Cedar shake roofs are amongst the most popular choice for many homeowners looking for a long-lasting roof. The benefits of cedar roofs extend beyond their excellent appearance. Durable, weather-resistant, and energy-efficient are some terms you might hear when talking about cedar shake roofs.
Like with any other roofing material, maintenance is the key. Think about it as going to the dentist. A regular visit keeps you at bay from needing a more serious – and expensive – procedure. Ultimately, keeping your teeth healthy and your smile glowing. Your teeth being the cedar shake roof and your smile, the overall look of your home.
There are a lot of misconceptions about cedar roofs. So let’s start with the basics:
Four things you should know about cedar shake roofs
1) Cedar will not decay on its own. Cedar shake roofs deteriorate due to infestations that retain unwanted moisture in the cedar shakes. These annoying infestations range from moss, mildew, lichen, mold, and fungi.
2) Wooden roofs need to be cleaned every 3 to 7 years. The regularity will depend on the environment. Are you living in a humid area? You might need a more frequent maintenance check.
3) A well-kept cedar roof can reach a lifespan of 40-60 years. That’s a long time but keep in mind that regular maintenance equals a longer lifespan.
4) Pressure cleaning does not go along well with cedar shake roofs. Using a pressure washer or similar equipment on a cedar roof is a big no-no as it can harm the shakes and roofing felt.
Help! My cedar shakes look strange
Cedar roofs go through several phases of deterioration if not treated properly. Every stage comes with specific signs. Knowing how to spot these signs can help you avoid permanent damage to your cedar shakes.
We have put together a simple guide to determine the state of your cedar shake roof based on our years of experience in roof maintenance and our love for sci-fi movies! Take a look:
Phase One – The Silent Beginning
It all begins with the mysterious presence of black or brown spots on the north and west sides of your roof. The cause? Wood-loving fungi that feed off the wood’s cells. Over time, these spots expand and become stripes as brown and white rot fungi break down the wood and lignin.
The outcome: The fungi’s root begin to slowly spread across your cedar shakes causing thin cracks to appear. This is the best time to call the professionals before it’s too late.
Phase Two – The Wide Spread
Stage two is when things start to get real. The stripes we mentioned before keep expanding and reach other areas of your roof. You will notice that now the south and east are on phase one. There’s no need to panic, or maybe just a little.
The outcome: The fungi keeps making its way through your shakes causing them to curl up and flare. Not at appealing view, if you ask us. Immediate treatment is needed to avoid further shake damage.
Phase Three – The Unwanted Visitors
Now, we see mildew, lichen, mold, and algae starting to take root in your roof. You might notice green areas as mold and lichen begin to spread, soaking up moisture into your shakes and breaking them down.
The outcome: These invaders pull apart the shakes and protective roofing materials. The excessive moisture makes things even worse. Your cedar shakes expand and curl up in a fan-like way. At this point, soft washing is needed, followed by periodic check-ups.
Phase Four – The Decomposition
The most severe damage comes at the last phase. Your roof retains significant amounts of moisture which deteriorates the cedar shakes. What began as white and brown fungi ended into moss and lichen spreading their roots into the shakes and roofing felt.
The outcome: the decomposition of your deteriorated cedar shakes makes room for insects and other abrasive colonies to lurk in and cause further damage.
Is this the end of your cedar roof? Not really!
Professional restoration can save your roof by killing the moss and lichen and removing it once it’s dead. This procedure is carried out through two or more visits and could be exactly what your roof needs!
No matter the phase – we got you covered!
Matt’s Home Services is here to help you bring your cedar shake roof back to looking fresh and healthy. We are professionals in cedar shake roof treatment and operate across Vancouver’s Metro Area.
How do we do it?
We carefully treat your cedar roof using a unique solution composed of different detergents and pine oil. These agents work with any kind of infestation. Whether that’s white and brown fungi or moss and lichen, rest assured this will wipe them away!
Once the infestation is under control, we use low-pressure cleaning to remove any debris. It’s important to mention that we never use pressure washing on a cedar shake roof. We keep the water pressure at no more than 200psi and 8gpm of volume rinsing. AKA, just the right amount to avoid additional damage.
The pine oil rehydrates the shakes affected by the infestation. Well-hydrated shakes mean a longer lifespan and a healthier cedar roof.
All in all, you can think of our cedar roof treatment as an all-inclusive spa retreat for your roof where only the best products and safest techniques are used. The goal? to revitalize your roof.
To visualize this, let’s take a look at a real-life example:
Example – Emma’s roof
Emma’s cedar shake roof is at phase four. Moss and lichen have taken over her roof. Moisture makes space for the decomposition of the cedar shakes.
We applied our cleaning solutions, carefully removed the debris, and soft-washed the roof entirely. The results? a beautiful cedar shake roof free of moss, lichen, or any unwanted visitors. Notice also how the cedar shakes went back to their original state after the cleaning!
Roof Cleaning or Replacing?
A note from our inspector
You might be wondering what is the best way to go. We asked Victoria, our trusty inspector, to shed some light on this:
In case replacement is needed, do I need to replace the entire roof?
“No, Cedar roofs, unlike asphalt are able to have shakes replaced without replacing the whole roof. It’s called a roof “tune-up. The state of the shakes matters the most. If you have to replace enough of them, it’s more practical to do the whole roof”
Will a lack of maintenance affect my roof’s lifespan?
Every roofing material has a life expectancy; cedar is no different. Taking good care of your roof with regular maintenance can help you reach the top end of its average life span and sometimes even extend it.
Any other tips?
Roofs are expensive, big-ticket items so spending small amounts on maintenance will benefit your pocketbook in the long term. Ignore it, and you may find yourself requiring a new roof far sooner than expected.
Still not sure what’s the best solution for you? Visit Allegian Inspection’s website and arrange a visit.
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