World-class roofing from Roofsmith Restoration

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Mike Farist, who founded Northeast Ohio’s Roofsmith Restoration in 2010, employs Haag-certified inspectors and uses top-ranked materials. But that’s just the beginning of his insistence on excellence. (Photography: Benjamin Margalit)

By Mitch Allen

When you speak with Roofsmith Restoration founder Mike Farist about the dignity of work, he sounds a lot like Mike Rowe from the hit television series “Dirty Jobs.” He’s passionate, professional and determined.

“A lot of kids head off to college because they think that’s what they’re supposed to do,” he says. “Then they graduate with a load of student debt and can’t find a decent-paying job. Meanwhile, if they had gone into the trades, they could already be making six figures and own a home.”

Mike says he knows young attorneys and young tradespeople.

“The tradespeople are making more money than the lawyers,” he says.

Roofsmith attracts top-quality employees precisely because of its founder’s work ethic. Mike pays his employees well, trains them relentlessly, and maintains a culture of growth and respect.

And it’s paying off.

According to the independent research firm GuildQuality, which has surveyed every Roofsmith customer over the past six years, Mike’s company has a 94% referral rate—the best in the country. But let’s put that in perspective. In an industry where Roofing Magazine says 62% of homeowners would NOT recommend their roofer, 94% of Mike’s customers would.

In addition, Roofsmith is a regular Angie’s List Super Service Award winner, including in 2016, 2017 and 2018, maintains an A+ BBB rating, and has twice been named Northeast Ohio’s Best Roofer. Plus, the company is an Owens Corning Roofing Platinum Preferred Contractor, which means they can offer their customers an enviable lifetime warranty.

And because Roofsmith employees are salaried project managers instead of commissioned salespeople, you won’t feel pressure to “sign today.”

Women in Roofing
As a part of founder Mike Farist’s commitment to attract top talent into the trades, he’s focused on bringing more women into the roofing industry. His current staff includes women in administration, project management and even on the roof.

“The trades are an ideal career for many people, including women,” Mike says.

“Instead of getting stuck with student loan debt or making near minimum wage in food service or retail, you can learn to be a roofer and make an attractive wage and be there for your family. And as a tradesperson, your job can never be outsourced to China or replaced by AI or a robot. We offer a good salary, training, flexibility, and a safe work environment where every employee is valued and respected.”

The Wind Storm of February 24
Remember the wind storm we had back in February? It affected all of Northeast Ohio and has been officially declared a “catastrophe.” That means virtually every homeowner should have their roof inspected.

Personally, I lost eight ridge shingles during that storm and invited Roofsmith project manager Eric Carpenter to come check it out. Unlike many roof inspectors who simply glance up at the shingles, Eric spent a good deal of time reviewing every aspect of my roof, including the shingles, chimney, counter flashing, pipe boots, drip edge, etc. I didn’t have enough damage to file a claim, so I took advantage of Roofsmith’s $299 “roof tune-up.” They replaced my ridge shingles, repaired a gutter issue, and caulked several areas, including a leak that had for years been giving me grief every time I sat out on my back porch.

But just because I didn’t have significant damage, doesn’t mean you don’t. You should call Roofsmith to inspect your roof, especially if you see a leak or have found shingles in your flower beds. That’s never a good thing.

If you do have damage, the folks at Roofsmith are absolute bulldogs when it comes to getting your new roof covered by your insurance company. Daily, they are on the phone arguing with insurance adjusters or at the post office mailing another damaged shingle to another industry laboratory.

“They’re going to deny you,” Mike says. “Or they’re going to offer you $300 to replace a few shingles that don’t match the rest of your roof. It’s unconscionable. That won’t even cover your deductible.”

Mike and his team are also Haag-certified inspectors, which means they know precisely how wind, rain, hail and sunlight affect shingles—and insurance companies trust their judgement.

You have only 6-12 months to file a storm-damage claim with your insurance company, and three months have already past.

Continuous Improvement
In February, Mike and his team attended the International Roofing Expo to stay current on industry trends, and in March he joined an elite national contractors network, spending two weeks in Baltimore to learn how to implement best practices. For example, instead of their job estimates reading “replace roof,” Mike’s customers receive a multi-page, detailed quote explaining exactly what his company is going to do. In addition, when you call to make an appointment, you can download an app and watch the estimator’s vehicle approaching on mapping software similar to tracking an Uber driver.

“That way, you don’t have to sit around your house waiting on us,” Mike says. “When you see us getting close, you can head for home and meet us. Like every business, roofing is all about the customer experience.”

Mike is also meticulous about the materials he uses, including synthetic underlayment instead of flimsy tar paper, and hot-dipped, ring-shank nails that hold better than smooth-shank nails and will never rust.

Roofsmith also installs seamless aluminum gutters custom-made on-site. And Mike says his leaf protection system comes in at $8 a foot—not the $13-$22 other systems charge.

Roofsmith Restoration is headquartered in West Akron at 122 Western Avenue (near Ken Stewart’s Grille), but the company serves all of Northeast Ohio. For a free estimate or roof inspection, visit and complete an easy online estimate form or call 330-822-4245.