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All Your Specialty Roofing Needs Met: An Interview with Mahan Slate Roofing Co.

By Kristen Bosse

Please describe a little bit about your company and the services you offer.

Mahan Slate Roofing Co., specializing in slate and copper roofing, originated in 1979. We offer services ranging from basic repairs to full roof installations, including copper gutters and downspouts, snow retention systems, and custom copper fabrication. We service residential and commercial customers in the MA and CT area. We pride ourselves on having the best trained and most professional employees in the business.

How did you get into this line of work? How long have you been in the roofing business?

I helped a friend with a slate steeple project working off of ropes in 1976. I enjoyed the work; the uniqueness, the type of buildings with slate and copper, and the history of the craft. Shortly after, in 1979, I started my own business.

This is a pretty basic question, but in your opinion, why should people care about their roof?

The roof is one of the most important elements in your home. Any issues with the roof can cause severe damage to the rest of the house, interior and exterior, including roof decking, trim work, structural framing, insulation, paint, etc. Sometimes the roof is the last thing people think about because they don't normally look at the roof on a daily basis, but a simple inexpensive repair performed early enough can save a lot of money on repairing additional damage. Some leaks are not noticed until the damage is done.

What is your company's current workload?

Right now we are booking for late fall/early winter. We are usually booking work a few months out. However, if there is a customer with a current leak we can get to them very quickly and at least patch the leak until we can get back and perform the full repair.

Do you have an employee pool or do you hire subcontractors?

We do not hire subcontractors. We don't feel the same quality control can be maintained with an outside workforce. All of our employees are full time with our company. They are trained to our standards in house and through slate and copper organizations. We take the time to train all of our employees to properly handle every situation.

What are some key qualities a homeowner should look for in a good roofing company?

Professionalism, company longevity, customer satisfaction and a high quality reputation.

How does your business help new home buyers?

For someone looking to buy a home we can perform an inspection on the entire roof system and report on any immediate concerns and let the buyer know what may be concerns in the near future. This service, just like the home inspection, can help the homeowner negotiate to help cover the cost of any needed repairs. For a new homeowner that already purchased their home we will come out and perform the inspection at no cost. Again this will tell them any immediate concerns as well as provide information on future issues that can help them figure a budget to properly maintain their roof.

Are there any easy-to-see signs that your roof/gutter needs work? What dangers can result in a damaged roof/gutter?

Besides the obvious interior leaks, damage is usually easy to spot with the slate from the ground. You may see broken slate on the roof, or find pieces in the gutter or on the ground. The damage to the flashing is much harder to see from the ground. Anything that has been tarred is a good indication that there has been a problem. The tar will eventually crack and the problem will re-occur. Also, homeowners can look for damaged or bent gutters and snow retention systems. This damage may be covered under the homeowner's insurance. The danger resulting from roof damage is more damage to other areas of the home as mentioned above. Another issue with slate is that if it is not maintained and the pieces are falling of the roof they can actually cause physical harm to people and property, especially above patio areas or kids play areas.

In your opinion, how much can proper roof work potentially increase the value of your home?

Proper roof work can increase the value, especially on a slate roof. A slate roof can last well over a hundred years if properly maintained. Depending on the roof it could add tens of thousands of dollars in value to the home. Conversely, if not maintained, a slate roof can be seen by potential buyers as an increased expense to their new home and possibly shy away from purchasing that home due to the burden of overwhelming repairs.

What's sets yours business apart from all the others? Is there anything you feel you do better/different?

What sets us apart from other companies is our professionalism. This professionalism affects every aspect of our daily operations, from how we interact with customers, to how we pride ourselves on our craftsmanship. We make dealing with our company as pleasant as possible. Our overall satisfaction rating by our customers is 99-100% year after year. We have hundreds of customer testimonials stating that they were extremely impressed by our employees and our company. Our biggest asset is our well trained and trusted employees.

What are some advantages to slate or copper roofing rather than shingles?

Obviously slate lasts much longer than shingles, up to 5 times as long. Slate is also a Green building product that is completely recyclable, and it is completely non-combustible as well. Most people think slate is also much more aesthetically pleasing than shingles.

Do you belong to any trade organizations?

We belong to roofing organizations and slate roofing specific organizations. The complete list can be found on our website. These organizations help us to stay on top of current training and methods, or become aware of any concerns in the industry. John Mahan IV, one of the owners of the company, is on the Board of Director's of the Slate Roof Contractors Association. John has traveled with the SRCA to different parts of the county and the world to further our knowledge of slate roofing at conventions and training seminars, including Vermont, New York, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, Louisiana, Ireland and Switzerland.

What are your most difficult types of projects?

Since we are a specialty roofing company that only deals with slate and copper roofing we rarely encounter projects that are difficult for us.

What is your favorite type of project to work on?

One of our favorite projects is helping new homeowners with their slate roof. We enjoy sharing our knowledge of slate and copper, helping them plan for owning a slate roof.

What's the best way for people to get in contact with you?

Please call 413-788-9529 or 800-347-9529, or email us at info@mahanslate.com. We also have a form on our website, www.mahanslate.com that can be submitted with a request for an inspection.

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Kristen has written impressive content including press releases and feature stories...

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