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Everything You Need to Know About Cedar Shake Roofs

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Is it time for a roof replacement? Do you want a new roof that will stand out amongst the other homes in your neighborhood? Well, if you live in a temperate climate with little humidity, you should consider replacing your current shingles with a cedar shake roof! 

If you've never heard of a cedar shake roof, don’t worry, we’re going to break it down for you.

On Tops Roofing has offered high-quality roofing services to home and business owners in Raleigh and the surrounding areas for over 30 years. We always strive to help our customers through the replacement process, including teaching them about all of their roofing options. 

If you’re interested in learning more about cedar shake roofs, this article is for you. Keep reading to find out what a cedar shake roof is, plus four important factors to consider before choosing a cedar shake roof for your home. Let’s get started.

WHAT is a Cedar Shake Roof?

If you’re looking for a premium roof system made out of natural materials, a cedar shake roof may be the right choice for you. While they offer the same function as asphalt roofs, cedar shakes have incredible aesthetic benefits that set them apart from more common roof types.

Cedar shake shingles are crafted from large cedar trees that have been cut into 2-foot sections and then hand-split or sawed into a tapered thickness (tapersawn). Hand-split shingles offer a more rustic look, while tapersawn shingles are much smoother.

cedar shakes vs cedar shingles

Cedar shake shingles either come in half inch or three-quarter inch segments. While the three-quarter inch will last longer, they’re more expensive. Cedar shakes also feature different exposures such as a 12 inch exposure and a 7 1/2 inch exposure.

If you’re interested in cedar shake shingles, you may have to wait a little bit longer to get a new roof. Cedar shake manufacturers make their shingles to order, meaning they don’t split the cedar sections until an order is placed. This means it could take anywhere between 3 to 8 weeks to get the materials for your cedar shake roof.

4 Things You Need to Know Before Choosing a Cedar Shake Roof

1. The 3 Types of Cedar Shake Shingles

There are three types of cedar shake shingles: common, selects, and 100% straight grain.

  • Common Cedar Shake Shingles - These are the cheapest and least reliable of the three types. Common cedar shakes are made out of any part of the tree and are considered the leftovers of other higher-quality cuts. They are typically the first type of cedar shake shingle to split and warp. 

  • Selects Cedar Shake Shingles - These shingles contain a mix of the other two types, somewhere around 80% straight grain and 20% common. Your contractor should sort through the cedar selects to find the best quality shingles for your roof installation.

  • 100% Straight Grain Cedar Shake Shingles - These are the highest-quality type of cedar shake shingle. Each shingle is hand-selected and features a straight-grain. This helps to ensure that the shingles lay flat and won’t curl up over time.

If you’re planning on investing in a cedar shake system, you’ll get a higher-quality, longer-lasting roof with 100% straight grain cedar shake shingles.

2. The Lifespan of a Cedar Shake Roof

A new roof is an investment. Just like with any other investment, you want to make sure it lasts. So, how much life can you expect to get out of your new cedar shake roof? 

With proper installation and regular maintenance, you can expect to get about 30 years out of a cedar shake roof. Investing in 100% straight grain cedar shake shingles and other high-quality roofing materials could allow you to get up to 50 years out of your roof.

However, if you live in a very moist or dry climate, a cedar shake roof might not be the best choice for you. For example, cedar shake roofs are not as common here in North Carolina due to our moist climate. The high humidity levels prevent cedar shake shingles from drying out, which causes them to age faster.

3. The Warranty Options for a Cedar Shake Roof

Most new roof installations typically come with two types of warranties:

  • Contractor’s Workmanship - This type of warranty provides homeowners with coverage against contractor installation errors. If your roof fails because of improper installation, the company that issued the workmanship warranty will cover the cost of labor and any materials needed to make necessary repairs.

  • Manufacturer’s Warranty - With this warranty, a manufacturer will cover the cost of replacing defective materials for the first few years and then offer prorated coverage from that point on. If any shingles are found to be defective during the initial period, the manufacturer will give you replacement shingles at no extra cost.

Because cedar shake shingles are naturally made, there’s typically no manufacturer’s warranty on the materials. This means you can only rely on a contractor’s workmanship warranty to protect your cedar shake roof. 

To make sure you get the best workmanship warranty, you need to hire a high-quality contractor who will stand behind their work. You can read this article to learn five questions you can ask to find the best contractor for your roof repair or replacement.

4. How to Maintain a Cedar Shake Roof

Roof maintenance is the periodical checking of all the vulnerable areas on your roof that could be susceptible to damage. It is critical to preventing structural issues and keeping your roof in good working condition for years to come.

Regular roof maintenance and inspections will help you get the most life out of your cedar shake roof. Wooden shingles are more susceptible to water damage and other forms of natural decay, so maintenance will allow you to catch minor issues before they turn into major problems.

Moss Growth On Your Cedar Roof? How To Handle It. | CedarRoofing.com

As part of your maintenance routine, you should clear your roof and gutters of any lingering debris. For example, you don’t want wet leaves and pine straw sitting on your roof for too long. The residual moisture can seep into your wooden shingles and cause them to decay, shortening your roof’s overall lifespan.

Read this article on the benefits of developing a regular roof maintenance routine to learn more about how crucial maintenance is to protecting your cedar shake roof.

So, What Else Should You Know?

Now that you know what a cedar shake roof is, you’re one step closer to choosing the right shingles for your roof replacement. But what if you live in a humid climate that’s not ideal for cedar shake shingles? What other options do you have to choose from for your new roof?

One of the best ways to find out what type of roof works well in your area is to look at your neighbors’ roofs. If they’re like the majority of homes in the United States, they’re probably all using the same type of roofing material. To find out what that material is and how it can benefit your roof, read this article on the most common type of residential roof.

If you live in Raleigh and need help with your roof, don’t hesitate to fill out the form below for an inspection, a free estimate, or to find out if a cedar shake roof will work for your home. With over 900 roofs worked on each year, we know how to provide the high-quality roofing service that homeowners, like you, are looking for.

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