It’s no surprise that cedar shakes and shingles have been used as roofing material in this country for centuries. Their beautiful golden hue and fresh cedar smell (when new) are not the only reasons why people have chosen this roofing material. Other than aesthetics, cedar roofs are often chosen for their insulation and their natural preservatives.
Because of their incredibly low weight and density, cedar shakes and shingles provide a superior insulation over other roofing materials. They do an amazing job at keeping the house warm in winter and cool in the summer. According to manufacturers and cedar shakes and shingle associations, it is the preferred roofing material for areas with extreme cold and snowfall. When properly installed, they keep cold air flowing above the felt barrier rather than letting it seep into the attic. Thus, reducing the amount of stress put on your heating unit, and saving you money on costly heating bills.
Cedar is also a very sturdy and durable wood. It is a flat, straight wood, with a low density and shrinkability factor, which helps to make it an ideal roofing material. In addition, cedar (specifically, Western Red Cedar) contains natural preservatives in it’s fibers. Known as thujaplicans and water-soluble phenolics, these natural preservatives make the wood mostly resistant to moisture, decay, and insect damage.
While cedar makes for a great roofing material, it is important to note that it does require maintenance on the part of the homeowner. As the exposed cedar shakes and shingles weather, and are prevented from having their natural wet/dry cycle, the shakes and shingles will begin to deteriorate. For more information on weathering and maintenance of your cedar roof, check out our Homeowner’s Guide of Maintaining Your Cedar Shake Roof.