Cedar Shake Roofing Maintenance

Many Vancouver and area, BC, homes have Cedar Shakes on their roofs, which are beautiful, very West Coast, and natural. These shakes repel water, have anti-fungal qualities, and a long life, when cared for. Problems occur when they are neglected and left to face their enemies alone, so homeowners need to maintain the shakes to extend the life of their roof.

Cedar Shake Roofing Enemy, Moss.

Cedar shakes are an organic product and susceptible to moss growth in shaded areas, which speeds up the rotting process of the wood. There are plenty of homes in the Lower Mainland that have moss growing on the roof and it is a sign that the homeowners are not taking care of their investment. True, hobbits and other “green” type environmentalists like to live in plant covered buildings, however, chances are, your home was not built to stand up to the stresses of organic growth and will rot.

Cedar Shake Roofing Enemy, Leaves & Dirt

There are trees everywhere in the Lower Mainland and those trees either drop leaves or needles onto roofs, which build up, rot, and collect dirt. Ever been on a hike in the woods and kicked a piece of wood half buried in the black moist dirt? What happens when you do? That black soil was once organic debris like, leaves and wood. Besides rotting out the wood, the piles of organic waste will create dams for rainwater run off and hold the water on the roof for longer periods of time.

Cedar Shake Roofing Enemy, Water

Water is the number one enemy of any roof. Cedar shakes that are not maintained, rot and crack leaving weak openings for rainwater to get under them and as the rainwater gets trapped under them, it encourages rot and mould growth inside your home, which is not good for your health or your investment.

Cedar Shake Roofing Enemy, Sun

A cedar roof, that is not maintained properly, will experience drying out during the hot summer months. On summer nights at the beach, people use cedar wood as kindling to start the bonfires because it splits into smaller pieces with ease, catches fire quickly and burns hot enough for the larger pieces to catch fire. Not only are dried out old shingles a fire hazard, they also crack and warp as they dry creating places for rainwater to seep into the attic space.

Cedar Shake Roofing Maintenance:

  1. Use quality pre-treated cedar shake roofing products
  2. Remove debris in the fall and spring
  3. Clean your gutters and vents of debris
  4. Pressure wash the cedar shakes using medium pressured water
  5. Use the right treatment products to seal and condition the wood
  6. Make sure to check the attic ventilation

For more information on Cedar Shake Roofing Maintenance, read this article from the Province. 

Quote from the article:

Cedar roofing should be cleaned regularly, spring and fall, with medium pressure or enough to clean debris that accumulated over time, and inspected in preparation for the next season.

 Call a Roofer to Inspect your Cedar Shake Roof

An inspection, by a professional roofer or a roofing company representative, will identify weaknesses in your cedar roofing shakes. They will also determine if there is a need to maintain, repair, or replace the current roof to preserve the value of the home. Small leaks lead to bigger ones, which lead to large repair bills. Make sure you aren’t surprised and that you maintain the health of your cedar roof with regular inspections and regular maintenance.

Why would you want a Cedar Shake Roof?

  1. It’s natural
  2. It’s a West Coast feature
  3. It looks good
  4. It has a higher comparative ROI
  5. It is insulates & is energy efficient
  6. Renewable Resource
  7. It has natural oils to repel water
  8. It can last 40-50 years
  9. Removed old shakes are composted not dumped in landfills

The disadvantage to cedar shake roofing:

  1. It’s relatively more expensive
  2. It costs more in labour to install
  3. It needs more regular maintenance
  4. Harvested from BC forest regions

Want to know more about the pros and cons of Cedar Shake Roofing as an option for your home? Click this link. 

Western Red Cedar

Old growth cedar trees along BC’s West Coast and Interior are highly valued by both the native and the environmentalist communities. Old growth Western Red Cedar trees can be as old as 1500 years.  Most cedar building products come from reforested areas, not old growth areas, and the industry renews this precious resource by planting seedlings after they have harvested an area.

Cedar is a beautiful wood to build with, whether as a siding or a roof, this BC tree has a long history of being used as a building material in the province. The Natives of BC used Red Cedar trees long before European settlers came and built their cabins with it. It’s longevity, beauty, and natural local history, are reasons to chose cedar shakes or shingles.


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Shannon Peel is a marketing professional seeking out opportunities in the Vancouver, BC area. She is also the author of three novels, Thirteen, 40 Something, Captive.

For more information check out her website.www.shannonpeel.com