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It's New to Us by Jean Stratton

RAISE THE ROOF: “We have been named one of the top 100 roofers in the U.S. by Roofing, Siding, Installation Magazine for the past three years. We are pleased to offer our quality work in Princeton.” Ron Hall, project manager for Russell Roofing, looks forward to even more Princeton projects.

A Family Business Comes to Princeton: Russell Roofing Offers Top Quality

A roof over your head — that’s about as important as it gets. And when you consider this very significant investment, you certainly don’t want one that leaks, or will not withstand the elements over time.

Russell Roofing, known for high quality and workmanship, has recently been taking on many more projects in Princeton and the area. “Princeton is a great market for us,” says project manager Ron Hall. “We specialize in historic roof restoration, including slate, tile, and copper, as well as bread and butter asphalt. The reason we’re here in Princeton is that the type of customer in Princeton is a match with the kind of company we are.”

A family business, Russell Roofing was founded 15 years ago in Oreland, Pa., and its motto is “If It’s Russell, It’s Right. Guaranteed!” Known for residential, commercial, and historic renovation, the company is proud of its high ratings from customers and professionals alike. “We are a select shingle roofer,” explains Mr. Hall. “Less than one percent of U.S. roofers have this designation. We are a Master Elite shingle applicator with GAF, the largest shingle manufacturer. That status puts us in the top two percent of roofers in the U.S.”

Russell Roofing handles all types of roofs for private residences, churches, universities and colleges, and commercial buildings. Its employees are highly qualified, having undergone stringent instruction and testing.


“Our employees have to be trained, pass an exam, and undergo drug-testing,” says Mr. Hall. “Nine out of 10 applicants don’t meet our standards. We have on-going training. On rainy days, where we’re not on a project, we have classes. We also carry roofing insurance.

“It’s interesting,” he adds. “There are no regulations in the roofing business, no licensing, no standardization. You have to rely on the reputation and track record of the company. What separates us is that we’re fully insured and we drug-test all our employees. We never cut corners; some roofers do.”

Roof problems come in many forms, notes Mr. Hall, but “improper nailing is the major mistake on roofs. We hand-nail our roofs. When we do an estimate, we take pictures of the roof which can show if nails are nailed in the wrong place or at the wrong depth. We recently worked on a 7-year-old roof that is failing because it was nailed wrong.”

Slate, copper, tile, asphalt, and slate-resembling asphalt shingles are all popular now, he reports. Tile is the longest-lasting (100 years or more), but he notes that the metal attachments need to be replaced over time. Russell Roofing has installed tile roofs on some high-profile buildings, including Independence Hall in Philadelphia.

Asphalt, the most commonly applied roof, can last 25 to 30 years, depending on the shingles chosen and the installation. “It really depends on the workmanship,” emphasizes Mr. Hall. “That is crucial.”

In Princeton, the company has had a series of projects on Library Place, Elm, Edgerstoune, Winant, and Westcott Roads, and there are currently four on-going projects in town. There is also a waiting list, he says. “A three to six-week waiting list for asphalt shingles and 12 to 16 weeks for specialty roofs. Once we’re on the job, it’s typically two to three days to complete the roof for an average house; with slate or tile, it could be a week or two, depending on the size.”

Customer Communication

The company is very thorough, offering customers a comprehensive estimate, which includes measurement and pictures of the roof. “Communication with the customer is major,” he points out. “We put everything in writing. I am project manager for the Princeton area, and I’m the one coming out to see customers. As project manager, I oversee the job. It is my goal to see the project through from the time I inspect and measure the roof, take pictures, build a proposal, right to the end. We also get the building permit when we do a roof. I may not personally be at the site every day, but a supervisor who is a specialist on that kind of roof is there every day, and a foreman is there every working hour.

“Almost all our crews do roofing exclusively. We have 15 specialty crews. Some specialize in slate, others in copper and copper gutters. We handle emergencies quickly. We can be there in 24 hours. If a tree falls through the roof, we can put a tarp over it immediately.

“We also have a service crew,” he continues. “All they do are small jobs, such as a leaking vent on the roof. We do many small jobs as well as the big ones.”

Although the company focuses on roofs, it also installs siding and windows. “We really do anything with the exterior of the house,” says Mr. Hall. “Siding includes vinyl, cement board (Hardi Plank) and cedar shake. In siding, we also offer an all-synthetic trim. It’s a rosin-based material and eliminates painting. People also like vertical siding, known as battan board, now. We’re getting into windows, too, including MI Windows, which is the largest manufacturer of vinyl double-paned replacement windows.”

Mr. Hall is very encouraged with the increasing number of roofing projects in Princeton. “We offer top-quality products and top quality workmanship. That’s a good fit in Princeton. It’s always great to walk away from a completed job and see a thrilled customer. We are having tremendous word-of-mouth.

“A roof isn’t just a roof,” he adds. “Having customers understand that in the long run, selecting quality can actually be the cheapest way to go is important. Eliminating mistakes the first time around can save a lot of money in the long run.”

For more information, call (215) 887-7800. Website:

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