Note: This is cleaning/treatment/restoration only. We do not offer roof repair services.
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Install Cedar Shake Roof Shingles: A Comprehensive Guide for Homeowners

how to install cedar shingles


Cedar roof shingles are a great choice if you’re looking for a durable, attractive, and eco-friendly roofing option. Cedar shakes are made from natural cedar wood, which provides excellent insulation and longevity. In this article, we’ll look closer at how to install cedar roof shingles to ensure a successful installation.

Materials Required

Before starting the installation process, gathering all the necessary materials is important. You’ll need cedar roof shingles, staples, ventilation, underlayment, overhang, fasteners, and plywood. These materials can be purchased at your local home improvement store or lumber yard.

Preparing the Roof Surface

The first step in installing cedar roof shingles is to clean the cedar roof. Then, remove any existing layers of shingles and check the plywood for any damage. Replace any damaged plywood to ensure a stable and level surface for the cedar shingles.

Next, install an underlayment over the plywood. This thin layer of material provides an additional barrier between the shingles and the plywood. It also helps to protect against moisture and water damage.

Installation of Your Cedar Shingles

Once the roof surface is prepared, you can install cedar shingles. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you get started:

Step 1: Start with the first row of shingles at the bottom of the roof. Ensure that the shingles are aligned straight and evenly spaced. This will create a foundation for the rest of the shingles.

Step 2: Fasten the shingles using staples or fasteners. Be sure to use the recommended size and type of fastener for your specific cedar shingles.

Step 3: Continue installing the first row of shingles across the entire roof. Once the row is complete, ensure the overhang is uniform, and the shingles are straight.

Step 4: Repeat the process for the second and subsequent rows of shingles. Ensure that each row overlaps the previous row by at least 2 inches. This will provide adequate coverage and prevent leaks.

Step 5: Cut the shingles to fit around vents, chimneys, or other obstacles on the roof. Use a circular saw or handsaw to make the cuts. Ensure that the shingles fit snugly around the obstacle to prevent water penetration.

Step 6: Install a ridge cap at the top of the roof to provide a finished look and to protect against water penetration. Use the same technique as the shingles to install the ridge cap.


Ventilation is an essential aspect of any roofing system, including cedar shingles. Proper ventilation helps to prevent moisture buildup, which can lead to mould, mildew, and rot. Ensure that there is adequate ventilation in the attic space to allow for proper airflow.

Square Foot Coverage

The number of cedar shingles required for your roof will depend on the square foot coverage. A square is equivalent to 100 square feet of roofing surface. On average, one square of cedar shingles will cover approximately 25-30 square feet of roofing surface.

Maintenance and Repair

Cedar roof shingles are durable and can last up to 30 years with proper maintenance. Regular inspection and maintenance can help to identify any issues before they become major problems. Ensure the roof is cleaned of debris and any overhanging branches are trimmed regularly.

If you notice any damage or missing shingles, it’s important to repair them as soon as possible. This will prevent water penetration and further damage to the roof.


Installing cedar roof shingles is a great way to enhance your home’s curb appeal while providing a durable and eco-friendly roofing option. Proper installation is key to ensuring a successful roofing system. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can install cedar roof shingles confidently. Remember to gather all the necessary materials, prepare the roof surface, and follow the step-by-step guide for installation.

Proper ventilation and regular maintenance are also essential to see the expected life of cedar roof shingles. With proper care, your cedar roof shingles can provide decades of reliable protection for your home.

Compared to asphalt shingles, commonly used in roofing, cedar roof shingles are a more eco-friendly and sustainable option. They’re also more attractive and can provide better insulation. While they may be slightly more expensive than asphalt shingles, the long-term benefits can make it a worthwhile investment.

In conclusion, installing cedar roof shingles can be a rewarding and satisfying home improvement project for homeowners. With proper guidance, you can confidently install cedar roof shingles and enjoy a beautiful and durable roof for years.

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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