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Best Time to Clean Cedar Roof: A Comprehensive Guide

Best Time to Clean Cedar Roof


Cedar roof shingles or cedar shake roofs are popular for many homeowners. They provide a natural look, durability, and longevity. However, regular maintenance is essential to maintain the roof’s aesthetics and ensure its longevity. One of the most critical aspects of cedar roof maintenance is cleaning. In this article, we’ll discuss the best time to clean cedar roof, how to clean cedar shake roof, and why it’s crucial.

Understanding Cedar Shingles

Cedar shingles are made from cedar wood, a type of softwood. The shingles are cut from the tree’s heartwood, making them highly durable and resistant to rot and decay. Cedar roofs can last up to 50 years with proper care and maintenance.

Why Is Clean Cedar Roof Important?

Cedar roofs are susceptible to growth in fungus, algae and moss, which can cause discoloration, decay, and rot. Additionally, debris and leaves can accumulate on the top and gutters, leading to clogs and water damage. Regular cleaning can prevent these issues, ensuring your roof’s longevity and beauty.

The Best Time to Clean Cedar Roof

The ideal time to clean cedar roof is during the dry season, preferably in late spring or early summer. This period provides a perfect weather condition for roof maintenance and cleaning. Moreover, it’s the best time to spot any damage or issues that may have occurred during winter. However, it’s crucial to check the weather forecast before embarking on any cleaning activity to ensure no rain in the forecast for several days.

How to Clean Cedar Shake Roof?

Cleaning cedar shake roof involves several steps: preparation, cleaning, and finishing. Here are the steps:

Step 1: Preparation

  • Wear protective clothing, gloves, and goggles to prevent injuries and skin irritation.
  • Cover nearby plants and landscaping with a tarp or plastic sheet to prevent damage.
  • Remove debris and leaves from the roof using a broom or blower.

Step 2: Cleaning

  • Mix a cleaning solution of equal parts water and white vinegar in a bucket.
  • Apply the solution to the roof using a soft-bristled brush or a low-pressure sprayer.
  • Scrub the roof gently in a circular motion, starting from the top and working downwards.
  • Rinse the roof with a garden hose, removing all the cleaning solution and dirt.
  • For stubborn stains, you can use a commercial cleaning solution or hire a professional to do the job.

Step 3: Finishing

  • Inspect the roof for any damage, rot, or decay. Replace any damaged shingles or contact a professional if there are any issues.
  • Clean the gutters and eaves using a hose or scoop to remove debris.
  • Apply a wood preservative to protect the roof from UV rays and prevent rot and decay.

Why Hire a Professional?

Cleaning a cedar roof is a delicate process that requires expertise and experience. A professional roofer has the right tools, equipment, and knowledge to clean your roof without causing any damage. Additionally, they can spot any issues or damage you may have missed and offer the necessary repairs.

Benefits of Regular Cedar Roof Maintenance

Regular cedar roof maintenance can extend its lifespan, improve its aesthetics, and prevent costly repairs. Here are some benefits of regular cedar roof maintenance:

  • Prevents rot and decay: Regular cleaning and inspection can identify any issues and prevent rot and decay from setting in.
  • Improves energy efficiency: A clean roof reflects sunlight, reducing heat absorption and improving your home’s energy efficiency.
  • Enhances curb appeal: A well-maintained cedar roof adds to your home’s beauty and value, improving its curb appeal.
  • Saves money: Regular maintenance can prevent costly repairs and prolong your roof’s lifespan

Cedar Roof Maintenance Tips

Apart from regular cleaning, here are some additional cedar roof maintenance tips to keep your roof in top condition:

  • Trim tree branches: Overhanging branches can scratch and damage your roof, leading to rot and decay. Regularly trim branches that are close to your roof to prevent this from happening.
  • Clean gutters: Clean your gutters at least twice a year to prevent debris buildup, clogs, and water damage.
  • Inspect for damage: Regularly inspect your roof for damage, including cracked, warped, or missing shingles, and replace them immediately to prevent further damage.
  • Remove snow: Heavy snow can damage your roof, causing it to collapse or leak. Use a roof rake to remove excess snow from your roof during winter.
  • Hire a professional: If you’re unsure about how to clean or maintain your cedar roof, hire a professional to do it for you. A professional can identify and fix any issues, ensuring your roof’s longevity and beauty.

Final Thoughts

In conclusion, the best time to clean cedar roof is during the dry season, preferably in late spring or early summer. Regular cedar roof maintenance can prevent rot, decay, and damage, extending its lifespan and improving its aesthetics. To ensure your cedar roof stays in top condition, consider hiring a professional roofer to do the job or follow the maintenance tips discussed in this article. Remember, a well-maintained cedar roof can add value to your home, protect your investment, and keep your family safe and comfortable for years to come.

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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