A true “European Trained Craftsman”, Martin Leska graduated with honors from a four-year trade school and moved to the United States in 1998 from the Czech Republic. His plan was to be a climbing guide and ski instructor, which he did for a while in Jackson Hole, Wyoming. However, his impressive skills and training in building and restoration led him to eventually start Leska Restoration LLC. Martin still has an insatiable appetite for learning more and, lucky for us, he likes to share his knowledge and experience with others.
Martin’s first roofing experience was a 14th-century castle restoration when he was 16 years old. He had spent the summer working with his father and the last revision to the castle had been in the 18th century, meaning the work he was restoring was 200+ years old. “During communist occupation this castle drastically deteriorated,” Martin said. “This structure survived mainly because of the tiles that were installed.”
“A very exciting part of this work was to look for small evidence left by previous roofers like hand signed note, a lost chisel or hammer, etc.” After a summer of hard work, Martin had the chance to become a part of the history. “I specifically remember the pride when each worker was asked to write his name and signature on the actual plaque we hid inside the roof, and my father saying that our grandkids will most likely be next to find this.”
His passion for quality installation details reflects Martin’s respect for the potential longevity a properly installed tile roof can deliver. “Tile roofs are designed to last a lifetime. So why wouldn’t you want such a roof on your home or business? I know I would,” Martin shared. He added, “In my opinion tile roofs are by far the best roofing product you can install on a steep slope roof. I think that even in the 21st century there are many reasons we love tile; it’s man-made, extremely energy efficient, comes in a huge range of styles, shapes and colors, is extremely long lasting and is Class A fire rated. I love having the variety to show my clients when selecting a tile roof. It’s excellent from hot climates to even extremely cold or snowy climates.”
Martin’s skill level is equaled by his energy and passion. A mountain climber, downhill skier and mountain biker, everything he does is done with enthusiasm. The commitment to improvement is a constant. “Europeans are onto something by over teaching as it’s proven that we forget 30-50% of what we learn. It takes new training every year and time working in the trade to hopefully earn ‘master craftsman’ after five years with the help of the Tile Roofing Institute.”
For more information on how you can learn these important skills from TRI, visit www.tileroofing.org.