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Top 7 Common Roofing Questions Answered by Experts: A Guide for West Michigan Property Owners

roof inspection

Hey there, West Michigan property owners! As an experienced roofing contractor specializing in residential roofing services, I understand the unique challenges our region’s climate poses for roofs. In this article, we’ll dive into answering the top seven common roofing questions you may have, providing expert advice and personal anecdotes to help you make informed decisions about your roof. So, let’s get started and ensure your roof is ready to weather the storms!

How often should I inspect my roof in West Michigan?

When it comes to the harsh weather conditions we experience in West Michigan, regular roof inspections are crucial. If you are able to safely inspect your roof or complete maintenance on this area of your home be sure to take photos of areas of concern to watch overtime. Areas to keep an eye on are any areas of high water flow (valleys, eaves, transitions) and flashings (chimneys, wall lines, etc.).

If you’re not regularly on your roof or this area of your home I would recommend scheduling a professional inspection at least once every few years, this can help in addressing common roofing questions before they evolve into a larger issue. However, that’s not to say you should ignore your roof for the rest of those in between years.

Conducting visual inspections every few months can help you catch any potential issues early on including being sure gutters are properly draining. Water drainage off of your roof is key and we need to be sure the water distribution system is working properly. Contact Character for more information and a free evaluation on both the roof and gutter systems.

Video: Roof Tune-Up

What are the most common roofing issues in West Michigan?

West Michigan is known for its unpredictable weather, and our roofs bear the brunt of it. Snow and ice damage are common culprits during winter, causing leaks and structural damage. After a severe storm, wind damage can result in missing or loose shingles. Algae and moss growth may also become problematic due to the damp conditions. Additionally, condensation and ventilation issues can lead to premature aging of your roof.

algae on shingles

Being aware of these common roofing questions will help you address them promptly. All of these items relate to the freeze and thaw of our West Michigan weather and can be addressed in some ways pre-emptively and others during roof replacement. It is important to know some of these basics that may affect your roof so that you know when it may be time for repairs or replacement without having to have water dropping on your head to know its time to call a professional roofing contractor.

What are the best roofing materials for West Michigan properties?

When it comes to roofing materials in West Michigan, there are a few reliable options to consider. Asphalt shingles are a popular choice due to their affordability, durability, and ability to withstand our region’s climate. Metal roofing (depending on the structure) is another great option, known for its longevity and energy efficiency when properly installed.

If you’re looking for a more unique and upscale choice including recycled options Malarkey or GAF Armorshield II rubber roofing can add protection long term to your home. Consider factors such as cost, durability, and aesthetics when selecting the best material for your property.

How can I extend the lifespan of my roof in West Michigan?

Ventilation. Maintaining your roof properly is key to maximizing its lifespan. Regular maintenance practices, such as cleaning gutters, removing debris, and trimming overhanging tree branches, can prevent damage caused by clogged gutters or falling branches.

Additionally, addressing any ventilation or lack of insulation are huge for the life cycle of your homes roof. The build up of excess heat and moisture on the underside of the roof can and will cause the roof to fail faster and can cause energy loss and possibly mold if air does not properly circulate and ventilate out of the structure.

For instance, I once had a homeowner who had a new vent fan installed during a bathroom update with a handyman… He did not properly connect the vent fan to properly exhaust out of the roof causing mold in the attic from the bathroom exhaust and hot wet air being blown into the attic. The bottom of the roof deck and the framing inside the attic of this home looked like they were wrapped in old shag carpet.

Don’t make the same mistake—nipping problems in the bud saves you time and money in the long run so stay diligent with maintenance items and if needed call in a professional for help with the high up stuff!

Can I install a new roof over my existing one in West Michigan?

While overlaying a new roof over an existing one can seem like a cost-effective solution, it’s essential to consider the specific circumstances of your West Michigan property. In some cases, it may be feasible and approved by local building codes. However, in almost all instances it’s better to remove the existing roof before installing a new one.

For example, if there are multiple layers of old roofing or significant damage, a clean slate is required to get back to building code compliance and manufacturer warranties. When you add an additional course to the roof of the home you are failing to address and update the roof using technology that did not exist 25+ years ago or was not commonly used.

If cost and longevity are not items you are concerned with then it can be done and will often last 8-15 years depending on the quality of the installation and the structures ventilation and current condition. Consult with a professional roofing contractor to determine the best course of action for your roof, ask for photos and get multiple estimates so you can understand different approaches to your roofs needs.

How can I improve the energy efficiency of my roof in West Michigan?

Energy efficiency is becoming increasingly important, both for the environment and your wallet. When it comes to your roof, proper insulation is vital to reducing heat loss during the cold winter months.

Adequate ventilation also plays a significant role in maintaining an energy-efficient roof. A well-ventilated roof prevents excessive heat buildup in the summer, reducing the strain on your cooling system. Consider energy-efficient solutions that can be retrofit into an existing roof such as ridge venting a gabled roof, mechanical fans to cycle out warm air, adding insulation to the attic of the home, opening and ensuring good air flow in from the soffit under the eaves of the home into the upper levels of the roof.

I remember a customer who noticed a significant decrease in their energy bills after upgrading their insulation and installing what are called sleepers or a cool air cavity under the roof deck and before the roofing materials are applied. This systems creates a new thermal envelope for a home with no attic space and cathedral ceilings, this has been a huge reduction in heat during summer months for this home—proof that investing in energy efficiency pays off in the long term.

What should I look for when hiring a roofing contractor in West Michigan?

Professional. Reliable. Local. Quality. When it’s time for roof repairs or a full replacement, choosing the right roofing contractor is crucial. Look for state licensed credentials and manufacturer certifications to ensure the contractor is qualified and licensed to work in West Michigan.

Local experience is also valuable since it demonstrates their understanding of the unique challenges the homes in our area presents. Don’t be shy about asking for references and testimonials to gauge the quality of their work. A reliable contractor will be happy to provide them, and it’s worth the extra effort to ensure you’re making the best choice for your roof.

Ensure your roofing contractor has General Liability and Workers Compensation insurance and that the policies are active and not just printed on a piece of paper. Checking these references to be valid is huge and not something that any homeowner wants to deal with on the bad end… I’ve seen it and it’s a bad situation use local reputable roofing companies and you’ll be fine!

Read More: Your Essential Checklist When Hiring a Roofing Contractor


West Michigan property owners, I hope this article has addressed some of your common roofing questions and provided you with valuable insights, please check out our other blogs for more information. Remember, regular inspections even visual from the ground, addressing common issues promptly, and choosing the right materials are key to keeping your roof in top shape and saving you money.

By taking care of your roof, you’re protecting your investment and ensuring your home remains safe and comfortable for years to come. If you’re ever in doubt or need professional assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to a reputable roofing contractor Character Exteriors. Thanks for reading and check out our videos on Youtube for other information about projects and home maintenance.

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