The Basics of Cedar Shake Roof Maintenance

May 29, 2020 | Roofing

Cedar shakes are among the most popular residential roofing materials in the United States. Many homeowners gravitate toward them because of their innate appeal. Recent manufacturing innovations have allowed cedar shakes to be more durable than the ones used back then. However, like any other roofing option, they require regular maintenance to extend their life span, preserve their beauty and ensure their long-term performance.

Turner Home Improvement Contractors, your local roofing contractor, shares the basics of cedar shake roof maintenance.

Top Benefits of Cedar Shake Roof Care

Taking care of your cedar shake roofing system has its unique benefits. Here’s a look at some of them:

  • Extended Life Span – Without any maintenance or intervention, cedar shakes usually have an average life span of up to 15 years. Cedar shingles, which are thinner than the shakes, tend to be shorter than that. By observing proper care and preservation, these roofing materials can last up to 40 years. It means that you won’t have to worry about replacing them prematurely.

  • Pest Prevention – Aside from extending its life span, maintaining a cedar shake roof also helps prevent pests from turning it into a breeding ground for squirrels, rats, birds, and other animals. Missing or broken cedar pieces expose the roof’s inner structure, providing an entry point for these critters. Before they could wreak havoc in other areas of your home’s interior, having these damaged shakes replaced is imperative.

  • Minimized Damage – Excessive moss growth, while seen as a cosmetic issue, can lead to the appearance of moldy streaks or stains on the roof surface due to moisture retention. If not addressed right away, some of the shake pieces may show signs of rot. Cracking and warping are also common in a cedar shake roof, resulting in leaks and water damage. Through regular maintenance, these can all be minimized as much as possible.

General Maintenance Tips

Reputable roofing professionals recommend that you follow these tips that will help keep your cedar shake roof in good condition:

  • Trim Overhanging Branches – If you have trees near your home, see to it that the branches hanging above the roof are removed. In doing this, you prevent leaves, small branches and other debris from building up and keeping the roof moist.

  • Clean Your Gutter System – Remove leaves, twigs, and other organic matter on your gutters and downspouts. Otherwise, they form clogs that hold water and moisture up against the roof causing damage and early failure. Clog-free gutters encourage steady water runoff during a heavy downpour while reducing the risk of moss and mold growth.

  • Keep the Roof Vents Clear – Keep the roof surface clear of any leaves and other debris, especially near the vents. Make sure there’s sufficient ventilation to prevent water from collecting at the bottom of the roof and then freezing during winter—a process known as ice damming.

Cleaning and Finishing Cedar Shakes

One of the first steps of cedar shake roof maintenance is cleaning the roof surface. Water from the garden hose is enough, but if power washing is to be considered, make sure that it is done by a professional. Ideally, the recommended pressure is between 1,500 to 3,500 pounds per square inch. However, whether this method is appropriate or not depends on the age, condition and environment of the roof.

To keep it from looking old and worn-out, a cedar shake roof must be able to breathe by applying a preservative finish suitable for wood roofs. Penetrating oil finishes protects against absorbing damaging moisture through the sawn ends of each cedar shake. Waterproofing sealants are not recommended—they form a film around the wood and then trap unseen moisture and allow mold and rot.

Turner Home Improvement Contractors is composed of a team of residential and commercial roofing specialists who are trained to install top-notch residential roofing systems, including cedar shake roofs. We are happy to discuss with you all of the other roofing options we supply.

Call (860) 633-1400 or fill out our contact form to request an estimate. We serve CT residents.