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How to Make Your Cedar Roof Last Longer

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Cedar or redwood shake roofs have been around for centuries. They were and continue to be one of the most popular roofing options out there. Homeowners prefer its classic, rustic appeal and the warmth it adds to the home. Decades ago, cedar roofs would last for generation after generation. Unfortunately many homes with this type of roofing today find they need replacement much more frequently. What has changed over the years to cause this premature aging? What has changed is how the cedar shingles are installed and maintained. If you have or are considering a cedar shake roof, follow these guidelines for lasting appeal.

There are two things that can destroy a quality cedar or redwood shake roof: moisture and some form of infestation (mold, mildew, lichen, fungi). If these two factors are controlled, your cedar roof should last for years and years to come. The best way to manage both is through proper installation and regular maintenance.

One of the main reasons cedar shake roofs don’t last as long as they use to is because of current installation practices. Installers of the past would install the shingles onto spaced lathing strips. This gave the shingles optimal room to “breath” while reducing the amount of moisture that was able to condense. In the last 30 years, contractors have replaced the lathing with a layer of felt. While felt provides a great water barrier, it prevents the necessary air circulation this type of roof needs. For proper installation, cedar shingles should be spaced evenly with slight gapping between. This not only leaves them room to expand and contract but also allows for that much needed air flow.

To enjoy a long-lasting cedar roof you must also control the amount of algae and mold that is allowed to accumulate on it. When an infestation is allowed to cover the shingles, they are no longer able to breath and can begin to rot. At this point, many homeowners fear that a new roof is needed. Fortunately a good cleaning will often resolve the problem. A professional cleaning by a knowledgeable partner will help keep and maintain a healthy cedar roof. You also want to keep the shingles free of excess vegetation that can accumulate such as leaves, needles, branches and dirt.

You may have heard horror stories of a homeowner that installed a cedar roof and had to replace it just a short few years later. While this does happen, you must also consider all the factors that may have contributed to the roof’s premature aging. Was it installed properly with good spacing? Was it cleaned and maintained regularly? If both are done, you can enjoy a beautiful cedar roof that lasts for upwards of 40 to 60 years. At Custom Installations, we take pride in our cedar roof installations. Assisting our customers in enjoying a beautiful, durable cedar shake roof is one of our passions. Contact us today to learn more about our many roofing services.

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