Cedar roof shingles are all the rage right now. Why? Because they make stunning roofs that can fit a wide range of home styles. Perhaps you want white cedar shakes for a mid-century craftsman-style home. Or, maybe you’re after red cedar roof shingles for the cape cod cottage you’ve always wanted. Whatever your desire, there’s no doubt that a cedar roof will make your home stand out.
But, natural cedar roofing requires proper maintenance and repair to keep it in good condition. So, in this article, we’ll cover everything you need to know about caring for your cedar roof.
Signs you need a cedar roof repair
Knowing the signs of a cedar roof that needs some serious TLC is crucial to keeping your roof strong. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to spot problem areas on cedar roof shingles. The three main symptoms that reveal you may need a repair or a replacement are splitting, curling, and mold growth. We’ll go over each one so you’re prepared for when the time comes to call in a repair.
You see cracks or splits
Cracking and splitting are part of the natural cedar roof lifespan. A split can happen gradually over time if it’s caused by natural weathering. But it can also happen in an instant if it’s caused by extreme weather, like a hailstorm. Understanding the cause of the crack is key to determining the cost of the repair and if it’ll be covered by your insurance.
If the split has rounded edges that are accompanied by a pale orange or gray color, it indicates natural aging. Conversely, if the split has sharp, jagged edges accompanied by a light orange color, it was likely caused by intense hail damage.
Your cedar roof shingles start to curl
Curling, or cupping, happens when a shake or shingle curves upward or takes on a distorted appearance. Like splitting, curling is a part of the wood’s natural aging process. It’s typically caused by rain and the sun’s UV rays.
When does curling pose a threat?
While curling is normal, too much of it may put your home at risk for leaks. If you’re wondering when to replace cedar shingles, a good time is once the curling exposes your home to leaks. Now, if you only notice a couple of shakes that are on the verge of curling, you can have them replaced to prevent further damage. But, if the curling has progressed where the underlayment beneath the shakes is exposed, it’s likely time for a total roof replacement.
It begins to get moldy
How long does a cedar roof last once it’s been taken over by mold? Not very long. Put it this way, you don’t want to play the waiting game once you see moss and mildew begin to creep over your shakes.
Mold is never good on anything- unless it’s the blue cheese you dip buffalo wings into. But, for the most part, mold indicates that something has gone bad. So, check for fuzzy, green spots in the cracks between your cedar shakes. Luckily, you should be able to see mold or rot from the ground. Whereas with splitting and curling, you’ll likely need to climb up a ladder to check for signs.
What about composite cedar roof shingles?
Natural cedar wood shingles will encounter mold as they age. On the other hand, if you have composite or synthetic cedar wood shingles, you won’t have to worry. But you may want a home with a timeless-looking roof that’s 100% natural wood. If this is the case, we don’t blame you. Mid-century modern-styled homes pair beautifully with wood roofs, and it’s no secret they’re a hot trend right now.
So, how do you keep your natural cedar roof shakes in good condition? No one wants to invest in a complete replacement only a few years after a cedar roof installation. Thus, we’ll go over a few ways to keep your cedar roof in tip-top shape.
Keep your natural cedar roof shingles in good shape
How long do cedar shingles last? Well, with the right steps taken toward cedar roof preservation, they can last decades! While there are several ways you can maintain your natural cedar roof, three tips stand out the most. These are ensuring it stays dry, regularly treating it, and replacing shakes as necessary. Let’s go over each one so you know how to keep your roof beautiful and strong for years.
Make sure it stays dry
When cedar roof shingles begin to hold water, they become at risk for moss and fungus to take hostage. After all, moist and humid climates aren’t friendly to natural wood. Thus, you must make sure to remove mold growth as soon as you see it. Likewise, since moss and fungus feed off of water, you need to keep your roof as dry as you can.
Of course, you can’t prevent rain or snow. But keeping as much of your roof in the sunlight will help keep your shakes from retaining water. As the sun will quickly dry the rain that may pool in between shakes, it can stop mold growth. So, cut tree branches that obstruct the sun from shining on your roof.
Use chemical treatments
While eliminating shady spots on your roof can prevent fungus from sprouting up, it won’t guarantee an absence of mold. This is where chemical treatments for cedar roof shingles come in handy. Regularly treating your roof will give it a layer of protection against moss, bacteria growth, and water damage. In turn, it will extend your natural wood roof’s life expectancy.
As an unintended bonus, chemical treatments for cedar roofs can bring out cedar’s natural staining by keeping it sparkly clean. So, not only will your wood be free of green furry patches, but it will also remain an eye-catching feature of your home.
Don’t wait to replace a shake
Wood shingle replacement is critical to sustaining a solid roof. A natural wood roof is only as strong as its weakest shake. Thus, you should replace cedar shingles as soon as you see splitting, curling, or mold. Also, clip away any branches that could hit your roof during strong winds. This will ensure that branches don’t pull off your shakes or shingles during a crazy storm.
Common cedar roofing repairs
If you follow the above tips to keep your cedar roof shingles in good shape, you’ll rarely need to repair them. Repairs are rare also because cedar roofs are naturally very durable. But, the most common repairs on a cedar roof occur around transitional areas. This includes the chimney area or penetration spots where the roof meets another feature, like a part of the roof, skylight, or vent.
When the damage is done
As your cedar roof begins to break down or leak, it may reach a point where spending money on repairs won’t be worth it. It’s like when you have a car that’s horribly bent out of shape. If your car has multiple leaks, needs a new engine, four new tires, and new brakes– fixing it isn’t going to be cheap. Thus, you’ll save money in the long run by buying a whole new car.
Well, the same goes for your cedar roof. When too many shingles start to curl and there’s expanding mold growth, it’s likely time for a total cedar roof replacement. Likewise, if you notice you’ve been scheduling multiple repairs, it might mean you need to replace your cedar shake roof.
Get an expert
Whether it’s a repair or a complete replacement, you need a professional to do the job. I wouldn’t recommend googling “how to replace wood shingles” and making it your spring DIY project. Likewise, your neighbor who painted siding before or helped a buddy remove cedar shake siding isn’t going to cut it. You need a legitimate cedar roof contractor who has the proper expertise to help you. Professionals know the underlying problems to look for when examining your roof. So they’ll be able to fix it effectively and ensure the replacement matches the style of your home.
A smart investment for the future
Cedar wood shingles are aesthetically pleasing and resilient. Thus, a cedar roof adds tremendous value to any home, which makes it a smart investment. With proper installation and preventive care, a cedar roof can help you save money in the long run. Want to enhance your roof with cedar wood? Need to repair or replace your current cedar wood roof? Contact Summit Construction Group and we’ll make sure your home gets the roof you’ve always dreamed of.