Note: This is cleaning/treatment/restoration only. We do not offer roof repair services.
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Is Your Home for Sale with a Cedar Roof

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Selling Your Home with a Cedar Shake Roof?

When thinking of selling your home with a cedar shake roof it is important to know the condition of the roof and whether it needs to be replaced or not.  More often that not it does not actually need to be replaced and can quite happily be cleaned and returned to a beautiful condition that will help convince the buyers this is the house for them.

Cedar Roof Cleaning

Are you in the process of selling your home with a Cedar roof?

I have had a number of cedar roof cleanings where the home owner that was selling their home was told they needed a new roof. When you put your cedar shake home for sale in most cases there is a home inspection. Many home inspectors are not roof inspectors per se. When it comes to cedar wood roofs many times the inspector will base their inspection more on the age of the roof than on the condition. Rule of thumb is if a cedar roof is twenty years old it is near replacing which is based solely on the age. Given many home owners do not understand the design and function of a cedar roof they just assume they must need to replace the roof if the inspector says so. What many home owners and even home inspectors don’t realize is twenty years for a cedar roof, in most cases, is just half-life.

Do You Need Your Cedar Roof Replaced or Cleaned?

I have cleaned hundreds of cedar roofs and also I am a certified roof inspector with the National Certification and Roof Inspection association. Our policy is we will not clean a cedar roof that is in need of major repair or replacement.

I just cleaned a roof where the home inspector told the home owner and buyer that the cedar roof had maybe one to three years life left. I was called and asked to review the possibility of cleaning this roof. At first glance the roof looked bad having that dark brown to black color and that worn out look. I inspected this roof and the underling or what we call roof felt was in good condition and the shakes didn’t have a lot of vertical cracking or missing shakes nor cupping and curling. The cedar roof had never been cleaned and had mildew and brown rot fungi and was holding moisture. Over time these infestations will leach the life out of the shakes. cedar cannot decay on its own. Only when infested with algae, moss, mold, mildew, lichen and fungus, white and brown rot will they hold moisture and thus deteriorate the shakes. What one needs to understand is with a cedar roof the underling or felt protects the roof or home and is the water barrier and the shakes protect the felt. In most cases a simple cleaning will resolve the issue and place the roof back in its normal functioning condition.

How Much Can Be Saved Cleaning vs Replacing Your Cedar Roof?

The buyer wanted the homeowner to replace the roof or lower their sale price based upon this home inspection at a cost of $25,000.00. I have since cleaned this roof at the request of the new buyer for less than 5% of the replacement cost. In six to eight years we’ll clean it again.

In most cases, a cedar roof that is in the twenty-year-old range doesn’t need to be replaced but a simple cleaning will return it to its normal functioning state.

This example is classic of a situation where the cedar roof could have been replaced prematurely. Whether selling your cedar roof home or not, do your research have it inspected by a cedar roof expert, and consider having it cleaned. Cedar is wood and organic and needs to be maintained. Like your teeth which are organic also and will last a lifetime if you do what, maintain them. If maintained cedar roofs can last anywhere from 40 to 60 years which is subjective on weather conditions, location, and tree cover around the roof. We clean cedar roofs throughout Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kansas, and the greater Midwest. Review the rest of this website the videos, photos, and customer reviews. Don’t replace your roof when we can clean it!

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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