To anyone needing roofing work... I cannot recommend Westurn Roofing. I've had a serious issue with them that has not been rectified in approximately five years. Based in Minnesota, Westurn has several offices around the country. After the multiple hurricanes hit Florida, Westurn set up shop in south Florida.
The roof installed on my small wood-frame house by Westurn Roofing failed the required city inspections, the job was basically abandoned and their local office took no action to fix or pass it. The West Palm Beach office of Westurn Roofing eventually closed and I attempted to continue the dialogue with Jennifer Kokal at their Minneapolis, Minnesota office. They were unresponsive until I complained to the Better Business Bureau. A engineer they hired was finally sent to my home in 2007, but I was never provided with a report or corrective course of action, despite my numerous calls, faxes and certified letters to their office.
Apparently I was not the only area homeowner with a problem. Records in Palm Beach County and other counties (Martin) indicate they had a number of lawsuits filed against them (go to Palm Beach County Clerk of Courts and do a partial (check the "partial" box) name search For "Westurn" and/or "Balkins" - I found at least 7 cases in which Westurn was named as the defendant), and they also incurred substantial penalties from the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. After ceasing operations, Westurn Roofing officially closed their books and was dissolved as an entity in Florida in 2009.
Tom Balkins and Westurn Roofing have not only had problems in Florida, but in other states, including their home state of Minnesota. Be sure to visit Minnesota Judicial Branch and search court records for: Westurn* as a business and Balkins, T* as a party / defendant. Use the asterisk as a wildcard character in your search - it pulls in more results.
In 2009, I decided to publish my experiences with Westurn Roofing on this website. Instead of addressing the problems caused by the roof installed by Westurn, the owner Tom Balkins and his attorney quickly threatened me with a lawsuit for complaining about my experience. I stood my ground and asserted my right to free speech and the right to tell my story. The attorney then proposed that I temporarily take down my site and they would rectify the situation. I came to this agreement in good faith, but no such resolution has occurred since that time. So here we are once more.
Here's what did occur. After reaching the agreement with the attorney, Westurn Roofing later sent an employee down from Minnesota. He was a very professional guy and seemed genuinely interested in resolving the situation. He patched a few shingles on my roof where there was a major leak. I gave him with copies of the FAIL / "Not Approved" inspection tickets with details on what the building inspector found wrong with the roof. One of the inspector's main issues was the presence of so many shiners - i.e. nails that were indiscriminately tacked into the plywood sheathing in places other than into the studs and rafters. But before their man could approach the City Building Department to discuss our options to get the roof finally passed, the owner of Westurn, Tom Balkins, called him back to Minneapolis for no stated reason. Since then, it's been "we'll get an answer to you next week", "we are out of town", - or nothing at all. I am still waiting on an conclusion to this matter - five years since work was done and 1 1/2 years since they said they would finally take care of it.
In the meantime, I have been contacted by many dissatisfied customers of Westurn thanking me for publishing my experience. My goal is to help people not make the same mistake I did when choosing a roofer.
My experience with Westurn Roofing's Florida operation left a costly and frustrating situation on my hands, and by sharing my opinions and experiences with you, you can hopefully avoid getting into a similar pickle.
Complications arising directly from Westurn Roofing's roof have had enormous consequences on my life and my struggle to get my house done after the hurricanes. From 2008 to 2010, a 'Stop Work' order was in place on my house because the roof installed by Westurn was never approved or passed. In doing so, the Chief Building Inspector encouraged me to seek concrete action against Westurn Roofing. Upon review, the state DBPR found probable cause in my case against Westurn Roofing, but by the time they could bring the case up for a hearing, Westurn Roofing (and Tom Balkins) had already lost their license due to other documented violations and complaints (see here and here for examples) and left the state.
I had to put my belongings in storage since 2008 and rent another house for several months while the downstairs was being finished in 2008. Due to the subsequent Stop Work order because of the roof, I was not able to proceed rebuilding my upstairs or get exterior work finished. My insurance company notified they would drop me if I could not demonstrate that I had a finished roof on the house, and the Code Enforcement inspector said they could fine me if I could not show I had a finished and passed roof on my house. With no action forthcoming from Westurn Roofing, I could address none of this. You can imagine the frustration and despair I felt. What if this had happened to you?
I had no choice but to go ahead and hire a new roofer to tear off the roof Westurn Roofing installed - on my own dime - at a cost of well over $7K, but the new one was installed and passed with flying colors in a space of about 3 weeks or so. I expect nothing less from a roofer with whom I sign a contract, and that was my expectation when I signed the contract with Westurn.
Please check back later for an updated website with more information. If you have any questions, contact me at m r w a l l s t @ g m a i l . com and I'll be glad to elaborate.
The purpose of this non-commercial web page is to provide opinions and information about roofing and construction issues in Florida as well as verifiable and documented experiences with the services, workmanship and business practices of Westurn Roofing, Inc.. All opinions presented here are based on the experience of the author as well as documentation and public records from the City of Lake Worth Building Department, Southeast Florida Better Business Bureau, Palm Beach County Clerk & Comptroller, Florida Department of State - Division of Corporations and the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. This page has not been endorsed or approved by Westurn Roofing and Siding Inc., Westurn Cedar Supply, Inc., LS West LLC, Thomas Gregory Balkins or Gary Leonard West. All Westurn images and logos are used under Federal dilution statute concerning nominative Fair Use as noted in 15 U.S.C. § 1125(c)(3)(A). Further information or documentation regarding this case requested by other parties in good faith may be provided by writing to the email address listed above.