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Cedar Wood Shakes and Shingle Roof – Replacement or Restoration?

Cedar shakes and shingles offer strength, durability, insulation, and beauty to our homes. A wood roof imparts a look of quality that few other roof coverings can match. After a few years of exposure to the weather, however, this “quality” roofing can change. With exposure to sunlight and rainfall, cedar shakes and shingles can lose virtually all their natural protectants in as short a time as five years. At this age, most cedar roofs begin to show signs of cupping, curling, splitting, and decay. Unlike other roofing materials, however, cedar shingles and shakes can be restored and maintained through proper care and treatment.

How fast a cedar wood roof weathers is a function of slope, direction, and shading. The shallower a roof is, the more likely it is to suffer decay from fungi. South-facing slopes suffer because they experience the greatest swings in temperature and humidity – leading to more splits and other degradation. Shade is also a concern. Cedar wood roofs shaded by trees are more likely to develop mold, mildew, and decay than un-shaded roofs. The older the roof, the more difficult it is to repair satisfactorily. A good rule of thumb is that wood shingle roofs older than 20 years, and cedar shake roofs older than 25 years, will be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to repair satisfactorily.

Cedar wood shingle and shake roofs will not last forever, but they can provide long-lasting performance if cleaned and treated. There are many products and techniques to choose from which offer varying degrees of protection. The worst thing to do, however, is to do nothing at all. Contact Smart Roofing, Inc. at 847.797.0404 for a free consultation about the best option for your cedar shake and shingle roof.

-Excerpts from The Journal of Light Construction, Texas Forest Service

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