Taking Care of Cedar Shake Roof- 10 Best Cedar Shake Maintenance Practices

For centuries, people have used cedar shake roofs due to their curb appeal and durability. Homeowners prefer cedar roofs since they boost the appearance of a house and shield it from harsh weather elements. In addition, Cedar shakes have resistance to decay and rot properties, making them popular.

On the flip side, neglecting cedar shake roofs can lead to the growth of moss, fungi, mold, and algae, which in turn damages the wood. To prevent this from happening, let me show you what to do when taking care of cedar shake roof…

Firstly, cedar requires weekly and monthly check ups especially during the stormy season. Cedar shake roofs should also be well cleaned annually to remove any molds or fungi that can damage the wood over time.

Better still, hire a cedar shake maintenance professional to ensure your roof is being taken care of properly. Cleaning and maintaining your cedar roof properly can increase its lifespan to 40 or 60 years. On the contrary, if you abandon your cedar shake roof, it will need replacement after 15 years.

However, cleaning your cedar using overly caustic or abrasive cleaning products can damage your wood and reduce its structural integrity. Also, avoid using high-pressure washers to clean your wood because it can remove the protective oils from the cedar shake roof.

That is not all, there’s much more to learn about cedar shake roofs. Read on to find out more!

What Is a Cedar Shake Roof?

Cedar shakes are rectangular or square wooden planks, which is an ideal alternative to roofing shingles. Although there are alternatives like metal or asphalt, many people consider cedar to be the most aesthetically pleasing roofing material.

Moreover, cedar shake roofs come in different colors. Thus, homeowners prefer them for their durability and beauty, despite being expensive. These factors are what makes it different from common roof types.

Just like any other types of shake roofs, cedar shake roofs have their advantages and disadvantages.

Pros of Cedar Shake Roofs 

  • Long-Lasting
Taking Care of Cedar Shake Roof
A Cedar Shake

Cedar shake roofs have durability and strength. Moreover, they are resistant to rot, insects, and mildew, making them an excellent choice for homeowners who want a long-lasting and low-maintenance roofing option.

Even better, with proper installation and maintenance, cedar shake roofs can last around 50 to 60 years, which is a significant advantage compared to other roofing materials such as asphalt shingles or metal.

In fact, cedar shake roofs can even increase their lifespan with high-quality materials and good care, such as regular cleaning, treating, and repairing damages.

However, it is important to note that harsh weather conditions, such as strong winds, heavy rain, or snow, can impact the lifespan of a cedar shake roof. Therefore, take preventive measures to protect your roof from the elements and ensure its longevity.

  • Beautiful Appearance 

Cedar shake roofs are highly valued for their aesthetic appeal. They provide a natural rustic look that can add warmth and character to any home. The natural variations in the wood’s color and texture give each roof its own unique character, creating a sense of depth and richness that other roofing materials cannot match.

The warm and richness of cedar shake roofs can complement a wide range of architectural styles, from traditional to modern. Hence, it is a versatile choice for homeowners looking to enhance the appearance of their home.

In addition, cedar shake roofs can change over time, developing a natural patina as the wood ages. This process creates a timeless and classic look that only gets better with time. Further, the natural weathering of the wood can add depth and character to your home, making your cedar shake roof a true work of art

  • Weather Resistance 

Cedar shakes are ideal for people living in regions with severe weather conditions because they can resist snowstorms, heavy rain, strong winds, and other harsh weather conditions. So, they can be installed at any season.

  • Thermal Insulation

Cedar shakes act as a natural insulator, providing both cooling and heating effects. As a result, it can help you save on energy bills. In summer, cedar shakes absorb heat from air and release it back into the atmosphere, which keeps your home cooler.

Also, during the winter, cedar shakes trap heat inside your home, reducing the need for additional heating. This natural insulation property of cedar shakes can help you reduce your energy bills and make your home more energy-sufficient.

  • Eco-Friendliness

Cedar shingles and shakes are made from renewable sources and can be easily recycled or repurposed at the end of their useful life. This makes them a more sustainable option compared to other roofing materials like asphalt shingles, which can take decades to decompose in a landfill.

Cons of Cedar Shakes

  • Maintenance 

While all types of wood require regular maintenance for better durability, cedar shake roofs need high maintenance due to their tendency to wear and tear quickly. Without regular checkups and maintenance, they can split or curl undermining the structural integrity of the entire roofing system.

  • Expensive 

Despite their durability and aesthetics, they tend to be very expensive from the cost of purchase to installation. However, because they have many benefits like durability, their high price makes it a worthwhile investment for many homeowners.

  • Fire Risk

Cedar shakes can be the worst choice, especially if you live in areas with high fire risk. Unfortunately, wood is more flammable than asphalt, clay, or metal roofing. But you can buy cedar shakes that have a fire-resistant coating to increase safety.

  • Handmade

Although the handmade nature of cedar shakes can certainly contribute to their rustic beauty it can also be a disadvantage in some cases. Because cedar shakes are made by hand, the manufacturing process can be time-consuming and labor-intensive, which can drive up the cost of the material.

Additionally, each shake is unique, so it can be difficult to ensure consistency in the finished product. As such, it is hard to ensure consistency in the finished product, which makes installation more challenging.

Handmade cedar shakes may also be more prone to imperfections such as knots, cracks, or splits, which can compromise their durability and lifespan. Finally, because handmade cedar shakes are produced in smaller quantities than mass-produced roofing materials, it is more difficult to find reliable suppliers in some areas.

How to Maintain Your Cedar Shake Roof

Below are some of the cedar shake roof maintenance tips:

  • Check Your Cedar Shake Periodically

Inspect your roof often to ensure that there are no damaged or missing shingles. Check for any gaps or cracks in your roof that can allow stagnation or penetration in the wrong areas.

Otherwise, exposing your cedar shake to excess moisture makes them susceptible to infestations of algae, mold, and fungi. Thus, leading to roof leakage that can damage and grow mold inside your home.

  • Clean Your Cedar Shake Roof 

Cleaning your roof is one of the most significant ways of preventing damage and maintaining it. Better still, hire a professional to do the job because it can be challenging to clean it as thoroughly as a professional can.

Moreover, professionals have the proper tools to perform a thorough cleaning, and they are often available compared to paying for roof repairs or even worse, paying for a new roof.

However, ensure they are using cedar-friendly cleaning products since the wrong products can damage the wood.

  • Clean The Gutters

Roof gutters are an essential part of any house as they channel the rainwater away from the foundation and roof to prevent water damage. But if the gutters become congested with debris, leaves, or other materials, water can accumulate and cause decay or erosion over time.

Therefore, inspect and clear your gutters frequently, particularly during the autumn season when falling leaves and debris can block them. By keeping your gutters clean and well maintained, you can protect your home water related damage and ensure its longevity.

  • Remove Debris, Moss, Leaves, And Needle

Cleaning your cedar shake roof of any debris is important because debris can retain moisture or stop water from dripping down the roof.

As a result, the moisture breeds fungus or mold that weakens the shakes, reducing their lifespan and increasing expensive repairs. Debris that compromises the wood’s longevity includes molds, organic materials, twigs, and needles.

  • Protective Treatment From Roofing Contractors 

To prolong the lifespan of your roof, it’s recommended to apply the protective treatment every one or two years. These treatments may include algaecide, fungicide, fungicide, as well as fire and water repellent. Otherwise, failure to apply them results in your roof burning, rotting, buckling, or degrading.

To determine the most suitable treatment for your roof based on weather conditions and environment, consult a roofing professional. By doing so, you can ensure that your roof is well protected and can withstand the elements for years to come.

  • Remove Any Twigs 

In addition to removing debris, clear overhanging branches from your cedar shake roof to prevent moisture accumulation, which breeds mold, mildew, and moss. By cutting branches, you prevent them from falling on your roof and causing damage.

Removing these branches also helps your roof dry faster after rainfall, reducing the chance of mold and algae growth.

  • Avoid Power Washing 

When cleaning your cedar shake roof, avoid using high pressure water or power washer as it can strip away the protective oils from the cedar and cause damage. Instead, opt for a non-pressure garden hose to clean your roof thoroughly without damaging it.

As such, you ensure that your cedar shake roof remains in good condition and continues to protect your home from the elements.

Importance of Maintaining Cedar Shake Roof

Cedar shakes have a natural beauty and that adds warmth to any home, and it’s difficult to overlook. However, even high-quality cedar shakes can experience wear and tear over time.

Fortunately, with proper maintenance, you can extend the lifespan of your cedar shake roof and maximize its benefits as a roofing material. Below are some of the benefits of maintaining your cedar shake roof?

  • Increases the Value of Your Property

If you plan to sell your home, then it’s crucial to maintain your roof regularly to enhance its curb appeal. A well-maintained and beautiful roof can easily attract potential home buyers.

  • Improves your home insulation 

Cedar has remarkable insulation capabilities, which, if well maintained, can be utilized to ensure a pleasant indoor temperature through the year. This advantageous feature of cedar also translates into reduced energy costs, making it an energy efficient choice for homeowners.

On the contrary, a damaged roof can decrease the energy efficiency of the house, leading to higher energy bills and a less comfortable living environment.

  • Extends Service Life

Cedar shakes and shingles have a long lifespan, but they can sustain damage from extreme weather events. It’s important to schedule an inspection after a storm and to maintain your cedar roof consistently.

Regular cleaning is also crucial for prolonging the lifespan of cedar roofs. Remove leaves and branches to prevent build up and the exposure of the material to excess moisture.

  • Preserves Beauty

Cedar is remarkably long lasting material that maintains its appearance for a considerable duration. Besides, with the correct maintenance, cedar can retain its aesthetic appeal for several decades, and develops a beautiful brown or gray-silver hue due to age.

In addition, professional roofing services can help maintain the color of your cedar roof by re-staining it to match your property’s evolving appearance.

  • Peace Of Mind 

You can have peace of mind knowing your cedar shake roof is protected and that any problems will be taken care of. Regular maintenance guarantees rest knowing that everything is in good condition.

How Often Do You Need To Clean a Cedar Shake Roof? 

Firstly, how often you need to clean your cedar shake roof will depend on various factors. They include the amount of shed the roof receives, the climate, and the presence of nearby trees or vegetation. Generally, it is recommended to clean it at least once a year to remove any dirt, debris, or moss that may have grown on the surface.

Secondly, some professionals recommend inspecting your roof for mold, debris, and damage at least twice a year like during fall, spring or after a hailstorm. Also, clean the surface after severe wind or a snowstorm to endure your cedar roof, maintain its warm color and also increase its lifespan. Or hire a professional to clean the roof around every five or seven years.

On the contrary, some suggest cleaning your roof every three to five years, mostly during mid spring or before the autumn or early fall after the last winter weather.

For instance, if you live in areas experiencing high levels of humidity or rainfall, you may need to clean more frequently to prevent algae, moss, or other microorganisms damaging the roof over time.

In addition, you can also clean your roof more often if you have overhanging trees or vegetation that drops leaves or debris on your roof. It prevents the accumulation of moisture that can lead to rot or decay.

Lastly, it is worth noting that, cedar shake roof requires special care and attention to avoid causing leaks or damaging the wood. further, it’s best to hire a professional roofing contractor to handle your roof.

Why You Should Not Power Wash a Cedar Shake Roof?

Cleaning your cedar roof is crucial as it increases its lifespan. Without frequent cleaning, it can start to decay and turn gray which fastens aging. For that reason, some homeowners may want to use a power washer to clean it.

But on the downside, it can cause unwanted damages to the roof. Thus, it is best to know the risks of using a power washer before doing so.

First things first, power washers are created for cleaning vinyl siding, driveways and other similar materials or surfaces. So, power washing your cedar can strip away its fibers, shortening its lifespan.  In most cases, power washing your cedar can be worse than not cleaning your roof at all.

However, sometimes using a power washer can be necessary since it can remove weathered layers, leaving your roof in its best form. But it’s best to hire a professional who understands the cedar roof cleaning process. Even better, some come with warranties and guarantees that give you further protection.

Regularly clean your cedar shake roof using water, oxygen bleach or chlorine. You can use a soft bristle brush to apply the mixture followed by water from a hose. Start with a small amount of chlorine, increasing the amount as needed till you are done. But be careful not to damage landscaping nearby when dealing with chlorine.

Lastly, following this routine can make your roof look clean without the need of using a power washer.

How Do You Keep Cedar Shakes Looking New?

Cedar shakes are a popular roofing material because of their durability and natural beauty. However, over time, they can lose their original color and become weathered. Here are some of the ways on how to keep your cedar shakes looking new:

  • Applying a Sealer  

Since cedar shakes are susceptible to damage, which causes warping and rotting, applying a sealer can help protect them from UV rays and moisture.

Also, ensure you choose a high quality sealer that is specifically designed for cedar shakes, and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application. This way, you are guaranteed a new look.

  • Replace Any Rotten Shingles

Rotting shake occurs when moisture is trapped in the wood, leading to decay and mold growth. This weakens the structural integrity of the roof, making it more susceptible to leaks and other water damages. Also, rotting shakes can attract insects such as termites or carpenter ants, which can further damage the wood.

Additionally, a damaged roof can lead to water leaks, which significantly damages the interior of the house, including walls, floors, and ceilings. Thus, addressing these concerns can leave your house looking new and beautiful.

  • Applying a Stain

Staining your cedar shake can help to slow down the aging process by protecting it from the weather elements. It also prevents the growth of mildew and growth and enhances the wood’s natural beauty.

Ensure your shake is clean, dry, and free of debris before staining. It is good practice to apply a wood conditioner on the surface to help the stain adhere better and ensure an even finish.

Furthermore, when choosing a stain for your cedar roof, select a product that is specifically designed for use on exterior surfaces. Look for a stain that offers UV protection and is waterproof, since these features can help to prolong the life of your roof for a long time.

Thankfully, there are different types of stains available, such as solid, transparent, solid transparent, and semi-transparent wood stains. If you are going for a natural look, then transparent stains are the best for you since they show the wood grain and natural color of cedar.

On the other hand, solid-transparent and semi-transparent stains have a variety of colors but still show the wood grain, while solid stains completely cover the wood stain.

Lastly, follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully when applying the stain to ensure that you achieve the desired results.

  • Regular Cleaning

As discussed earlier, cedar shake should be cleaned at least once a year to remove debris, grime, and dirt. Use a gentle detergent and a soft-bristled brush to scrub the shakes and loosen any stubborn dirt or stains. Rinse thoroughly with a hose to remove all soap and debris.

Again, avoid using harsh chemicals or pressure washing, as it can damage the wood fibers and reduce the lifespan of the roof.

  • Trim Overhanging Tree Branches

Overhanging tree branches can deposit debris onto cedar shakes and block sunlight, which can accelerate weathering and discoloration. Trim any overhanging branches to prevent this from happening.

By following these tips, you can help keep your cedar shakes looking new for many years to come.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How Much Does Cedar Roof Maintenance Cost?

The cost of repairing and cleaning your roof can vary depending on its condition, size, and location. Averagely, minor roof repairs can start from $ 365, while a roof cleaning costs around $ 0.20 to $0.60 or $300 to $600 per square foot.

  • What Happens To My Roof If I Don’t Keep Up With Maintenance?

Neglecting your cedar shake can lead to water seeping in and building up in the underlying structure. This means, you can end up paying for costly repairs or even worse, a full replacement.

  • What Season Is Best For Performing Cedar Roof Maintenance?

The best answer to this should be anytime you notice your roof needs maintenance. But, the fall can be the best time since it is important to ensure your roof is safe before winter. Furthermore, chilly winter time can be challenging since the roof can be icy and snowy.

  • How Do I Know If My Cedar Shake Roof Is Damaged?

Here is how to tell if your cedar shake roof is damaged:

  • Leaks

Heavy rain can cause leaks in your roof. However, this can be fixed by replacing or sanding down the cedar, cleaning any dirt and debris. Also, use a new coat of paint or a sealant to prevent future leaks from happening.

  • Rot Or Moss Growing On The Bottom Edge And Between Shakes Or Shingles

If you observe the growth of moss at the lower end of your roof or the presence of decayed wood, it is advisable to consider replacing the shingles or shakes.

However, if the extent of the damage is not significant enough to require a complete roof replacement, opt to use a firm-bristled brush, a bucket of water, and a hose to eliminate the moss or decayed material.

  • Excessive Cupping, Curling, Or Splitting Shingles

For proper water shedding, the shingles on a roof should be flat and securely fastened. If the shingles are damaged or cracked, the roof may not be able to effectively shed water and will begin to curl or warp.

If the damage was caused by a recent storm, seek the services of a professional contractor to assess the damage and carry out any necessary repairs to prevent the situation from deteriorating further.

  • Erosion Or Puncture

Tiny holes, rough edges, and white areas are signs that your cedar shake needs to be repaired. It is important to consult a professional as soon as you detect these problems. An expert can be able to tell if the damaged areas can be fixed or replaced.

  • What Is The Difference Between Cedar Shake And Shingle Roofing?

Cedar Shakes are typically handcrafted from split logs, giving them a more rustic and textured appearance. They are thicker than shingles and have a more irregular shape, providing a unique and natural look to the roof. Cedar shakes are often preferred for their natural beauty and ability to blend in with the surrounding environment.

On the other hand, shingles are manufactured by sawing cedar logs into thin, uniform pieces. They have a more refined and uniform appearance, with straight edges and a smooth surface. Cedar shingles are often preferred for their classic and timeless look, as well as their durability.

Ultimately, the choice between cedar shakes and shingles comes down to personal style and preferences. More importantly, consider factors such as cost, maintenance requirements, and the climate in your area when making a decision.

  • How Much Does A Cedar Shake Roof Cost?

Cedar shake roofs can be a significant investment for homeowners, which costs $9000 to $14, 000 or more, depending on the size of your roof or location. The cost per square can also range from $6 and $9.50, depending on various factors, such as the quality of the cedar shakes and the complexity of the installation.

Therefore, to protect this investment, maintain your cedar shake roof regularly, to extend the life of your roof and avoid more costly repairs or replacement down the road.

  • Should You DIY Your Cedar Shake Roof Maintenance?

While some maintenance, such as removing debris and cleaning the roof, can be done by homeowners, more serious cleaning and repairs should be left to the experts. Cedar shake roofs can be easily damaged if not handled properly.

For instance, using too much pressure to the wrong cleaning solution can crack, leading to other problems. In addition, climbing on a roof can be dangerous, especially for those without experience in working at heights.

Also, the experts have the knowledge, tools and experience to spot potential issues because they become bigger problems. They can also recommend appropriate repairs and treatments to keep your roof in good conditions for years to come.

Final Thoughts

A well maintained roof  looks excellent regardless of whether it’s newly installed or not.  While homeowners might have various options for roofing materials, cedar shakes are still a popular choice for their durability and curb appeal.

Knowing how to maintain your roof can save you a big time since you won’t have to hire a professional. This is because it is pretty common for your roof to rot or decay when not taken care of.

But still, whether you hire a professional or DIY, it’s essential to know…

How to Care for Cedar Shake Roof

Maintaining a cedar shake roof is crucial to ensuring its longevity and preventing costly repairs. In addition, regular inspections, cleaning, and treating with the right products can go a long way in protecting your roof from damage caused by weather and pests. It is also important to address any issues promptly before they escalate into something serious.

By following these tips, you can extend the life of your cedar shake roof and keep it looking beautiful for years to come. Alternatively, consult a professional if you are unsure about any aspect of protecting your roof.

Lastly, with proper maintenance, your roof can help you save money and time in the long run.

Thank you for reading this far, and I hope that the information helps you in your efforts to maintain your cedar shake roof.

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