Cedar Shake Roofing

Quality Cedar Shake Roofing Installation By Stay Dry Roofing


What Are Cedar Shakes?

Today you have many options when putting on a new roof. These include asphalt shingle roofing, tile roofing, metal roofing, and an option that many homeowners find appealing: cedar shakes. Cedar shakes are wooden shakes split from logs. Oftentimes they are left as split to provide a natural, textured look. Wooden shakes including cedar shakes (shakes can also be made from southern yellow pine, other types of pine, spruce, cypress, and California redwood) are left with a thick butt end that gives them a distinctive and easily recognizable shape.

All this distinguishes them from other roofing options including asphalt shingles, perhaps the most common roofing choice. At one time, asphalt shingles were all made of a mat of absorbent cotton rags with the asphalt affixed on top. Innovation eventually replaced the natural fibers making up the mat with more readily available wood pulp or paper. That form of base (the “felt”) in turn gave way to fibrous glass, which didn’t rot like its organic predecessors. Today 95% of asphalt shingles have a fiberglass felt.


What Makes Cedar Shakes an Attractive Option?

Homeowners who choose cedar shakes often do so for one or more of the following reasons:

  • Cedar shakes give a home or place of business a pleasing rustic or tailored appearance. They can be a particularly appropriate aesthetic choice for an older home.
  • The appearance of cedar shakes ages well. As cedar roofing ages, it will take on a handsome silver-gray appearance that will keep it looking just as good as it did before.
  • You can get cedar shakes in a number of colors including shades of red, brown, gold, and amber. Cedar shakes are also available in a variety of shapes.
  • Cedar shakes generally withstand the elements (although they don’t necessarily withstand all forms of damage better than asphalt shingles.) The natural preservatives inside them help them resist moisture, insect, and UV damage. Additionally, the factory can pressure-treat cedar shakes to resist fire and fungus and to resist insects and moss even more successfully.
  • Cedar shakes are a low-density material that also resists shrinkage in humid conditions. Because they stay straight, grip fastenings securely, and lie flat, a cedar shakes roofing installation should last a good long while.
  • Cedar shakes provide good insulation. Cedar is a natural insulator that will help the home stay warm in the winter, cool in the summer, and save the homeowner money on his or her utility bills.
  • Provided the roofers know what they’re doing, cedar shakes are easy to work with. The cedar used for roofing comes in long, lightweight lengths of wood with an even texture and fine, straight graining patterns. Thus it’s easy to saw, cut, and nail. It also takes readily to any number of finishes including fine oils and stains, paint, and solid coating. For best results, the mill typically applies these and also preassembles hip and ridge units that add a nice finishing touch to the cedar roofing.
  • Cedar shakes are a green option. They’re easy to recycle when it’s time to replace them.
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The Basic Cost of Cedar Shakes

With all their positive features explained, we should also acknowledge that cedar shakes aren’t a homeowner’s most budget-conscious choice. Once again, asphalt shingles provide a useful comparison.

Wood shakes typically cost from $7.50 to $12.50 per square foot. That’s $750 to $1250 dollars per square, installed. (A square is 100 square feet.) This is assuming you opt for high-grade cedar, which typically costs 30% to 50% more but provides better insulation and is less prone to cupping and curling. In contrast, asphalt singles can run as little as $6.50 to $10.50 per square foot, or $650 to $1050, installed.

  • Your installation is likely to cost more if the roofers have to work on a steep incline or install around an abundance of features like chimney stacks or vents. (As you might expect, this is true of other roofing material options as well.)
  • You need roofers who have the specific skills necessary for working with cedar shakes (like the experts at Stay Dry Roofing.) They need to understand the kinds of fastening and grain needed to do the job properly.
  • You may need a building permit or to pay other local fees. Building permits typically run from $400 to $1700. You might need one if you’re undertaking a major rebuild (like a complete roof replacement) or adding a room or building.

Installing cedar shakes is essentially a five-step process:

  • First, the roofers provide an underlay of spaced sheathing to allow the cedar roof to breathe and thus avoid water damage. They build inward from the eaves and flashing using rustproof nails.
  • Next comes proper spacing, the lining up of joints, and offsetting between rows of cedar shakes, all necessary to make the roof a better insulator and more durable.
  • Them the roofers deal with chimneys and other fixtures.
  • The roofers must also work with roof valleys and walls to achieve proper coverage.
  • Finally, there’s cleanup and removal so that no debris or mess is left behind.

Cedar shakes are a relatively high-maintenance roofing option.

  • Because cedar needs to breathe, you have to keep the roof clear of branches, leaves and debris.
  • Homeowners also have to clean gutters regularly and keep ventilation open so air can flow around the shakes.
  • As noted above, the graying of cedar shakes doesn’t typically detract from their appearance. But if you want to retard the graying process, you can apply a topical treatment like a UV inhibitor or water repellent.
  • Should the homeowner need to replace an individual cedar shake, matching the replacement to the originals is rarely a problem.
  • For an older home in a historical district or similar area, you may only be able to use cedar shakes for roof replacement.
  • Replacing a cedar shake roof with a different roofing option generally reduces the value of the home.
  • In some areas where fire is a particular concern, wooden roofing including cedar shakes may be forbidden.