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Nick & Oliver Collignon of Collignon Roofing

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Collignon Roofing has been around since 1975. How did it come to be established?

Our dad Rick Collignon moved here from Grayslake, Illinois and got a job working on a roof. It went pretty well, so he thought he would do it again. He was known as “Rick the Roofer.” He got his start when the Angel Fire area was growing, so it was good timing. He retired three years ago.

Did you grow up in Taos?

We first lived north of Questa in El Rito where we were homeschooled. We started school in Taos when we were in 6th grade. At Taos High, we played baseball and soccer. We’ve always been a big baseball family, my dad still pitches in the hardball league.

Since we were about eight years old, we’ve been on job sites, picking up nails. We worked on roofs every summer since we were 16. We went away to college to study education and media and returned to work here full time. We always knew in the back of our minds that we would take over the business.

What kinds of projects do you do?

We install new roofs and do repairs and replacements. About 70% of our work is done for homeowners and 30% for contractors. 

For the Pueblo-style homes with low slope roofs, we use a surface known locally as Brai and officially called modified bitumen (a membrane-type roof that uses modifications to asphalt roofing to make it more durable). That’s about 90% of our work. We replace old roofs on Pueblo style buildings – some of them are more than a hundred years old and were insulated with dirt. An average Brai roof needs to be replaced every 20 to 25 years. We also work with a variety of metal roofs, including Pro-Panel, standing seam and corrugated aluminum. 

How can roofing help a home be more sustainable?

The majority of the heat loss in a home is through the roof, so if it is poorly insulated there is a replacement roof system out there that can increase R-value to keep utility costs down and also keep the home cooler in the summer.  

Another sustainable approach is to utilize the roof space.  Water catchment is a great idea for watering, especially in this dry climate.  For every inch of rain, a 2,000 square foot roof can collect 1,200 gallons of water. The TPO is one of the cleanest roof materials and is great to use for water catchment, especially if you will be watering your vegetable garden with it. TPO is not petroleum-based like many of the other roofing products.

Most of the homes in Taos have a low slope (flat) roof, which is a great place to add solar panels.  We work with PPC Solar. A roof needs to be in good condition before you install solar panels. 

Another option that we are interested in but have not yet done is roof top gardens. There are full roof systems that allow vegetation to grow on the roof and collet the rain water for the plants.  It’s popular in some European countries and is used in cities on skyscrapers, but I think it would be perfect for our pueblo style homes.

One sustainability feature of metal roofs is that about 95% of the metal from the old roof can be recycled which keeps it out of the landfill. 

What are some memorable projects?

We built a burial memorial structure at the Lama Foundation with copper shingles – each one was hand- made. That was one of our most interesting and unique projects.

We also did the re-roofing of the Bavarian at Taos Ski Valley last summer with fire-proof cedar shingles. It included the restaurant at about 10,000 square feet and an office building of around 4,000 square feet. We installed the roof for a new hotel addition at Los Poblanos outside of Albuquerque. 

What are you working on now?

We are doing a Pro-Panel roof for Lucas Construction on a territorial-style house with a pitched roof near Arroyo Seco and a new roof in El Salto. We are also working on the current phase of the Tewa Condos; we put roofs on the second phase a couple of years back.

Another current project is the temple at the Neem Karoli Baba Ashram in Taos. Its walls are circular, making for an interesting roofing challenge.

Are you revisiting any of the early projects you or your dad worked on?

Recently we were working on a roof in Angel Fire and came across a note from March, 1989 saying it was a cold and miserable day to be sitting on a roof and it was signed by our dad. 

How has the business changed over the last 43 years?

Estimates and invoicing has become much more formalized than it was in the early years of the construction business around Taos, when things were done with a handshake and a hand-written invoice. We’ve computerized the process and most of the estimating and invoicing is done by email now. We take insurance and safety requirements very seriously. We have a great safety record – only one accident in the last 25 years.

Trends for the future – what’s new for Collignon Roofing?

We moved into a new office a couple of months ago. Before that we were working out of our homes. We needed room for the trucks and to store material. Recently, we acquired an aerial drone that allows us to take photos of our projects. 

Solar shingles are coming. We have not yet installed a solar roof system. We are waiting for high quality materials to be available in New Mexico.

For more information, call (575) 758-1878 or visit www.collingnonroofing.com.

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