From Catastrophe to Victory
Exterior Renovations, LLC creates success through roofing and a whole lot more
In 2015, a catastrophic fall from a roof left Larry Shaw with a dilemma. At the time, he had about 15 years’ experience as a roofing installer and had worked his way up to Project Manager, holding that position for 10 years. Beginning with residential installations, Shaw had added the commercial application end of things to his repertoire. “Things were looking pretty good until the unexpected happened,” Shaw says.
Both of Shaw’s heels, medically termed calcaneus, were shattered. After surgery, he was left with a plate inside each heel, 16 pins in his right foot and 21 pins in his left. That meant using a wheelchair for three months and then going into extensive physical therapy in order to learn to walk again.
“During that period, I realized that I had to make a change. Everyone asked me what I was going to do. Many addressed the proverbial elephant in the room: I wasn’t going to be able to get on a roof again,” Shaw says. “But rather than throw out everything I knew and all my experience, I decided to turn what seemed devastating to my advantage: I would set up my own business.” That revelation led to the founding of his company, Exterior Renovations, LLC, based in Clinton Township, Michigan, where he has proudly served as Owner and President since 2017.
Once he established the business name, he began going door to door handing out brochures and ended up getting jobs that way. He did more marketing as he went along, and the business evolved into the 20-person firm that it is today. “I wanted to build a company with the idea of excellent customer service, the best quality products producing longevity in its system, and the best warranties in the industry. That goal, in the end, is the integrity that Exterior Renovations is built on,” Shaw says.
Scope of Services
While normally working in the tri-county area of Macomb, Oakland and Wayne counties, Shaw says Exterior Renovations occasionally travels farther out as well. “Exterior Renovations recently received its MBE (Minority Business Enterprise) certification,” Shaw says. “And we have increased the scope of services offered while keeping a focus on commercial and residential roofing.” Exterior Renovations’ roofing services now include roof inspections as well as several kinds of commercial and residential applications of re-roofing and new construction, such as EPDM and TPO roofing systems and repair, PVC roofing systems, flat roofs, metal roofs and slate roofing alternatives. The company also does sheet metal and fabrication, aluminum gutters, and wood shake and siding installation and repair. It installs ventilation systems, chimney flashing, fascia, soffit and seamless gutters. Other services include blown-in insulation, window installation, decorative concrete and concrete sealing. Additions and add-ons are also an option for customers. “In general, we do everything needed to perform what the name implies—Exterior Renovations,” Shaw says.
Residential and Commercial Customers
The renovation of a home requiring many of these services received the CertainTeed Building Solutions Project of the Quarter award. It involved the addition of a dormer and extension of the porch. Shaw’s crew installed CertainTeed cedar impression siding with a PVC board for trim. The roof installation was a CertainTeed Landmark PRO shingle. The home got new gutters and stamped concrete on the porch, steps and walkway. “So, it was kind of like the whole front of the house was remodeled,” Shaw says.
The Veterans Affairs (VA) Center in Canton, Michigan, has been the company’s biggest project to date. The 55,000-square-foot building required roofing, gutters, sheet metal on parapet walls and gutters on the back of the building. It was also the team’s first experience with a government-funded project. “The VA clinic opportunity came through The Blue Book Building & Construction Network®. Without it, I would not have had the opportunity to bid on the job and win the bid. The Blue Book has given me access to the larger projects in the area,” Shaw says.
“The VA Center work went fairly smoothly,” he says. “We were able to get the membrane all laid out in a timely manner. We kept the project on schedule before the weather hit, considering we didn’t start until around the second week in November 2020.
“We also did the roof on the Tawheed Center gymnasium in Farmington Hills using the same application as the VA, which was a fully adhered TPO 60 mil but with 5.2 insulation and no hardboard. There is a 25-year no-dollar limit warranty on that one,” Shaw says.
During the summer of 2020, Shaw was watching the evening news when he saw a news segment featuring a lady in the community who had rainwater pouring into her home. She was uncomfortable inviting her grandkids to visit because of it. “I was able to reach out to her that night. Because I considered this an emergency, I immediately went over to her house and told her we were going to do the roof for free,” Shaw says. Then CertainTeed found out about it and because of Exterior Renovations’ relationship with the company, they donated the shingles. Once the follow-up to the news segment hit, the dumpster company that Shaw uses heard about it and donated the dumpster. “Initially, we were going to cover everything for her, but everyone chipped in and together we helped the lady enjoy entertaining her grandkids without sidestepping buckets of water,” Shaw says.
Goals and Growth
“Our No.1 goal is to provide top-notch customer service,” Shaw says. “We achieve that by staying in communication. We are on site so that we address any problems that occur during the process without delay,” he adds. Also, through apps like CompanyCam, the homeowners have access to photos during the project and can keep track of progress. Customers have responded with great reviews resulting in the company receiving Angie’s List Super Service Award in 2018.
On the commercial end, Exterior Renovations continues to grow every year. And on the residential side, which represents about 50% of its work, Shaw sees the company growing into a household name—the one to call for renovations and roofing. “We treat our customers as friends, not a sale. We want to create a solid relationship and go from there so they will call us back if they have any issues in the future. They’ll know they can count on us,” Shaw says.
“We are certified installers with CertainTeed,” he explains. “That means we can provide homeowners with the best warranty in the industry. CertainTeed will back our company for 25 years—labor and product,” Shaw says. If any problems occur, Exterior Renovations will come out and fix it under the warranty. With CertainTeed backing that warranty, even if the company went out of business, the customer could call CertainTeed and another contractor with the same credibility would come out and take care of the work for them. “We feel confident that our customers can rest assured with this kind of backing,” Shaw says.
“Our motto is ‘We are your weather protection specialist. We will protect your home and workplace from the extreme elements of Michigan’s weather presented by each season,’” Shaw says.
“We’re new; we’re growing and developing relationships while building quality projects,” Shaw says. “Although I can no longer physically climb a ladder because of the fall, I feel like I am still able to climb as I lead the development of this firm—each rung completed with satisfying success and the pride of achievement.”