Contractors Sharing Knowledge, Supported by Industry
Guess who’s coming to Dallas in April…
This month’s newsletter features stories on Paul Ramon (Ramon Roofing Inc., Ft Worth) and Martin Leska (Leska Restoration LLC, D.C.). Both are successful contractors with tremendous business and installation skills. Something else they have in common? They want to share their experience to help make you, your company and the tile roofing industry stronger.
“My First Roof Was A 14th Century Castle”
A perspective on tile roofing from Master Craftsman Martin Leska
A true “European Trained Craftsman”, Martin Leska graduated with honors from a 4-year trade school. He moved to the United States in 1998 from the Czech Republic. His plan was to be a climbing Guide and ski instructor. He did that for a while in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, but his 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.
His first roofing experience really was a 14th century castle. When he was 16 he spent the summer working with his Father. 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 real clay tiles were installed.”
“A very exciting part of this work was to look for small evidence left by previous roofers – like hand signed notes, lost chisel, hammer, etc.” After a summer of 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 grand kids will most likely be the next ones to find this.”
“Tile roofs are designed to last a lifetime. So why wouldn’t you want a roof on your home or business that will last a lifetime? I know I would.”
His passion for quality installation details reflects his 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 a roof on your home or business that will last a lifetime? I know I would. 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 5 years. My roofs from 2006 don’t look as great as in 2016. They do always exceed TRI minimum standards. I feel that my knowledge and skills especially in flashing applications are the critical pieces and where I see the biggest difference.” Martin will share and teach some of those skills at our April 7th, Dallas Concrete and Clay Roof Tile Installation Manual Class.
Licensing in Texas?
RCAT Provides Training and Voluntary Licensing
As they say, everything is bigger in Texas. The homes are big, and roofing them is a challenge. Roof pitches are steep; spires and dramatic architectural details are common. And then there is the weather: heat like Phoenix, rain like Florida, high wind, occasional tornadoes, and hail the size of softballs. Good thing roofing contractors don’t need to be licensed in Texas. Wait, what?
The state of Texas does not require licensing of roofing contractors. Seeing a need, the Roofing Contractors Association of Texas (RCAT) is stepping up to provide contractors a way to show consumers their commitment to their trade. RCAT has developed a Voluntary Licensing Program which includes training, testing and a renewal process.
Licensing has been on the radar for Ramon Roofing President Paul Ramon for several years. When he was President of RCAT, the organization lobbied the state legislature to institute licensing for roofing contractors, but it fell through at the last minute. Established contractors believe some sort of licensing and monitoring is necessary, in part due to the extreme weather that can hit the state. When a storm strikes, storm chasing roofers descend on the area. In the urgency of the moment it can be difficult for a homeowner to tell the difference between an established company that will stand behind their work, and a guy in a pickup who will move on when the bulk of work is done, or worse, after a down payment is taken.
Ramon Roofing specializes in clay, concrete and slate roofing for discerning customers. It is frustrating for Paul to see great products installed poorly: “I see horrible installs weekly. There is such a need to properly train contractors to install tile roofs in the state of Texas.”
So along with managing his growing business he is committed to developing the RCAT training program and the voluntary licensing. The TRI Manual Certification classes being held in April are the foundation of tile installation training. Paul says “Voluntary licensing is a step in the right direction” but he envisions that RCAT and TRI can work together to better equip installers for the challenges of the Texas market. We will learn more about the RCAT licensing program at our April classes.
“Ask the Expert”
Contractors are often asked about the best way to clean a tile roof. Below is a recent question submitted through “Ask the Expert” on the TRI website and the response from TRI President and Technical Director Rick Olson.
Question – “Our contractor suggests water blasting of tile roof to remove dirt and what I will assume is mold. Can chlorine be
used on tiles or will there be a risk of streaking the tiles?”
Response – The cleaning of tiles with pressure washers is a common practice as regular roof maintenance. Since roofs are
slippery when wet, the work should be performed by a qualified roofing professional. The use of diluted chlorine can be used to help remove the final algae that might be present, but we have seen just plain water used as well. The pressure washer should not be above 1300 psi as it can create surface wear. The dirt, algae or moss that grow on the surface of the tiles are not affecting the condition of the tiles. It is more an aesthetic issue that homeowners wish to remove.
Upcoming Training Events
TRI Installation Manual Certification classes are scheduled in
- Stockton-Lathrop, CA (March 15)
- Dallas, TX (April 7 & April 8)
- Denver, CO (April 15)
- Chicago (Skokie), IL (May 11)
- Orlando, FL (June 16 – High Wind @ FRSA Convention)
See the complete schedule at www.tileroofing.org.
If you have suggestions for a TRI Installation Manual Certification class in your area or would like to arrange customized training for your organization, contact John Jensen at JJensen@tileroofing.org or 206-241-5774.
Renew Your Certification & Stay on the Map!
Companies with TRI Certified employees are listed on the TRI Website Find a Contractor page. TRI Certification is good for 2 years. If your certification is about to expire or has expired within the past 6 months, you can renew on-line by following the instructions on the TRI website. We recently updated the renewal program based on the new Concrete & Clay Roof Tile Installation Guide.