Many people choose to design their roofs with cedar shake shingles, and with good reason. For sheer looks, this roofing material is hard to beat. However, like with all roofing materials, cedar shakes are not without fault. Before contacting New Albany roofers to help you cover your home with cedar shingles, it is important to weigh the pros and cons of these roofing materials.
What is Cedar Shake Roofing?
As the name implies, this type of roofing shingle is made from cedar trees, the Atlantic White and Western Red cedars to be more specific. However, spruce, California redwood, cypress, and pine wood are also used in the manufacture of wooden roofing shingles.
Normally, cedar roofing comes in ‘shake’ form where roof pieces are made from split logs. Once split from logs, cedar shakes are finished with a textured, rough-hewn look with distinctive thick butt ends. The shakes generally cut to measure 24” in length while the butt ends can measure anywhere between ½” to ¾” thick.
Cedar roofing can also come in ‘shingle’ form, with each piece featuring smooth and tapered finishing on both sides. The shingles generally measure 18” long and only 3/8” in butt thickness. Both cedar shake and shingle roofing options can be pressure treated with fire retardants and chemical preservatives to enhance longevity and performance.
When it comes to advantages, this roofing option offers several long-lasting and practical benefits that will win any homeowner. These benefits of cedar shake roofing include:
Cedar shades are one of the most beautiful choices when it comes to roofing materials. Available in gray shades or red, brown, and orange, cedar shakes are a naturally beautiful roofing material that will add sophistication to any home. What’s even better is the fact that these shingles retain their great looks to the very end since cedar ages gracefully to a beautiful grayish silver shade. In addition, cedar shingles tend to differ in appearance thanks to this lumber’s natural variance. This means that you could potentially have a distinctly unique look wooden roof that makes your home stand out.
Beyond looking naturally beautiful, cedar shakes feature versatile design options that enhance the architectural beauty of any structure. And, since cedar shakes have a rustic look, the roofing material will work for any architectural design, be it traditional or modern.
Wind and Weather Resistance
When it comes to protecting your home, cedar shakes have several qualities that offer excellent protection against weather elements. For starters, New Albany roofers install cedar shakes to a flat, straight, and tight hold that is resistant to both water and strong winds. Because of this installation technique, cedar shakes are known to resist heavy downpour, snowstorms, and even wind speeds of up to 245 miles per hour. What’s more, the cell structure of wood allows the roofing material to take a beating from chunks of ice in a hailstorm without suffering so much as a dent. Cedar shakes can also be built to resist fungus, moss, and insects as well.
Great Thermal Insulation
Most woods are natural insulators, and cedar is no different. This roofing material will resist UV rays, give off heat when the weather gets too hot, and hold onto as much heat as possible during winter. As a result, cedar roofs can survive in areas with high temperature as well as offer great savings on energy bills in temperate regions.
Relatively Long Lifespan
Cedar wood has the natural ability to handle everything from strong winds, to heat, to hailstorms. As such, this roofing material has an incredibly long lifespan that stands at twice as long as asphalt shingles. You can expect 30 to 60 years out of a cedar shake roof. However, that is only under the right conditions. Cedar shake roofs require quality installation, proper maintenance, and ideal conditions (little exposure to moisture, distant from seawater, etc) to live out their full lifespan. Using cedar wood that is chemically treated can also help to enhance the roof’s durability.
Despite the amazing benefits explained above, cedar shakes also have a few downfalls you should be aware of. They include:
Just as cedar shingles inherit all of wood’s good qualities, they are also susceptible to the undesirable qualities. The potential for burning is so high that areas with increased risk of fires ban the use of cedar roofing. There is some good news to this downside however. Using cedar wood that has been treated with fire retardants can help make the roof a little less flammable.
With most roofs, maintenance simply includes cleaning the structure once or twice a year and checking for damaged or loose shingles. Cedar shake roofs however require much more work to keep in good condition. Wood needs to breathe so debris must be kept off the roof at all times while the ventilation system needs to be maintained in top shape to ensure airflow around the shakes. Gutters in turn need to cleaned regularly and nearby trees cut to prevent moss, mildew, and mold growth. Regular application of chemical treatments is also advisable for helping the shakes age slowly and hold onto their natural color for longer.
While cedar roofs can handle heavy rain and snowstorms well, constant exposure to moisture will cause the wood material to rot. Because of this, cedar roofs do not last long if installed under a shade or in areas where the sun is rare. Ample sun exposure is necessary to evaporate water and moisture from a wet cedar roof after it rains.
Since cedar roofs offer an appearance and performance that is superior to many other roofing materials, this bumps up the cost of installation. You might have to pay 2 to 5 times more than you would for an asphalt roof.
In the event of damage, repairing cedar shakes will also be costly. Unlike other roofing options where a damaged shingle or tile can be removed and replaced, cedar roofing is laid by nailing one piece over the other in a stacking fashion. So, in the event of rot, crack, or any other damage, New Albany roofers will need to replace many cedar shake pieces or the whole roof in some instances.
When it comes to cedar shake roofing, many homeowners agree that the benefits of this material far outweigh its downsides. After all, what is a little extra money or more maintenance work if in return you get to enjoy exceptional beauty, durability, and great resistance to weather elements? However, it is up to you to decide if cedar roofing is a good option for your home. And, if you are not sure, you can always seek the advice of professional New Albany roofers.