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cedar roof, cedar roof cleaning
Many homeowners assume that discoloration on their cedar shakes roof means it’s time to replace it, when regular cleaning and maintenance could resolve the problem, says Sullivan. (Photo courtesy of Sullivan Roof Cleaning)

Cedar or redwood shakes roofs have been around for centuries and are one of the original roofing materials. In early days, the shakes/shingles were laid over top of spaced lathing strips that were spaced so the shakes would stay dry. As a result, such cedar or redwood roofs would last for generations. (more…)

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

Clean vs Replace your Cedar Roof when selling your home

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 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 home owner 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. Here is what it looks like today:

Clean vs Replace your Cedar Roof when selling your home

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 reasearch 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 life time 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!