Everything you need to know about the care and maintenance of the Cedar Shakes and Shingles Roofing


Cedar Shakes and Shingles have been in use for centuries. They are not only natural, beautiful but are quite durable as well. They offer the finest appearance and the best protection from the elements, such as rain, hailing, etc. A cedar roof lasts longer and performs better when it is kept clean and well maintained. The annual routine of simple care and maintenance could add to the serviceability and prolong the life of your shake roof.


In this article, we will tell you everything you need to know about the care and maintenance of the red Cedar Shakes and Shingles.


Factors to Keep in Mind:


A Western Red Cedar is scientifically classified in the highest category owing to its durability and stability for exterior use. Chemicals called “Extractives” are deposited in the wood, which provides the cedar with a natural decay resistance and durability when exposed to the environment.


  • Climatic and Surrounding Conditions:


When planning your installation of new or replacement cedar roofing, it is important to consider the impacts of climate and the overall environment. Your local roofing contractor can provide guidance about the right choice of natural pressure preservative treated or pressure fire retardant treated options. Natural untreated shakes and shingles are fine for medium humidity and rainfall climates and locations which are clear of tree and shade cover.


If the roof is in an area prone to high rainfall or humidity or is surrounded by trees and shades, the factory pressure preservative treated shakes can help in increased protection against rot and termites. The dry climate and wildland-urban interface areas may require fire-resistant roofing. Cedar shakes and shingles mostly pass through rigorous fire testing. Fire-resistant cedar shakes and shingles are available in factory pressure-treated class “C/B” and even the highest class “A” fire-rated systems.


Currently, only factory pressure-treated shakes qualify for national building code recognition. We recommend fire-resistant shakes and shingles for all areas pertaining to fire hazards. Cedar shakes and shingles are also available with hail resistance ratings and are recommended for all hail hazard areas.




  • Cleaning and Maintenance Options:


“Western Red Cedar” continues to provide long-term protection, even while the surface layer gracefully agents from its new wood color to natural silver grey. Depending on conditions, most roofing products will need periodic care and maintenance. Cedar shake and shingles roofing are easy to clean, and proper maintenance will remove debris such as mosh needles and leaves. This will add years to the life and performance.


We strongly recommend hiring a trained professional for roof maintenance as it is paramount that all safety precautions must be followed for this work. Choose a good ladder, properly incline it to avoid slipping and get a safety harness for increased protection.


The first step is to sweep the roof to remove any loose debris. Always make sure to work from the top down for the best removal of debris. Use a flat head screwdriver to clean the key ways or spaces between the shakes, as this allows the rainwater to flow freely. Later, you can sweep off the keyhole debris and hose off the roof. Always remember to avoid walking on wet cedar shakes, as the water makes the shakes slippery and can cause you to fall and injure yourself badly.


A fairly simple way to get rid of mold and moss on your roof is, to mix 1/3 bleach and two parts water. And then just scatter it out onto the roof to let it dry. Then sweep it off, and you will get rid of it. Always be very careful with your bleach as it may go into the groundwater system, so check with local authorities for acceptability. Another way to stop the growth of moss on your roof is to install a zinc strip just under the ridge cap line. It should be left exposed to a couple of inches to ensure success.


However, if your roof is clear of debris, we recommend that it simply be left alone to do its job.


  • Colour Treatment:


If you need to repair a few broken cedar shakes or replace a roof section and want the shakes to have edged color to match the rest of the roof, spill a solution of 50% baking soda and water onto the new shake. Then wait a day or so the shake will turn to a weathered color to match the rest of the roof.


Treatment of cedar roofing with sprayed on preservative chemicals, such as “Copper Naphthenate” can extend the life of the roof and provide temporary color. Scientific studies report that the use of transmission oil, crankcase oil, diesel fluid paint, or chemicals that seal the surface will prevent the cedar from breathing and are definitely not recommended. As well as the factory preservatives and fire treatment companies advise that their warranties are avoided if other chemicals are used on treated shakes and shingles.


Cedar shakes and shingles are the most durable roofing materials available, and with easy care and maintenance, you can add years of service and beauty to your roof.