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How to Tell If Your Cedar Shake Roof Is Bad



Routine inspections and maintenance are crucial for your cedar shake roof to extend its longevity and beauty. There are a few key signs indicating your roof needs expert care. Learn how to spot early warning signs, prevent damage and ensure your roof's enduring appeal and functionality.


Understanding Your Cedar Shake Roof: Anatomy and Care

To effectively maintain your cedar shake roof, it's important to understand its basic components. Here's a quick guide to the visible anatomy of your cedar roof:


  • Shingles and shakes: These wooden pieces cover your roof. Shakes are typically thicker and more rugged than shingles, offering a more rustic appearance.

  • Ridge caps: Located at the peak of your roof, ridge caps seal the joint between two roof slopes.

  • Flashing: These metal pieces are found around chimneys, vents and where the roof meets a wall. Flashing helps direct water away from these vulnerable areas.

  • Gutters and downspouts: Integral to roof health, gutters and downspouts channel water away from your roof and foundation.


How to Inspect Your Cedar Shake Roof

A cedar shake roof can look beautiful for decades and ongoing professional maintenance will help ensure your roof lasts as long as possible. Cedar roofs are naturally durable but can age and wear over time. Recognizing the early signs of wear and tear can save you from costly repairs in the future. Here are some additional indicators to watch for:


  • Leaks: Leaks can indicate a range of issues with your roof. If water gets into your home, it’s a serious problem requiring immediate work. Reach out to a professional immediately to protect your property from mold and water damage.

  • Curling: Shingles can curl or cup naturally as they age, but if they're distorted enough that you can see under the cedar shake roof to the roof felt or deck, you need to contact a professional.

  • Splits or cracks: Shingles contract and expand with moisture and changing temperatures. Over time, this natural process can cause fine cracks. When the cracks get large enough that they can be seen from the ground, it's time for some repairs.

  • Missing or damaged shingles: Cedar shake roofs are very durable, but direct impact from tree branches, hail and other objects can cause parts of a shingle or entire shingles to fall off. It's important to fix these issues to protect your roof.

  • Moss or rot: If part of your roof is in the shade and doesn’t dry properly after rain, it can start to break down due to mold, rot, algae, moss and other organic materials and processes. Furry textures, frayed shingle edges and streaks on the shingles can all be signs of this sort of breakdown.

  • Color changes: Cedar naturally weathers to a silver-gray hue. However, uneven or dark staining can indicate moisture problems or algae growth.

  • Granule loss on shingles: If your cedar shingles have a protective coating of granules, check for areas where these granules have worn away, exposing the bare wood.

  • Sagging roof deck: If you notice a sagging appearance in certain areas, it could indicate structural problems that need immediate attention.

  • Increased energy bills: A sudden spike in heating or cooling costs can sometimes be traced back to poor roof insulation due to damaged cedar shakes.


When evaluating your roof, ensure you do so from the ground. Climbing on a ladder or your roof is dangerous and it's an inspection process you should leave to the professionals. If you notice any of the above signs, our team can evaluate your options more extensively.



Can Cedar Shake Roofs Be Repaired?


The good news is that cedar shake roofs can be repaired — in some cases by replacing only some of the shingles. Minor damage like cracked or missing shingles can usually be replaced one at a time. In addition, specialized treatments and coatings can extend your roof's life span.


Regular maintenance is essential to keep minor issues in check, preserving your roof's functionality and beauty. The team at Cedar Roof Coatings can coat your roof with high-quality, high solids, penetrating finish to extend the life of your roof.


How Long Should a Cedar Shake Roof Last?


Cedar shake roofs can last for decades with proper maintenance and care. Many quality roofs will last 30 to 50 years, but that longevity involves looking up occasionally and calling the experts if you see any signs of trouble.


Learning how to tell if a cedar shake roof is bad or in need of repairs is complicated. If you live in Fairfield County, CT, or Westchester County, NY, our team can assist with cedar roof repairs, replacements and damage prevention. If your cedar shake roof needs attention, our professional and honest team can help. Contact us today for a free consultation.

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