Colorful Roofing Redefined

Once a spot where legendary characters of the Old West convened, McKinney, Texas has grown from its roots as one of the oldest towns in North Texas to become the site of a world-class, cutting-edge community. In this growing, affluent area just north of Dallas, Craig Ranch is a 2,200-acre New Urbanism community that embodies comfort, luxury, innovation and wellness.
An active, outdoor lifestyle is integral to the master-planned mixed-use development. The Ballfields at Craig Ranch is a 14-field baseball and softball facility. There are nearly as many soccer fields. Sections of the regional hiking and biking trail wind through. And a stroll around charming homes, tree-lined green spaces and pedestrian- friendly roadways brings you to the soft rush of cascading waterfalls and vibrant bronze sculptures inspired by western life.
Third-generation custom builder Sheldon Robinson, owner of Sheldon Robinson Custom Homes, is making a mark at Craig Ranch with standout houses. French influenced style, rugged sophistication and vibrant materials are hallmarks. Details include wrap-around balconies, distinctive weathervanes and finials, interior beams, and the rare North Texas basement.
Lining a street billed as the ‘most romantic’ in the region, one of Robinson’s homes even creates that ambience with six sets of French doors on the home’s façade, with accompanying shutters.
A unique key to Robinson’s romantic homes is the bold color used to create innovative roofs. It’s common for these roofs to feature five or more colors. Robinson uses InSpire Roofing Products as his exclusive composite slate material, which is available in a broad palette of 25 colors.
“With the product I previously used, we were very limited with colors. With InSpire, we mixed a variety of different patterns together to come up with what we believe really represented the look we were after,” Robinson says.
“I think a lot of people don’t even realize that option’s available. The multi-colors were a desire of ours. I wanted to do it for our houses because when people pull up to see a home, it just presents a whole different look. When people see that roof, they’re just – pardon the pun – inspired. It delivers more of an authentic slate look.”
Mark Kimrey, president of MK Custom Roofing, is Robinson’s Craig Ranch roofing contractor and originally recommended InSpire. “I liked it because it has great variety – more than just basic green, brown, black and grey. You can mix InSpire’s premium, standard and blended-colors.”
Kimrey remembers first exploring out-of-the-box possibilities. “Sheldon isn’t afraid to roll the dice,” he says. “Normally, when you do a mixture, you do three or four colors – not seven. I was very nervous when he approached me on that. I said ‘okay,’ and we sat down and I brought all these different colors. We laid them out on the carpet and started doing the mixture. And I said ‘you have seven colors here, and I actually think it’s going to work.’ It was very surprising and it really turned out great.”
One home’s roof even has a spectrum of eight different colors, including Red Clay, Chestnut Brown and Stone Black. Three out of the four distinct grey hues that InSpire produces are also used on that roof. With an eight-colored roof, says Robinson, “that’s not necessarily something a client even thinks about unless he sees what’s available. We can lay out a pattern and show him, and say ‘here’s the concept, here’s what’s interesting,’ as opposed to a typical all-black or grey roof.”
To generate ideas like this, Robinson says one of the things he likes to do with clients is simply sit down and get to know them through an interview “It’s not just about what they necessarily want in a house, but what is their lifestyle? What do they enjoy?”
This allows for both functional, beautiful exteriors and interiors. For a hunting-enthusiast, Robinson built a climate-controlled storage room and a hidden room for firearms and trophy mounts. For those who love to cook, he may put in a full-galley, professional kitchen. On the flipside, it could be a very small kitchen or one separated from the home for a client who might have cooking staff.
The desired result is to make a striking and enjoyable difference. “With our multi-colored roofs, I don’t think most people would look up and say ‘look at that roof, it’s incredible, I can’t believe how many different colors they have.’ I think most people would just look at that house and say ‘wow that really is an awesome-looking house.’ And that’s our goal. The average homeowner who walks into the house may not even understand why it’s different, but he’ll just know it’s different,” Robinson says.
The builder has received many comments on his roofs. “A lot of people think it’s actually real slate because of the color and how authentic it looks. InSpire really shines for us,” Robinson adds. “In communities that require a slate or slate-type product, it’s very desirable. The people at InSpire were willing to go above and beyond to get us all the different samples and color ranges. They really worked with us.”
The builder also appreciates In- Spire’s green factors, including the lifetime warranty. The tiles themselves contain recycled content, and are crafted of compressed limestone and virgin resins.
“Green building is something people are definitely interested in. It also helps clients understand how you build a whole home and your concern in taking the time to use more green-friendly products,” Robinson notes. “On sites, we’ll even have different dumpsters. Wood is separated from regular trash and ground up for mulch. Concrete and masonry product are ground up for road base.”
InSpire’s efficiency also contributes to sustainable construction. “Slate weighs about a thousand pounds a square, whereas InSpire weighs just like you’re putting a 30-year product on your house,” Kimrey explains. “You don’t have to do anything special. With slate, you’ve got to beef up the roofing system, which adds more to the framing pack.”
In 2008, two of Robinson’s Craig Ranch homes had slate roofs and six had InSpire. “When you break down the cost of material and labor, InSpire is less than half the cost of natural slate. It’s just enormously easier to use. Slate tiles are brittle, fragile and heavy. Just cutting and fitting them is a big difference. With InSpire, the installers can do big houses considerably quicker.” One reason Kimrey recommends InSpire is because you don’t have to blend it. “Typically, when roof tiles are delivered, if you have four or five palettes on the ground, you’d have to take one bundle per palette and shuffle it like a deck of cards to put it on the roof. If you didn’t, you’d end up with darker spots on the roof where you could actually tell the difference,” Kimrey says. He also notes InSpire’s Class 4 hail rating and the fact that many homeowners are interested in that protection. “With some composite shingle brands on Class 4 roofs, I’m not really sold on them withstanding a Texas storm,” says Kimrey. “I’m the kind of guy that sticks my nose into things. With InSpire, you can take that product and you can bend it from end to end. If you did that with other composites, they would break. If you could break a brand new shingle now, you have to ask ‘what will it do in a year,’ after it’s more brittle? I’ve broken other brands over my leg, products with a 50-year warranty. I know InSpire is very durable. As far as a Class 4 product, I truly believe in InSpire being impactresistant against a Texas hailstorm.“ Kimrey notes another durability factor with color. “We did two houses in the same area, the first with a different composite before InSpire was available. The later one was with InSpire. About a year after, we went to the first house, and it was a duller-looking color than the original - a chalky-looking color not as attractive as first installed. When you go to the InSpire product a year later, it looks like we just put it on the other day. I don’t know how they do it, but it doesn’t lose its color.” “A big reason why I recommend it is because it’s a lifetime roof,” adds Robinson. “Once you put it on, you’re done.“ With 15 years in the roofing industry, Kimrey ultimately cites the number zero when he talks about InSpire. “I haven’t had any callbacks. As far as discoloring, or fall-offs, I just haven’t had any callbacks since I’ve been installing it,” he says. “That’s a lot fewer than other brands, and that’s always a factor to a roofer and builder.”
Inspire by Boral is a U.S. Green Building Council Member. For more information, visit: or call 1-800-971-4148.