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Enjoy a Moss-Free, Rot-Proof Cedar Shake Roof Restoration Service in Minnesota

From a lake-nested Midwestern state to glorious wildlife, scenic drives, pristine national parks, and marvellous exterior of state capital Saint Paul; Minnesota is a treasure of cultural as well as natural beauty, making it one of the most favoured states for elegant property ownership such as a cedar shake roof featuring one. When properly maintained, cedar shake roofs can easily last a lifetime while adding a hypnotizing luxurious look to your property. Although cedar roofs are extremely decay and rot-resistant, they are certainly not rot or decay-roof.
Sullivan Cedar Roof Cleaning offers professional cedar shake roof cleaning throughout Minnesota combined with affordable pricing and complete service satisfaction. Our cedar shake roof maintenance will remove the moss colonization, microorganisms, lichen, and debris that can retain moisture and exacerbate the decomposition process. Our cedar roof cleaning not only removes all types of organisms and organic material but also prevents them from growing again for a very long time. In addition to this, our cedar shake roof cleaning also removes stains caused by algae and tanning. We have been proudly serving Minnesota for more than a decade now and wish to do so for many upcoming years continuously.

Fast & Reliable Cedar Roof Cleaning & Restoration with Extraordinary Results

Our expert team will apply a specialized, eco-friendly cleaning solution to your cedar shake roof that removes all the algae and moss effortlessly without using any power wash or commercial chemicals. We understand that using power wash and harsh chemicals will damage the beauty of your cedar roof and shorten its lifespan. Our cedar shake roof maintenance will optimally reserve its excellent natural ability of thermal resistance. Say no to premature cedar roof replacement. Opt for our cedar shake roof maintenance, cleaning, and restoration services, and get ready to experience a beautiful property with a super clean roof that doubles up its magnificence.

Improve Your Cedar Roof Longevity with Guaranteed Best Services

No more long wait to receive your cedar roof restoration or cedar shake roof cleaning service; Sullivan Cedar Roof Cleaning is here to deliver you the most result offering cedar shake roof cleaning services with affordable pricing and quick implementation. Our team provides:

  • Eco-friendly solutions with natural anti-fungal and antibacterial properties
  • Protection from damaging UV rays
  • Easy removal of debris without damaging the surrounding environment
  • Low-pressure cleaning technique
  • Expert stain removal
  • Round the year service operation

If you are interested in receiving a free cedar shake roof cleaning estimation for your property, just dial 515-423-0234 or fill our secure online form today. We know each feature is unique and requires special attention for its roof cleaning. That’s why we offer only the best cedar roof maintenance and cleaning service, which will suit your preferences to the best.

Certified & Licensed Specialists to Serve Cedar Shake Roof Cleaning in Indiana

The home of quintessential essence and tradition of Midwestern America, Indiana is bustling with never resting cities like Indianapolis and picturesque small towns such as Battle Ground, Meridian Hills, Highland, Shorewood Forests, and more with stunning cedar shake properties. At Sullivan Cedar Roof Cleaning, we are renowned and trusted as a professional cedar shake roof cleaning service provider with a team of highly trained, certified, and insured specialists. Our expert team serves the whole state of Indiana and offers highly professional cedar roof restoration to home as well as business owners.
The Team Sullivan completely understands the routine of special care required to keep your scrumptious cedar shake roofs in a tip-top condition and make its lifespan a very long one. A proper cedar roof cleaning or a quality cedar shake roof maintenance is all you require to maintain its beauty with the optimal condition. Sullivan Cedar Roof Cleaning can treat, clean and restore your cedar shake roofs using a unique non-pressure process, which includes an environment-friendly solvent, to repair your beloved roof to its original fineness. If you are searching for a budget-friendly, professional residential or commercial cedar roof restoration in Indiana, then look no further. We are here to serve with guaranteed best results.

No Pressure Wash, No Harsh Chemicals – Receive Only Eco-Friendly Cedar Roof Cleaning

Shake hands with Team Sullivan as you have found the right partner for all your cedar shake roof cleaning services. Our team stands behind the quality workmanship they offer with real commitment and dedication. Whether you are a new customer or an existing one; we treat all our customers with the same respect, work ethics, and service value. We have been in cedar shake roof maintenance business in Indiana for more than a decade now, are highly regarded for our cedar roof cleaning services

A Team of Well Experienced Cedar Shake Roof Restoration Professionals

Whether you need us on weekends, middle of weeks, or in holidays; Sullivan Cedar Roof Cleaning is round the year available to handle any size of cedar roof restoration project with any difficulty level. Our cedar shake roof cleaning includes useful moss, fungus, and debris removal without the use of pressure washing or harmful chemicals. With our team, get ready to experience:

  • Real service results from the very first time
  • Courteous & professional team members
  • Quick service execution in the fastest time possible
  • Affordable cedar roof shake roof maintenance and cleaning charges
  • Zero hidden teams, conditions or fees
  • Service delivery throughout Indiana

Kindly give us a call at 515-423-0234 to receive a completely free of charge cedar shake roof cleaning service estimation for your property. Also, feel free to mention your queries; we will be more than happy to solve them for you.

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This was a cedar roof that was covered with moss, mold, mildew, lichen and fungi in Elkhart, Indiana. The home owner was looking for a cedar roof cleaning contractor and decided on Sullivan Roof Cleaning out of Des Moines, Iowa who services all of the greater Midwest.

Visit http://www.cedarroofclean.com for all your cedar roof cleaning needs.

Why replace your roof when we can clean it? Sullivan Roof Cleaning 515-971-1430.

Many home owners are concerned with what type of cleaning solution Cedar Shakes Roof Cleaning Company uses, more so, if it will harm their landscaping, pets, children, etc.

No it won’t!

Other companies that will clean cedar roofs use a solution that has caustic elements to it and
requires walking on the roof and having to use a power washer to remove. This had been the
process used in the past and most have just continued using this type of process today. Not
only is walking on a wood roof and using a pressure washer to clean potentially harmful to the
roof but potentially very dangerous to humans.

Cedar Shakes Roof Cleaning Process

My company is the first roof cleaning service to develop a wood roof cleaning process that requires no walking on wood roofs or using any form of pressure i.e. pressure washer to clean them.

WATCH THIS: Video-Removing Moss from a Cedar Roof.


As for our cleaning solution, which I developed myself and without detailing the formula (we can’t give away the secret sauce), the following is the baseline of it:
1.) It is nontoxic and non-caustic.
2.) It is citrus based. Think of Lemon.
3.) It has an algaecide, mildewcide, and fungicide to help preserve the shakes.
4.) It has a bio surfactant or soap to help the solution cling to the shakes.
5.) It has a steam process oil to help rehydrate the shakes to preserve them.

When retaining our service you get a proven process that will not harm your roof or your
landscaping, property or family in any way. (Contact us for an estimate).

Everything that is needed to clean and maintain your roof is within our cleaning process.
There is no need to add a treatment to your roof as it is already within our cleaning solution!

Staining is okay for improving the look of your roof but has no preservative value. It also has a
short shelf life and can be very expensive if done correctly. We don’t recommend it.

Sealing a wood roof in any form is very bad for that roof. Wood roofs need to breathe, they are
organic in nature and have to expand and contract with the changing weather condition.

Unlike others that will clean a cedar shakes wood roof, we are cedar shakes roof cleaners.
To properly maintain a cedar shakes roof you should have it cleaned every 7 to 10 years
subjectively. They have a very long lifespan if maintained!

Bruce Sullivan of Sullivan Roof Cleaning, here on Frederick Street in Omaha, Nebraska. In this cedar shake roof cleaning and landscaping protection video, Maria is pre-soaking all the vegetation and, of course, we have it covered with plastic also as a precautionary measure so that any of our over-spray from our soft wash, non-pressure cleaning process doesn’t get on any of the landscaping.

Landscaping Protection While Cleaning Roof

That’s Maria’s responsibility. This is what she does. She is constantly wetting stuff down, wetting stuff down. She’ll wash the house and windows down as we go along, but I just wanted to give you an idea of how we maintain a homeowner’s landscaping.We’re very conscious of it, and very aware of it. We take great measures to protect your landscaping as you can see. We also have a runoff system that we’ll show you in another video of how we actually run the solution from the downspouts right off the property. It’s a pretty unique process.

protecting landscaping from roof cleaning Maria is connecting something to the downspout. What’s the purpose of that?

 This is so we can run everything that comes off the roof, our solution and all that, into a place where it’s  not going to harm the landscaping.

So primarily, your job as the grounds person is to protect the landscaping of the homeowner, correct?

Right, and this is just one of the ways we do that.

So, all of the solution, water and runoff is going to come down that downspout and it’s going to run through that tubing. Then it’s going to go off into an area that’s going to be a safe area to deposit anything that comes off the roof and it won’t harm any of the landscaping or any of the connecting property.

Usually we usually try to find a place in the rocks or a place in the landscaping where there’s no plants where it can hurt anything. We try to keep the run-off off of the grass and away from the homeowner’s foundation.

A lot of times people have wooded areas in their backyard, we can run it off into there where it’s not going to bother anything.

Thanks for watching our video explaining how we protect your landscape. Again, this is Maria in the video. She takes care of the landscaping, the grounds person for Sullivan Roof Cleaning and Bruce Sullivan and one of the two people you will see when you have us over to clean your roof!

Learn More About Roof Cleaning! Watch Our Videos:

Sullivan Roof Cleaning is located in Des Moines, Iowa. Contact us for a free estimate or with help finding a roof cleaning service in your area!

Moss Removal Examples video on a Cedar Shakes Roof.

This video is about Removing Moss from Cedar Roofs – brought to you by Sullivan Roof Cleaning. Detailed Cleaning process explained.


Cedar or redwood shakes roofs have been around for centuries and are one of the original roofing materials. In early days, the shakes were laid over top of spaced lathing strips that were spaced so the shakes would stay dry. As a result, such cedar or redwood roofs can last for many decades.

Cedar Shakes roofs have a material life expectancy of anywhere from 40 to 60 years but because of the lack of maintaining they tend to last 15 to 25 years based upon the grade of the shakes. This is why you will hear that a cedar roof will last, on average, about 20 years.

The reason for this is that cedar/redwood shakes will not decay on their own. It takes moisture and some form of infestation (moss, mildew, lichen, mold or fungi). Thus the only way to get the full life-span potential from a cedar/redwood roof or siding is to maintain it and have it cleaned.

One problem with cedar/redwood roofs that were installed in the last 30 years is the installation itself. Lath installation is no longer used and they are now installed upon decking with an underlining, or what we call roof felt.

The felt does make for a great water barrier, but because of improper spacing between the felt and the shakes, the shakes often cannot breathe or dry properly. Thus the shakes retain moisture, allowing for infestations to move in.

Over time, the shakes lose their integrity, which can lead to interior water damage and premature roof replacement if there is no regular roof maintenance or cleaning. With a cedar shakes roof, the under felt protect the home or is the water barrier and the shakes protect the felt. So the integrity of the shakes is key to the preserving of the felt or water barrier.

Many cedar/redwood shakes roof homeowners were never told they need to maintain their roof to reach the potential natural life span of anywhere from 40 to 60 years. Normally after a 10-year period of not cleaning, a homeowner will notice the green moss or mold, the lichen or the dark brown to black coloration of fungi.

At this point, many homeowners believe that a new roof is needed, when in reality, a good cleaning will often solve the problem. Once the wood roof is properly cleaned, the infestations and moisture are removed, allowing the shakes to breathe again and stay dry. On average, a good cleaning should last between six and eight years.

In regards to staining and sealing a cedar/redwood roof, staining is fine for curb appeal but adds very little value to preserving the roof itself. Sealing of cedar/redwood roofs should never be done! Cedar shakes need to breathe so they can expand and contract, that is why they are installed spaced. Given cedar has 3% natural oil content, which will leech out over time, some form of oil rehydration should be considered for proper maintenance purposes.

In addition to cleaning, you should make sure there is no debris left in the valleys and no over-hanging trees over the roof as this will cause moisture and shade. Also, it is a good idea to replace any missing shakes that will expose the felt, as UV light can cause felt deterioration.

When properly maintained, a cedar or redwood roof can last for many decades.

As to the cleaning process itself. You have, what is labeled, the three step process and then there is the non-pressure process. One can require the use of some form of pressure and getting on the roof, while the other can be done with garden hose pressure from a ladder. There are different types of cleaning solutions that can be used, depending on the process. We prefer the non-pressure process and have developed our own cleaning solution. Both processes can be very effective.

Cedar shakes roof cleaning is a niche service. We started out as a complete roof cleaning service only. Now 95% of our service is cleaning cedar shakes roofs. As more and more cedar roof home owners become educated to the need to maintain a cedar roof. The demand for our service is constant.

Unlike the other roofing materials, it is well documented that cedar shakes roofs have to be maintained.

I get e-mails and phone calls weekly about how someone can clean their cedar roof throughout the U.S. and Canada. Most requests are to buy my solution. I do not sell it.

Cedar Roof Overview

The following is an overview for all you cedar roof homeowners. If you have done your research or are about to, you will find the following will hold true as a common theme for cedar roof care.

Professional Roof Cleaning by Sullivan Roof Cleaning

Wood shingles and shakes can provide superior performance in areas that experience high winds or damage from hail. Although they do have certain limitations (susceptibility to rotting, splitting, and warping), proper maintenance and care can minimize these limitations. See also:http://www.cedarbureau.org/cms-assets/documents/45094-350971.cmbrochure2011.pdf

Most wood shingle and shake roofs are made from western red cedar (Thuja plicata) because of its exceptional properties, including defect-free straight grain, dimensional stability, low weight (low density), impenetrability to fluids, and probably most important decay resistance, derived from natural substances found within the wood. In this discussion, when I mention shingles and shakes, western red cedar is the species I mean.

Other wood species, notably redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) and cypress (Taxodium distichum), have similar properties and are sometimes used; but decreasing supplies significantly restrict production and distribution.

Cedar Roof Weathering

When wood is exposed to the effects of sunlight and precipitation, its surface begins to change. This change is partly physical and partly chemical, and it’s cumulatively referred to as weathering.

The first noticeable change is the color. The initial red-brown color tends to fade, and a graying process begins. This change to a silvery gray is the result of ultraviolet radiation from the sun stripping the surface layer (less than 0.01 inch deep) of certain cell-wall materials.

This first change in color is rather rapid, occurring within the first year of exposure (under more severe conditions, within several months). Gradually, the silver gray will change to a darker, more graphite gray, then to a brown/black color indicating the colonization of the surface by micro fungi that complete the initial phase of the weathering process. White and Brown Rot Fungi�s.

By nature, wood rapidly attracts water to its surface. When this happens, the wood swells. As it dries and the moisture content decreases, it shrinks. This repeated wet to dry cycling causes the development of compression and tension stresses; these, in turn, cause microscopic cracks to develop.

Over time, these cracks grow larger and larger, caused by additional wettings or by freezing and thawing. The cracks also trap water and allow wood-rotting organisms to penetrate deeper into the wood. As the water penetrates deeper, the wood becomes harder to dry. With increased moisture, the wood-rotting organisms prolong their destructive activity and damage more wood material than would occur during normal weathering.

As the roof continues to age, the surface and sharp edges from manufacturing are eroded by abrasive particles carried by wind and water and by the action of sunlight. Wood-destroying organisms also continue to slowly degrade the surface and the thicker butt edge. The roof loses its new appearance. Debris from trees accumulates in the valleys and between the shingles.

After each rain, some areas stay wetter longer. Soon, other plants are beginning to grow, primarily lichens and mosses. More debris collects, and the roof appears to be natural and rustic. There are splits developing, and in certain areas cupping and curling begin to become more apparent. Then the leaks begin. Sometimes, this takes 30 years sometimes, much less.

Cedar Roof Care and Maintenance

Good housekeeping for a wood roof requires removing all leaf litter, pine needles, and debris that accumulate between the shingles and shakes and in the valleys of the actual roof structure. It’s best to do this before the wet season begins.

The debris that accumulates has two deteriorating effects on the roof. First and foremost, debris tends to retard the shedding of water. Secondly and more destructively debris retains moisture that allows wood-destroying fungi to grow.

Wood-rotting fungi require water as part of the life cycle. If you can reduce the amount of water so that the minimum level is never reached, the organisms can’t grow.

To promote drying, it’s very important to remove overhanging branches that excessively shade sections and retard the drying of the roof surface. Never allow tree branches to touch and rub against the surface of the roof. The mechanical action of this rubbing can literally wear sweeping grooves into the surface of the shingles or can loosen the fasteners that hold them.

Finally, in very woody areas, branches may retard air flow so that surfaces dry very slowly. In all cases, you’ll need to make sound judgments about pruning, trimming, or removing problem-causing trees. Excessive growth of lichens and mosses is a sure indicator that your roof is not drying properly and that enough moisture is available to support wood-rotting organisms.

Removing the debris accumulation is relatively simple. In most cases, anyone who’s willing to climb on the roof can wash off most of the material with a garden hose.

It’s easy to remove litter from around chimneys and in valleys; you also need to clean all the keyways (those areas between the individual shingles and shakes).

Professional services sometimes use high-pressure washers (available through rental firms). These are not recommended because cedar is a soft, low-density wood. Excessive or imprudent use of high-pressure systems can detach shingles or erode many years of wear in moments even though the roof will look like new.

Chemical Treatments For Cedar Roofs

There are several types.

  1.  You can easily prepare cleaning solutions to help remove dirt, mild stains, and light growths of molds and mildew.
  2.  For more persistent stains, bleaching formulations will be recommended.
  3.  In some cases of excessive moss growth, you can apply chemical solutions to kill the mosses and any fungi that may be present.
  4.  You may sometimes apply preservative chemical solutions that will retard the growth of molds, fungi, and mosses.
  5.  Additives such as pigments and ultraviolet absorbers can slow deterioration caused by sunlight.

Considered as a whole, the chemicals listed below are chosen for their fungicidal or herbicidal effects. Note that these chemicals will perform differently under various environmental conditions. As a result, the frequency of application required for long-term protection depends on the chemical you use, the amount of precipitation, average temperatures, and the roof exposure conditions.

The chemicals recommended are available in products found in hardware stores, building supply centers, or lumber yards.

Cleaning Solutions For Cedar Shake Roofs

Because I have developed my own cleaning solution, which not only includes the proper cleaning ingredients i.e. algaecide, mildewcide and fungicide, etc., but also has preservative ingredients within the solution and for business purposes I will not detail in this overview.

For the purpose of this overview I will discuss what is the common recommended cleaning solution based upon research. You’ve removed the debris from your roof, and you can see light staining or irregular discoloration. Cleaning the roof with a mild detergent solution may provide an improvement.

Bleaching Formulations

For more persistent stains, you can increase the sodium hypochlorite (chlorine bleach) concentration, even to the point of using it full strength from the bottle for spot applications.

Formulate stronger solutions by using granular chlorine (calcium hypochlorite), mixed at a rate of 2 oz. per gal water. This chemical is used for algae control in swimming pools and is available through pool supply houses.

For safety, wear eye protection, rubber gloves, and aprons. It’s best to apply these bleaches with brushes for small spots; spray large areas (use plastic or stainless steel sprayers).

Don’t let bleaching solutions stay on wood more than hour before rinsing. These solutions provide more uniform results when you use them in lower concentrations; repeat the application, rather than use a single high concentration when you start.

It’s best to use these solutions out of direct sunlight. Apply the chemical only to the stain. Avoid drips, runs, and splashes of bleach or excessive bleaching on the roof surface these can mar the roof’s appearance. It’s not necessary to scrub bleached areas, but rinse the wood thoroughly.

Preservative Treatments For Cedar Roofs

Chemical solutions may also be applied to red cedar shingles and shakes that will retard the growth of molds, mosses, and (more importantly) wood-rotting fungi. These chemicals are most commonly referred to as wood preservatives, and they’re an effective means of extending the life of your roof.

When you apply preservative chemicals to your roof, the roof condition at the time of treatment will determine the actual amount of increased longevity. If a roof has aged for many years, the treatment won’t be as effective simply because the years of exposure will have taken their toll. In all instances, except when the roof is badly deteriorated, you can expect preservative chemicals to extend the life of your roof.

When you apply preservative chemicals to shakes and shingles, you need to remember several important considerations.

First, the coating should be as uniform as possible. Avoid drips and runs. It’s better to apply several light coats and obtain good absorption than to try and force it in all at once. The important point is that you’re trying to reach a certain level of preservative retention. If the retention level is too low, your treatment will be ineffective.

Second, since much of the decay occurs in the butt region of the shingle or shake, it’s a good idea to be conscientious when you apply the solutions, to cover the exposed butts as well as the exposed shingle surface.

The three methods available to provide proper application are brushing, using a thick-napped roller, or spraying. Because of the irregular surface, you’ll probably get a more uniform coating with a multigallon, pump-type sprayer set to produce a coarse spray.

Spraying also requires a calm day (wind less than 4 mph) to prevent overspray from drifting over plants or into your neighbor’s yard. Brushes are also effective because they allow for thorough treatment of the keyways and ends.

The chemicals listed below will most likely be part of formulations in over-the-counter products or part of the formulations applied by roof servicing contractors. These chemicals are also available in concentrated form through specially licensed supply companies. This is because of the toxicity, possible problems in preparation, and the limited demand from home owners. In every case, regardless of the concentration, be extremely careful when you apply, handle, expose, and store it. When you purchase over-the-counter products for long-term moss control, be sure that one of the wood-preserving chemicals listed below is on the label.

Currently, the preservatives in the following sections are available as either aqueous solutions or oiled-based products.

Copper Naphthenate this is an effective preservative well-suited for applying to roofs. Solutions should consist of at least 1 percent copper (2 percent is better); apply them at a rate of 1 gal/100 sq. ft. for shakes, and 1 gal/150 sq. ft. for shingles. Literature indicates that using this concentration will provide up to 5 years of protection in the Pacific Northwest. Note that copper naphthenate has a greenish color that may prove unsightly. To overcome this, choose a solution that’s pigmented to simulate the red-brown cedar tones or use another type of preservative.

Zinc Naphthenate While copper is much more effective than zinc in retarding the growth of biological organisms, people use zinc solutions to retain the more silver or gray appearance on the roof’s surface. It’s recommended that you use either more frequent applications or higher concentrations of active metal content for example, 2- to 3-percent solutions for 3 years of protection (or 4 percent for 5 years) per 100 to 150 sq. ft. as above.

MTC and TCMTB MTC are (methyl bis [thiocyanate]). TCMTB is (2-[thio cyanomethyl thio] benzo-thiazole). These generally are used in combination as an effective roof treatment. They can be used in clear coatings or in pigmented solutions, and either as waterborne solutions or with solvent/oil mixtures.

Copper 8 Quinolinolate this is a safer alternative to those listed above, but some tests indicate its effectiveness is short lived not much more than 12 to 18 months.

Polyphase Ployphase is 3-iodo 2-propynyl butyl carbonate. In solutions where concentration levels are greater than 0.58 to 2 percent active, you might get 2 years of protection. The durability and long-term performance of this product is still unknown, but it’s limited because of light and water sensitivity.

TBTO TBTO is tri-butyl tin oxide. Some literature indicates its use is questionable in treating existing roofs because of mold and mildew resistance and chemical degradation. It’s often used together with trichloromethyl thio phthalimide (Folpet), which has weak fungicidal properties.

Zinc and Copper Strips For those who prefer not to use toxic chemicals, there appear to be safe and relatively inexpensive treatments to control moss. Galvanized metals have a surface coating of zinc. For example, if you fasten a 2-inch-wide strip to either side of the ridges and run it the entire length of the roof, rain will leach zinc from the metal’s surface and wash it down the roof.

As noted earlier, zinc can effectively kill or retard the growth of mosses and fungi. Its effect has long been noted in personal correspondence between wood scientists; this effect is prominent below chimney flashings and vents.

However, I couldn’t find any scientific study to verify how long it will remain effective or how much metal is required. Its effect below chimney flashings can be seen for at least 15 feet and appears to last for the life of the flashings.

If your roof is so large that the material at the ridge doesn’t retard moss growth at the bottom, place more strips across the surface. After a year, you should be able to judge how well the strips are controlling the growth of moss; add more if they’re needed.

The greater effectiveness of copper over zinc has been noted with copper and zinc naphthenate. So copper strips are also likely to control moss, and possibly retard wood-decaying organisms, because of the greater effectiveness of the copper. This fact has been observed below copper flashings.

In one case, on a roof considered a favorable site for moss growth, two strands of 10-12 gauge copper wire had been placed, one near the ridge and one some 15 ft. below (at the halfway point on the slope). No moss was observed growing. As with the zinc strips, I couldn’t find any supporting scientific studies to confirm these methods but those willing to try may obtain favorable results.

Cedar Shake Roof Oil Treatments

Oils are sometimes advertised to replenish the natural oils in the wood. In red cedar, these oils account for less than 3% of the total mass. While they do contribute to dimensional stability and decay resistance, applying replenishing oils to weathered shingles may be of questionable value, especially if they contain no preservative or water-repellent chemicals.

You might get some temporary benefit, however, with regard to controlling cupping and warping. But some information indicates that applying oils may have some limiting factors. The main limitation is that unless you include an effective mildewcide or preservative, oil like linseed may provide an additional food source for mold, mildew, and fungi.

Furthermore, petroleum-based products are likely to be oxidized (broken down) by sunlight, to have only a short-lived effect, and to increase the flammability of your roof.

Stain, Varnish or Seal for Cedar Roofs

Whatever you do, do NOT stain, varnish or seal your cedar roof. Cedar needs to breathe.

New Growth Cedar vs. Old Growth Cedar

There has been debate about the newer cedar not being as good as the older cedar?

The way I see it. Cedar is not man made, nor a hybrid, but a natural wood.

Any material in life will be as good as you care for it. Your cedar roof is no different.

Let me ask? Why do you go to the dentist to clean your teeth? Because they are organic they need to be cared for to reach their natural lifespan. A cedar roof is no different; it is organic and needs to be cared for to reach its natural lifespan!

NOTE: The materials or information cited above came from research from many different sources, in part, and from my personal experience. This writing is for informational and educational purposes.

Though any person can DIY, I would recommend that they hire a professional.

Bruce Sullivan is a cedar roof cleaner from Des Moines, Iowa area. He has also offered his service throuhgout the Greater Midwest.

Credit goes to research done by:

S.S. Niemiec, former Research Assistant, College of Forestry, OSU

T.D. Brown, Professor emeritus, Wood Science, OSU

In today’s roof cleaning industry we find more and more cleaning services adding roof cleaning to their services provided. In the last couple years many want to take on the service of cedar roof cleaning. Unlike other roof materials e.g. ashault, tile, slate and metal, cedar is a roofing material all to itself. Just in its nature of being organic and a soft wood much caution is warranted when considering having it maintained or cleaned.

Sullivan Roof Cleaning | Before and after photo | Swisher Iowa

First off, you cannot use the same cleaning solution used to clean asphalt, tile, slate or metal. The solution has to be specially formulated to not harm the cedar but at the same time clean it properly. Cedar has other infestations like white and brown rot fungi growth that you won’t see in other roofing materials. These fungi which are the real white looking shakes and the brown to black color shakes will deteriorate a cedar roof faster than any other infestation.

Wood Destroying Fungus On Cedar Roofs

Wood destroying fungus (fungi, plural) causes more damage to structures than all the fires, floods, and termites combined! Wood decaying fungus requires four fundamentals to survive which are oxygen, favorable temperatures, water and food. Fungus occurs generally when the moisture content of wood exceeds 20 to 30 percent, coupled with optimal temperatures (32 – 90 F), an adequate supply of oxygen and a suitable source of energy and nutrients.

Fungus is a plant that lack chlorophyll. Unable to manufacture its own food, it feeds off of cells in the wood. The fungus secretes enzymes that break down the wood into usable food. Fungi will significantly reduce the strength of the wood, if the condition continues over a period of time.

How To Clean and Remove Algae, Moss, Mold and Mildew, Lichen From Your Cedar Roof

Thus it takes a special formulated solution to remove such, combined with the removal of algae, moss, mold and mildew, and lichen. So for someone to use lets say bleach, soap and some potpourri for a good smell effect will only do more harm to the cedar shakes and will not properly clean them.

To properly clean a cedar shakes roof there has to be something to kill the bacteria, algaecide, mildacide and fungicide mixed in a proper ratio for the infestations within the cedar shakes. There is no one product on the market today that will do that. They have to be mixed up special.

What Home Owners Should Know About Their Cedar Roofs

What many cedar shakes homeowners don’t know is that cedar roofs don’t decay, but they do weather. It has natural preservatives that resist moisture, decay and insect damage. Although in warm, humid climates and on heavily shaded roofs, algae, moss, mold, mildew, lichen and fungi’s will grow, because these organisms retain moisture the cedar will decay in time if not maintained.

Also to help the cedar shakes extend their lifespan there has to be a water based oil within the solution to replenish the natural oils that leach out over time. Cedar shakes have to breathe. Thus is has to be water based. They contract and expand that is why there are spaces between. Staining other than looks does little for the health of the shakes. Sealing should never be applied, again they have to breathe. Just a regular cleaning will serve just fine and allow the shakes to live out their full lifespan which can be anywhere from 40 to 60 years and maybe even longer.

You cannot properly clean a cedar shakes roof anytime of the year. The ambient air temperature has to be consistently 50 degrees or above for the shakes to properly thaw and release the infestations from their dormant state. To do other wise is a waste of time and money. You could possibly brighten them but you will not clean them.

In order for a cedar shakes the roof to last its full lifespan it has to be maintained or cleaning, in most cases about every 6 to 8 years, depending on climate, tree cover and shade coverage. Cedar is organic and is wood, it has to be maintained. It is not different from your teeth. Why do you have them cleaned? So they will last their life time. They are organic also.

Also, for you cedar shake homeowners. Cedar shakes are cost saving to your home. Cedar is a natural insulator against the environment; competitors can’t come close to the thermal efficiency of wood. In fact, cedar has twice the thermal resistivity (R-value) of asphalt, 5 times that of slate, 8 times that of concrete, and hundreds of times that of metal and aluminum.

I hope this will be informative for you cedar shakes homeowners. When hiring a cedar shakes roof cleaner check them out. What process do they use. You should never use high pressure or a power washer to clean a cedar roof, that is just common sense. What experience do they have. Ask for references. Have them provide examples of their work. Do they have customer reviews that can be verified. Are they insured?

Ask For A Cedar Shakes Roof Cleaner

There is a big difference between a person that can clean a cedar shakes roof and a person who is a cedar shakes roof cleaner. That difference could be thousands of dollars in damage or replacement cost. On the other hand if they are a cedar shakes roof cleaner you can save thousands of dollars in premature roof replacement by simply maintaining your roof.