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3 Things You Need to Know About Cedar Shake Roofs

December 1, 2021 | 5 min. read

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HGTV makes home projects seem easy. But let’s be honest – some challenging decisions go into your home. One of the biggest decisions you will have to make regarding curb appeal is what shingle type to go with. Cedar shake shingles? Asphalt? There are so many options.


Finding the right option for your home and budget can seem overwhelming, and we get it. With over a decade in the roofing industry, Rescue My Roof has worked with countless people that have faced the same struggle.


If you feel you are in over your head, we are here to help. In this article, you will learn about the ins and out of cedar shake shingles. In the end, you should know whether or not they are right for your home. 


What Is A Cedar Shake Roof? 


Cedar Shake RoofsA cedar shake roof is one of the premium roofing materials you can use. The shingles are made out of natural wood and give a natural, woodsy look to your home. 


Cedar shake roofs function the same as any other roof type. However, there are some key differences that set them apart. 


To make the shingles, large cedar trees are cut into two-foot sections and are hand-split or tapered. Hand split will give a more rough finish, while tapered will appear smoother. 


How Long Does It Take To Install A Cedar Shake Roof? 


One of the biggest time-hurdles you will have to overcome with a cedar shake roof is that materials will take a long time to be delivered.


Cedar shake manufacturers make the shingles to order. Meaning the shingles are not cut until the order is placed.


As a result, the shingles can take anywhere from three to eight weeks to be delivered. 


After that, cedar shake roofs can be installed in approximately one to two days, unless there are delays in the process.


How Durable are Cedar Shake Roofs?


Cedar Shake Roofs With proper maintenance, cedar shake roofs can last up to 30 years. However, if maintenance needs are not met, they could only last 15 years.


Their lifespan combined with the high likelihood of sustaining damage makes the cedar shake roof temperamental. 


If you live in an area with many storms, hail, and snowfall, cedar shake may not be ideal for you. All of these conditions increase the risk of shingles cracking and rotting. 


However, if you can handle the high maintenance and can keep the moisture content of your roof from 10 to 20 percent (not too dry or too moist), then this roof may be worth the struggle. 


Cedar shake roofs handle exceptionally well in the cold and moderately well in warm climates. 


However, cedar shake roofs do not do well in extreme heat without proper fire and water repellent treatments. 


As you can see, cedar shake roofs are temperamental. If treated right, the roof can be as durable as an asphalt or metal roof. Without maintenance, the roofs have a short lifespan. 


How Much Does A Cedar Shake Roof Cost? 


Cedar shake roofs are made of a premium material: wood. So you will be paying premium prices. 


Cedar shake roofs can range anywhere between $15 to $20 per square foot, so if you have a 1,200 square ft. Roof, you would be paying approximately $18,000-$24,000. 


The prices may vary depending on whether or not the decking needs to be replaced or if the crew comes across any issues that may cause delays. 


Additionally, the roof can be more expensive depending on the grade of finishings you go with, ventilation, gutters, and any other roof accessories. 


These costs do not include any future repairs or the cost of the yearly treatments the roof will need. 


The Two Benefits of a Cedar Shake Roof


There are two benefits that you will be getting with a cedar shake roof that draws in buyers: 


1. Cedar Shake Roofs Offer a Unique Style


Do you want a roof that looks natural and woodsy? A roof that is aesthetically pleasing and adds curb appeal to your home?


If you are willing to look past the price, a cedar shake roof can provide the cabin aesthetic to your home that you are looking for. 


2. Cedar Shake Roofs Can Last Up To 30 Years


If maintained, a cedar shake roof can last up to 30 years.


That means if you are in your forever home and want to put a roof on your house and not have to replace it again, you will have a good shot at that dream with a cedar shake roof. 


The Problems With Cedar Shake Roofs


There are a few problems you can expect to run into with cedar shake roofs, including: 


1. Cedar Shake Roofs Require A Lot of Maintenance


After installing a cedar shake roof, eight maintenance steps need to be followed to ensure your roof’s integrity. 


Amongst the maintenance routines are algaecide and fungicide treatments, power washing your roof, doing regular inspections for broken or rotten shingles, and more. 


Maintenance is crucial because your roof is at a higher risk for rot and leaks without it. 


With maintenance, your roof should last around 30 years. Without it, it may only last 15.


Protecting your costly investment means maintenance, and most may not have the time or the budget for it.


If you want to put a new roof on and forget about it, a cedar shake roof might be out of the question.


2. The Costs Add Up Even After Installation


Maintenance on cedar shake roofs doesn’t just require your time. With annual treatments and cleanings, you may be paying a professional additional money to take care of your roof.


Additionally, cedar shake shingles can rot and crack easily if weathered or not properly maintained. Those shingles will have to be replaced by a specialty contractor as soon as possible to protect your roof from further damage.


3. Cedar Shake Roofs Require A Specialty Contractor


Not only is installation different from other roofing types, cedar shake roof repairs will be more complex. 


To ensure that all cedar shake roofs are installed correctly, and all repairs will be high quality, you will want a contractor who specializes in cedar shake roofs.


This can be a disadvantage if there are no contractors that install cedar shake roofing in your area. You may have to search outside of your city to find a reputable contractor who’s up to the task. 


This may take additional time, and they may be more expensive than your average roofer.


However, you must find a good contractor so that manufacturer warranties aren’t voided, and you will get a roof that meets your standards. 


Should I Get a Cedar Shake Roof?


Cedar shake roofing can be complex, but here are some questions you should consider to help you decide whether or not it’s for you:

  • What is the typical style of roof in my neighborhood?
  • How much time do I want to put into roof maintenance?
  • Does cedar shake roofing fit into my budget?
  • Is there a specialty contractor in your area?


If cedar shake roofing is in your budget, there’s a contractor in your area, and you are up to the maintenance, then cedar shake roofing may be in your future. 


Learn more about how to find the right roofing contractor for you with “9 Questions You Should Ask Before Hiring a Roofing Contractor.”

While Rescue My Roof does not install cedar shake roofing, we can help with gutter installation and asphalt roofing. Ready to get started on your next roof installation? Contact us today to schedule a free estimate.