cedar shake

The Facts About Cedar Shake Roofing

What is Cedar Shake Roofing?

Cedar shake roofs use wooden shingles that are made from split logs.  The roofs have a distinctive look because the thickness and length of each shingle can vary.  This type of roofing has been in existence in North America since the days of the colonists.


The average lifespan of a properly cared for cedar shake roof is approximately 7-15 years.  This may sound like a lot until you understand that manufacturers, like GAF, offer non-prorated warranties covering both labor and materials, up to 50 years on metal and asphalt roofs.

I’m Considering Purchasing a Home with Cedar Shakes; What Should I Know?

  • Cedar shakes can be a poor choice in humid climates which can cause the shingles to  age prematurely
  • Because cedar shakes are made out of essentially the same material used in a campfire, your insurance company may charge a premium for this type of roofing since it is not fire retardant.  (Retardant chemicals are available but most need to be reapplied every time it rains.
  • Cedar shakes need to be cleaned every 4 to 5 years to maintain their appearance.  The process often involves pressure washing.  Beware that using to high of a setting on the pressure washer which can damage the roof and cause premature aging.
  • Roof should be inspected annually by a professional for signs of aging wear, insect infiltration, rot, etc.
  • Cedar shake roofs are prone to algae & moss growth which can endanger both your family’s health & safety.  When it rains, moss traps moisture and prevents the cedar shake roof from ever drying out.  As time goes on, this can cause the roof to leak.  In the winter, the roof’s moisture freezes and thaws repeatedly which does nothing except cause damage.

Environmental Impact:

Trees are a renewable resource.  However, cedar does not grow as fast as other types of trees.  Experts estimate that the time it takes for a cedar tree to reach the maturity level needed for cedar shake roofing can be anywhere from 200-400 years.  As cedar becomes more and more rare, the price of this type of roofing will be driven up due to the rules of supply and demand. 

This Webster, WI homeowner upgraded his cedar shake roof to metal.  Here’s a video of the final result: 

Lindus Construction / Midwest LeafGuard is a full service contractor specializing in LeafGuard Gutters, GAF Asphalt Roofing, SeasonGuard Windows/Siding/Insulation, Metal Roofing, Decking, New Construction & Home Remodeling. Call us at 1-800-873-1451 or check us out on the web at http://lindusconstruction.com.  Tune into WCCO 830 every Saturday at 9am for our Home Improvement Show with Denny Long & Andy Lindus.