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Posted On: January 29, 2024

Cedar Shake Roof Maintenance Guide (2024 Overview)

When it comes to roofing materials, cedar shakes stand out as a timeless and natural choice. These rustic, wooden shingles have been used for centuries, adding character and charm to countless homes. However, like any roofing material, cedar shake roofs require regular maintenance to ensure their longevity and performance.

We are here today to help you explore:

  • What cedar shakes are
  • Their advantages and disadvantages
  • Tips for cedar shake roof maintenance
  • The installation cost
  • Common signs of damage

Understanding Cedar Shake Roofs

cedar shake roof

Before delving into cedar shake roof maintenance, it’s important to distinguish between cedar shakes and cedar shingles, as they are often confused.

Cedar Shakes:

  • Cedar shakes are thicker than shingles, giving them a more rugged appearance.
  • They are split or sawn from cedar logs, resulting in a textured and irregular surface.
  • Cedar shakes offer superior weather resistance and durability.

Cedar Shingles:

  • Cedar shingles are thinner and more uniform in thickness and width.
  • They are precisely cut from cedar blocks, creating a smoother, more uniform look.
  • Cedar shingles are less durable and may require more maintenance than shakes.

For the purposes of this guide, we will focus on cedar shakes.

Pros and Cons of Cedar Shake Roofs

Cedar shake roofs offerseveral advantages and disadvantages, which homeowners should consider before choosing this roofing material.

✅ Pros:

  • Aesthetic Appeal: Cedar shakes provide a natural and rustic look that adds charm and character to any home. They age gracefully and develop a beautiful silver-gray patina over time.
  • Insulation: Cedar shakes offer natural insulation properties, helping to regulate indoor temperatures and reduce energy costs.
  • Durability: Properly maintained cedar shake roofs can last 30-40 years or even longer, making them a long-term investment.
  • Eco-Friendly: Cedar is a sustainable and renewable resource, making cedar shake roofs an environmentally friendly choice.
  • Resistance to Insects and Decay: Cedar contains natural oils that repel insects and resist decay, adding to the longevity of the roof.

❌ Cons:

  • Maintenance: Cedar shake roofs require regular maintenance to prevent issues like moss growth, rot, and splitting.
  • Cost: Cedar shake roofs tend to be more expensive upfront compared to some other roofing materials.
  • Fire Risk: Cedar is not as fire-resistant as some other roofing materials, so additional fireproofing measures may be necessary in certain areas.
  • Vulnerability to Weather: Cedar shakes can warp, split, or crack in extreme weather conditions, such as hail or heavy storms.

How to Maintain Your Cedar Shake Roof in 7 Steps

To ensure the longevity and performance of your cedar shake roof, regular maintenance is essential. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to properly care for your roof:

1. Inspect Annually:

Perform a visual inspection of your cedar shake roof at least once a year. Look for signs of damage, including cracked or split shakes, loose or missing shingles, and areas with moss or algae growth.

2. Clean Moss and Algae:

If you notice moss or algae growth, remove it promptly. Use a soft-bristle brush or a pressure washer set on low pressure to gently clean the affected areas. Be cautious not to damage the shakes.

3. Replace Damaged Shakes:

Any damaged or split shakes should be replaced immediately. This will prevent further deterioration and maintain the integrity of the roof.

4. Apply Sealant or Preservatives:

To protect against moisture and UV damage, consider applying a cedar shake sealant or preservative every few years. This will enhance the roof’s resistance to decay and weathering.

5. Clear Debris:

Regularly remove leaves, branches, and debris from your roof. Accumulated debris can trap moisture and lead to rot.

6. Trim Overhanging Branches:

Trim any tree branches that hang over your cedar shake roof to prevent excess shade and debris buildup.

7. Ventilation:

Ensure proper attic ventilation to reduce moisture buildup and extend the life of your cedar shakes.

The Cost of Installing a Cedar Shake Roof

The cost ofinstalling a cedar shake roof can vary widely based on factors such as location, roof size, and the quality of the materials. On average, homeowners can expect to pay between $600 and $900 per square (100 square feet) for cedar shake roofing. This cost includes materials and labor.

It’s important to note that while cedar shakes may have a higher upfront cost compared to some other roofing materials, their longevity and natural insulation properties can make them a cost-effective choice in the long run.

Common Signs of Cedar Roof Damage

Regular inspections are key to identifying and addressing cedar roof damage promptly. Here are some common signs of damage to watch for:

  • Cracked or Split Shakes: Shakes that are cracked or split are vulnerable to moisture penetration and should be replaced.
  • Moss and Algae Growth: Moss and algae can trap moisture and accelerate decay. Clean and remove them as needed.
  • Cupping or Curling Shakes: Shakes that cup or curl at the edges are more susceptible to water infiltration.
  • Rot: Soft or spongy areas on the shakes indicate rot. Replace affected shakes immediately.
  • Missing Shakes: Missing shakes leave your roof vulnerable to leaks and should be replaced promptly.
  • Shingle Granules in Gutters: If you find granules from your cedar shakes in your gutters, it may indicate advanced weathering and the need for maintenance.
  • Mildew or Mold: Mildew and mold growth can affect the appearance of your roof and indicate moisture problems.
  • Sagging Roof: A sagging roof may signal structural issues that need immediate attention.

Get Help With Your Cedar Roof Maintenance Goals

long view of a cedar shake roof

Cedar shake roofs offer a unique blend of natural beauty, insulation, and durability. With proper maintenance and regular inspections, homeowners can enjoy the benefits of a cedar shake roof for decades. While the initial cost may be higher, the timeless appeal and environmental benefits make cedar shake roofs an attractive choice for those seeking a long-lasting and eco-friendly roofing solution. Remember to consult with a roofing professional for any repairs or maintenance beyond your expertise to ensure the continued integrity of your cedar shake roof.

Ready to make the switch to a cedar wood roof? Contact Northface Construction to learn more!


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