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9 Tips on How to Maintain a Cedar Shake Roof

9 Tips on How to Maintain a Cedar Shake Roof


Maintaining a cedar shake roof is essential to ensure that it lasts for as long as possible. Cedar shake roofs are beautiful and can last for many years with proper care. Here we will discuss how to maintain a cedar shake roof.


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Cedar Shake Roofing

A cedar shake roof is an attractive option with high curb appeal that is aesthetically pleasing to look at. While the rustic beauty adds to the attractiveness of your home, it also requires some additional care to keep it looking its best.

Cedar shake roof requires regular maintenance to keep it looking good and lasting long. Many Cedar shakes will last up to 20-30 years, but you must take care of them properly in order for that lifespan to be increased from 40-50 years. You should not use a standard roofing contractor when it comes to properly maintaining your cedar roof but a specialized cedar roof cleaner. Cedar shakes are not like other roof materials and are often misunderstood by people who do not specialize in cedar shakes or shingles.

What is a Cedar Shake Roof

Cedar Shake Roof Maintenance

Cedar Shakes are made up of organic material and there is a chance of the Cedar shingles rot and getting damaged if not maintained properly. So, proper maintenance will help you increase your Cedar roof’s lifespan. Proper maintenance is required to avoid moisture and moss on your roof as Cedar shakes are made up of natural wood that is prone to decay from organic matter and damage due to weather conditions. 

Here are 9 Cedar shake roof maintenance tips:


1) Remove Overhanging Branches Above the Cedar Shakes

Cedar Shake Roof maintenance requires proper cutting and removing of overhanging branches. Overhanging branches of trees need to be removed routinely, and properly to avoid moisture causing moss, mildew, and mold to grow.

Cutting and removing the tree branches helps you to avoid the likelihood of the tree branches falling on your Cedar shake roof. It helps you to avoid the damage that the braches may cause to your roof. Moreover, removing the overhanging branches helps the roof to dry faster and decreases the chance of mold and algae growing on your roof.

2) Remove Debris on a Regular Basis From the Shakes or Shingles

Cedar Wood Roof needs debris removal on regular basis for the shakes to breathe. Debris can trap moisture and therefore, should be removed. Debris can include fallen leaves, pine needles, twigs, and other organic materials. If not removed properly, it may cause wood rot and allow mold growth on Cedar shake roofs.

3) Protective Treatments From Roofing Contractors

Cedar shake roof owners should properly maintain and inspect Wood Shakes to avoid mildew growth, moss growth, rot, algae, moisture, mold, small cracks, wood damaging fungi, and other debris. Regular inspections and cleaning are important but counter to what many “experts” say, protective treatments are not actually necessary. They will make the roof look nice in the short term but in the long term, they will actually shorten the life of the roof.

4) Avoid Power Washing to Minimize Damage

Cedar Roof maintenance never allows you to use power washing on your Cedar Shake Roofs. Never use power washers or high-pressure water to clean the Cedar Shake roofs. Cedar Shake roof should not be cleaned with anything other than clean water. So, avoid using aggressive treatments and power washing. Avoid high-pressure washing as it can strip the protective oils from the Cedar. Only a mild solution and non-pressure garden hose are required to wash the Cedar Shake roofing. Use a soft brush to lightly remove dust particles to protect your roof from damage for general cleaning.

5) Gutter Maintenance

Cedar Shake roof maintenance requires you to clean and maintain the gutters of your house properly. Gutters are built to move the water away from your roof so that the water may not damage or harm the wooden shingles of your house. Regular cleaning of the gutters is required to avoid the water building up causing fungal growth and degrading your Cedar shingles. Cedar roof maintenance includes gutter cleaning to avoid moisture from getting into your roof and causing leakage and damage to your roof. So, protect your roof from moss and moisture and avoid expensive repair and treatment.

6) Avoid Bug Infestation

It’s necessary to carefully inspect and control wooden roof pests such as carpenter ants, termites, and beetles in Cedar roofs. Termites damage Cedar roofing shingles directly, whereas wood-boring beetles will attack Cedar crossties and plywood sheathing.

7) Cleaning and Careful Inspection by Professional Roofers

It is necessary to clean Cedar shakes roof in order to prevent Cedarwood damage. You should hire a professional Cedar shake roof cleaning service to clean the Cedar roofs rather than a generic roofing company. Before you hire professionals for Cedar shake roof cleaning, make sure that they use Cedar-friendly cleaning solutions otherwise, the Cedar shakes will be damaged. You can read more in our guide on how to choose a cedar roof cleaning professional.

8) Replace Rotting Shingles

Cedar roof maintenance requires you to replace the Cedar shakes that are rotten or damaged. This can be a daunting task but excessive moisture on your roof can cause mold, moss growth, debris, and algae growth which is undoubtedly worse for cedar roofing! It causes your wooden shakes and shingles to rot early. Homeowners need to inspect carefully the rotting and broken shingles on their roof to avoid roof replacement early than expected. Rotting shakes can be replaced to last for decades.

Cedar roof repair service providers can replace wood-damaged roof shingles for your roof. They use Cedar shake which has Cedarwood similar texture and Cedar crossties which have a similar texture as your Cedar roof. It helps to enhance your home’s curb appeal and extend the life of your Cedar shake roof.

9) Replace Cracking Shakes

Sun exposure, heat, rain, storm, and weather changes can cause the wooden shingles to contract and expand. Thus, the wooden shakes and shingles crack. Cracking shakes or shingles are a threat to your wooden roof and destroy the longevity and increasing lifespan of your roof. Homeowners need a careful inspection of their roof and replace the loose or broken shingles to protect the roof from getting further damage.

However, if Cedar roof shingles are made up of low-quality roofing material they get cracks, and then roof restoration experts’ suggestions and Cedar shake roof replacement is the only solution to avoid further damage.


Finally, it is suggested to maintain your roof and the cost of cedar roof maintenance must be affordable at the first sign of damage to prevent further deterioration and costly repairs. The growth of moss, mold, mildew, moisture, and algae on your roof is a threat to the longevity of your roof that can last up to decades. So, Cedar Shake roof maintenance tips will be helpful for you to take care of your aesthetically pleasing house.

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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