Last year, the state of Colorado endured a horrific storm. In what would subsequently be termed the eighth most expensive hailstorm in Colorado’s history, the Sept. 29 deluge of golf ball-sized hail resulted in an estimated $213.3 million in the Denver metropolitan area in property damage.
The outbreak was so punishing that wood shake, concrete tile and high-end composite roofs were severely damaged across the Centennial State. The residential roofs that had been installed by Denver-based Horn Brothers Roofing, by contrast, suffered little more than a few dents. After the storm, Horn Brothers Roofing installation crews found themselves replacing composite roofs that had been installed no more than seven months prior to the storm. How do you explain the difference in performance? The roofs installed by Horn Brothers Roofing were stone-coated metal, a roofing material that is winning growing acceptance from homeowners in Colorado and elsewhere based on its natural aesthetics, superior durability and fire resistance. That is keeping Horn Brothers Roofing, which installs Gerard stone-coated metal roofs, very busy.
“At the end of the day, the metal roof will be the most affordable roof [homeowners] can buy,” Horn Brothers Roofing president Manuel Rocha says. “They only have to buy a metal roof once. With others, they have to buy them every two to five years. In the past few years, we‘ve had quite a few storms, and it‘s been very expensive for insurance companies. Every year, our business has been increasing substantially. And compared with a year ago, after the storms we‘ve had, our business has pretty much doubled.”
The company’s roots in Colorado extend back to 1997. Across its history, Horn Brothers Roofing has installed some 7,000 stone-coated metal roofs. The company serves homeowners from Fort Collins down to Colorado Springs and throughout the Denver metropolitan area, an area extending some 200 miles. Horn Brothers Roofing also works a great deal in the mountains of Colorado‘s “high country.” The company has installed Gerard metal roofs for years throughout the Rocky Mountain State. The great majority of its installations are residential roofs on homes that range from two- and three-story models to ranch-style homes. “Anywhere there is a high-end neighborhood, we have roofs in that community,” Mr. Rocha says. The company’s 15 installation crews have three to five men, all “very experienced guys properly trained for this product,” he says.
Supporting the company
Horn Brothers Roofing has shown a strong commitment to installing Gerard metal roofs, a commitment reciprocated by the roofing maker. “We’ve developed a good relationship with Gerard over the years,” Rocha reports. “They do support the company. They are very proactive about providing product to us.”
The most popular roofing style with both Rocha and his customers is Gerard’s stone-coated metal Canyon Shake profile, a product that replicates wood shake. Colorado residents have an affinity for wood shake roofs because the natural, rustic look blends so well with the rugged, mountainous setting. But with wood shakes it presents a fire hazard. Rocha reports many Colorado counties prohibit their use. What’s more, insurers will not cover wood shake roofs, unless fire-retardant shakes are used.
“Considering the money you’ll spend on fire-retardant shakes, you’re going to spend far less on stone-coated metal,” he says.
Rocha reports that Canyon Shake’s natural, high-end texture and range of colors wins approval from Colorado customers who want roofs that mimic the real thing.
Another benefit of stone-coated metal roofs is their ability to resist fading. That’s key in Colorado, where the thin, high-altitude air and intensely sunny climate can test the color fastness of many roofing products.
“On most of the roofs up in Colorado, the UV light is pretty intense, and many roofs do not last,” Rocha says. “They fade quickly, much more quickly than stone-coated metal.”
Though Horn Brothers Roofing had long been a member of the Arvada, Coloradoa-based Colorado Roofing Association (CRA), it had not entered the CRA’s annual roofing competition until last year. Each year, the CRA bestows an award for the top roofing project, based on the job’s complexity and value.
Last year, Horn Brothers Roofing submitted for consideration a job completed on an Evergreen, Colorado, mansion. The roofing used: Canyon Shake from Gerard. “We won in the first year we competed,” Rocha says proudly.
Horn Brothers Roofing installs several other roof profiles offered by Gerard, including Classic Tile, Barrel Vault and Granite Ridge. Many customers tend toward the Classic Tile. This product offers what Rocha terms “a Mediterranean look” with superior curb appeal.
“When you stand in front of the house, if you don’t know Classic Tile is metal—and many of the people are not aware it’s metal—you think it’s concrete tile,” he observes. “It looks authentic.”
The installation of Gerard stone-coated metal roofs “is easy for us, because we’ve been working with this product for 30 years now,” he adds. “We have younger guys work with our older installers for four or five years. They learn from these well-trained installers before they’re on their own.”
Solid training is among the differentiators that set Horn Brothers Roofing apart from its competition. Another is the professionalism its installation teams display on all of their jobs.
“Every crew uses our same system; we don’t have different installs for different projects. We inspect every roof, and we have inspectors who are very well qualified,” Rocha says. “They do the final walk through with the crew. Before we give a crew another job—before they leave the job site and get another project—they make sure that the project is completely finished from ’A’ to ’Z,’ with no loose ends.”
Rocha says he looks forward to working with Gerard in the years ahead, as his company strives to meet the increasing demand for top-quality stone-coated metal roofs. “Their goal is to increase our sales,” he says of Gerard.
“We’re a part of their plan. We’re out to increase our business and working with stone-coated metal is, for us, the best way to grow.”