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How Long Do Cedar Shake Roofs Last?

Updated: Aug 18


Your roof is one of the most critical parts of your home. As a homeowner in New York or Connecticut, you know your roof has its work cut out for it as it withstands the wild mood swings of Northeastern weather. You also want to keep your home attractive, especially in areas that maintain a more colonial aesthetic with attributes like cedar shake roofs.


If you have a cedar shake roof, you need to care for it correctly. With the right cedar shake roof preventive maintenance, you can increase your roof's life expectancy and help it stay beautiful for years to come.

What Are Cedar Shake Roofs?

The first part of understanding cedar shake roof maintenance is knowing how this type of roof differs from other roofing materials. Many roofs consist of long-lived synthetic materials that lack the natural appearance of real wood. Even regular wooden shingles differ from cedar shakes in various ways.

When you're dealing with wooden shingles, each shingle is the same size and has perfect, machine-cut edges. These attributes give shingled roofs a more rigid and structured appearance like homes with asphalt shingles. Cedar shake roofs capture the elegant yet natural style you're looking for by using uneven thicknesses, widths and lengths. Even if cedar shakes are the same color as cedar shingles, their purposeful "imperfections" are the very attribute that makes them so desirable and striking.

The Benefits of Cedar Shake Roofs

You'll find cedar shake roofs are appealing for many reasons. If you already have a cedar shake roof, you may already be familiar with these. Here are some benefits that make cedar shake roofs and the effort needed to care for them worth it.


  • Beautiful appearance: People have turned to cedar shake roofs for their homes for hundreds of years because of the distinct beauty it adds. Cedar shake has natural variations in color and shape, making it a unique solution for various architectural applications. And since each piece is a different size, cedar shake is perfect for even the most challenging custom roofing projects.

  • Insect resistance: Cedar has excellent resistance to bugs. This characteristic makes it appealing to homeowners in the Northeast and beyond. Everyone wants to protect their home against insect infestations, and cedar's natural properties can help you achieve this.

  • Weather resistance: If correctly maintained, cedar shake can help keep your home resistant to all forms of weather. From heavy snowfalls to torrential downpours, cedar has outstanding moisture resistance to keep wetness outside where it belongs.

  • Increased curb appeal: A cedar shake roof can improve your home's value and make it the envy of your neighborhood. Stand out from the crowd or match the value of surrounding homes with the beauty and charm offered by a cedar shake roof. When it comes time to sell your home, you'll enjoy the extra value.


Cedar Shake Roof Cost

Cedar shake roofs are usually more expensive than other forms of roofing. Cedar shake is less common than shingles made from alternative materials, including asphalt. This fact contributes to a higher cost for the initial installation. The cost of your roof can also change depending on the quality of the cedar shake used.

You'll need to find a reputable company to install your cedar shake correctly. More affordable companies may use cheaper materials and shoddier workmanship to cut their prices. But you could end up paying more in the long run for these exact reasons. You should prepare to pay the higher cost for a reputable company and high-quality materials now for a satisfactory result.

Cedar Shake Roof Life Expectancy

When conditions are right and you engage in preventive maintenance, your cedar shake roof can last up to 30 years. However, this number is only an estimate, and your cedar shake roof's life expectancy can vary based on many factors. You have a level of control over some of these factors, but others are out of your hands. Here is a list of some of the variables that can affect your roof's lifespan.


  • The type and quality of the cedar used

  • The company that installs your roof and the quality of their workmanship

  • The number of trees hanging over the roof

  • The construction quality of the attic below the roof and its level of ventilation


What Causes Deterioration?

Maintaining a cedar shake roof can be easier in some locations than in others. Here are some of the common causes for deterioration in the coastal areas of the Northeast, including New York and Connecticut.


  • Humid and salty air: Without preventive maintenance, the moist, salty air found near beaches and in coastal climates can adversely affect a cedar shake roof's lifespan.

  • Plant life: Tall, overhanging trees can protect your cedar shake roof from the weather, but the last thing you want is plants growing on the roof itself. Even small plants have root systems that can severely damage your roof's integrity.

  • The sun: The sun's ultraviolet rays can have detrimental effects on your cedar shake roof. Unlimited UV ray exposure can cause deterioration in the fibers of the cedar and the adhesive holding the pieces in place. The ensuing separation and splitting can give the sun access to the protective layer beneath, leading to leaks and other issues. This splitting is how you can tell if your cedar shake roof is bad and in need of repairs or replacement.


Cedar Shake Roof Preservation

You need to take the correct precautions to preserve your roof from the deterioration mentioned above. To achieve this, seek the help of professionals who can do the hard work needed to withstand the salty air and UV radiation present throughout the Northeastern coastline. Experts will use high-quality products that protect your cedar shake roof so it can reach its maximum lifespan while looking great the whole time.

Hiring a professional will also keep you safe. Working on roofs is a dangerous business, and only trained experts should do the essential work of protecting your cedar shake roof. Hire a pro to do the work right the first time and ensure the project goes as smoothly as possible.

Contact Cedar Roof Coatings to Preserve Your Cedar Shake Roof in New York and Connecticut

Cedar Roof Coatings is your go-to choice for preserving your cedar shake roof. We use the highest-quality products to keep the harmful effects of the sun and weather off your roof so it looks and performs the best it can. We're Fairfield County's leading cedar roof preservation experts. Our goal is to use this knowledge to help keep your roof in great shape for years to come.

Contact us today for more information on how we can help you reach your goals. And be sure to stay up to date with our blog to know the best ways to care for your cedar roof. We look forward to meeting and serving you!



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