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Why Do Cedar Wood Shingles Curl, Cup or Bend? What Does It Mean?



You love your cedar roof, and with good reason. A cedar roof can give your home a warm, natural look that can be extremely pleasing to the eye. The right cedar roof can enhance your home's curb appeal and increase your property value. Naturally, if you have a cedar roof, you want it to look great for as long as possible.


If you have a wood shingle or shake roof, you may have noticed that your cedar roof looks like it's curling or bending. Generally, you'll want to know if this is normal and what causes shingles to curl or bend. A little cedar shake or shingle curling is standard, but you should take a few steps to fix a warped or distorted cedar roof.


What Is Cupping or Curling on Wood?


Before diving into why your wood shingles curl and what to do about it, let's define a few important terms to avoid confusion. When discussing cedar roof wood shingles or shakes, you'll likely hear professionals use the words “cupping” and “curling.” Curling and cupping describe shingles or shakes warping or otherwise looking distorted, as opposed to the even, flat look your shingles typically have. Here's a detailed breakdown of what these two terms mean:

  • Cupping: Cupping refers to wood shingles or shakes bent across their width. Cupping occurs when the wood absorbs moisture, swells, dries and contracts on top first due to exposure to the sun while the underside is still swollen.

  • Curling: Distortion across the length of the wood shingle or shake is known as curling. Curling is a natural process and begins when the shingle or shake is cut, releasing stress.

While it makes sense to want your cedar roof to look new and healthy, a little curling is a natural consequence of having a cedar roof over time and can give your home some character. However, if your shingles are curling excessively or a significant number are starting to curl, it's crucial to take action.


Why Does My Cedar Roof Curl?

Why Does My Cedar Roof Curl?


Curling on wood is a natural process that reflects the continual barrage of the sun's ultraviolet rays and weather effects like rain on wood. The effects of aging are a necessary consequence of having this natural material as your home's roof. The more elements your cedar roof must protect you from, the faster it is likely to age and show curling shingles. Cedar shake siding curling is common and can also be caused by the same factors that affect your cedar roof. If you're wondering why shingles curl, here are some common reasons:

  • Climate and weather: Cold weather, excessive rain or constant exposure to sunlight are all reasons your cedar roof may start curling. If you're in an area that receives steady rainfall, the additional moisture could affect your shingles more quickly than in a climate that doesn't get as much rain.

  • Unexpected damages: High winds, harsh storms and large branches can also curl your shingles. There's also a chance that your cedar wood shingles could experience damage caused by animals such as birds and rodents.

  • Subpar installation: If your roof was poorly installed, it's more likely to experience curling and other damages than if professionals installed it correctly.

  • Poor quality shingles: Using low-quality shingles or shakes often means they have a shorter life span and succumb to damage sooner than the premium-quality shingles you would receive from a professional contractor.

Why Do Cedar Shingles Bend?


You may have noticed bent cedar shingles along your roof's edges or over a dormer window and wondered whether their shape was intentional or a sign of damage. These are purposely shaped shingles, bent through a specialized steaming process that softens them for shaping. As such, these cedar shingles are called steam-bent shingles, sometimes referred to as steam-curled shingles.


Bending shingles in this way offers design flexibility, allowing the cedar roof shingles to follow your roof's curves. They also create an opportunity to soften wood shingle roof edges that may otherwise look sharp and inelegant with a straight wood shingle finish. Incorporating steam-bent cedar shingles or shakes into your cedar roof's design opens the door to more creative and organic roof design ideas.


How to Prevent Your Cedar Roof Shingles From Curling


If you're worried about your cedar shingles curling, try using these strategies:

  • Look for debris: Leaves and dirt can start accumulating on your roof and gutters and trap moisture, which can eventually cause your shingles to curl. However, getting on your roof to look for debris yourself can be dangerous. Instead, contact Cedar Roof Coatings for a thorough inspection.

  • Check the humidity: Be sure you keep the humidity in your home at an adequate level and check to ensure there's reliable ventilation in your attic.

  • Install flashing: Roof flashing will also help guide excess water into your gutters so that it doesn't get trapped on your roof.

What Should You Do If Your Wood Shake Roof Experiences Curling?


You won't need to do anything if the problem affects only a few shingles and the curling is minor. However, wood shingle curling is an excellent indicator that your cedar roof needs maintenance. Besides curling, other signs of shingle damage like cracks, splitting and fraying could signal that it's time to replace some of your shingles.


Although taking matters into your own hands may be tempting, we recommend avoiding DIY cedar wood shingle replacement. Carrying out your own repair work could damage your roof and void any warranty you have. If your wood shingle curling is causing you distress and your home is in the Fairfield, Connecticut or Westchester, NY, areas, it's time to contact Cedar Roof Coatings. Cedar Roof Coatings will ensure your cedar roof looks its best by replacing your damaged cedar roof shingles swiftly and seamlessly.


Cedar Roof Coatings for Shingle Replacement in Connecticut and New York


At Cedar Roof Coatings, our trained experts can replace your curling shingles, making your cedar roof look as good as new. We offer a broad range of services, including cleaning and preservative treatments that make your cedar roof look clean and fresh without damaging the shingles. Our comprehensive roof inspection service identifies any issues that could shorten the life of your cedar roof.


Regular cedar roof inspections are the best way to ensure your cedar roof lasts and looks great for as long as possible. Cedar Roof Coatings will provide a free inspection and no-obligation estimate for our services to help you decide exactly how you'd like to move forward with the care of your cedar roof. Contact Cedar Roof Coatings online, call us at 203-847-5740 for your estimate or schedule a roof inspection with our experienced team today!





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