Note: This is cleaning/treatment/restoration only. We do not offer roof repair services.
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Read This Before Cleaning Your Cedar Shake Roof

Useful Life of a Cedar Shake Roof


If you drive by an area of homes, and they’re all covered with cedar shingles you will likely see patterns. Most likely, the homes with the most well-maintained yards and gardens feature the most appealing cedar shingles and shake roofs. The reason for this obviously, is that homeowners who maintain their shingles in a clean state take care of their properties and look out for the longevity of the roof. In simple terms, the most attractive cedar roof shingles are roofs that are regularly cleaned. This does not mean it has to be cleaned every year; simply removing debris will help after each fall and a professional clean every 5 – 10 years will be enough to extend the lifespan of your roof by years.

Table of Contents

How Regularly should Cedar Shingles & Shakes be Cleaned?

In an ideal world, roofing shingles made of cedar should be cleaned at least every three to five years, but this can be up to ten; this depends on your geographic location.  The ideal time to clean your wood roof is preferably in the springtime or in the early fall — just after the end of winter’s harsh weather or prior to the fall of leaves of autumn. In accordance with the conditions of your roof’s warranty, you could be legally obliged to clean your roof shingles annually, this could also be an insurance issue, it is worth checking. Whatever the case, your cedar roof’s look and quality will depend on regular cleaning.

Can I Walk on a Cedar Shake Roof?

Cleaning the roof isn’t an easy task, however. It requires several actions more than just vacuuming your rug or mopping floors. To clean your shingles safely and for that effort to be long-lasting, specific kinds of cleaning tools and fluids are required. In addition, safety precautions are required to be taken to ensure balance and avoid injuries to your body. The steps needed to wash a cedar roof aren’t for those with weak legs or scared of heights!

What is the Reason You Should Get Your Cedar Shingles Clean?

Cedar is still one of the most suitable choices for roofing for homes because due to its durability and thermal properties that are natural. Being a native of the Pacific Northwest, cedar has stood up to the test of time throughout hundreds of years of service as a material for housing used for housing by Native Americans — long before the arrival of European settlements.

Because of the direct contact, roofs come into contact with sunlight, inclement weather, and elements. A pair of cedar roof shingles won’t last for a lifetime However, they will last for a long time — much more than asphalt provided they are properly maintained and cleaned on a regular basis. If you can have your roof’s cedar shingles professionally cleaned each autumn or spring as an example they could last 40 or more than 60 years.

Cedar is the warmest roofing material available. It offers infinitely more warmth than aluminum or metal. It also provides five times the insulation qualities of slate and eight times as much insulation capacity as concrete.

Due to the excellent insulation properties of the timber, cedar roof shingles will assist you in keeping your ideal temperatures inside your home and allow you to live comfortably by reducing the usage of the cooling and heating system. In the end, you will save on energy usage.

The advantages of cedar are both financial and also aesthetic.

One of the main threats to the integrity of your cedar roofing is the proliferation of organisms along the exterior of your wood. If such growth is present it shows up as darker colors, as do the shingles. If your shingles change from a bright or silvery cedar hue to dark black or brown hue It is the right time to have the roof cleaning expert

Bruce Cleaning the Roof From Ladder

How Do I clean my Cedar Roof Shingles?

Yes, of course, you can clean your cedar roof shingles, much as you can fix your own car, however, they carry some dangers and require some preparation. If you’re looking to clean them, make sure to have these items in your possession:

Harnesses, Ladders as well as other roof tools ensure security. To clean the roofing shingles on your residential roof it is essential to be able to get up to the roof without injury. Depending on the number of stories your home has the risk can be from moderate to very high. You must be able to climb a ladder of enough height to reach the roof first. A ladder that leans is more suitable than one standing to achieve this.

Work Shoes, Of course, you must be cautious when climbing both ways up the ladder. It is important to wear work shoes or boots that have traction that keeps you in balance on the roof. Work boots with high-traction shoes are suitable for this sort of task. If you are considering the roof’s climb the shingle cleaning should be handled by a roofer.

Clothing for Work Similar to the above, you’ll have to wear protective clothing which you aren’t afraid to get filthy. Do not wear your favorite pair of jeans while walking onto your roof; instead, opt for workplace clothes. Ensure they’re not contaminated with scratches or holes. You’ll want to protect your body and keep your clothes from getting caught on anything while walking onto your roof.

Walking isn’t the only danger of the roof and you should also be sure to be cautious about how you position yourself. Many homeowners who try cleaning their rooftops be unable to maintain their balance and fall because of a fallen leaf or strip of moss under their feet. In addition, the slope of the roof’s eaves could be confusing if you do not have prior experience working on the roof surface of your residential roof. If you are faced with these issues the best solution is to engage a roofing expert to wash and repair your cedar roofing.

Before you step to the roof, take a look at the surface of the shingles. You shouldn’t perform this type of work on a rainy day due to obvious reasons. Similar to that it’s not recommended to go up on your roof following rain, as dampness and moisture — or even worse, standing water can linger.

Even even if the roof is clean, the roof is still a risk for walking on, especially if you’re not familiar with the roof walking. For instance, the presence of moss or other foliage on the roof can cause you to fall and fall off balance. While the purpose is to eliminate leaves and moss but you may not have the chance to succeed if you’re unable to maintain your balance. In all of these instances and many more, hiring an expert roofing contractor is recommended to complete this task for you.

Secure Ways to Clean Cedar Roof Shingles When you’re sure that you’ll be able to take on the roof, the next step is cleaning the shingles. It’s easier to do, as the shingles require specific methods for cleaning. First, you’ll be required to ensure that the shingles are intact since they’re not easy to harm with the right cleaning tools. Follow the following guidelines:

Avoid high-pressure equipment The most common error homeowners make when cleaning their shingles is using machines that are high pressure on their cedar. Any damage to one or more of the shingles can affect the strength of the roof.

For the beginner cleaner, It can be appealing to use a high-pressure powerful cleaner for your roof. In the end, once you are up on top of your roof, you’ll want to finish the job as fast as you can. With your roofing size, the job may seem daunting too. Who wants to commit all day to do this type of task? There aren’t many people, which is why many homeowners utilize pressure-driven cleaners to clean the dirt off their roofs.

When you come into contact with the roofing’s surface the pressured water and fluid can get underneath the shingles and cause damage to the roof. In addition, shingles could be damaged or loosen in the process. Naturally, an expert roof cleaner can come to your home and do cleaning your roof for you at a cost-effective price.

Pressure washing wood roof

Apply cleaner downwards from Shingles In the event that you choose to take on your roof cleaning endeavor make sure you don’t hold the nozzle of the cleaning tool at a distance that is close to the shingles’ surfaces since this could cause too much pressure on the roof. Instead, apply the cleaning solution above the shingles, and let the solution work across the roof before transferring down the drainage tracks. Don’t use the cleaner up toward the shingles, since it will cause water for flow through the cedar behind and under it.

Buy the right cleaning equipment To achieve this you’ll need to purchase the appropriate cleaning equipment, as well as an appropriate ladder with sufficient height and stability. Many homeowners try the job of cleaning shingles once but then realize the hard method that they’d prefer an expert roof cleaner to take over the task instead, leaving your garage bare of equipment. Before you clean your roof’s cedar shingles or buy equipment, you should consider whether it’s worth your efforts and your time.

If you hire an expert in roofing for your home and you don’t have to fret about cleaning formulas and pressure applications because everything is taken care of by an expert with decades of experience with this kind of job. If you think about the advantages of a tidy, appealing roof, it is a duty to yourself as well as your house to engage professional roof cleaning experts to reveal the beauty inherent in the roof’s cedar shingles.

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

How to clean wood Shingles

Are you still eager to take on the task of cleaning your roof by yourself? We’ll get to the next step by mixing the ingredients in your roof cleaning formula. To wash your cedar roof, you’ll need the right cleaner and water mixture. Make enough of the mix enough to cover the entire roof. Attach the machine to the sprayer and then transfer it to the roof.

Take a step towards the roof’s apex and begin spreading the cleaner over the shingles by using left and right motions. Move along the length of the roof’s apex while you perform these movements, taking one slow step at a moment when you are treating every square inch along the upper part of the roofing. Every movement you make should be able to cover the distance of four to five feet as well as down to the roof’s apex.

After you have completed an eave side the opposite. The process should take a few minutes, giving the formula enough time to be set on the wood’s surface break up dirt, and break up the moss from the shingles.

The apex is now cleaned, walk along the middle of the eave, moving from one end to the other, and then apply the shingles to the formula, moving your arms left and right while you cross the roof. When you have finished one side, cross over across the other side, and repeat the steps across that middle of your eave. There should be between 8 and 10 feet of roof covering from the apex down to the lower part.

Based on the size of your eaves it is possible to repeat the steps three times until the cleaner is completely covered by the roof’s edge. Make sure you don’t position your body more than four feet away from the roof’s edge while walking between one end and the other.

Remember to apply the roof with water and stay clear of spraying upwards.

When you’re done covering your roof the mixture is likely to have taken at the very least 10 minutes to do its work over the wood.

You should now be able to see the change in the appearance of your shingles. The cedar will definitely be clean and free of moss. However, dirt can remain if you don’t give your roof an all-over wash.

It is then time to clean and clean the entire area on your roofing.

Do I Need to Hire a Professional to Clean My Cedar Shingles?

Do you need to take your car to a garage to get it fixed?

As with most homeowners, when you begin to clean your roof’s shingles, you’ll take a lot longer than specialists on YouTube or a professional cedar shake roof cleaner. Like all the feats performed by professionals before the camera, a roof clean will appear much more straightforward than if you were to take the job yourself.

However, professional roof cleaners are outfitted with the most advanced cleaning solutions and equipment despite the efficacy of bleach and water. Additionally, a professional cleaner has the expertise and attention to detail required to clean all the areas of your roofing, and do the task to a high standard of excellence that will keep it spotless.

For all of these reasons, it’s best to avoid any DIY (DIY) attempt at roof cleaning. Instead, engage licensed roofing professionals to wash your roofing shingles.

5 Things a Cedar Roof Home Owner Can do

Wooden Shingle & Shake Cleaning from Cedar Shake Roof Cleaning

In the northeastern region of the United States, inclement weather is an everyday occurrence. Cedar shingles are an attribute to be cherished for their insulation properties during the snowy and sometimes rainy winter months. However, the cedar shingles should be cleaned regularly from time in order to preserve their beauty and prolong the life the wood.

In the area of Desmoines, Iowa, and in the surrounding regions, Cedar Shake Roof Cleaning is the most trusted name in the area for roof cleaning services. The owner, Bruce Sullivan, is a top US cedar shake expert, insured, and licensed to clean cedar shake roofs.

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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