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Choosing the Best Local Roofing Contractor: A Step-By-Step Guide

local roofing contractor

Hello, fellow West Michigan resident! If you’re reading this, chances are you’re in need of a roofing contractor, whether it’s for a minor repair or a complete roof overhaul. I know how overwhelming this process can be, as I’ve been in the industry for over two decades now. Don’t worry, though, I’ve got your back. In this guide, I’ll walk you through the process of choosing a top-notch local roofing contractor that will serve your needs and withstand our unique weather conditions.

Understanding the Unique Challenges of Roofing in West Michigan

We West Michiganders know a thing or two about weather, don’t we? Our beautiful state dishes out all four seasons in style, from hot summers to snowy winters. This puts our roofs through their paces, and I’ve seen my share of weather-beaten homes that bear testament to this.

Environmental Factors

The wind, snow, and ice can lead to common issues like leaky roofs or damaged shingles. The contractor you choose should not only understand these potential problems but also have solutions tailored for them. I remember working on a job where the previous contractor had used a material unsuited for a low slope roof facet, leading to ponding water and major leaks! It was an unfortunate situation, but it served as a stark reminder of the importance of local knowledge.

Defining Your Roofing Needs

It’s crucial to identify what you need before you start shopping around for contractors. This will help you communicate effectively with potential hires and compare their offers. Factors such as work scope and the complexity of your roof are very important to communicate to your contactor to find the right fit. Some contractors will offer auxiliary services such as guttering or siding services which may be pivotal to completing your roofing project to its full potential. Be leery of contractors only offering selective roofing services as they often use lesser qualified subcontractors and could be looking for an easy shingle project to cash in on (not what you want!).

Common Roof Damages

From my experience, most West Michigan roofs fall prey to leaks, damaged or missing shingles, or ice dams. Sometimes, a simple repair will do the trick, but in other instances, a complete replacement might be the more cost-effective solution in the long run. It is important to allow a qualified local roofing contractor to get on the roof and provide photo or video documentation of the damages and solutions on how to correct.

Roofing Materials

When it comes to materials, options like asphalt shingles or metal roofs tend to perform well in our climate. However, the right choice can vary based on specific factors like your home’s architectural style and your budget. A good contractor will be able to advise you on this and walk you through the options that would be best suited for your West Michigan roofing replacement needs.

Identifying Potential Local Roofing Contractors

Now that you know what you need, it’s time to find someone who can deliver it. Start by asking for recommendations from neighbors, friends, or family members. Check online listings and reviews too. Trust me, there’s no shortage of talented contractors in our local area. The key is to find someone who’s a good fit for you and your specific project.

Verifying Licensing, Insurance, and Certifications

One thing I’ve learned over the years is that the right credentials can make all the difference.

Licensing and Insurance

Ensure your potential contractor has the necessary state of Michigan licensing, and is adequately insured with general liability and workers compensation insurances. This protects you from potential liabilities during the project and highlights a responsible quality contractor. I’ve heard stories of homeowners left high and dry when a project went south, and the contractor had no insurance or license. Don’t let that be you.


Certain certifications, such as Owens Corning Silver or GAF Master Elite®, indicate a local roofing contractor’s commitment to quality and ongoing education in their field. These certifications also highlight a contractor who is willing to provide long term warranties backed by industry leading manufacturers.

Checking References and Reviews

Once you’ve got a shortlist, take the time to delve a bit deeper. Read online reviews, request references, and take a look at their previous work. I once had a client tell me that they chose me because of a photo they saw of a roof I’d repaired that was similar to theirs – proof that the portfolio matters!

Requesting and Comparing Estimates

Ask your shortlisted contractors for a detailed work scope estimate. Make sure it includes everything – labor, materials, and any other costs. I’ve seen clients surprised by ‘hidden’ costs that weren’t included in the original quote. A good contractor will ensure you know exactly what you’re paying for.

Understanding the Contract

When you’ve chosen a contractor, they’ll provide a contract. Review it thoroughly and make sure it includes the scope of work, cost, and timeline. If anything looks off or confusing, don’t hesitate to ask for clarification. Trust me, it’s better to clear things up at the start than to be surprised later on.

The Role of Communication in a Successful Project

Over the years, I’ve learned that good communication is just as important as good craftsmanship. You want a contractor who will keep you updated, address your concerns, and be accessible throughout the project. Remember, this is your home, and you deserve to be in the loop. At Character Exteriors we use the customer portal to keep customers up to date on their projects and allows them to communicate with our team 24/7 in case a question comes up.


Well, there you have it – a step-by-step guide to choosing the best local roofing contractor. Remember, this decision is an investment in your home and your peace of mind. With a bit of research and the right questions, you’ll be well on your way to finding a professional who can give your home the protection it needs. Happy hunting and here’s to a sturdy roof over your head!

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