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5 Reasons to Get a Cedar Shake Roof (2024)

Close up of a cedar shake roof

Cedar shake roofing has been a popular choice for homeowners for centuries, and its enduring appeal can be attributed to its:

  • Rustic charm
  • Natural beauty
  • Impressive durability

In this blog post, we will delve into the world of cedar shakes, exploring what they are, how they differ from cedar shingles, and the pros and cons of choosing this material for your roof. We’ll also cover important considerations like installation costs, lifespan, and maintenance tips, helping you make an informed decision about whether a cedar shake roof are the right choice for your home.

What Are Cedar Shakes?

cedar shake roof ridge

Cedar shakes are roofing materials made from split or sawn cedar logs. The term “shake” is used to describe thicker, irregularly shaped wooden pieces that are typically between 1/2 to 3/4 inches thick, with random widths and lengths. These natural variations in size and shape give cedar shakes their distinctive, rustic appearance, making them a sought-after choice for homeowners who appreciate the charm of a traditional, natural-looking roof.

How Are Cedar Shakes Different from Cedar Shingles?

Cedar shakes and cedar shingles may look similar at first glance, but they have several key differences:

  • Thickness: Cedar shakes are notably thicker than cedar shingles, which are typically around 3/8 to 1/2 inches thick. The increased thickness of cedar shakes enhances their durability and longevity.
  • Appearance: Shakes have a more rugged and rustic appearance due to their irregular shape and varying thickness. Shingles, on the other hand, are smoother and more uniform in appearance.
  • Installation: Installing cedar shakes is a more labor-intensive process compared to shingles because of their irregular shapes. Shingles, with their uniform size and shape, are generally easier to install.
  • Longevity: Cedar shakes tend to have a longer lifespan compared to shingles. Properly maintained cedar shakes can last anywhere from 30 to 50 years or more, while cedar shingles typically last around 20 to 30 years.

5 Reasons to Choose Cedar Shake Roofing

There’s a reason why many homeowners choose to invest in a cedar shake roof. Here are just a few of them:

1) Natural Beauty:

Cedar shakes are prized for their rustic and natural appearance. They can add character and charm to a wide range of architectural styles, from traditional to contemporary.

2) Durability:

Cedar shakes are known for their exceptional durability, with resistance to decay, insects, and harsh weather conditions. The natural oils and preservatives in cedar wood help protect it from rot and insect infestations.

3) Insulation:

Cedar shakes provide excellent insulation, helping to regulate indoor temperatures and reduce energy consumption. This can lead to lower heating and cooling costs over time.

4) Environmentally Friendly:

Cedar is a renewable and sustainable resource, making it an environmentally friendly choice for roofing material. Additionally, cedar shakes are biodegradable, reducing their impact on landfills.

5) Unique Aesthetic:

Cedar shakes age gracefully, developing a beautiful silver-gray patina over time. This unique aging process adds character and distinction to your home.

The Cons of Cedar Shake Roofing

Despite the popularity of cedar shake shingles, there are some downsides that are important to consider.

  • Cost: Cedar shakes can be more expensive to purchase and install compared to some other roofing materials. However, their longevity and aesthetic appeal can make them a worthwhile long-term investment.
  • Maintenance: Cedar shake roofs require regular maintenance to extend their lifespan. This includes cleaning, sealing, and occasional replacement of damaged shakes.
  • Fire Risk: While cedar shakes can be treated with fire-resistant coatings, they are inherently more flammable than some other roofing materials. This may be a concern in areas prone to wildfires.
  • Moss and Algae Growth: Cedar shakes are susceptible to moss and algae growth, especially in shaded or humid environments. Regular cleaning and maintenance are necessary to prevent these issues.

How Much Does Cedar Shake Roofing Cost to Install?

The cost of installing cedar shake roofing can vary significantly depending on various factors, including the size of your roof, the quality of the cedar shakes, the complexity of the installation, and your location. On average, you can expect to pay between $600 to $900 per square foot for cedar shake roofing, including both materials and labor. Higher-quality cedar shakes and more intricate installations can drive the cost toward the upper end of this range.

It’s important to note that while cedar shakes may have a higher upfront cost, their long lifespan and insulation benefits can provide a good return on investment over time.

How Long Do Cedar Shakes Last?

The longevity of cedar shake roofing largely depends on factors such as the quality of the cedar shakes, installation techniques, and the climate in your area. On average, cedar shakes can last anywhere from 30 to 50 years or more when properly maintained. Regular maintenance, including cleaning, sealing, and addressing any damaged shakes, is essential to maximize their lifespan.

6 Steps to Maintain Cedar Shake Roofing

A house with cedar shake roofing

To ensure your cedar shake roof remains in good condition and reaches its maximum lifespan, follow these maintenance guidelines:

1) Regular Cleaning ๐Ÿงน

Remove debris, leaves, and moss from the roof surface to prevent moisture buildup and decay. Gently sweep or use a leaf blower to clear the surface.

2) Inspection ๐Ÿ”

Periodically inspect your roof for damaged or loose shakes, and replace any that are compromised.

3) Algae and Moss Prevention ๐ŸŒฑ

Apply a moss and algae inhibitor treatment to prevent their growth on your cedar shakes. This can help maintain the roof’s appearance and prevent moisture-related issues.

4) Sealant

Consider applying a clear cedar roof sealant or preservative every few years to protect the wood from UV damage and weathering.

5) Trim Overhanging Branches ๐ŸŒณ

If you have trees near your home, trim back branches that could rub against or fall onto your roof, causing damage.

6) Professional Inspection ๐Ÿ‘ทโ€โ™€๏ธ

Schedule a professional inspection every few years to assess the overall condition of your cedar shake roof and address any potential issues.

Talk With a Roofing Contractor

Cedar shake roofing offers a blend of timeless beauty, exceptional durability, and eco-friendliness that makes it a compelling choice for many homeowners. To ensure the best performance and appearance, it’s essential to follow a proactive roof maintenance routine and consult with roofing professionals for expert advice and assistance.At O’Donnell Roofing, we can help you to ensure that your cedar shake roof is in premium shape for years to come. Contact us today to start your roofing journey!

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