Fun Facts About Cedar
Here are a few fun facts about cedar that owners of cedar shake roofs might like to know and impress guests with.
- The word “cedar” actually refers to the wood from at least a dozen or more different trees from around the world. Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata) is the most popular choice for roofing but white cedar and yellow cedar have also become popular choices.
- Sustainable cedar roofs are environmentally friendly. Although forests are thinned by the removal of old growth timber, the modern practices used are a low impact to the environment, especially when compared to most of the other roofing types.
- Cedar roofs are typically warrantied for 20-30 years but can last 40-60 years with good preservation treatments along the way. There are cases of thick shakes in mild temperate zones lasting over 150 years!
- Simply replacing individual shakes that have warped, worn, or cracked will save the whole roofing system.
- Old shakes and shingles can be recycled as mulch.
- Cedar roofs are naturally stand up to a great variation in temperature and freeze-thaw cycles.
- Cedar roofs are one of the most earthquake resilient roofing choices.
- A cedar roof naturally insulates many times higher than that of other roofing materials such as aluminum/metal, asphalt/composite, tile, and even slate.
- Cedar contains natural oils which resist mildew or decay and repel bugs.
- Cedar needs to “breathe,” thus the roof installation must include a substrate that will permit air circulation.
- The cedar tree was held very dear by the Ancient Egyptians who extracted its precious oils for the purposes of mummification but cedar oil serves another purpose that has stood the test of time.
- Native American tribes used the twigs, leaves, roots, bark, and leaf buds of red cedar to treat many different symptoms.
- Boiling limbs to make a tuberculosis treatment
- Chewing leaf buds for sore lungs
- Boiling leaves to make a cough remedy
- Making a decoction of leaves to treat colds
- Chewing leaf buds to relieve toothache pain
- Making an infusion to treat stomach pain and diarrhea
- Chewing the inner bark of a small tree to bring about delayed menstruation
- Making a bark infusion to treat kidney complaints
- Making an infusion of the seeds to treat fever
- Using a weak infusion internally to treat rheumatism and arthritis
- Making a decoction of leaves to treat rheumatism
- Washing with an infusion of twigs to treat venereal disease, including the human papilloma virus and other sexually transmitted diseases
- Making a poultice of boughs or oil to treat rheumatism
- Making a poultice of boughs or oil to threat bronchitis
- Eastern red cedar may be considered an invasive weed in some parts of its growing area. Thanks to its quick reproduction, the tree often takes over native prairie plants, becoming the sole plant in the area. This eliminates other plants that are critical to wildlife and birds.
- The Quinault Lake in Washington is known for having the largest known Western red cedar in the world. The tree may be found on the northwest shore of Lake Quinault near Olympic National Park in the state of Washington. The tree is more than 150 feet tall with a trunk that spans over 18 feet in diameter.
That should do it for the fun facts about cedar for now… Perhaps we’ll abridge this or create a companion set of facts down the road. We hope you enjoyed stuffing that brain of yours.
Learn more about Shake Guys, Chicago’s northern suburb’s cedar roofing experts.