greer, one of the largest erectors of glass curtain walls in the United States. “We were responsible for everything involved in enclosing the museum except the vertical stones,” says Hogan. That included the glass framing, the anchorage, the outside glass-and-steel handrails, the glass-and-steel gates, and the spectacular glass roof. 2257-C Lombardy Ln. 972-556-1177.
Morott Sheet Metal
Remember the 52,000-square-foot mansion on Strait Lane that famously burned down before it was finished? Mickey Morott worked on its immense, slate- and lead-covered copper roof and its more than a mile of copper gutter for several years before the house, and his handiwork, went up in smoke. Such are the vagaries of the roofing life. Colleagues characterize Morott as “an old school sheet metal worker who can cut, solder, and do anything with sheet metal.” Morott was raised in Alabama, but settled in Dallas in 1970. A roofer for 30 years, he started out as a helper and worked his way up, literally. He learned not only how to install roofs but how to make metal roof panels, the result of spending time in the workshop to get out of the rain. So, that’s what he does – fabricate and install metal roofing systems, gutters, downspouts, bay windows, and chimney caps. In his service area of the Park Cities, copper is the roof metal of choice, though roofs of galvanized steel and other metals are ordered as well. (Copper, unlike steel, weathers naturally and won’t rust.) Costs are estimated by the linear foot for gutters and by the square foot for roofs. 1722 Ave. K. Plano. 972-423-8750.
Scottie Ballantyne Roofing, Inc.
An expert in the repair and restoration of tile and slate roofs, and a known perfectionist, Duncan Ballantyne Jr. learned his craft at his father’s knee. His father, “Scottie” Ballantyne Sr., was a master slater, who patterned the business he founded here in 1965 after an Old-World, four-year apprenticeship program he underwent in his native Scotland. In 1995, Duncan picked up where his father left off, putting employees through a rigorous apprentice-to-master training program. As a consequence, he is the only local roofer who exclusively uses his own people for tile or slate work, though he will use subcontractors for metal work. That beautiful “antiqued” tile roof with amazing colorations on the Third Church of Christ Scientist (Oak Lawn at Prescott) is their work, as are some of the finest residential roofs in Lakewood and Highland Park. Because slate and tile can last hundreds of years, half their work involves historical restoration, and almost all of the materials are recycled. When they need products, they go to the Roof Tile & Slate Company of Carrollton, or utilize some of the historical stock they’ve collected. When asked what qualities make a great roofer, Ballantyne replied, “Well, you can’t be afraid of heights. You have to take a good bit of pride in what you’re doing. And you have to be willing to start over, if something’s not working properly or doesn’t look right.” Their projects are turnkey – they give the client an estimate based on the total job. 2305 Executive Dr. Garland. 972-279-8857. www.scottieballantyneroofinginc.com.
Staz-On Roofing, Inc.
One Saturday afternoon in the late 1970s, Paul Grahamwhen (founder and president) “saw some guys working on the roof of a church in Garland” and decided he’d had his fill of working indoors as a machinist in a tool and die shop. By Monday he was part of the roof crew. In short order he branched out on his own. “I had one helper, some ladders, and a pickup truck and went out and started knocking on doors.” Within two years the business was established. That was 25 years ago. Today, Staz-On handles all categories of residential, commercial, and industrial roofing – single-ply, shingle, concrete tile, slate, custom sheet metal, standing seam, and hail-resistant tiles – as well as guttering, waterproofing, caulk restoration, and decorative coating systems. They also design preventative maintenance programs to extend the life of an existing property. One of their showcase jobs was to install the roof on the 28-story Mayfair condominiums at Lee Park – a green metal roof fabricated of alternating concave and convex panels. The company is a member of the National Roofing Contractors Association, the North Texas Roofing Contractors Association, and the Home and Apartment Builders Association of Dallas. They service the Dallas-Fort Worth area, Austin, Houston, San Antonio, and other select cities. 2860 Lombardy Ln. 214-357-0300. www.stazonroof.com.
FINDING GOOD HOME SERVICES is no easy feat. Our search began with mothers, friends, teachers – even the patients and staff at our dentists’offices. Once we managed to compile a list, we researched the services, pricing, company history, and “nique selling propositions”of the most highly recommended. We contacted the Better Business Bureau to make certain these firms came up clean, with no complaints lodged. Finally, we checked references and asked ourselves if indeed these were people we’d want to do business with. If the answer was yes, they appear in the listing above.
Got a roofer you love? How about an electrician or jack-of-all-trades? D Home wants to know all about them. Send us your recommendations and contact info to [email protected].