"I am writing to you on behalf of John Chan and The Durable Slate Company. I am an Architect registered in the state of New York and Louisiana practicing out of New Orleans with a private practice. I have been practicing architecture and overseeing construction for the better of 20 years now in locations ranging from New York City to Rocky Mountains to New Mexico to, of course, New Orleans and all of Louisiana.
The reason I touch upon the various locations in which I have been involved in constructions is that each of them brings a unique set of circumstances with regard to detailing specifically for a given location with respect to aesthetics, but also utilitarian needs such as waterproofing.
Having been trained in Louisiana a mantra that my mentors used to always espouse which left an indelible impression on me is "if you can make the building look good and keep it dry" you have succeeded at creating good architecture.
As I specialize in new construction and renovation in the high end residential market, I have worked with excellent artisans and craftsman in my day. I can say without hesitation that The Durable Slate Company ranks in the highest echelon of any trade I have ever had the pleasure of collaborating with.
As you may have seen from the photographs of their work, the obvious is that they deliver an impeccably beautiful product - whether it is a slate roof, a copper gutter, a copper turret or simply step flashing around a chimney, the artisans at The Durable Slate Company treat every detail, regardless of scale or visibility, with the utmost care and handling.
Additionally, from John Chan to his Superintendents to his installers - every employee and representative of the company is well versed in company protocol and is equally respectful and knowledgeable as the next regardless of the situation or their role.
I cannot stress strongly enough how pleased you will be with the service during the project, and the product delivered upon completion, should you choose to hire this company for your project."
Patrick Melancon, AIA
"I would like to thank you personally for the wonderful job your company did in replacing my roof. My wife and I are the fifth generation to live in my family's home which was built by my great-great-grandfather in 1890. I took great care and research in finding a roofing company that would do the same excellent workmanship that was originally done over 100 years ago - and I can proudly say that I was not disappointed in the least!
I would like to thank Ed DeLong for his enthusiasm in describing your company to me and his openness in allowing me to view current projects. After viewing the project in Sandusky and talking with Gary Howes, I was convinced that your company could handle the job at my house and that I wanted Gary to supervise it. I was very impressed with Gary - his concern for preservation and his sincerity and pride in his work are wonderful standards that set your company apart from the others. Gary did a wonderful job of listening to my concerns and guiding his team to do a job that in my opinions exceeds the original craftsmanship put into the roof over 100 years ago! The crews he supervised were an outstanding work force, very polite, well organized, and immaculate in their clean-up. His assistant, Don Abrahamson, deserves a special note here in that he placed a major role in completing my roof. His time and concern are greatly appreciated. Last, but certainly not least, please thank Trent for his excellent job in the turret - he did a remarkable job indeed - with of course help from many others!
Along with this letter I am including some photos that I took of the project which I hope you will find interesting. Please feel free to use them as you see fit and if you need more I have the negatives. Gary asked that I send a before and after shot which I tried to get at about the same angle and time of day as the one I took several years before.
Please let these men know that their hard work and long hours have not gone unnoticed and that their work will be seen and appreciated beyond their own lifetime. Thank you for the wonderful company that you are!"
"Thank you very much for the thoughtful Christmas gift which you sent to me. I have shared the coffee with the staff. The coffee mugs will remind us daily of Durable Slate, but we really wouldn't need the mugs for that - you're leaving such a great impression with the church.
We greatly appreciate the way your personnel conduct themselves here at the church. They are always courteous and they always leave a clean work site. Church services and activities go on as usual, and the members are hardly aware that work is going on, because there is no mess or clutter.
I hope that 1995 and the years beyond are prosperous ones for the Durable Slate Company."
Jon K. Elliot
"I would like to take this opportunity to express my thanks to Durable Slate for the outstanding job you did replacing the church's 100 year old cupola recently. This was the culmination of a project which began with my call to your company over two years ago.
Beginning first with that call, I was impressed each step of the way with the level of professionalism displayed by every member of your staff, including the crew working on the project. I was informed of the progress on a weekly basis and pleasantly surprised by how accurate your projected timeline was. The roof over our sanctuary has now been restored to its original beauty, with a replicated cupola now in place and repairs to the skylights and stained glass completed.
Thank you, again, for the excellent work. As our buildings continue to age, I'm sure we'll be in touch with you again. I would not hesitate to recommend Durable Slate to anyone in need of historic restoration or repairs."
"I am writing this letter to tell you how impressed I was with the performance of your company. When I originally contacted you after seeing your advertisement in Traditional Building, I could tell you were more than qualified to do the job. At first, I was somewhat anxious to have an out of state company perform the repairs on my slate roof. However, your price was very competitive with local roofers, and in dealing with you throughout the estimating process, you were able to respond to all my questions and concerns. It quickly became obvious there was no need to worry.
With the size and quality of crew you brought to do the work, you were able to complete the job in a fraction of the time another roofer might have taken. These men were extremely knowledgeable about their craft, and took true price in the work they were doing. They really went out of their way, and seemed to care as much about my property as I do.
Finally, Michael, I want to thank you for following up and making sure everything was done to my satisfaction. Despite your being several states away, you responded quickly to any of my concerns. The whole project went very smoothly, and the roof looks beautiful."
"As the Chairman of the Board of Preservation Maryland and the owner of a historic restoration company, I would like to recommend The Durable Slate Company for the restoration of the tile roof. Over the past 3 years I have personally worked with Durable Slate on several projects, including The Ivy Hotel in Mt. Vernon. In choosing the slate roofing contractor for the Ivy Hotel, we vetted many local and out of town companies and found The Durable Slate Company was the most qualified. Our vetting process not only looked at examples of their work but also the caliber of their staff and most importantly, their management. We found their staff to be very knowledgeable and possess a high level of skill and craftsmanship. Their management took ownership of the project and helped us solve many roofing issues associated with the historic buildings. Though the roof on the school is tile, The Durable Slate Company is one of few local roofing contractors certified to work with this type of roofing material. Based on my experience working with them, I would highly recommend their services for this project.
"I am writing to commend the work of The Durable Slate Company. Over the past two years, each person that I have dealt with has been competent and professional in meeting our needs at The Columbus Foundation.
The Columbus Foundation is the former Ohio governor's home. The mansion is listed on the National Historic Register. For all of our repairs, we take that fact into consideration.
The Durable Slate Company has been of great value to us in meeting our specific needs. Some of the major projects have been to replace both custom fit windows and roof slates and to rebuild copper box gutters. We plan to continue using the Durable Slate Company. I highly recommend the company to anyone.
Rebecca L. Spohn
"Tudor Arms Apartments, Inc. is a co-operative apartment complex. The two residential buildings are century old brick buildings with slate roofs. The Durable Slate Company has been maintaining our roofs for over 5 years.
The work has included annual inspections and slate replacements. Their principle service has been the replacement of failing flashing, valley gutters, and internal gutters. They have also serviced our collector boxes and downspouts. They are maintaining a service log and as-built plans that indicate date of replacement and materials installed.
Tudor Arms Apartments Board of Directors is pleased to have found a company that we can rely on for expert and timely evaluation and service."
Tudor Arms Apartments, Inc.
"Tim and the guys at Durable Slate were superb from start to finish. Beginning with a minor repair made during the free estimate. Their price was below competitors for the same work and materials. And it’s hard to imagine anyone providing more courteous or thorough service. They were polite and punctual throughout. And even went out of their way to return and remove an old antennae on top of my house that wasn’t even part of the contracted work. Couldn’t be happier!”
"Thank you John. I cannot tell you how much your professionalism, honesty and courtesy has meant to me. There are so many "liars" in the business- I just am so very thankful to have found you and your company- trustworthiness is golden.
Also, a suggestion- you may want to have some nice looking signs (small) to place on properties that you are working on- you may receive referrals that way also. I will still notify two providers, Angie's List & another company that I affiliate with- EBSCO- to recommend your company for their data bases."
"On the 29th of August 2005, Hurricane Katrina devastated southeast Louisiana and the Mississippi Gulf Coast. The city of New Orleans suffered severely from Katrina's powerful winds and surging waters. Three quarters of the city flooded; thousands of homes were no longer livable or destroyed. The future of the city was very bleak. The Superdome was closed for more than a year, the majority of businesses vacated, and many never returned.
For those of us that were determined to go forward with our lives, it was a slow and arduous task; it required patience and overwhelming amount of time negotiating with the insurance companies. The severity of Katrina will be felt for many years to come. The citizens of New Orleans are still suffering from the effects of Katrina. Everyone's life has changed in some way as a result of this calamity.
My church was badly damaged by the strong winds and driving rains. The roof needed to be replaced and finding a qualified company was not an easy task. There was yet another storm approaching, which consisted of contractors who were fraudulent, laborers who were unskilled that carried no insurance, and others with bogus credentials made it extremely difficult in making the right decision.
Zion Lutheran Church is listed on the National Historic Register, and is located on Historic St. Charles Avenue in New Orleans. In keeping with the building code, the roof and steeple had to be replaced with slate, Two spires and crosses on the steeple also needed to be replaced. It was truly a daunting problem searching for a company with experience and capability of replacing a slate roofing on a building with such a steep pitch.
Three months after the storm our prayers were answered when I drove by a home in the New Orleans Garden District that had its slate roof replaced. A sign in the yard guided us to Durable Slate Company. It truly has been a blessing. John Chan and his staff were very supportive to our needs and concerns. He assured us that their work wouldn't be complete until we were fully satisfied. As a result, Zion Church has a gorgeous roof and practically a new steeple at a fair price and quality workmanship. We have received a myriad of complements from neighbors and visitors alike. Thanks Durable Slate, our prayers were answered.
"The photos Josh took of the roof repair are truly impressive. Beautiful results, and I don't even really "know what I'm looking at" to fully appreciate all the intelligent analysis, measuring, design, cutting, shaping and other craft which went into it! Thank you, John Chan, Josh, Will, and Glen for working so quickly and smartly. We will certainly call on you again in the future.”
New Orleans, LA
"Thank you so much for your email. We absolutely love the work done by Durable Slate and can not say enough. Your workers, Christian, Jose and Melvin were the best contractors we have ever worked with. They worked constantly from morning to night. They cleaned up and were so courteous and kind. I would go out and watch my husband and them while they were at work. Just amazing how they moved around on that roof and my husband painting on the scaffolding. Sometimes it was a little frightening so I would just go back to work inside. Those three gentlemen were so polite and kind. They cleaned everything up every day, even when I told them not to worry about it. Their work ethic was most impressive. They only took a short lunch too and then right back at it. Thank you and thank them.
The roof and chimney looked even better than I could have imagined, it is beautiful. Especially with all the painting and repairs my husband has done. We just go outside and smile as we admire how beautiful it looks. And just in time for the holidays! Thank you again.
Alex actually stopped by on Monday and looked at the house with another gentleman, Chaz, so I believe we are good.
We would definitely be happy to have the roof evaluated annually to ensure all is well. We look forward to seeing you again next fall.
I wish you, John, Alex, Chaz, Christian, Jose, Melvin and Christian a Blessed and Happy Holiday Season filled with wonderful gifts."
I want to thank you for the work Durable Slate did on the slate roof on my 70 year old plus home in Chevy Chase.
You and John Chan were very helpfully getting me to better understand why slate roofs are still the most durable roofs available and what it takes to keep the in good condition.
As you know, I first contacted you to repair a failed section of the roof on my garage. I was very impressed with the result. Your crew’s attention to details like the complex flashing arrangement required for this job was much appreciated. The work was on schedule and on price as well as being managed in neat and professional way.
That is why when, a few weeks later, the main roof to my home was damaged by a falling tree you were the only roofing company I called to arrange for the repair. I was not disappointed. Your ready response, your ability to work with the other contractors on this job and the professional look of the end result made this difficult time easier for us.
I hope I don’t need to call on you again. After all, slate roof repairs are expensive but if I do have a need, I will not hesitate to call on Durable Slate because I know the work will be done correctly and done to last.
Please feel free to use me as a reference.
"I am writing this letter of recommendation based on the quality of your work, the professionalism of your employees and the service I received on the job your firm completed at my property located at 828 Royal Street in New Orleans.
I am a licensed general contractor in Florida and when I saw the quality job your firm completed on my neighbor's roof in the French Quarter, I contacted you for a quote on the replacement of a portion of my roof. After discussing a number of options that would meet my needs in terms of quality balanced with cost effectiveness, we went into contract.
Once the job started, I was available to interact with your roofers as questions came up as they always do when renovating a 200 year old building. You and your employees were responsive, polite, and hard working and the job turned out beautifully. I am certain that over time, if I experience any problems or need additional work you will take care of me as a valued customer. I know this to be true because as Hurricane Ike was approaching this past summer, I called you and you sent out a roofer immediately to repair a leaking historic scuttle.
Thank you and I look forward to seeing you soon."
Vicki Marino, President
"I hope this note finds you well. I just wanted to say how grateful I am for the excellent restoration work Durable Slate performed on my house. As you are well aware, this job was complex beyond the usual homeowner needs, involving extensive custom sheet copper fabrication, structural rehabilitation, complete replacement of all glazed tiles, and many associated tasks. I thought Edwin and Daniel were especially helpful. They were always ready to review the work with me and open to discussing ad hoc modifications, design preferences, and other modifications.
Also, I appreciated your patience in accommodating the expansion I requested in the scope of work. I thought it made sense to take care of everything at once and I was pleased that Durable was up to the task. I am especially appreciative of the competitive pricing offered on these extras. I never had the sense that the prices were anything but fair and honest. It would have been easy to extract more, but I would have resented it. Compared with other quotes I have obtained over the years, these prices were always very reasonable and I was very satisfied with the workmanship and results obtained.
Overall, I thought the extensive project was well executed and I have been eager to recommend Durable Slate to others in need of high quality historic roofing."
I am a huge fan of Durable Slate. They have been working on several of my properties in the Quarter since Katrina, and are far superior to any of the roofers I'd dealt with in the past.
While they do have offices located in other parts of the country, they know and comprehend the nuances of our climate and city. In addition, they lead their profession in understanding and teaching preservation and green building techniques alike, and also go out of their way to follow OSHA standards on the job.
Contrary to your doubts, they have a strongly stable presence in New Orleans. Their office workers and crews are comprised of locals with ties to the community, and their upper echelon of foremen and craftsmen who moved here to run the company have brought along their entire families. They own or rent housing here, patronize their community's businesses and their kids attend school here. Like so many others who have come here to rebuild the city, they have decided to stay.
How long does one have to reside here to be considered a "local"?
"I wanted to write you a letter complimenting Durable Slate on the excellent work you recently performed on my house in Chevy Chase. As you know, we installed a new slate roof on our house in 2000 and, since that time, we have had a very hard time finding a quality slate roofing company to check and maintain the condition of the roof.
The service we have received from other Washington slate roofing companies has been substandard. For that reason, we were very interested in meeting Durable Slate when we received the mailer from you discussing your move into the area.
I can say, without exception, we have been delighted by every interaction with Durable. From the initial interaction with your office, we have been very impressed with your company, the quality of your work and the pricing and value of the work you performed.
Your field staff was professional, highly competent and both efficient and neat in their work. I look forward to a continuing relationship with Durable so that we can keep our roof in the best condition possible.
Thanks John. Good luck building your business in the Washington area and I’m sure you will have great success."
Joseph E. Lipscomb
We are proud to display the Durable Slate banner in the front yard of our home, for we want everyone to know that we opted for top quality workmanship and materials for our new slate roof and chimney repair.
This was a major investment for us, so we wanted to get it right. The folks at Durable Slate explained the project clearly and saw to every detail. All have extensive experience with slate roofing. Durable’s representative Tim Underhill knows the history of slate roofs in our neighborhood, provided helpful background information, and explained our options. Once we chose Durable, crew foreman Justin Willis kept us informed of what was happening. Ben and the other installers did immaculate work, conformed to all OSHA safety practices, were considerate of our residence, and cleaned up carefully as they worked. Company owner John Chan twice inspected the job himself to make sure everything was right. And Jodi Howes in Durable's business office cheerfully accommodated our preferred payment arrangements. Our finished slate roof and chimney are handsome indeed and garner praise from our neighbors.
We feel confident that our roof's longevity will prove the “Durable” name.
Russell and Carol
To Whom It May Concern:
I most HIGHLY recommend The Durable Slate Company. They have been doing an amazing job on my circa 1830's slate roof in the French Quarter. They specialize in slate roofs. Each one of their workers KNOWS, LOVES and LIVES the history, restoration and mechanics of slate roofing!!! They are located at 2533 Tchoupitoulas, phone 899-8422. John Chan is the GENIUS to speak with.
P.S. All upper case words are totally intentional!!!