Note: This is cleaning/treatment/restoration only. We do not offer roof repair services.
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Routine Cedar Shakes Roof Maintenance (Part 2 of Homeowner’s Guide)

Routine Cedar Shakes Roof Maintenance (Part 2 of Homeowner's Guide) 850x433


A Homeowner’s Guide to Maintaining your Cedar Shake Roof

Part 2: Easy Routine Maintenance


In Part 1 of this series, we discussed the ways your cedar shake roof can break down and weather due to time and neglect. Let’s now move on to routine maintenance. Keep in mind that I never recommend someone climb on their roof or clean their roof themselves. The dangers of falling and/or damaging your roof are too great a risk to take. It is always best to hire a licensed and insured professional.

A Few Words on Maintenance:

  • Proper cedar roof maintenance starts with keeping your roof dry. If your roof retains water, it creates an inviting environment for wood-rotting fungi to grow. There are several things you can do to prevent this from happening.
  • Remove all leaf litter, pine needles, and other tree debris that accumulates between the shingles, in the valleys, and around the chimneys, as this debris prevents the roof from properly shedding water.
  • Remove overhanging branches that shade large sections of the roof. Shady areas do not dry as quickly as sunny areas.
  • In woody areas, excess branches may restrict airflow to the roof, preventing the roof from drying as quickly as it should. You may want to consult with an arborist about pruning, trimming, or removing problem-causing trees.
  • It is also a good idea to keep tree branches from touching and rubbing against the roof. This rubbing can wear sweeping grooves into the surface of the shingles and loosen the fasteners, opening areas for fungi to grow.
  • Look at the trees around your property. If you see excessive growth of lichens and moss, it means excessive moisture is present and could be on your roof as well.

Hiring a Professional:

Since I do not recommend you climb on your roof yourself, you will want to hire a professional to clear off the debris. Make sure the professional does not use high-pressure washers. Cedar is a soft, low-density wood, and excessive or imprudent use of high-pressure systems can detach shingles or erode many years of wear in moments. Even though this will easily and quickly clean off the roof, you may have done irreversible damage to your roof in the process.

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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