When an Iowa homeowner who worked in the construction industry dreamed of crowning his new Arts and Crafts-style house with a distinctive custom-made roof, he turned to one of the oldest and most experienced sheet metal firms in the area—Geisler Brothers Company of Dubuque, Iowa, founded in 1892.
“We’ve built a good reputation,” said company President Todd Geisler. “Quality workmanship speaks for itself.” Their client had built the house and even handled the shingling himself.
“He wanted a ‘wow’ factor, something unique,” Geisler said. “So, we placed matte black, 24-gage, 12-inch wide Pac-Clad flat architectural metal panels along the 280-square-foot overhang. We used the same panels for the 270-square-foot radius roof, curving them to fit the radius roof profile.”
The joint between the flat roof and the radius roof profile situated over the front entranceway presented the job’s biggest challenge. “The mitered cuts had to be precise,” Geisler explained. “Fortunately, we have very talented sheet metal workers. The man who handled the fittings, John Oldenburg, has over 40 years of sheet metal experience, and it’s all architectural.”
“We curved the panels for the radius roof on-site,” Geisler said. “Of course, if it rains or snows when you’re working on-site, the weather puts you back in the shop. There were rain days on this project.” The team used those rainy days to fabricate flashings in the shop, which allowed three workers to complete the roof in just 10 days.
With 125 years in the sheet metal industry, ownership of Geisler Brothers Co. has been passed down in a unique way through the generations. “The company always goes to two sons of the oldest son,” Geisler said. “My brother Scot and I are the fifth generation to run the business.”
The Geisler family has also built the firm by diversifying their services and growing with the times. “We are not only a sheet metal contractor,” Geisler said. ” We’re somewhat unique. When it comes to roofing, we cover all the bases—we might install tile, sheet metal, or shingles for pitched roofs, because they shed water well. Flat roofs collect rain and snow, so waterproof EPDM rubber (a synthetic rubber roofing membrane widely used in low-slope buildings) is the ideal application—it holds up the best over time.”
The company also does ductwork and maintenance for both residential and commercial HVAC systems along with custom sheet metal fabrication for homes and businesses.
This range of services enables Geisler Brothers to establish relationships with a variety of contractors. These strong bonds lead directly to new work opportunities, Geisler said, including the residence in Dubuque, Iowa.
Geisler Brothers developed the expertise to take on diverse projects over the years through expansion and modernization. In 1892, Joseph Geisler Sr. added a sheet metal shop to a hardware store, then split off the sheet metal business in 1903.
In the 1920s, the company diversified into slate, tile, and metal composition. They also built up their roofing work, offered a complete line of sheet metal work, did automobile body repair, and performed home insulation projects. In the 1930s, the company added ventilation and air conditioning services. In the 1970s and 1980s, they invested in machine tooling and computer technology.
This strategy of slow but steady growth gave Geisler Brothers the ability to purchase complementary companies during the last few decades. Each acquisition brought new customers and expanded access to new markets in surrounding cities.
Now Geisler Brothers has locations in Dubuque, Coralville, Dyersville, and Guttenburg, and serves customers in Dubuque’s Tri-State area, including parts of Iowa, Illinois, and Wisconsin.
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