Interesting Facts About Cedar Roofs
Updated: Aug 17
A new roof is a big investment, so it’s important that you choose one that is durable. And while durability is important, if you’re like other homeowners, you want a roof that complements your home and adds to its curb appeal. When looking for a roof that is strong and beautiful, cedar is one roofing material that you can count on.
Cedar roofs aren’t only attractive, they offer many practical advantages: These roofs are eco-friendly, weather-resistance and durable. With the proper care, cedar is also a long-lasting roofing material.
Before choosing a roofing material, you need to learn more about the cost, care and advantages of cedar roofs. Once you know the facts, you can make the best choice for you and your home.
Choices in Cedar Roofing
When you buy cedar roofing, red or white cedar is used to make the shingles or shakes. Which you choose can depend on what type of look you want for your home.
Cedar shingles are made from wood blocks and cut with a saw to provide a smooth uniform shape. Each shingle has the same thickness, width and appearance. You can choose from two cedar shingle styles: sawn and sanded shingles.
Sawn cedar shingles look similar to cedar shakes, but give your roof a more tailored appearance.
Sanded cedar shingles give your roof a more defined look because they are smoother on each side than sawn shingles.
Cedar shakes are also an option for roofing. Shakes are split from wood blocks, so unlike cedar shingles, they are not uniform in thickness and may have grooves. They often have a taper. Shakes are ideal if you want a more rustic-looking roof. You can choose between two types of cedar shakes: taper sawn or hand-split shakes.
Taper sawn shakes are sawn on both sides so each has the same thickness while still retaining the strength, texture and the tailored appearance of shingles.
Hand-split shakes are not sawn, so they have a rough appearance and are the best choice if you want a rustic look.
Why Do Cedar Roofs Cost More?
Cedar shingles and shakes cost more than asphalt shingles. This type of roofing costs more because of the materials — cedar trees can take hundreds of years to mature. Also, the process of installing cedar shakes and shingles is more complicated. Cedar roofs installation requires that your roof is finished with felt before the shingles are installed; the felt acts as a water barrier. Asphalt shingles do not require this step.
Cedar shingles come in different grades. Shingles made using the purist quality of cedar will cost more. Asphalt shingles offer two choices: fiberglass and organic. Both choices are cheaper than cedar. But cedar can pay for itself in the long run. Cedar provides insulation for the home that can greatly reduce energy costs.
No matter which type of cedar roofing you choose, or how much you pay, they all provide the same advantages. Let’s take a look at some of these advantages.
Cedar Roofing Is Durable
So how durable are cedar roofs compared to other types of roofing materials? It may surprise you to know that even though cedar is wood, it is very durable.
Since cedar is cut from wood, you may wonder how heavy cedar roofs are compared to other types of roofing materials? Cedar is actually lighter. This means it is safe to use on homes in earthquake prone areas. Cedar shingles and shakes generally weigh about two and half pounds per square foot.
Cedar contains a natural preservative that makes it resistant to moisture, decay and insect infestations. Cedar has natural oils that repel bugs and mildew, which is why people often have cedar chests for storage. This means cedar is slow to decay, though roofing needs regular maintenance to keep it healthy for a long time.
On average, cedar roofs that receive proper maintenance about every five years can last between 30 to 40 years. This means cedar shakes and shingles can last twice as long as asphalt shingles, which usually last 15 or 20 years.
Cedar Roofs Are Eco-Friendly
Cedar roofs are eco-friendly because they are recyclable and because they provide good insulation.
Cedar roofs offer homeowners a natural insulation because of the roof’s thermal resistance. A cedar roof can keep in both warm and cool air no matter what the temperature is outside. This makes your home more eco-friendly by reducing the amount of energy you use for heating and cooling. It also helps you by reducing the cost of your monthly heating and cooling costs. Cedar roofs are more than two times more insulation efficient than roofs with asphalt shingles.
Since cedar shingles and shakes are made of natural materials, you can recycle old shingles or an entire old roof. Old cedar roofs are often recycled and turned into mulch. Wood is also naturally biodegradable, so even if it ends up in a landfill, it will naturally break down over time and not pollute the environment.
Cedar shakes and shingles also come from a renewable resource — cedar trees. New cedar trees are always being planted and growing, so the materials needs to make a cedar roof are organic. This means cedar shakes and shingles take much less energy to produce than synthetic roof materials.
As cedar trees grow, they are also good for the environment because they take greenhouse gas emissions out of the environment. Trees of all types release oxygen as they grow, which is also great for the environment.
Cedar Roofs Withstand Wind
You may wonder whether cedar roofs can stand strong winds — and if so, how strong? You may be surprised at the answer.
One aspect of cedar’s durability is its ability to withstand strong winds. Even though cedar is one of the lightest roofing materials, it can withstand wind speeds of 120 miles per hour or more. These are wind speeds often recorded with a category 2 or 3 hurricane!
The type of cedar shingles and shakes you choose can affect your roof’s ability to withstand strong winds. Some cedar roofing materials may withstand higher wind speeds, while other may not. Some tests show that certain types of cedar shingles can withstand higher wind speeds between 173 and 245 mph. You should discuss with a professional roofer the different types of cedar shingles and shakes and how durable they are before choosing the best ones for your home and environment.
Cedar Roofs Withstand Hail
Depending on where you live, you might wonder if cedar roofs are hail proof. Not every roof can stand up to all sizes of hail, but cedar can hold its own in a hail storm. Cedar shakes and shingles are actually more hail resistant than other popular types of roofing materials.
Healthy cedar shingles or shakes can resist damage from golf-ball-sized hail, which measures about one and a half inches in diameter. Cedar roofs have a class 4 rating in hail resistance, but what does this means? This rating is given to roofs that do not crack when hit twice in the same spot with a 2-inch ball of steel. A sample of the roofing material is used to experiment on its durability.
The Life of Cedar Roofs
The life of a cedar roof can vary based on your environment. In damp areas or in areas where your home is surrounded by many overhanging trees, cedar may not last as long as they would in drier climates with fewer trees.
Trees that shade the roof can lead to prolonged moisture and add to the amount of debris with falling leaves in autumn. UV light from the sun can also cause damage to your cedar shakes and shingles. Sun can cause your shingles to crack or break, so it’s important to understand proper care if you want a roof to last decades.
If you choose cedar, you should learn how you can extend the life of a cedar roof.
Extending the Life of Your Cedar Roof
Many times homeowners are not aware that their cedar roofs can last much longer if they provide proper care and maintenance. Without proper care that includes periodic cleaning, you may notice mildew or algae growth within a few years of your roof’s installation.
You can get more life out of a cedar roof if you take good care of it. This means providing proper maintenance and keeping the roof free of debris. With proper care, you can extend the life of your cedar roof up to 50 years or more.
The key to preventing mildew and insect infestations is to keep shingles free of leaves, dirt and other debris. Debris gets in the way of your roof’s natural ability to drain moisture from rain and snow. If moss and mildew are left to grow on your roof, the cedar shingles hold in moisture and cannot breathe. This can quickly lead to deterioration of your shingles or shakes.
Gentle power-washings twice a year in the spring and the fall are all you need to keep your roof clean. You can also have them cleaned professionally every four to five years to keep your cedar roof looking its best and prevent damage from debris. You must be careful, as using too much pressure when power-washing can damage your roof. It is best to call in professionals who have the knowledge and experience it takes to safely clean cedar roofs.
Cedar roofs require a treatment to make them fire retardant. You may need to consult a roofer to determine which products are made to use on cedar. You can also choose cedar roofing material already treated before installation.
Because cedar roofs are made of natural wood and cedar trees can take hundreds of years to grow, these roofs cost more. Since cedar roofs are an investment, you may want to consider professional maintenance.
What Are the Benefits of Professional Cedar Roof Maintenance?
You should begin maintenance on our roof earlier rather than later. Professionals recommend you begin treating your cedar roof within one year of installation. Doing can save you money on costly cleanings, repairs and replacements in the future.
It pays to have professionals care for your cedar roof. Cedar Roof Coatings (CRC) are professionals in cedar roof maintenance and offer homeowners many services:
Pressure wash treatments
Complete roof inspections
Roof preservation programs
Caulking repairs to roof foundations
Shingle replacement and repairs
Cedar roof cleaning and treating
All these services can help you keep your cedar roof looking its best, and these services are available for both commercial and residential buildings with cedar roofs.
Keeps Your Cedar Roof Healthy
CRC’s preservation program prevents mold spores from rooting themselves in the grain of your cedar shakes and shingles. Your roof requires periodic washings and treatments to protect it against the elements. Rain and sun can ruin both the look and health of your cedar roof.
Helps Your Cedar Roof Last Longer
A free inspection from CRC can help you determine what shape your cedar roof is in and how long it will last. A roof evaluation can tell you if your roof needs to be restored or if there are just a few shingles that need to be replaced.
CRC can provide maintenance to help extend the life of your cedar roof. The products used can help reduce curling, cupping, cracking and warping of shingles and shakes. The products also help prevent water absorption that can lead to surface erosion and mildew growth.
Increases Curb Appeal
Cedar roofs are naturally beautiful, and CRC can help you retain that beauty and give your home curb appeal. With proper maintenance your cedar roof can look like new no matter its age.
Increases the Resale Value of Your Home
Regular maintenance keeps your roof in great shape, reducing roof deductions when selling your home. This means a higher resale value for your home.
Choosing Professionals to Provide Roof Maintenance
When you are choosing professionals to help with you with cedar roof maintenance, what should you look for? Search for companies that:
Are licensed, bonded and insured
Offer free inspections
Are locally owned and operated
Offer a variety of payment options
Contacting professionals to provide you with a maintenance plan is much more economical than ignoring necessary maintenance that can lead to paying for a full cedar roof replacement.
Each cedar roof is different. No matter the age, you should get an inspection to determine the conditions your roof is in and take steps to preserve it. Whether your roof is fairly new or a decade old, you can protect your investment by contacting CRC for a free inspection and starting to take proper care of your cedar roof today.