Note: This is cleaning/treatment/restoration only. We do not offer roof repair services.
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When is the Best Time to Clean a Cedar Shake Roof?

When is the Best Time to Clean a Cedar Shake Roof


Cedar shake roofs are a popular choice for homeowners because of their natural beauty and durability. Over time, however, cedar shake roofs can become stained and dirty, which can reduce their lifespan and affect their appearance. Here we will discuss the best time to clean a cedar shake roof.


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Cedar Shake Roof Maintenance

Cedar Shake roofing is made from traditional materials that enhance the curb appeal of your home. The roof keeps you safe from weather conditions, rain, storm, sun rays, and extreme temperature. So, Cedar Roof maintenance is an essential step to keep your Cedar Shake roofs clean, infestation-free, and to enhance the lifespan of Cedar Shingles.

Although it is important to have your wood shingle roof cleaned on a regular basis yet it is very tricky to know when is the best time of year to do it.

Cedar Shingles Cleaning

Why Is It Important to Have Your Cedar Shake Roof Cleaned?

Cedarwood roofing is made up of organic material and the surface of the roof loses its natural beauty over the years if you ignore your cedar shake roof maintenance. There are several advantages of having a Cedar Shake roof cleaned regularly to increase the lifespan of weathered wood shingles.

  1. Reduce decomposition of roofing materials by removing organic growth from between shingles.
  2. Protective treatments and cleaning help you remove moss, lichens, and algae that are invasive organisms and grow between shingles and can cause the granules to fall off at a faster rate.
  3. Infestations on the roof can cause Cedar roofs to absorb moisture which causes degradation of the Cedar shingles.
  4. Weaker pieces of wood shakes are further weakened due to the constant expansion, contraction, and drying cycle when moss or lichens are growing on your roof.
  5. A cedar shake roof will last many years longer if it is cleaned regularly (roughly once every 10 years).

What Is the Best Time of the Year to Have Your Cedar Shake Roof Cleaned?

How to Remove Moss from a Cedar Shake Roof

Your Cedar shake roof needs inspecting every season to ensure there is no damage or debris. Cedar Shingle roof needs regular maintenance to decrease the chances of early decay and to help the roof last as long as possible.


Some say that Summer is the best time to clean the Cedar shake roof. You will be able to avoid most of the rains, winds, and any snow that may occur at other times and the cedar shakes will be in a good condition ready to clean.

Reasons Why You Might Have Your Cedar Shake Roof Cleaned in the Spring?

While many people think of spring as a good time for any type of home exterior work, such as painting or cleaning gutters, it is especially important to clean your cedar shake roof at this time of year.

This is because the combination of winter weather and the thawing of snow can give you a good view of any damage that may have been done to the roof, as well as any debris, fallen leaves, and overhanging branches that might have landed on it.

The first reason is that the snow and ice have thawed, so you can see how much damage the roof has suffered over the winter. The combination of freezing temperatures and wind often blows leaves and pine needles onto a roof, which are hard to spot once they are covered by snow.

There might also be lichen, overhanging vegetation, moss, moisture, and mold growing on your shingles, which can cause the shingles to decompose at a faster rate. The second reason is that spring is a good time to clean your roof before the growth of moss, lichens, and algae take hold again. These organisms are invasive and can quickly grow between the shingles, causing them to grow under the roofing.

Reasons Why You Might Have Your Cedar Shake Roof Cleaned in the Summer?

It is the time when moisture, algae, mold, and moss grow the most in the wood and have a good amount of sunshine to help with this growth. Wood shakes retain moisture if not cleaned and allow themselves to dry properly. If these problems are not taken care of, they can lead to a decrease in the lifespan of your roof. Additionally, if there is any damage to the roof that needs repairing, it’s much easier to do in this season.

Reasons Why You Might Have Your Cedar Shake Roof Cleaned in the Fall?

Fall is another time people think to have their cedar roof maintenance carried out. To clean and repair the Cedar Wood Shakes after the often intensive hot weather of the summer. It is a great time to have your cedar shake roof cleaned for a few reasons.

  1. Summer has just gone and Cedar shingles have been exposed to UV rays and heat for months.
  2. The heat has made the Cedar Wood Shakes tilted and cracked due to intense heat and sunrays. It is the perfect time to restore the life of your shingles by repairing them.
  3. It is the time that the leaves have fallen and there is less of a chance that any debris will get into the gutters after you clean it up.
  4. Before the winter weather sets in, damage from snow and ice can be avoided.
  5. If there are any problems with the roof they can be treated and repaired to avoid further damage occurs over the winter.
  6. Gaps in the shingles make way for tiny animals to reside there. Cedar shake roof cleaning professionals will remove any infestations such as moss that the tiny animals will reside in.

General Damage That Can be Avoided by a Professional Cedar Shake Clean

Wind Damage to Cedar Roof

One of the biggest concerns with cedar shake roofs is wind damage. Tree branches, leaves, and other debris can get caught in the shingles and cause them to lift or even tear off. This can lead to further damage to the roof if they retain the moisture over a long period of time.

Water Damage to Cedar Roof

Water infiltration, leaks, and moisture uptake can make the gutters get blocked and cause leakage in the attic. It’s important to maintain safety requirements to make your roof incredibly durable. Water repellents help you avoid water leakage.

You can also remove any moss, algae, or fungus before it has a chance to grow back in the spring. And if there are any repairs that need to be made, now is the time to do them before summer arrives and makes the job a lot harder.

Tree Branches falling on Cedar Roof

If you live in an area with a lot of trees, it’s a good idea to have your cedar shake roof cleaned at least every two years. This is to avoid any damage that might be caused by all the leaves and branches falling on top of your roof.

Tree branches, pine needles, and conifer needles hanging on the roof can harm the surface of the shingles by falling down on the roof. Overhanging branches of trees need to be cut off to have an increased lifespan of the roof. Vegetation removal also helps to get rid of mold, debris, gutters to form on the surface of the roof and saves you costly repairs later on.

Other Times That You Should Consider a Roof Clean?

No Specific season is required to clean the roof surface and maintenance of your Cedar Wood Shakes. You need a careful inspection of your home by yourself or you can hire a professional to get proper suggestions for roof maintenance. There are many times when you can consider a roof clean:

  1. If you notice any water leaks or other problems with your roof.
  2. If you notice a decrease or increase in temperature inside your home.
  3. Hanging branches on your roof.
  4. Before every season you need to prepare your roof for the next season to withstand weather conditions.
  5. Mold or algae has taken hold of the roof.
Moss covered Cedar Shakes

Call Bruce for Your Cedar Shake Roof Clean

Of course, you can clean the roof yourself, but this is generally time-consuming, and the end result will not last as long as it should, or provide the many benefits of a professional clean. Honestly, cleaning the Cedar shakes is not a do-it-yourself task, you need to hire a professional cedar shake roof cleaner.

If you’re in the market for a cedar shake cleaning, be sure to call Bruce. He’s been in the business for over 25 years and knows how to get the job done right without power washing the roofs. Not only will your roof look great after it’s finished, but you’ll also increase the lifespan of your roof.

We offer a smooth cleaning of your roof with perfect cleaning solutions such as:

  • Mild roof cleaning solution (Environmentally-friendly solutions not harming the shingles)
  • Use of ladders rather than walking on the cedar shakes or shingles.
  • Garden hose (Instead of using a power washer)
  • No damage to the shakes caused by the cleaning and maintenance process.
Cedar Shake Roof Cleaning in Des Moines Iowa
Cedar Shake Roof before & after cleaning

Meet Bruce

50 Years of Experience &
Over 2,000 Shake Roofs Cleaned

Bruce Sullivan has over 50 years of experience in maintaining, cleaning, and restoring cedar shake roofs. Making him one of the top authorities on cedar shake roofs in the US.

Watch the Cedar Shakes Cleaning Process in Action in this video

Play Video about Roof Cleaning How to Remove Moss, Lichen, Fungi from a Cedar Roof Sullivan Roof


What can I say? Bruce and Keith provided an exceptional service, and they are really nice guys too. Found out at the last minute they were in Minneapolis, and they fit me in for a cedar shake roof cleaning the next evening after their regular job was done. Even cleaned up my gutters, small fence, and small deck at no charge. The place looks outstanding! Highly recommended.

Mike Richards

I highly recommend this business. Due to the work performed we are going to get another 10-14 years out of our cedar shake roof. We were told by some roofing companies that the roof should be replaced in 2 years. I lucked out and found Sullivan Roof Cleaning while researching companies that perform this service, and was pleased to learn that the company does work outside of Iowa. If you need your cedar shakes cleaned, go with Sullivan Roof Cleaning.

Eric Oelrich, 
St Cloud, MN

Bruce did a great job cleaning the whole exterior of my house. The roof has new life! It looks practically brand new. All the mold and moss on the roof, on the gutters, under the eaves, completely gone. He exceeded all our expectations. When he tells you what he can do for your house, you can believe and trust him. Great guy, great service.

Stuart Malone
Kansas City, MO


Cedar shakes are organic. Though a resilient material. Being organic they need to be maintained. Over time, like any organic material that are subjected to weather elements, they reach a stage of deterioration. Like UV exposure, moisture and seasonal changes. Which results in moss, mold, mildew, lichen and brown rot fungi. These infestations need to be removed to further preserve the integrity of the cedar shake.
The proper way to clean a cedar shake roof is from a ladder. By spraying a special formulated solution onto the shakes and then rinsed with a garden hose pressure. Best done by a professional cedar shake roof cleaner. Not DIY recommended.
No. Pressure washer will require walking on the shakes, which will harm them, and even at its lowest setting will also damage the shakes.
On average, cedar shakes should be cleaned every 10 ten years. Subjective to the grade of the shakes and the amount of surrounding tree cover.
Avoiding walking on a cedar shake roof, other than for repairs.
Never seal a cedar shake roof. Cedar shakes need to breathe. They expand and contract in rain conditions. Seal will shorten the lifespan, to the point of premature replacement.
Staining has no real preserve value and can also harm the integrity of shakes, as stated, they need to be able to breathe. Also, if the shakes are not properly cleaned staining can seal the deteriorating infestation within the shakes.
Depending on the grade of the shakes and installation, and if maintained properly, 40 to 60 years.


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