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What to Do If a Cedar Roof Shingle Cracks

Updated: Sep 11, 2019


When you look around your neighborhood, chances are your gaze lingers on the homes with beautiful cedar roofs. For many homeowners, the undeniable elegance, organic look, superior lifespan and exceptional performance of cedar is what makes the roofing material so appealing. But like any material that’s continuously exposed to damaging natural elements or irregular maintenance practices, cedar roofing shingles can be damaged or broken over time.

While cracked, warped cedar shingles are unattractive, one of the greatest benefits of this material is that they can be easily repaired or replaced if the damage is addressed quickly. By recognizing the common signs of cedar roof damage, you can choose to make roof repairs and maintain the look, quality and performance of your cedar shingles.

Signs Your Cedar Roof Is Damaged

The best way to ensure your cedar roof lasts its entire lifespan is by regularly inspecting the look and quality of your shingles. If you notice one or more of these common cedar roof shingle damages, it’s time to consider swapping them out for newer ones:

  • Splitting: When your cedar shingle has a large split running through it, the cause can either be natural weathering or a large impact. If the split is a dull or gray color with soft, curved edges, then the split is likely from exposure, while a brighter interior split indicates the damage was caused by hail or another object.

  • Cupping or Curling: Distorted-looking cedar shingles is the most recognizable sign of shingle curling or cupping, which occurs when the materials curve upwards in unusual positions. This is often a result of the shingles’ normal weathering process caused by UV damage and moisture. If you notice the underlayment of your roof, like the roofing felt or roof deck, then you may have additional issues with your cedar roof that should be addressed.

  • Cracking: Over time, with moisture exposure and temperature fluctuations, wood will naturally expand and contract. With regular movement, small cracks can form in the surface of your cedar shingles. If you begin to notice those cracks growing larger, then a shingle replacement is likely your best option.

  • Fraying: When shingles appear frayed, it’s due to the materials rotting from moss, lichen or algae that went untreated. This often occurs when homes are shaded for prolonged periods and cannot dry out completely after a storm.

Causes of Cracked Cedar Roof Shingles

Besides natural exposure over a prolonged period, the rate at which your cedar roofing can become damaged will depend on the condition and location of your home. If you notice your cedar shingles are cracking, warping or fraying excessively, consider these common causes for extreme shingle weathering:

  • Local Climate: Homes located in harsh climate zones with distinct temperature fluctuations, prolonged sun exposure and heavy rains will likely have cedar roof shingles that wear faster than homes built in areas with milder weather.

  • Roof Slope: If your roof slope is angled towards the direction from which most of your intense weather and storms approach, your shingles are likely to receive more direct, regular damage and split or crack faster than shingles on more protected roof slopes.

  • Shingle Quality: Like many other items around your home, the quality of your cedar shingles’ construction determines their overall lifespan and performance. If your shingles are crafted from subpar materials, then they’re more likely to become severely damaged quickly than those made from high-quality materials.

  • Installation Methods: While some cedar roofing installers may claim to be experts, if your cedar roof wasn’t installed properly using the finest installation methods, you may experience a variety of issues caused by the improper installation. If you notice your shingles dry too slowly, are prone to leakage or are easily blown off, then your roofing likely wasn’t installed properly.

Can I Repair My Cedar Roof? ​

While it may be tempting to grab your tools, some replacement shingles from your local hardware store and climb onto your home’s roof, it’s best to avoid making any repairs to your damaged cedar shingles yourself. To maintain the quality, appearance and lifespan of your cedar roof, it’s crucial to have any extreme splits, frays or cupping repaired as soon as possible — but working with cedar materials requires specialized tools, industry training and expertise. By attempting repairs yourself, you can also accidentally void your roof’s warranty, causing issues later on.

Need Expert, Reliable Cedar Roof Shingle Repair? Reach Out to Cedar Roof Coatings Today

For more than three decades, Cedar Roof Coatings has been the premier cedar roofing repair and maintenance provider for homeowners throughout Fairfield County, CT, Westchester County, NY and beyond. We’re a family owned and operated company that places an emphasis on providing local customers with high quality roofing products and comprehensive, dependable service from friendly, knowledgeable professionals.

Schedule cedar roof shingle repair services by calling 203-847-5740 or complete our online contact form to request a free project estimate.


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