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Reuse and Repurpose Old Cedar Shake Roofs!

Many people hate to see organic compounds that appear to have uses go to landfills. In all actuality, organic compounds are great for them and that includes old wood. Those who have their old cedar roofs replaced often make a fuss about finding a proper home for the old shakes. After all, you can’t recycle old shakes into new ones. Their old fibers can’t be made new again by adding glue. There is however a couple options that include the reusing and repurposing of old shake roofs.

If your cedar shake or shingle roof needs to be torn off and replaced, here’s what to consider.

Reusing and Repurposing Old Cedar Shake Roofs is Easy

Many local churches, Habitat for Humanity, and worldwide organizations will take your old shakes for a host of projects. You can also use online tools like FreeCycle to unload your roofing materials. With some cherry-picking and some preservation treatments the shake can find themselves on shelters, out buildings, and even doghouses. Checking with local high school theaters and local theater companies is always a good idea too. Set building costs can be rough and donated shakes can help build sets. When old material with a bit of life in them are repurposed more people win. With a couple calls or mouse clicks you can find a new home for old shakes.

Repurposing is actually quite popular with cedar shakes and shingles. Some call this recycling but the definition means something gets transformed and redeployed. Hence, a wood chipper can turn old shakes into beautiful mulch for garden paths. This mulch looks fantastic when used at homes with cedar roofing!

Using old shakes for art projects is a great trend for creating outdoor works that harmonize yards with rooftops.

The Forgotten use for Old Shakes

Many shakes that appear to be bound for the landfill find themselves heading to old factories to be burned to heat boilers. This still happens throughout the United States. Many argue that wood is so much more efficient and less hazardous than burning coal, that it needs to be done more. Thus, much gets converted to pellets for wood burning stoves as well.

Those who advocate for wood burning have made a strong case. Learn more.

Be sure to ask your roofer what happens with your old roof. If it does go to a landfill and if that’s okay by you, simply let it be. If they don’t give you an answer, climb the ladder to find out the truth. Burning the wood should never be the option.


At Shake Guys, the leader in cedar roof restoration in Chicago’s suburbs, we believe in giving the client the best experience possible. We’re happy to work with our clients should they wish to collect old shakes for reusing or repurposing. Many ask for a hundred or so “good ones” to be left behind for crafting while most understand that they may naturally find a new life or do good in a landfill.

Learn more about our  services or schedule an inspection and consultation. You can also call us at 847.278.2272

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