new installed cedar shake roof

Posted On: November 23, 2023

Cedar Shake Roof (Installation Guide)

Cedar shake roofs have graced homes for centuries, offering a timeless and rustic charm that never goes out of style. These natural wood roofing materials are prized for their unique aesthetics and durability. But are they right for you?

In this deep dive, we’ll explore:

  • The pros and cons of a cedar shake roof
  • Proper installation methods
  • The costs involved
  • Valuable maintenance tips

Think cedar roof shingles might be the right choice for your home? Keep reading to find out.

✅ Pros of Cedar Shake Roofs

blue sky against cedar shake roof

There are lots of reasons why homeowners choose to invest in a new cedar shake roof. Here are just a few of them:

  • Aesthetic Appeal: Cedar shake roofs exude rustic charm and natural beauty. The unique texture and warm, reddish-brown tones of cedar create a visually striking roofing option that complements a variety of architectural styles, from traditional to modern.
  • Longevity: When properly maintained, cedar shake roofs can last for decades. The natural oils in cedar wood act as a natural preservative, protecting it from decay and insect damage. With regular maintenance, cedar shake roofs can endure for 30-50 years or more.
  • Insulation: Cedar wood offers excellent insulation properties, helping to regulate indoor temperatures. This can lead to energy savings by reducing heating and cooling costs throughout the year.
  • Eco-Friendly: Cedar shake roofs are a sustainable choice. Cedar trees are fast-growing and renewable, making them an eco-friendly roofing material. Additionally, cedar roofs are biodegradable, reducing their environmental impact at the end of their lifespan.
  • Resilience to Severe Weather: Cedar shake roofs are known for their resilience in harsh weather conditions. They have a natural ability to withstand heavy rains, strong winds, and even hail, making them suitable for regions prone to severe weather events.

❌Cons of Cedar Shake Roofs

Despite the wide range of benefits, there are certainly some downsides of cedar shake roofs to consider, including:

  • Cost: Cedar shake roofs tend to be more expensive upfront compared to some other roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles. However, their durability and longevity can offset the initial investment over time.
  • Maintenance Intensity: Cedar shake roofs require regular maintenance to preserve their appearance and longevity. This includes cleaning, staining, and periodic replacement of damaged shakes. Neglecting maintenance can lead to issues like rot and mold growth.
  • Fire Risk: Cedar shake roofs are not fire-resistant, which can be a concern in areas prone to wildfires. To mitigate this risk, fire-resistant treatments can be applied, but these may require additional maintenance.
  • Susceptibility to Mold and Mildew: Cedar shake roofs can develop mold and mildew in humid climates or areas with limited sunlight. Proper ventilation and cleaning are essential to prevent mold growth.

Installation Process, Step by Step

Proper installation is crucial to ensure the longevity and performance of your cedar shake roof. Here’s a general outline of the installation process:

1) Preparation:

Begin by preparing the roof deck, ensuring it is clean, dry, and free of any debris. Install an appropriate underlayment or moisture barrier to protect against water infiltration.

2) Shingle Selection:

Select high-quality cedar shakes that are pressure-treated or naturally resistant to decay and insects. Shakes should be of uniform thickness and free from defects.

3) Installation:

Shakes are typically installed in overlapping courses, with each shake covering a portion of the one below it. Nails should be driven into the shakes at the designated nailing line, and the installation pattern should follow manufacturer guidelines.

4) Ventilation:

Proper ventilation is essential to prevent moisture buildup in the attic or roof space. Ridge and soffit vents should be installed to allow air circulation.

5) Flashing and Ridge Caps:

Install flashing around roof penetrations such as chimneys and vents. Finish the roof with ridge caps to provide additional protection and create a finished look.

Cost of Cedar Shake Roofs

The cost of a cedar shake roof replacement can vary significantly depending on various factors, including the quality of the cedar shakes, the complexity of the installation, and the region’s labor costs. On average, expect to pay between $600 to $1,200 per square (100 square feet) for cedar shake roofing materials and installation.

Keep in mind that while the initial cost may be higher than some other roofing materials like asphalt shingles, the long-term savings in energy costs and the extended lifespan of cedar shake roofs can make them a cost-effective choice over time. Additionally, the aesthetic appeal of cedar shake roofs can add value to your home.

6 Maintenance Tips for Cedar Shake Roofs

part of house with cedar shake siding

Proper maintenance is essential to ensure the longevity and beauty of your cedar shake roof. Here are some tips to help you care for your cedar shake roof:

1) Regular Cleaning

Periodically remove debris, leaves, and moss from the roof surface. Use a soft-bristle brush or a leaf blower to avoid damaging the shakes. Regular cleaning helps prevent moisture retention and the growth of mold and algae.

2) Staining and Sealing

Apply a quality wood stain or sealer to the cedar shakes every few years to protect against UV damage and water absorption. This will help maintain the wood’s natural color and prevent premature aging.

3) Inspect for Damage

Routinely inspect your cedar shake roof for damaged or loose shakes. Replace any damaged shakes promptly to prevent water infiltration and further damage to the roof structure.

4) Treat for Mold and Mildew

In areas prone to mold and mildew, consider applying a fungicide treatment to prevent their growth. Proper ventilation and sunlight exposure can also help reduce these issues.

5) Fire Protection

If you live in a wildfire-prone area, consider applying a fire-resistant treatment to your cedar shakes. Check local building codes and regulations for specific requirements.

6) Trim Overhanging Branches

Trim or remove overhanging tree branches that can deposit leaves and debris onto your roof. This will help prevent clogs and reduce the risk of mold and algae growth.

Work With a Reliable Team

Cedar shake roofs offer a timeless and aesthetically pleasing roofing option with numerous advantages, including durability, energy efficiency, and eco-friendliness. However, they do require regular maintenance and come with a higher initial cost compared to some other roofing materials.

At Northface Construction, we have years of experience behind us, that allows us to properly install your cedar shake roof for maximum durability. Ready to take on your roof replacement? Contact us today to get started!


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