How to Maintain Cedar Shake Roof: 4 Tips for Homeowners

Homeowners have many options for roof materials, but cedar shakes continue to be a popular choice for their durability and curb appeal. Once installed, they can instantly boost the look of your home and protect you from harsh Alberta climates – however, they do require ongoing maintenance to protect your investment. If you already have a cedar shake roof installed, or are considering this popular roofing material, create a plan for cedar shake roof maintenance.

Why is cedar roof maintenance important? 

One of the most durable roofing materials, cedar shake roofs can last up to 40 years – with proper maintenance. If the cedar shakes are left without maintenance or inspection, there are a number of issues common to cedar that may discolor or disintegrate your roof, leading to a full roof replacement much sooner. Professional roofing contractors identify the following issues most commonly associated with improper maintenance of cedar shake roofs:

Moss, Mold & Mildew

Cedar shake roofs are a popular breeding ground for moss, mold and mildew, whose spores can grow in the wood shakes, especially in areas of your roof that may be shaded and therefore collecting more moisture. Keep an eye out for green or brown growth around the edges of shingles and shakes to catch moss before it creates problems for your roof. Often, moss can lead to mold and mildew as the moss retains even more moisture in your roof, causing a quick spread of mold across the cedar shakes. 

Susceptible to Rot

As a wood roof material, cedar shakes are susceptible to rot if moisture is left to buildup. Rot can be dangerous, contributing to fungal growth, mold and mildew mentioned above as well as putting your roof at risk for shakes and shingles falling off. 

Cracks & Distortion in Shakes 

As a natural material, cedar shakes or shingles will expand and contract over time. Incorrectly installed materials that do not allow for this expansion and contraction may leave your roof unprotected with gaps in between shakes or shingles, or may damage shakes if they expand into each other and crack. Shakes or shingles may also become damaged or distorted if the moisture barrier is damaged.

How do you maintain your cedar roof?

To avoid the issues mentioned above and to protect your home and your investment, perform regular roof maintenance. It is recommended that you have a professional roofer inspect your roof each year to identify any concerns and address them before any damage is done. Professional roofers, like the experts at A. Clark Roofing & Siding, have over 70 years of experience and know exactly what to look for, and are able to safely inspect your roof to improve the longevity of your roof. In addition to professional roofing inspections, it’s recommended that you regularly perform your own maintenance.

1. Remove debris, including leaves, moss and needles

Regularly clean your cedar shakes or shingles of debris, including leaves, moss, and needles. The debris will trap moisture, and can lead to mold and wood rot if left alone. To help avoid debris build-up, trim tree branches that overhang your roof to avoid fallen branches damaging your roof, and be sure to examine your roof for debris after any storms or high winds. 

2. Clean gutters to ensure moisture isn’t retained 

An important step for maintenance of any roofing type, cleaning gutters is especially critical for cedar shake roofs to ensure moisture isn’t trapped in your roof. If backed up, the water will soak your shingles and can lead to rot. Be sure to check gutters regularly, with increased urgency in the fall season when leaves and additional debris are falling. 

3. Clean the roof surface by power washing

Power washing your roof can help remove debris not easily collected, and can help prevent mildew and moss growth. It also helps keep your cedar shakes looking their best! 

4. Professional roof treatments options 

Talk to your roofers about treatment options for your cedar roof – including moisture prevention, pesticides and algaecides to help provide an additional layer of protection for your roof. 

Edmonton and Calgary roofing contractors for your cedar roof maintenance and repair needs

If you are interested in a cedar shake roof or have any questions about cedar roof maintenance, contact the professionals at A. Clark Roofing & Siding for a free no-contact quote. With over 70 years of experience protecting cedar shake roofs in Calgary and Edmonton, we’re here to help. 

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