Bruce's Quick Guide on How to Maintain a Cedar Shake Roof
A cedar shake roof will decay if it is infested with algae, moss, mold, lichen, and fungi.
Here’s how to maintain a cedar shake roof to keep it in good shape.
A roof installed with cedar shakes is designed to last and given the proper care and maintenance, it will last a long time, even if the cedar shakes look old and weathered they can be saved.
Roofs installed with cedar or redwood shakes have been used for generations and are one of the oldest roofing materials. Originally, the shingles and shakes were spread atop spaced lathing strips to keep the shakes dry. As a result, roofing made of cedar or redwood would persist for many generations.
This is because cedar and redwood shakes do not decompose on their own. Moisture is required, as well as some type of infestation (moss, mildew, lichen, mold, or fungi). As a result, the only way to get the most out of a cedar/redwood roof or siding is to maintain it and have it cleaned regularly.
The installation of cedar/redwood roofs that were installed in the last 30 years has changed.
The usage of a lath construction is no longer common; instead, they are now erected on decking with an underlayment, or roof felt.
Although the felt acts as a good water barrier, the shakes are often unable to breathe or dry properly due to insufficient spacing between the felt and the shakes. As a result, the shakes retain moisture, allowing infestations to thrive. There is supposed to be a layer of cedar breather between the felt and shakes.
If regular roof maintenance and cleaning are not performed, the shakes will lose their integrity over time, resulting in interior water damage and premature roof replacement.
Many cedar/redwoods shake roof owners are unaware that they must maintain their roof for it to reach its natural life span of 40 to 60 years. A homeowner will usually see green moss or mold, lichen, or the dark brown to black hue of fungi after a 10-year period of not cleaning.
Cleaning is essential for a cedar shake roof’s longevity.
Many homeowners feel that a new roof is required at this time, while in truth, a thorough cleaning will typically cure the problem. The pests and moisture are removed from the wood roof once it has been thoroughly cleaned, allowing the shakes to breathe and keep dry once more. A decent cleaning should last between seven to 10 years on average.
Staining and sealing a cedar/redwood roof is good for aesthetic appearance but provides no practical value to the roof’s long-term preservation. Sealing cedar/redwood roofs is never a good idea since it prevents the shakes from accessing the air, they require to stay dry. Cedar shakes need to be able to breathe.
In addition to cleaning, make sure there is no debris in the valleys and that there are no overhanging trees overhanging the roof, which will produce dampness and shade. Also, any missing shakes that would expose the felt should be replaced, as UV rays might cause felt degeneration.
A cedar or redwood roof can survive for decades if properly maintained.