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Common Cedar Roof Installation Mistakes

Updated: Sep 11, 2019


A cedar roof is a fantastic way to make your home stand out from the other houses on your street. The natural and unique style means every cedar shake roof is different and gives a natural finish to your home. If you’re considering installing a cedar roof, it’s important to understand the facts about cedar roof shingles. While a properly installed and maintained cedar roof can last a long time, there are some common cedar roof installation mistakes that can cause big problems and cost you a lot of money.

Here at Cedar Roof Coatings, we have years of experience maintaining cedar roofs. We’ve put together this guide to help you understand the mistakes to avoid when installing a cedar roof so you can avoid the headaches and enjoy an attractive and practical cedar roof for years.

What to Remember When Installing a Cedar Roof

Cedar shingles (often called shakes) make for a durable roof, but they can be difficult to work with. Once in place and treated, they provide a great barrier against rain, snow and hot and cold temperatures, but they are relatively brittle to handle for installation. Watch out for these common mistakes:

  • Not using the right number of nails: The number of nails used per cedar shingle depends on your geographic region and the typical wind force in your area. If you don’t use enough nails, the wind can rip your shingles right off your roof. If you’re purchasing cedar shingles for installation on your home, you can ask the manufacturer how many nails are required.

  • Failing to install a suitable underlay: Cedar shingles can protect against the elements, but they won't keep moisture out of your roof when it rains hard or snow builds up. Like any type of roofing, you need to choose an adequate underlay that's compatible with your cedar shingles. Select your underlay according to the slope and condition of your roof (a thicker underlay can help even out small irregularities.

  • Skipping a starter strip: Some cedar roofing installers make this mistake in a rush to get your roof in place. A starter strip along the edge of your roof is important to ensure proper installation and alignment of your subsequent shingle rows. A starter strip takes time to do properly because each shingle needs to be trimmed to the correct exposure length, but it’s worth the effort in the long run.

  • Incorrect sealing around vent pipes and other roof features: Cedar shingles are difficult to cut and seal around features protruding from your roof, like vent pipes. Expert installers know that you need to apply a quality asphalt cement to create a seal between the vent flange on your roof and the cedar shingles you’re placing around your pipe. Always apply an even layer of asphalt cement to keep your shingles flat.

  • Shingle alignment: While this won't generally affect the durability of your roof, misalignment of your shingles is a common mistake that can affect the appearance of your roof. Even a slight misalignment will lead to a visually distracting finish that is impossible to correct without removing and reinstalling your shingles.

As you can see, a lot of care and experience goes into proper cedar shingle roof installation. If you’re in Fairfield County, CT or Westchester County, NY, or surrounding areas contact our team here or call us at 203.847.5740. Trust us with your cedar roof maintenance and to ensure your cedar roof was installed properly.


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