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Everything You Need to Know About Cedar Shake Roofs

Everything You Need to Know About Cedar Shake Roofs

Is it time for a roof replacement, and are you looking to make a statement with your new roof? If you reside in a temperate climate with low humidity, you might want to consider upgrading your current shingles to a cedar shake roof. Not familiar with cedar shake roofing? No worries, we're here to provide you with all the details.

For over three decades, On Tops Roofing has been delivering top-notch roofing services to homeowners and businesses in Raleigh and its surrounding areas. Our commitment extends beyond providing quality roof replacements; we're dedicated to guiding our customers through the process, ensuring they have a comprehensive understanding of their roofing options.

If you're intrigued by the idea of cedar shake roofs and want to learn more, you're in the right place. This article is your gateway to exploring this unique roofing choice.

In this blog, we’re going over:

Alright, lets get into it!


If you're in search of a premium roofing system crafted from natural materials, a cedar shake roof might be the perfect fit for your needs. While they fulfill the same primary function as asphalt roofs, cedar shakes offer exceptional aesthetic advantages that distinguish them from more commonly used roofing types.cedar shake dormers_WebP

Cedar shake shingles are meticulously fashioned from large cedar trees, which are cut into 2-foot sections and then either hand-split or sawed into tapered thickness (known as tapersawn). Hand-split shingles provide a rustic, textured appearance, while tapersawn shingles are notably smoother in texture.

Cedar shake shingles are available in two main thicknesses: half-inch and three-quarter inch segments. Opting for the three-quarter inch shingles provides increased durability but comes with a higher price tag. Additionally, cedar shakes offer various exposure options, including 12-inch and 7 1/2-inch exposures, allowing you to achieve your desired aesthetic.

It's important to note that if you're considering cedar shake shingles, there might be a slightly longer wait time for your new roof. Cedar shake manufacturers typically produce these shingles on-demand, which means they don't split the cedar sections until an order is placed. As a result, you can expect a waiting period ranging from 3 to 8 weeks to procure the materials needed for your cedar shake roof.



Cedar shake shingles come in three distinct types: common, selects, and 100% straight grain, each offering varying levels of quality and durability.

Common Cedar Shake Shingles: These are the most economical but the least reliable among the three types. Common cedar shakes are crafted from any part of the cedar tree and are essentially the byproduct of higher-quality cuts. Unfortunately, they tend to be the first to split and warp over time.

Selects Cedar Shake Shingles: Selects strike a balance between the other two types, typically comprising around 80% straight grain and 20% common cedar. When opting for selects, your contractor should carefully sift through the cedar shingles to handpick the best-quality ones for your roof installation.

100% Straight Grain Cedar Shake Shingles: These represent the pinnacle of cedar shake shingle quality. Each shingle is meticulously hand-selected and features a straight grain. This ensures that the shingles lay flat and are less likely to curl up over time. Investing in a cedar shake system with 100% straight grain shingles guarantees a higher-quality, longer-lasting roof.

When choosing the right cedar shake shingle for your roofing project, it's advisable to consider your budget and long-term goals. While common shakes are budget-friendly, opting for 100% straight grain cedar shake shingles ensures superior longevity and aesthetic appeal for your roof.


The lifespan of your new cedar shake roof largely depends on various factors, including the quality of installation, regular maintenance, and the specific climate of your region.more cedar shake_WebP-1

Under optimal conditions, with proper installation and consistent maintenance, you can anticipate a cedar shake roof to last approximately 30 years. However, if you opt for premium materials like 100% straight grain cedar shake shingles and prioritize high-quality roofing components, your roof's lifespan could extend to around 50 years.

It's essential to consider your local climate when choosing a cedar shake roof. In regions with excessively moist or arid conditions, cedar shake roofs may not be the most suitable choice. For instance, in North Carolina, where humidity levels can be relatively high, cedar shake shingles may not dry out adequately, leading to accelerated aging and potentially reducing the roof's overall lifespan.

Ultimately, when investing in a cedar shake roof, it's essential to strike a balance between your aesthetic preferences and the specific environmental conditions of your area to ensure that your investment stands the test of time.


When investing in a new cedar shake roof, it's crucial to understand the warranties that come with the installation. In most cases, new roof installations come with two primary types of warranties:

Contractor’s Workmanship Warranty: This type of warranty offers homeowners protection against installation errors made by the roofing contractor. If your cedar shake roof experiences issues due to improper installation, the company that issued the workmanship warranty will cover the costs associated with labor and any necessary materials to rectify the problem. A reliable workmanship warranty ensures that you won't bear the financial burden of fixing installation-related problems.

Manufacturer’s Warranty: Unlike some roofing materials, cedar shake shingles are typically not covered by a manufacturer's warranty. As cedar shakes are naturally made, manufacturers may not offer a warranty on the materials themselves. Instead, homeowners must rely solely on the contractor's workmanship warranty for protection.

Given that the manufacturer's warranty may not apply to cedar shake shingles, it becomes paramount to select a high-quality contractor for your roof installation. The workmanship warranty is your primary source of coverage in case of installation issues or errors. To ensure that you receive the best workmanship warranty, it's essential to hire a reputable and reliable contractor who stands behind their work.

When seeking a contractor for your cedar shake roof installation, consider asking relevant questions to assess their qualifications and commitment to delivering high-quality craftsmanship. Our article on finding the best contractor for your roof repair or replacement provides valuable insights and questions to help you make an informed choice. By selecting the right contractor, you can safeguard your investment and enjoy the benefits of a well-installed cedar shake roof.


Caring for your cedar shake roof doesn't stop after installation. Regular roof maintenance plays a pivotal role in ensuring the longevity and performance of your roofing investment. Cedar shake roofs, while known for their aesthetic appeal and durability, require consistent attention to maintain their pristine condition and structural integrity over the years.valley where it meets_WebP

Here's why regular roof maintenance is essential for cedar shake roofs:

Preventing Structural Issues: Periodic roof maintenance involves thorough inspections of all vulnerable areas on your roof. Identifying and addressing potential issues early can prevent them from evolving into major structural problems. Cedar shake shingles are particularly susceptible to water damage and natural decay, making regular maintenance critical to catching minor issues before they escalate.

Extending Lifespan: Cedar shake roofs can have a long lifespan when properly cared for. Regular maintenance helps you maximize the life of your cedar shake roof. By addressing minor concerns promptly, you can avoid premature deterioration and costly repairs.

Debris Removal: As part of your maintenance routine, it's essential to clear your roof and gutters of debris. Wet leaves, pine straw, and other debris can accumulate on your roof over time. The retained moisture can infiltrate cedar shake shingles, leading to decay and a shorter roof lifespan. Regular debris removal safeguards your roof against moisture-related damage.

Developing a consistent roof maintenance routine is key to protecting your cedar shake roof investment. By staying proactive and addressing issues as they arise, you can enjoy the aesthetic beauty and durability of your cedar shake roof for many years to come.

On Tops Roofing has been helping homeowners work through their roofing decisions in Raleigh, NC since 1991! Whatever your roof requires, We’re on it!

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