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6 Best Cedar Shake Roof Maintenance Tips

When it comes to roofing materials, cedar shake stands out for its natural beauty and durability. However, to ensure that your cedar shake roof retains its charm and remains structurally sound for years to come, it requires regular maintenance.

In this guide, we’ll take you through:

  • What cedar shakes are
  • Why they demand extra care
  • Essential cedar shake roof maintenance tips
  • Signs indicating the need for replacement
  • When to seek professional assistance
  • The cost associated with installing a cedar shake roof

Understanding Cedar Shakes

Cedar shakes are wooden shingles made from split logs. They are commonly crafted from Western Red Cedar, which is prized for its natural resistance to decay, insects, and harsh weather conditions. The manufacturing process involves splitting the cedar logs into thin sections, resulting in individual shakes that showcase the wood’s unique grain patterns and rustic appearance.

Why Cedar Shakes Need Extra Maintenance

damaged cedar roof

While cedar shakes boast exceptional durability, they are still susceptible to wear and tear over time. Several factors contribute to the need for extra maintenance:

  • Weather Exposure: Cedar shake roofs are constantly exposed to the elements, including sunlight, rain, snow, and wind. Prolonged exposure can lead to deterioration and discoloration of the wood.
  • Mold and Mildew Growth: Moisture retention in cedar shakes can create an ideal environment for mold and mildew to thrive. Without proper maintenance, these organisms can cause wood rot and compromise the integrity of the roof.
  • Wood Decay: Over time, cedar shakes may experience decay due to fungal growth or insect infestation. Regular maintenance helps identify and address these issues before they escalate.

6 Maintenance Tips to Follow

To prolong the lifespan of your cedar shake roof and maintain its aesthetic appeal, consider implementing the following maintenance practices:

1) Regular Inspections:

Schedule periodic inspections of your cedar shake roof, ideally twice a year. Look for signs of damage, including cracked or split shakes, mold growth, and areas of wood decay.

2) Clean Debris:

Remove debris such as leaves, branches, and dirt from the roof surface regularly. Accumulated debris can trap moisture and promote the growth of mold and mildew.

3) Trim Overhanging Branches:

Trim tree branches that hang over the roof to prevent them from scraping against the shakes or depositing debris onto the roof.

4) Gentle Cleaning:

Use a soft-bristled brush or a low-pressure hose to clean the surface of the cedar shakes. Avoid high-pressure washing, as it can damage the wood fibers.

5) Apply Protective Coatings:

Consider applying a sealant or wood preservative to protect the cedar shakes from moisture penetration and UV damage. Consult with a professional to choose the appropriate product for your roof.

6) Replace Damaged Shakes:

Promptly replace any cracked, split, or damaged cedar shakes to prevent further deterioration and maintain the roof’s integrity.

Signs That You Need to Replace Your Cedar Shingles

old cedar shingles

Despite regular maintenance, there may come a time when replacing your cedar shingles becomes necessary. Keep an eye out for the following signs:

  • Excessive Splitting or Cracking: If a significant portion of the cedar shakes shows signs of splitting or cracking, it may indicate that the wood has reached the end of its lifespan and requires replacement.
  • Widespread Mold or Mildew Growth: Extensive mold or mildew growth, especially if it penetrates deep into the wood, can compromise the structural integrity of the shakes and necessitate replacement.
  • Wood Rot: Soft or spongy spots on the cedar shakes are indicative of wood rot, which can weaken the roof’s support system. Replacement is essential to prevent further damage.
  • Curling or Cupping: Cedar shakes that exhibit pronounced curling or cupping may no longer provide effective weather protection. Replacement is recommended to maintain the roof’s functionality.

When to Call a Professional

While some cedar shake maintenance tasks can be performed by homeowners, certain issues require the expertise of a professional roofer. Consider seeking professional assistance in the following scenarios:

Extensive Damage:

If your cedar shake roof has sustained significant damage or deterioration, enlist the services of a professional roofer to assess the extent of the damage and recommend appropriate solutions.

Complex Repairs:

Repairs involving structural issues or intricate roofing components should be handled by experienced professionals to ensure safety and efficacy.

Sealant Application:

Applying sealants or protective coatings to cedar shakes requires precision and expertise to achieve optimal results. Professional roofers have the necessary equipment and skills to perform this task effectively.

Roof Replacement:

When it’s time to replace your cedar shake roof, enlist the services of a reputable roofing contractor with experience in cedar shake installation. Professional installation ensures that your new roof meets quality standards and performs reliably for years to come.

The Cost to Install a Cedar Shake Roof

The cost of installing a cedar shake roof can vary depending on various factors, including the size of the roof, labor costs, and the quality of materials used. On average, homeowners can expect to pay between $9 and $12 per square foot for cedar shake installation. However, it’s essential to consider the long-term value and durability that cedar shakes offer compared to other roofing materials.

While the initial cost of cedar shake installation may be higher than that of asphalt shingles or metal roofing, cedar shakes provide a timeless aesthetic appeal and exceptional durability that can enhance the value of your home and reduce long-term maintenance expenses.

Learn More About Cedar Roof Maintenance

Cedar shake roofs are prized for their natural beauty and durability, but they require regular maintenance to ensure longevity and structural integrity. By following the maintenance tips outlined in this guide and staying vigilant for signs of damage, you can preserve the beauty and functionality of your cedar shake roof for years to come.

Remember to consult with a professional roofer for complex repairs or roof replacement projects, and consider the long-term value that cedar shakes offer when investing in your home’s roofing system. With proper care and attention, your cedar shake roof will continue to protect and enhance your home for generations.

Contact Shake Guys today to learn everything you need to know about a cedar roof!

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