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How to Remove Moss from a Cedar Shake Roof

How to Remove Moss from a Cedar Shake Roof


Moss removal is a great way to give your roof a fresh new look. We will explore some methods of How to Remove Moss from a Cedar Shake Roof. These de-mossing techniques are safe and environmentally friendly too, so you don’t have to worry about any damage being done in your quest for moss removal success!

Table of Contents

Cedar Roof

A Cedar shake roofing is an organic roof made of Cedarwood shakes that is an organic material and is more prone to moss growth on the roof. Moss growth is caused due to excessive moisture, humid weather, debris, fallen leaves, and overhanging tree branches that block the air and sun heat to dry the Cedar shakes properly.

What is Moss?

Moss is a small, green-colored plant that releases spores for reproduction. They are very hardy plants able to withstand the harshest of conditions. Moss prefers to grow in wet shingles and areas with excessive moisture. That’s why it’s so important to remove mildew and moss growth from your Cedar roofs before they have time to spread over all of the shingles and cause even more damage.

Moss growth on Cedar Shake roof can become quite thick and heavy, weighing down your roof and causing leaks. Moss causes wood rot and leaks in the attic and makes the Cedar shingles decay fast. It’s dangerous because the weight of the moss, and mold will result in water damage to the roofing underneath due to its ability to act as an unintentional dam when it rains.

Moss & Algae

What Causes Moss Growth on Roofs?

Moss thrives in moist conditions, so any cedar shingle roof that’s prone to moisture and wet atmosphere will have an increased risk of being infected by moss spores. Unlike grass, moss causes the shingles to suffocate and block the air to dry the shingles off.

For example, roofs that are overgrown with trees, grass, and bushes are the perfect home for the little green moss because they provide lots of shade which means no direct sunlight can kill the mold and algae off and thus create damp conditions for the spores to land on and feed off. Cedar shakes need excessive heat to dry off when they get wet after rain.

Steps to Remove Moss from Cedar Shake Roof

Moss on the roof can be removed by following the 5 steps below:

1) Remove Plants, Bushes, and Overhanging Tree Branches

The moss removing process begins by removing any plants or bushes from around the Cedar shake roof which could be causing excessive moisture on the surface of your cedar shake roofing tiles. Wood roofing always needs attention, maintenance, repairing and removing of debris and bushes regularly to get the extended lifespan of your Cedar shake roof.

Overgrown with bushes and trees branches means that there will be no sunlight and air that can kill the moss off and hence create damp conditions for the moss to grow.

Moss grows on wood shingles due to rain and moisture. So, the best way to prevent moss growth on your Cedar Shingles is to protect the Cedar roof from moisture by removing the debris and overhanging branches on the roof surface.

2) Install Metal and Zinc Strips

Zinc and copper strips are installed at the time of the roof installation process on the ridge cap of wood shakes to prevent moss, mold, and algae from developing on the roof. If installed properly. The copper and zinc strips will decrease the moss problem and fungal growth on the roof having a permanent effect.

3) Contact a Professional

Cedar shingle roofs are not an ordinary type of roof that homeowners can clean by themselves with DIY treatments and cleaning solutions. Cleaning the roof with harsh chemicals can destroy and damage shingles.

The first thing you need to do is contact a professional to remove the moss from the roof. Professionals have experience in roof cleaning service who have expertise in removing moss from cedar shake roofs because they will have all of the tools necessary for removing large amounts of moss growing on the roof.

3) Avoid Power Washing

Some roof cleaning companies suggest pressure washing to remove the moss from the roof. However, power washing can damage the Cedar Shake roof and causes serious problems harming the roof shingles. Not all roof cleaning experts know the moss removal process and may damage the moss-covered roof. A pressure washer should be avoided to remove moss growth on the roof.

4) Roof Cleaning Experts

To avoid costly repairs later on, always choose professionals with expertise, and experience to clean the Cedar roofing. Cedar shake roof cleaning experts safely remove moss from cedar roofing without using any pressure washer. The removal of moss is done with a mild spray using a normal garden hose. The roof cleaning solution used by the roof cleaning experts is Cedar friendly allowing the shakes have a full lifespan as expected. The moss-covered roof is cleaned with low-pressure spray and algae, green moss, mold, and black spots are removed with the help of roof cleaning experts.

5) DIY Moss Removing Solutions

Moss removing solutions used to clean the Cedar roof need to be mild, soft avoiding acid solutions. Moss removing solutions that are used to remove moss from Cedar shake roofing have the properties such as:

  1. Removing the moss on the cedar roofing with vinegar and salt paste.
  2. Removing the moss from the Cedar roofing with a salt solution.
  3. Removing the moss cedar shakes with baking soda and water mixture.
  4. Avoid using stain removing solutions for moss removal on the Cedar roof.
  5. Avoid removing the moss from the Cedar roof with bleach and acid solution.
  6. Avoid using power washers and strong sprays for removing the moss.
  7. Mild spray and a normal garden hose are preferably good for moss removal.

Conclusion on How to Remove Moss from Cedar Shake Roof

Finally, it is to say that removing moss from the Cedar shake roof is not a ‘do it myself‘ task. It needs professionals to help you remove the moss, mold, and algae growing on your cedar shingles. Homeowners just need to do the maintenance task by removing the bushes, grass, and cutting overhanging branches to help the shingles breathe in the air decreasing the chance of moss growth on the roof. Moreover, Professionals are needed to remove the moss by cleaning the roof with expertise and mild solutions avoiding the use of power washers. Professionals help you with moss removal without harming and threatening the expected lifespan of cedar shake roofing.

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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