Many Vancouver & area, BC, homes have Cedar Shakes on their roofs, which are beautiful, very West Coast, and natural. However, owners have to be aware of cedar shake roofing maintenance practices for a longer roof life. Cedar shakes naturally repel water and have anti-fungal qualities, the problems come when they are neglected and left to face their enemies alone. Click here for more information on Inspecting the health of your cedar roof regularly.

Cedar Shake Roofing Enemy, Moss.

Cedar shakes are an organic product and susceptible to moss growth in shaded areas, which speeds up the rotting process of the wood. You know that house, you’ve driven by it a million times and can’t believe that someone lives in it. There are plenty of these homes in the Lower Mainland. The place is a mess and the moss growing on the roof is a sure sign that the homeowners are not taking care of their investment. True, hobbits and other “green” type environmentalists like to live in plant covered buildings, however, chances are, your home was not built to stand up to the stresses of organic growth and will rot from it.

Cedar Shake Roofing Enemy, Leaves & Dirt

There are trees everywhere in the Lower Mainland and those trees either have leaves or needles falling onto roofs, building up, rotting, and collecting dirt. Ever been on a hike in the woods and kicked a piece of wood half buried in the black moist dirt? What happens when you do? Remember that black soil was once organic debris like, leaves and wood. Besides rotting out the wood, the piles of organic waste on a cedar shake roof will create dams in rainwater run off and hold the water onto your roof for longer periods of time.

Cedar Shake Roofing Enemy, Water

Water is the number one enemy of any roof. It is the moisture held by water-logged leaves, moss, and dirt that rots the cedar shakes, creating leaks for water to seep through. The whole point of the cedar shake roofing was to keep the water out, not let it seep in.  Cedar shakes that are not maintained rot and crack leaving weak openings for rainwater to get under them and as the rainwater gets trapped under them, it encourages rot and mould growth inside your home. Not very good for your health or your investment.

Cedar Shake Roofing Enemy, Sun

A cedar roof that is not maintained properly will experience drying out during the hot summer months. During summer nights at the beach, we use cedar wood as kindling to start the bonfires because it catches easily and burns hot enough for the larger birch pieces to catch fire. Are you getting the picture? Not only are dried out old shingles a fire hazard, they also crack and warp as they dry creating places for rain water to seep into the attic space.

Now that I’ve alarmed you, know that cedar shake products may be treated with fire guard or wood preserver in accordance to building codes.

Cedar Shake Roofing Maintenance:

  1. Use quality pretreated cedar shake roofing products
  2. Remove debris in the fall and spring
  3. Clean your gutters and vents of debris
  4. Pressure wash the cedar shakes using medium pressured water
  5. Use the right treatment products to seal and condition the wood
  6. Make sure to check the attic ventilation

For more on Cedar Shake Roofing Maintenance click to check out this article from the Province.  

Quote from the article:

“Cedar roofing should be cleaned regularly, spring and fall, with medium pressure or enough to clean debris that accumulated over time, and inspected in preparation for the next season.”

 Call a Roofer to Inspect your Cedar Shake Roof

With a proper inspection by a professional roofer or a roofing company representative, you will identify any weaknesses in your cedar roofing shakes and know if you need to maintain, repair, or replace your current roof to preserve the value of your home. Small leaks lead to bigger ones and they lead to large repair bills. Make sure you aren’t surprised and that you maintain the health of your cedar roof with regular inspections and regular maintenance. 

Why would you want a Cedar Shake Roof?

Chances are you already have one if you are reading this article. If you don’t and you are considering cedar shake roofing as an option there are some benefits to this product.

  1. It’s natural
  2. It’s a West Coast feature
  3. It looks good
  4. It has a higher comparative ROI
  5. It is insulates & is energy efficient
  6. Renewable Resource
  7. It has natural oils to repel water
  8. It can last 40-50 years
  9. Removed old shakes are composted not dumped in landfills

The disadvantage to cedar shake roofing:

  1. It’s relatively more expensive
  2. It is more labour to install
  3. It needs more regular maintenance
  4. Harvested from BC forest regions

Western Red Cedar is a BC natural product made from renewable resources.

Old growth cedar trees along BC’s West Coast and Interior are highly valued by both the native and the environmentalist communities. Old growth Western Red Cedar trees can be as old as 1500 years.  Most cedar building products come from reforested areas and the industry renews this precious resource by planting seedlings after they have harvested an area. Want to know more about British Columbia Forest.

Cedar is a beautiful wood to build with, whether it’s as a siding or a roof this BC tree has a long history of being used as a building material in the province. Red cedars were used by BC’s Natives long before European settlers came and built their homes and cabins in the woods with it. It’s longevity, beauty, and natural local history are reasons some chose to build with it.