Note: This is cleaning/treatment/restoration only. We do not offer roof repair services.
Cedar Site Logo

Hiring a Responsible Cedar Roof Cleaner

Hiring A Responsible Cedar Roof Cleaner 850x433


How Do I find a Responsible Cedar Roof Cleaner?

Once every 10 years or so your cedar shake or shingle roof will require a clean to maintain the quality of the shakes and ensure that it can last its full lifespan, which is normally around 40 – 50 years.  Being able to rely on your tradesmen of choice is very important. How do you find one, and what can you expect from them?  This is especially important for cedar shake roof cleaning.

Finding a reliable tradesman such as a plumber, builder, electrician, painter, is generally quite easy as they typically work on their own or in small teams, running their own business you can ask a friend or neighbor for a recommendation.  Being able to find a reliable cedar shake roofing expert is not so straight forwards as it is much more niché. Here are some tips to help you find the perfect cedar shake roof cleaner for you!

Find the Correct Type of Cedar Shake Cleaner

This may sound obvious but it is perhaps not as obvious as it seems at first.

Plainly put there are roof cleaners who clean wooden shake roofs and there are wood shake roof cleaners.  I will briefly explain the difference between the two.

Roof Cleaners who Clean Wooden Shakes

Roof Cleaners who Clean Wooden Shakes

  • The standard roof cleaners generally use high-pressure power washing equipment to clean the roofs and shakes.  This is a terrible idea as using a power washer will not clean the root cause of the issue on your cedar shake roof.  It will remove the issue visually but these are only short terms gains and the problem will quickly reappear.  Power washing is also likely to damage your cedar shakes and any underlayment that you have beneath them.
  • Standard roof cleaners will walk on your roof, with cedar shakes this is a no-go and should be avoided at all costs.  When cedar shakes are walked on they risk breaking, being damaged and then costing more as they will need to repair the damage caused.
  • If they offer to seal the cedar shake or shingle roof then they do not understand cedar shakes and the woods necessity to breathe.  Do not allow them to seal your roof.

A Cedar Shake Cleaner

  • A cedar shake roof cleaner is not going to use the same invasive tools that are used by others.  A professional cedar shake roof cleaner will utilize his understanding of cedar shakes, to address the problems that are there.   They will also use a special cleaning process that utilizes the pressure of a garden hose (no pressure washer here!) and gently clean the cedar shake roof, restoring it, and extending the lift.
  • A cedar shake makes a strong, sturdy, and durable roofing material but it is not designed to withstand the pressure exerted from a power washer. 

Whilst it is important that you find someone who fits into the category of a cedar shake roof cleaner rather than a roof cleaner, there are also other categories to check to make sure you are getting the best person for the job.


What is Their Better Business Bureau Rating and How are Their Reviews?

The Better Business Bureau has a rating system on their website. They divide the ratings into A, A+, and so on until reaching “F” which is extremely bad. The ranking system documents complaints and company history for each company and also gives them a grade of A+ to D-. The BBB provides this information as a way to provide transparency for their clients, as well as prospective clients.
Better Business Bureau

The rank of the BBB is determined by evaluating more than 70 different factors such as how many consumer complaints they have, what type of work they do, whether or not they paid taxes last year, and the types of action they’ve taken against other businesses in the past. This allows them to determine if the company is trustworthy. It’s important to note, however, that just because a business is BBB accredited does not mean they are automatically trustworthy.

Complaints are taken into serious consideration by the Better Business Bureau, which ranks companies based on these reviews as well as other factors. Usually if there are many complaints against a company it’s because they’ve done work incorrectly in the past, failed to complete jobs properly, or have disrespectfully treated customers.

In some cases, a business can become BBB accredited through positive customer feedback only. This means that the company is safe to work with and has been trusted in the past by their clients. In this case you should ask for references from their most recent clients to hear what they have to say about working with them .

How long have they been in business?

It’s generally best to go with a company that has been in business for a while but this is not a fixed rule. This is because they’ve most likely perfected their craft, acquired the necessary licenses, and are extremely trustworthy – if not then they may have gone out of business already. This is not always true and sometimes old companies can become complacent and take their customers for granted whereas a new company will be eager to please and do their best. If you’re not sure if a company has been around for a while, try searching their name online. Paid advertisements will usually be at the top of the results page so you can use this as an approximation of how long they have been in business.

What is Their Payment Method?

It’s a good idea to look at what types of transactions the company accepts. In most cases, it will be cash, debit or credit card but if they accept any checks or special services such as PayPal you should ask about this so that there are no miscommunications. If the business owner says that they come around to collect your cash on the day of the appointment, you should be wary. This creates an unsafe situation for both parties if anything were to go wrong.

Is the company well-insured?

It’s especially important to determine what work is being covered by insurance in case something goes wrong during or after the job. If a contractor tells you that “all work is covered”, this is an extremely ambiguous statement and you should not proceed with the job until you have a definitive answer.

This information can be obtained by calling their office or sending them a quick email before you meet up for your appointment. If something goes wrong, they will most likely take care of it so this process might also help to avoid any arguments that may arise further down the road.

Will any of their customers verify their service and quality?

Customer satisfaction is extremely important to all businesses, including tradesmen. If they have a website, you should check for a customer review section where previous clients can leave their opinions of the company on their profile. This way you can see if others have had a good or bad experience with that specific business.

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

Does the owner have a physical address?

It’s important to know where the company is located and if they have a physical address. An actual location makes it easier for you to find, but it also usually means that they are officially registered as a business which tells you a lot about their credibility. If the owner claims to be “mobile” or operates from an alternative location this should be a warning sign. 

Cedar Roof Cleaning

What example photos do they have?

Can you see examples of their previous work?  Is it a collection of photos that can be verified as being from their business or could they just be from the internet?  Here at Sullivan Cedar Shake Roof Cleaning we always aim to have an identifying marker in the photo, whether it is a Sullivan truck, a Sullivan branded hat, or Bruce himself, we always aim to have something that ensures the photo is ours and not just taken from the internet.

Are they knowledgeable about wood roofs and their different components?

This goes back to the initial thought on whether they are a roof cleaner that cleans cedar shake roofs, or if they are a cedar shake roof cleaner.  Make sure they are knowledgeable about how cedar shakes work, the natural oils they produce, the reasons why cleaning them is important (other than just to make your house look lovely!).

Some important points to ensure –

  • They do not recommend to seal the shake roof, if they do then it is likely that they are a roof cleaner cleaning shake roofs rather than a cedar shake roof cleaner.
  • They do not use power washing to clean the shake roof.
  • They use a ladder and do not walk on the cedar shake roof.  Everything should be done from a ladder.

Use Your Contacts

There might be a specific person or company that you know who has already had work done on their house. If they’ve been happy with it, they’ll be able to tell you who did the work. If they have a builder that they are happy with, this person will likely know even more about the local profession. They can recommend people to you or tell you who has done the best work for them.

If there isn’t anyone in your life who fits the bill, look online for recommendations and reviews on builders in your area. Also, check out your local newspaper and ask friends, family, and neighbors for their advice.

Two business people talking on a rooftop.
A google search page with a picture of a man and a woman.

Go Online!

The internet is a great place to find reliable tradesmen in your area. If you search for electricians in Sydney, plumbers in Melbourne or any other type of tradesman in your city or town, you will be presented with several different options. You can either ask for quotes or you can book a tradesman to do the job.

Make sure that any tradesmen you find online have an official website and social media accounts, such as Facebook and LinkedIn. It’s always good to see if they are registered with their local Chamber of Commerce or better still, whether they are members of Australian Certified Trades. If you choose to go ahead with this person, make sure that they provide you with written quotes and information about their business.

Get at Least Three Written Quotes

Before committing to any tradesman it’s important to get at least three written quotes. Since rates can vary depending on the work that needs doing, receiving three quotes can help give you a better idea of how much the job will cost. As well as this, it’s also good to be able to compare and contrast each tradesman’s work ethic and quality. By getting three quotes you’ll be forced to go through the process of finding a reliable tradesman and doing your research, which is always great.

If you already have a tradesman in mind that you are happy with, then it’s best to get their quote first. If they’re not too far off the other quotes you’ve received, go ahead and book them to do the job. However, if there is little difference between all of your quotes, make sure you read through each one thoroughly. Check the tradesman’s social media accounts, as well as their website and make sure they are legitimate.

Get at Least Three Written Quotes
Find out what they need from you

Find out what they need from you

When you receive a quote from a tradesman, make sure that it states whether any materials will be provided by them or whether you’ll have to buy these yourself. In some situations, your tradesman might buy the equipment necessary and then bill you when the job is complete. However, don’t assume that this will be the case in all situations so make sure to ask and find out what they need from you in order for them to do their job.

Once you’ve found a reliable tradesman and got at least three written quotes, you’ll have to go ahead and book them. This is easy enough, as they will most likely call you or email you in order to arrange a suitable time for them to come around. Make sure that before they do this, you’ve found out whether any materials are needed from you. If there are, make sure that these are ordered well in advance. This way your tradesman will be able to begin the job as soon as they are ready.

That’s it! You’ve now done all of the research you need in order to find a reliable tradesman and go ahead with the job. Make sure that when they come around, you’re informed about what exactly needs doing and how long it will take. If you have any questions or concerns, ask the tradesmen about these. They should be more than happy to answer them so go ahead and give them a call!

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!


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.


Free No Obligation Estimation

Recent Posts

Free No Obligation Estimate