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Five Must-Do’s for the Cedar Roof Owner

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Here at Sullivan Cedar Roof Cleaning, we often find ourselves in more of an educational role, for owners of these beautiful wood roofs. Cedar shake (or wood shake roofing as some call it) is the only roofing that really needs ongoing maintenance. It also can last many more decades than conventional roofing shingles. However, you must see to these five areas:

1. Excessive Moisture

Always be sure to clean your gutters. If water has been stopped up, the wood at the edge of the roofline wicks that water right back in, eventually rotting the wood. Always clean out that area.

2. Remove Debris from Valleys

We’d like to see you make sure that any sticks, leaves or other debris are removed regularly from any valleys on the roof. If not, this will be another area for shingles to wick moisture and eventually decompose.

3. Maintain Trees around the Home

We often see homes covered by tree branches, either hanging above or lying directly on the shingles themselves. Removing this problem by cutting the trees back regularly will help prevent your roof from building up moss or lichen due to too much shade.

4. Missing Cedar Wood Shingles

If you see a shingle missing, have it replaced right away! If you do not, UV rays can melt that barrier of black felt between your shingles and the roof, which will only lead to further damage.

5. Ice Dam Removal

If you live in an area where there is excessive ice dam buildup, always make sure to have this properly removed as soon as possible, so as not to put too much strain on the cedar shakes.

A Well-Cared for Roof Will Last

Having your roof cleaned on a regular eight to ten year basis will maintain your roof for its whole intended life! Log onto our site and click on Find a Roof Cleaner. We’ll see to it that we connect you with someone in your area that can help!

Visit: www.cedarroofclean.com

What is the Average Cost to Clean Your Cedar Shake Roof?

Here at Sullivan Cedar Roof Cleaning we are often asked what our “average cost” is for a roof cleaning job. The simple fact is that there really is no average. Even so, I’d like to address this question, as you may find it helpful to know how we charge for roof cleaning.

Each Roof and Its Unique Situation

The fact is, each roof has its own particular circumstances and requires a specific response from us as cedar roof cleaners. It’s not about size; it’s about which infestations have become imbedded in the shakes and other problems that arise with that situation.

There are various kinds of infestations, situations, leaks or problems that we may need to tend to in a single visit. On one occasion, a roof that was 4,000 sq. ft. cost more than a neighbor’s, whose roof was 6,000 sq. ft.! It seems hardly fair…until you look down the list of infestations, cracks, and the labor that was required to make other repairs on the smaller roof vs. the larger one, which had a milder infestation.

A Broad Range of Pricing

Around $.50-$1.00 per square foot is about the closest we can come to a set price. Even though this is still a very broad range, it may allow you to see the variance we end up working with in the field and it can give you some insight into why we don’t provide a more direct answer before we see a few up-close pictures of your roof.

Our price for our Soft-Wash process is around 5% of the replacement cost, and one cleaning will last between 8-10 years. After having looked at other types of roof cleaning, we’ve also found our pricing to be about a third of the cost of others who use much more invasive processes to clean your roof. Give us a call and we’ll set something up or, if you are out of our area, we’ll help locate someone near you, who can give you a proper estimate.

Visit: www.cedarshakesroofcleaning.com for more information, education and to request a free estimate.

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Hiring a Responsible Cedar Shake or Wood Shake Roof Cleaner

Here at Sullivan Cedar Roof Cleaning, we often receive emails asking how people find a responsible and reputable cedar shake cleaner. Of course, there are several elements to look for and I’d like to address them here:

Two Kinds of Roof Cleaners

How can you be sure a company is reputable and responsible? First, I want to address something that is unique to wood shake cleaning. Plainly put, there are two types of roofing cleaners:

1. Roof cleaners who also will do wood roofs (usually utilizing the same invasive tools used on other roofs)
2. Cedar shake and wood shake roof cleaners who use a special cleaning process for wood

Your cleaner should be of the second type spraying your roof with nothing more pressurized than a garden hose. They will also never walk on your roof or use a power sprayer. Wood shake roofing is organically designed to withstand the elements, but it is not designed by nature to withstand the incredible power of a pressure washer.

What More to Look For

Of course, beyond making sure someone is using the right process, there are other things that you should look for in a wood roofing cleaner. The following is a short list of important items you should look for whenever hiring anyone to work on your property, especially on something as important as roofing:

  • What’s their Better Business Bureau rating and reviews?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • What example photos do they have?
  • Will any of their customers verify their service and quality?
  • Is the company well-insured?
  • Are they knowledgeable about wood roofs and their different components?

With regular maintenance, a cedar shake roof can last longer than most other roofing materials. Get to know your roofing cleaner and make sure they meet all the qualifications you require. Going to our website and clicking on the link for a roof cleaner in your area is a great place to start!

Visit: www.cedarroofclean.com

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What Happens If I Neglect My Cedar Shake Roof?

Here at Sullivan Cedar Roof Cleaning, we are often asked about the consequences of not maintaining your cedar shake or wood shake roofing; it’s a fair question, so I thought I’d answer it here.

The Clear Answer

Without any doubt, to neglect cleaning your wood shake roof on a regular basis means premature replacement. Half-life replacement is something roofing companies love! It is easy business for them, but it costs you, the roof owner, thousands upon thousands more than simply calling someone up to have your roof regularly cleaned.

A cedar shake roof is made of organic material. You wouldn’t go beyond the recommended time without cleaning your teeth. Why is that? By just having them cleaned and maintained regularly, they will last a whole life! Or we might compare it to why we change oil in a car. Certainly, if we never do, we may only see half its intended life because a car is also something designed to be regularly maintained which is exactly the case with a cedar shake roof.

The Only Roof that Needs Maintenance

Wood roofing happens to be the only kind that absolutely needs regular maintenance. A couple of unbiased sources for this information that I’d like to tell you about are both the USDA Forestry Service and Cedar Shake Bureau. The bottom line is that we are talking about less than 5% of the replacement cost to have your entire wood roof cleaned. And having that done once every eight to ten years will be the difference between having a wood roof replaced prematurely, and having a roof that most likely out-lives you or I.

As always, give us a call and we can help you ourselves or set you up with someone in our network of cleaners across the US and Canada who use our proprietary, non-invasive cleaning solution and method that will keep your roofing clean and healthy for years to come!

Visit: www.cedarroofclean.com

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Cedar Roof Cleaning Insurance Premium Discount

Here at Sullivan Cedar Roof Cleaning, over the past 2-3 years we have heard from more and more clients who need roof cleaning, so they can receive a discount from their insurance companies. While this is a great benefit to them, the other side of the coin is that if they don’t get the work done, some of these insurance companies actually cancel these insurance policies outright!

The Bottom Line

Wood roofing requires maintenance and the insurance companies know they lose a lot of money in early replacement, so they’re making sure that this isn’t an issue in the future. Although we’ve also heard from owners of other types of roofing, it is wood roofing which really seems to be their focus.

Recently, I spoke to an insurance underwriter. He needed some information from me in order to apply a discount to one of their clients. He was basically verifying the client had had the work done, and asked that I write a report on the roof. For that home owner, this translates to a significant savings over time. So, if you have recently had your roofing cleaned, or are planning on doing so, make sure to tell your insurance company, so you can take advantage of this discount!

A Win-Win Situation

If you have your roof cleaned (with the Soft-Wash process), then you are extending the life of your roof it seems only logical that your insurance company should be invested in rewarding you for that! While we have more clients because of this shift and the insurance companies have to replace fewer roofs, you, the homeowner, see the greatest benefit: a healthy and beautiful roof that lasts for the decades for which it was intended – and at a lower cost in the end!

Feel free to contact me if you want help finding out if this discount applies to you and how you can take advantage of it! Even if you are out of our area, we’ll help you find someone nearby that can clean your wood shake roofing.

Visit: www.cedarroofclean.com

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My Roof Needs Cleaning, What Should I Do?

Here at Sullivan Cedar Roof Cleaning, people are often asking what they need to do to have their roof cleaned. The answer involves these three things:

  • Do your research on cedar shake roofing.
  • Get to know your cedar roof cleaner’s process.
  • Find a cedar roof cleaner who uses a non-invasive process.

The Importance of Research

Learning a bit about how a wood roof reacts to weather, shade, moisture and pollens in the air, and how it should be cleaned, should be a top priority. Learning this information will mean the difference between early replacement and keeping your wood roofing looking excellent for the decades it was intended to last. Check out the following websites to learn more about cedar shake and wood roofing: USDA Forestry Service and Cedar Shake Bureau.

Processes of Wood Shake Roof Cleaning

There are two kinds of companies in this business: the first kind of company is a roof cleaning service that also cleans wood roofs. Because wood roofing isn’t their specialty, they typically employ too harsh of methods that can include walking on shakes to clean them with a pressure washer. This can cut long gouges in the wood and the shakes can snap under the weight of someone walking excessively on them. The main problem here: otherwise unneeded replacement of shakes and in the most severe cases, full roof replacement.

The second type of cedar roof cleaning, which we offer, uses what is called a Soft-Wash process. We access your roofline with a ladder and from there we can clean the entire roof with a cleaning solution that exerts no more pressure than a garden hose! This leaves your roof looking great, without the harmful and potentially dangerous aspects of the other processes.

I certainly hope you’ve learned a few things by reading this. I would encourage you to give us a call for any assistance and like always, if you are outside our area, please do still contact us, and we’ll get you in touch with the right cleaning company in your area!

Visit: www.cedarroofclean.com

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What is the Junk on My Roof?

Here at Sullivan Cedar Roof Cleaning, one of the most commonly asked questions has to do with what all the build-up is on your wood shake roof. Simply put, the junk, gunk and debris on your roof is most likely a combination of any of the following infestations:

  • moss
  • lichen
  • British Soldiers (mushroom like growths, which are hard to remove)
  • tanning (black bumpy film, which comes out of the wood and is also hard to remove)
  • dark brown fungi
  • mildew
  • algae
  • saplings (which grow out of the dirt between shingles)

What Do These Infestations Do to My Roof?

As they grow on and into the roof, the wood becomes soft and eventually vulnerable. Being organic, over time these infestations get lodged in-between the breathing spaces of the shingles and are eventually planted in that dirt and on the wood. The problem arises when you don’t have it cleaned soon after this these infestations grow and feed on the wood, leading to decomposition over time. Your roof will then be in need of a partial or complete replacement many decades before it would have otherwise.

How Can Sullivan Cedar Roof Cleaning Help?

What Sullivan Cedar Roof Cleaning can do here is to help educate you on how to maintain the only kind of roofing that needs regular maintenance. As I’m sure you’ve been able to tell so far you’ve come to the right place! Although this kind of roofing does need maintenance, it’s of course also considered one of the finest and most beautiful roofs available now it’s up to you to find out exactly what is needed to keep it looking beautiful for decades to come!

Sullivan Cedar Roof Cleaning uses a Soft-Wash process that removes the infestations without any invasive pressure washing, and without walking on your fine wood shake roofing. Contact us today for an estimate. If you are outside of our area, contact us anyway and we’ll put you in touch with the right kind of roofing cleaner in your area!

Visit: www.cedaroofclean.com

It’s no surprise that cedar shakes and shingles have been used as roofing material in this country for centuries. Their beautiful golden hue and fresh cedar smell (when new) are not the only reasons why people have chosen this roofing material. Other than aesthetics, cedar roofs are often chosen for their insulation and their natural preservatives.

Because of their incredibly low weight and density, cedar shakes and shingles provide a superior insulation over other roofing materials. They do an amazing job at keeping the house warm in winter and cool in the summer. According to manufacturers and cedar shakes and shingle associations, it is the preferred roofing material for areas with extreme cold and snowfall. When properly installed, they keep cold air flowing above the felt barrier rather than letting it seep into the attic. Thus, reducing the amount of stress put on your heating unit, and saving you money on costly heating bills.

Cedar is also a very sturdy and durable wood. It is a flat, straight wood, with a low density and shrinkability factor, which helps to make it an ideal roofing material. In addition, cedar (specifically, Western Red Cedar) contains natural preservatives in it’s fibers. Known as thujaplicans and water-soluble phenolics, these natural preservatives make the wood mostly resistant to moisture, decay, and insect damage.

While cedar makes for a great roofing material, it is important to note that it does require maintenance on the part of the homeowner. As the exposed cedar shakes and shingles weather, and are prevented from having their natural wet/dry cycle, the shakes and shingles will begin to deteriorate. For more information on weathering and maintenance of your cedar roof, watch our videos and check out our Homeowner’s Guide of Maintaining Your Cedar Shake Roof.

All cedar shakes and shingle roofs will experience weathering. Weathering is simply the breaking down of an element (in this case, a cedar shakes or shingle roof) due to exposure to the elements over time. There are three main factors that contribute to a cedar roof’s weathering:

  1. Solar Radiation
    Solar radiation damages the cedar shakes and shingles rapidly, and is the most easily seen. Sunlight will cause the color of the cedar shakes and shingles to change from its natural golden hue to a silvery gray. This color change is an indication that the lignin (the natural glue that holds the wood cells together) is breaking down. As the lignin breaks down, tiny cracks in the cedar shakes and shingles occur which allow excess moisture to creep in and create further damage.
  2. Moisture
    Moisture causes the cedar to swell, and then shrink as it dries. This is known as the wet-dry cycle. After repeated wet-dry cycles, the cracks in the cedar from the solar radiation grow larger and deeper. This means even more moisture will get deeper into the shakes and shingles, preventing the cedar from drying quickly. As a result, the shakes and shingles begin to warp.
  3. Wood-Destroying Fungi
    While cedar contains natural preservatives, these preservatives are depleted over time due to solar radiation and moisture. With the absence of the natural preservatives, wood-destroying fungi (such as white-rot fungi and brown-rot fungi) creep in and start to colonize and grow. In the right environment, these fungi grow rapidly and eat away at the wood. White-rot fungi cause the shakes and shingles to become soft and spongy, while brown-rot fungi cause the shakes and shingles to crack and crumble. Without cleaning the fungi from the cedar roof at the early stages, the shingles and shakes will need to be replaced, and the homeowner risks premature roof failure.

*This article contains information gathered from Journal of Light Construction 1992