Hello, I’m Billy Ellis. Thank you for visiting with me. I would like for you to know a little about me, my company and how we got to the point we are at today. I hope that I don’t bore you; some of the things I am most proud of are slightly technical.
In 1959, I started out as a sales representative for a local insulation company (Burke Stripling & Company). After several years of not progressing in the company, I went into the business for myself. We expanded into siding products, specializing in trim work (soffit and fascia systems).
During a meeting with one of our siding manufacturers (Kaiser), the subject of aluminum roofing came up. He showed us a small hand sample of the product and as he went over the pricing, I asked him the ultimate question. Why would someone want to buy an aluminum roof when it costs several times that of a three tab composition roof?
He hesitated, looked at the sample again, and then he looked at me with a puzzled expression. He answered, in a questioning tone, “it’s pretty????”
It “was” pretty! And we were off to the races. We installed one of the first aluminum roofs in this area. The roof had a dramatic effect on the appearance of the home.
I continued to learn home owners’ likes and dislikes about the roof. The first thing that they didn’t like was the fact that you had to be careful how you walked on it.
Many customers and I were also uncomfortable with many of the details of installing the roof. The original system allowed water to flow under the roof in the valleys and gables. Some starter strips were made in to two pieces and caused water to flow along the fascia. It also had a problem of wicking between the two pieces of metal.
I could have just said it’s a bad idea and gone on to something different, just like everyone else. But I was intrigued with the beauty, energy savings, fire resistance, light weight, wind resistance, and the permanency of the product.
With my installers’ help, we came up with a one-piece combo trim for the gable, a starter strip, and a mitered valley that kept the water on top of the roof. We completely solved the problem of water being allowed to enter the roof system. Over everyone’s objections, we applied for, and were granted three patents on our improvements.
We still had the problem with walk ability. We designed and built a mold to make an injection-molded polystyrene foam backer. This foam backer is full coverage. It overlaps from top to bottom and side to side. This allows anyone to get on the roof without worry of causing any damage and it totally insulates the roof with an R-5 rated foam backer.
If you walk on wood shingles, they will split; clay or concrete tile will break; composition roofs will lose important granules; steel tile will dent if you are not careful to step on the battens and you will knock off protective granules. Walking on these roofs also voids the warrantey.
The early eighties are when automatic nail guns came out. They couldn’t be used with aluminum nails because they worked with magnets. I met with the manufacturer and developed the first nail gun for aluminum nails. This sped up the installation process but even more importantly, it was easy to add additional nails.
The only roof jacks (vent covers) available at that time were made out of galvanized steel. That created a problem with dissimilar metals and they tended to rust badly. This would leave rust streaks on the roof. We usually painted them, but that didn’t last long. We went to the manufacturer of the vents and bought the equipment to manufacture aluminum vents. Our vents are now are made of the same metal as the roof.
Many times in the process of installing an aluminum roof, we would have a problem with the last piece being very small, and we would have to come up with innovative ways of attaching it. This could be avoided if you just knew where to start the first shingle. We developed a method of doing just that. Our installers today can, at a glance, know where to make the first cut so the course will terminate at the right place on the last shingle. No more small pieces in the valleys or gables.
To make a long story short, the innovations we contributed appeared to add cost to the aluminum roof, but in reality, it reduced the cost by the savings in energy, adding years to the life of the roof, and as in the vents, avoid maintenance. As a direct result, we have many happier customers. Our customers, with their recommendations and referrals, have made Billy Ellis Roofing the number one aluminum roofing dealer in the nation for virtually the last 30 years.
I would like to thank all of the pioneers that trusted me in the beginning. If it were not for you, we would not be here today. You know who you are. It was a tremendous leap of faith to purchase a roof that no one had ever heard of. Now everyone is talking about aluminum or metal roofs.
As I have testified to, problems are nothing but opportunities to improve and create an advantage in the marketplace. If you have any questions, it would be my greatest pleasure to answer them.
We don’t just sell aluminum roofs; we all have them on our homes.
Thanks to all,