Cedar Shake Roof
A cedar shake roof can add a beautiful, safe, natural looking wood grain finish to your home. Environmentally friendly and resilient, wood roofs have come a long way and are now safer and more affordable than ever. They also provide a unique blend of natural beauty and durability that will help reduce the heating and cooling costs associated with your home.
Wood roofs have always been made of one of our most abundant and rugged natural materials-wood. Naturally beautiful, cedar is one of the most durable woods available and makes an excellent choice for wood roofs. Cedar shake roofs have the added benefit of naturally resisting decay as cedar contains natural oils that prevent decay, adding to the long life of the roof itself as well as its beauty.
Other roofing materials, such as metal, fiberglass, and concrete are manufactured from materials taken from the earth, and once these materials are removed they cannot be replaced. When these materials have reached the end of their life cycle, they become part of our world's landfills and junkyards and are not easily disposed of. In addition to using the sun and the earth to naturally grow the trees that become cedar shakes and shingles, when cedar roofing materials come to the end of their service life, they biodegrade and become a renewable building material resource.
While much of the world is just now realizing how important it is to use environmentally friendly materials and 'go green' whenever possible, those who have been involved in manufacturing cedar shakes and shingles and installing cedar shake roofs for many years have always known this fact. Those contractors have had the pleasure of working with one of natures finest roofing materials. Naturally recyclable, no other roofing material blends into the natural surrounding of your home like a cedar shake roof.
A cedar shake roof not only looks better, it lasts longer. The lifespan of a cedar shake roof depends on a variety of elements, including the grade and quality of the wood used as well as the climate of the area and its proximity to salt-water and long periods of exposure to the sun. However, a properly installed and maintained cedar shake roof will typically last 30 to 40 years. Speaking with experienced contractors and others in your area that have cedar shake roofs will also help you determine if a cedar shake roof is right for you.
Although the wood itself is the fundamental building material, many manufacturers now add UV stabilizers to the wood to provide protection from damage that can be caused by the sun and work towards preserving the original color and condition of the cedar shakes. Fire retardation additives are also a very common preventive measure that reduces the wood's natural ability to burn.
Wood roofs were used in pioneering times and placed atop wood homes that were constructed in some of the harshest climates. They withstood earthquakes, hail storms and more because of its naturally durable qualities. Today, with a more integrated installation process and specific preservatives, cedar shake roofs are even tougher for Mother Nature to wreak havoc upon.
Unlike other roofing materials, the energy required to produce cedar shake roofing materials comes directly from the sun. The USDA Forest Service has indicated that the type of roofs and siding with the highest insulation value is real wood-not a wood substitute, asphalt, laminate or fiberglass, but real, natural wood.
According to the USDA, wood has 8 times the thermal resistance of concrete, 413 times the thermal resistance of steel and a whopping 2000 times the thermal resistance of aluminum. As a result of this inherent high thermal resistance quality, wood roofing and siding help to reduce the amount of energy and the amount of money necessary to heat and cool traditional homes and offices.
As the world's energy supply continues to deplete, it is a homeowner's responsibility, and in everyone's best interest, to use products that consume less energy in their manufacturing process as well as help to conserve energy during its use. Upon installation of a cedar shake roof, you are more likely than not to turn up the heat less often and reduce your reliance upon your air conditioner to cool your home.
There are very few disasters that affect a family as much as a fire that consumes their home. Many people have lived an entire lifetime in one home and risk losing all they have collected throughout the years within minutes to a devastating house fire. If the occupants are lucky enough to escape with their lives, family photos, videos, and other objects of affection can be lost forever if the home is suddenly consumed by flames.
Fire retardant materials are often mandated by official government agencies, and contractors who install cedar shake roofs are guided by the highest international environmental and fire prevention standards. In addition to those guidelines, many manufacturers go above and beyond to provide extra fire protection.
In general, there are three classifications of fire retardant treatments commonly used to treat cedar shakes and shingles and are classified as A, B, and C treatments. Although only Class B and C are readily available for purchase, Class B treated materials are used in conjunction with a specific type of installation process that produces the Class A cedar shake roof.
Cedar shake roofs treated with a fire retardant substance tend to be slightly darker in color than untreated cedar but weathers to an attractive gray color over time. The fire retardant additives have not been proven to detract from the longevity or durability of a cedar shake roof, nor does it add to the lifetime unless an unfortunate fire occurs. Most treated woods can be painted if desired; though contacting the manufacturer is the best way to find out if painting your fire retardant cedar shake roof is recommended.
Once installed, a cedar shake roof will provide many, many years of protection for your home and lasting beauty. During the installation process, in addition to properly installing the cedar shakes, most contractors and installers take extra precautions to help ensure the longevity of a cedar shake roof. Most precautions are taken to avoid damage that can be caused by heavy snowfall or improper ventilation, both of which are common in colder climates.
Snow guards are suggested as part of a cedar shake roof installation in any area that experiences frequent and heavy snowfall. The guards are typically made of brass or copper and work well for cedar shake roofs. A ridge vent system is also recommended for homes located in colder climates to avoid improper ventilation, which can reduce the life of your new roof. Your contractor will be familiar with building codes for your area and will suggest these additions if necessary.
Ongoing maintenance after the roof has been installed typically involves pressure or power washing every 4 years or so. Algae tend to grow in the cut ends of cedar shake roof materials, and although not especially destructive, it can be unsightly. A simple blend of algaecide and wood soap can be applied with a power or pressure washer and then allowed to dry. A quality cedar shake roof sealant can also be applied and will enhance the lovely appearance and durability of the wood.
Cedar shake roofs often come with a long term warranty - sometimes in excess of 50 years! That type of warranty is not found with synthetic roofing materials.
The life expectancy of a roof is variable and dependent upon many factors. Some of these factors include the age of the roof, the environment in which it is installed, the quality of wood as well as the quality of the installation and maintenance. Overhanging trees can also be a factor in how long a cedar shake roof will last.
The minimum warranty, in general, is 20 to 25 years, though many manufacturers will increase that warranty to 40 or more years. Preservative treated cedar shake roofing materials typically offer a longer life expectancy when compared to untreated cedar shakes or cedar shingles. Cedar shakes have been proven to last longer when placed in an appropriate environment and installed correctly. Your professional installation expert or a roof inspection service should be able to provide you with an accurate and experienced area specific assessment.
With a wide variety of nature's colors and textures available and contributing to the beauty of a cedar shake roof, there is simply no better way to emphasize the natural beauty of your home, especially if constructed of real wood.
Aside from its aesthetic appeal, the performance of a cedar shake roof is much better in just about every way when compared to synthetic roofing materials.
Not so long ago, wood framed houses with wooden sidewalls were pushed aside by the promise of care free exteriors constructed of man made materials. However, those materials, including vinyl, asphalt, and fiberglass blends, did not stand up to the test of time as well as wood.
Grown and harvested in some of the world's most lush rainforests, cedar is one of the most rugged and durable woods known to man. The natural growth of the cedar tree provides a unique and distinctive material from which to enhance the beauty of your home with a cedar shake roof.
The overall size, shape and dimensions of your cedar shake roofing materials affect the overall quality and longevity of the roof. Cedar shake roofs can be constructed with various sizes of cedar shake, and in this case the size does matter.
The thickness of the wood is typically measured in inches and varies from ½ inch to 1 or more inches. The thicker the shakes, the more authentic and appealing your roof will appear. Cedar shake roofs are also produced from wood of varying widths and this, too, is part of the key to an attractive result. Typically, shakes are produced in 9, 8, 7, 6, and 4 inch sizes. Combining the various sizes creates a natural, non-repetitive appearance that cannot easily be achieved with man made synthetic materials.
In addition, the deep grained surface area reflects the natural texture of the cedar wood and both curved and straight wood grain attributes enhance the overall appearance of a cedar shake roof.
Like any other home improvement or home building project, selecting a professional contractor to install a cedar shake roof is one of the most important things you can do to ensure that the roof you have installed is of the finest quality materials and craftsmanship.
Word of mouth remains one of the best ways to find a good, reliable contractor. Don't be reluctant to stop at the front doors of homes in your area that have cedar shake roofs and ask who their contractor was and what they liked-or disliked-about the job. Local business related organizations that work for the greater good of the community and its locally owned businesses, such as a Chamber of Commerce or Economic Development Association can also provide you with names of experienced, qualified contractors. Spending a little time researching various companies, installation techniques and wood quality will pay off in the long run-whether you investigate in person or over the Internet.
The Internet offers a vast resource when trying to find a professional contractor that specializes in cedar shake roofs. Using any popular search engine, you can easily find professionals in your area-many of which will also have websites of their own that inform and educate homeowners regarding the particular benefits associated with cedar shake roofs.