What Every Homeowner Should Know about Cedar Roofing Maintenance
Cedar Roofing Maintenance: Out of all the various roofing materials available on the market, cedar shakes and shingles stand out for balancing functionality, durability and aesthetics. Careful selection and proper installation of the materials help ensure that your roof will remain appealing and efficient for a long time.
Simply installing a roof is not enough to keep your home safe and dry for years to come though, to make sure your roof lasts as long as you hope it will take care. Cedar requires a special kind of maintenance, so you will have to implement a cedar roofing maintenance program if you hope to keep your roof a long time.
What is cedar roofing maintenance?
Roofing maintenance is neither simple nor exciting. Considering that your roof does the toughest job of all parts of your home, it really requires some intense TLC at times.
For convenient and quality workmanship, as well as a guarantee the job is done right – you should hire professionals to inspect, clean and treat your cedar roof. A professional will be able to spot damage that may be overlooked by an untrained eye, as well as be able to provide advice for you before other problems emerge.
When do I do cedar roofing maintenance?
Unless there have been hail and heavy rains or there’s a looming storm, tending to your roof doesn’t mean checking its condition every day or week. A thorough inspection of your entire roofing structure should be done before and after winter especially if heavy snowstorms hit the county. General cedar roofing maintenance should be done in fall.
When strong winds, heavy storms or any severe weather has occurred in your area, assessing your roofing structure, cleaning up, and doing necessary repairs should be done as soon as possible. As the need for this kind of maintenance and repair is caused by an unexpected event, it may be difficult if not impossible to set a schedule to do them.
Keep the phone number of a licensed and certified roofing contractor on hand for these emergencies and make sure your roof undergoes annual maintenance and inspection in the meantime to lessen the damage done by disasters.
Need a roofing contractor? Read this >> Finding the Best Chicagoland Cedar Roofing Contractor
Top 4 Benefits of Regular Cedar Roofing Maintenance
Cedar shakes and shingles are more expensive than the average asphalt shingle, but as cedar can outlive an asphalt roof by decades – it’s for a good reason! Cedar, unlike asphalt shingles, is a roofing material that is organic and therefore requires a special kind of cedar roofing maintenance to ensure a long life span and continued durability.
1. Improve your roof’s lifespan
Cedar shakes usually remain functional for 7 to 15 years if there is no maintenance or intervention. Because they are thinner, cedar shingles can have an average lifespan that is even shorter than that! Surprisingly, preservation practices and proper care can extend the a cedar shingles lifespan for up to 20 to 30 years while the shakes can last for 30 or even 40 years.
This level of durability ensure that you will not need to worry about premature or even frequent roof replacements. You may have to pay for roofing maintenance and hiring professionals for cleanup and repairs, but your total expenses for cedar roofing maintenance are still less than that of early roof replacement. Aside from cutting down potential expenses, you are also well-protected for a longer time.
2. Increase resale value of your home
Wooden roofs come with a rustic aesthetic which appeals to many homebuyers. The bright and warm colors, along with the reputation for longevity that cedar has can increase the value of your home and curb appeal.
Moss growth on your cedar roofing can add to your home’s countryside appearance, but not in a good way. Moss and mold growth gives the impression of a lack of care and poor maintenance. Prospective homebuyers may also assume that due to moss growth on your roof that other areas of your home have suffered neglect as well.
In addition to moss growth, missing shingles, and other visible defects in your roof will surely reduce your home’s curb appeal, and consequently its resale value.
Well-maintained roofs are easily noticed and appreciated by prospective buyers, and the better the condition of the roof, it is more likely you will get a fair price for it.
If you are considering selling your home within the next few years, save the receipts as additional proof of works being completed. Once you decide to resell your home, you can use the records and receipts to help validate the high resale value of your property. This also makes prospective buyers more receptive as you have hard evidence of when maintenance and repairs were done.
3. Help prevent pest problems
Your roof is also there to help prevent pests such as squirrels, rats and birds from invading your home. But if there are missing or broken shingles, the inner structure of your roof may become flimsy. Consequently, the said pests may enter through the defects in your roofing structure and wreak havoc in other area of your home interior. Through cedar roofing maintenance, the lost and broken shakes or shingles will be replaced, limiting the possible entrances of pests, and keeping their damage to a minimum.
4. Limit damage done to your roof
If there are issues with your cedar roof it is inadvisable for you to leave it in a state of disrepair. If you do, the damage will affect other parts of your roofing structure which will require costlier repairs and replacements. Furthermore, the leaks from your faulty roof can damage your floors, carpet, furniture and other possessions. Worst of all, you and your family will not be fully protected from extreme temperatures, harmful UV rays, strong winds, and heavy rain and snow.
Your general roofing maintenance should be done around fall as a way to prepare for the onslaught of snow, sleet and cold air which can worsen problems that you won’t be able to treat until spring. Maintenance may not make your cedar roof completely invincible, but it will limit the possible damage from the elements during winter.
Common Cedar Roofing Problems
Cedar shakes and shingles are not perfect roofing materials – then again, there’s no such thing as a perfect roofing material! Every material has its problems that require special care, and cedar is no exception. The top 5 cedar roofing problems are as follows:
1. Moss growth
Moss looks attractive as ground cover. Unintended and extensive moss growth on the roof of a house, however, is far from being aesthetically pleasing. In addition to being an eyesore, moss and fungal growth retains moisture in your roof which then causes your cedar shakes or shingles to rot and fall off. Other wooden parts of your roof will be affected as well, and possibly even the roofing structure and decking itself – costing you much more in repairs or even costing a you a total roof replacement if not properly handled.
High moisture and low temperature are the key ingredients for moss growth and survival. This is why on a cedar roof the problem often manifests in areas that are shaded by trees. Early signs of moss growth include green or brown grass-like protrusions around the edges of your cedar shakes or shingles. If your cedar roofing is newly installed, the brown moss in it may seem like stains.
More on moss growth here >> How to Handle Moss Growth on your Cedar Roof
2. Mold and mildew
Mold and mildew are other problems common with wooden roofing. Like moss, the spores where the mold comes from are just from your natural surroundings. Moss, mold and mildew in roofs often go together because they prefer the same growing conditions and help each other to grow. The moisture the moss retains makes it easier for the mold and mildew to form and spread over your roof.
Spots of white, gray, black, brown and green in your cedar shakes or shingles are a sign of mold and mildew buildup. You know the problem is already extensive when you see sizable stains on your ceiling, so keep an eye on your roof to prevent the problem from affecting your home interior.
3. Rotting shakes or shingles
Black stains and moist surfaces that don’t seem to dry with the rest of your roof are the signs of rotting shakes and shingles. They may or may not smell, so don’t rely on a foul smell to give you a diagnosis. Rotting wood doesn’t directly cause harm to your health, but if your wooden roof is deteriorating, you and your family are at risk of getting hit by falling debris while walking near the exterior of your home, in addition to the previously mentioned problems regarding pests and fungus.
Incorrect shingle placement, clogged gutters and poor ventilation in your roof can all add up to the speedy deterioration and the growth of rot on your cedar roofing.
Wood shakes and shingles expand and contract over time so they must be spaced out and installed with exact measurements by a professional. Too wide of spaces between shingles may cause leaks in your home and increased humidity and moisture on your roof. When shingles are installed too close to each other, they may not be able to expand correctly and smash into each other. This can lead to cracks in your shakes or shingles. The cracks may serve as yet another entryway for water to seep through your roof.
Through conducting a cedar roofing inspection you can evaluate if this problem exists in your roof. Be aware that some small cracks in the wood are common and normal as they are part of cedar’s natural aging process. Splitting shingles, on the other hand, mean that the roofing materials are already divided into two or more parts due to the cracks.
5. Distorted shakes and shingles
Shakes and shingles may deform due to uneven water absorption and drying – particularly if your home is in the shade most of the time. This distortion is called curling if it occurs along the roofing material’s length. Cupping is the term used to describe the distortion occurring along the width of a shake or a shingle.
The kind of grain partly determines the susceptibility of shakes and shingles to distort. Flat-grain tends to deform more easily compared to their slash-grain and edge-grain counterparts. In some instances, the cupping or curling shakes and shingles will shrink back, but it doesn’t mean you can just ignore the distortions as if they continue to grow over time it can spell disaster for your roof.
Have you noticed several problems? Get help here >> Cedar Roofing Repair
How about termites?
A house made entirely from wood seems so cozy, but not until subterranean termites start munching their way up to your foundation, flooring, walls, ceiling and roof. Since cedar is a type of wood, you may be worrying about possible termite infestation. The good news is that termites avoid cedar due to the wood’s resins. When they have no choice, these pests will still eat the said wood but they will die from doing so.
This feature of cedar makes it one of the best wood sources for construction material. It helps explain why cedar products are costly as well. They may be advantageous as roofing materials but they tend to be a less practical option when used as construction materials for the other parts of your home.
Constant exposure to the elements and poor maintenance can lead to the resins in your cedar roofing will eventually being worn our and washed away. Depending on the grade of your roofing material, you may have to treat it like the way you would for typical lumber.
DIY Roofing Maintenance Practices
There has to be a bit of a balance between what you can do as a homeowner for your cedar roof, and the tasks carried out by professionals. Some cedar roof care is better undertaken by you – and also easy to do!
1. Check for storm damage
Look from the ground and use binoculars if possible. If your home has an attic window, you can simply overlook your shingles through it – we do not recommend walking on your roof as cedar can crack or come off if the shingles are damaged. Nowadays, some homeowners will take advantage of their drones to check the conditions of their roof so if you have a drone put it to work!
After looking for loose or broken shingles and moss growth, it’s time to turn your attention inside your house. When it was raining were there leaks? Now that the rain is over are there damp spots or apparent water spots on your ceiling? If you’ve had a leak, you may want to inspect your attic to try and trace the leak to its source as there may be holes in your roof that you are unable to see outdoors but can see while inside.
2. Clear your gutters and downspouts.
Leaves, twigs, dropping, broken shingles and other debris may clog your gutters and downspouts over time. Accumulated debris holds water and moisture up against your roof causing premature aging and damage. Removing this debris ensures that rainwater will flow easily and will not retain in your roof.
By keeping potential sources of moisture to a minimum, you reduce the risk of having moss, mold and mildew on your cedar roof. As you clean your gutters and downspouts, see if there are rust, missing screws and other problems and have them repaired.
3. Cut back overhanging branches
This should always be undertaken before it rains in fall. Trimming your trees minimizes the branches that may accidentally hit and break your cedar shakes or shingles. This also cuts down the shaded and cooled areas in your roof which are hot spots for moss.
In case you don’t have the tools and or know-how to trim your trees, you can hire tree cutting companies. They don’t just save you from daunting task of cutting and climbing but they also spare you from the inconvenience of disposing your tree branches.
To Pressure-wash or Not to Pressure-wash
Pressure washers are now readily available for homeowners to buy and use on their homes and vehicles. While pressure or power washing is indeed effective in cleaning your fence, garage door, driveway, patio, exterior siding and even outdoor grill, it may not be as beneficial when applied to your cedar roofing.
The intense pressure and moisture can remove some of the resins in your cedar shakes or shingles. Aside from the resins, other treatments applied to your cedar roofing during the production process of the shakes and shingles, and after they were installed may get lost as well. Moreover, your main roofing materials may not dry up quickly as the water will be forced into the core of the wood.
Unless there are too much leaves stuck in your roof, you don’t have to go up there and sweep those clutter down. To remove dust and some fine debris, you can simply use your garden hose. The pressure from such will not harm your roof as much as that of a pressure washer.
Professional Roofing Maintenance
If you want the most efficient way to ensure your cedar roof’s integrity, you should seek quality cedar roofing maintenance services. Hiring services are not just cost-effective; they tend to offer you peace of mind as well by doing the following things:
1. Inspect your cedar roofing
They will not just check the condition of your cedar shakes or shingles; they will also see the state of the membranes, valleys, ridges and other parts of your roof. They may even evaluate the nails used for your cedar roofing. By conducting a comprehensive assessment, they can determine the necessary treatment and maintenance practices for your roof.
2. Clean your cedar roofing
Let your roofer determine how your roof needs to be cleaned and cared for. They should check the treatments that have already been applied to your roof first, so if your roof is being cared for by someone other than its installer see if you can find this information. This is to ensure that there are treatments will not get wasted away along with the debris in your roof.
When there are excessive moss, mold and mildew growth in your roof, you don’t have to wait for fall to initiate cleanup. It’s imperative you contact a professional crew to get rid of fungus as soon as possible to minimize damage to your roof.
A professional roof cleaning service saves you time, money and effort. You may not have to be present when they do the maintenance. Instead of accessing your roof through your attic windows, they can simply use their ladders and other equipment to do the cleanup.
3. Apply treatments as needed
There are various pre-treated cedar shakes and shingles you can buy before the installation of your new roofing. However, these products tend to be more expensive than their non-treated counterparts. But with these roofing materials, you can lessen the treatments that your roofer has to apply during the entire duration of your roof. Some of the treatments that may be applied are for insect infestation.
Treatment solutions are available for homeowners to buy, but before you proceed, you should know that your cedar roofing may not need some of them, and overapplying can have an adverse effect. You need to let your roofer assess and determine the treatment solutions your roof requires.
One of the most important services you can get from a roofer is the safe and correct application of the needed treatments. Many treatment solutions may be harmful to you and your family if not handled properly. With a professional applying the treatments, you can be guaranteed that there will be no toxic chemicals coming down from your roof.
4. Recommend and undertake repairs
There are some damages in your cedar roof that are invisible to the naked eye. Thanks to their advanced equipment and skilled eye, your roofers will find them right away and recommend the needed repairs. With professionally repaired roof, you may not have to worry about recurrences and premature roof replacement.
Cedar roofing maintenance is certainly a tough task, but it is doable and rewarding. Make sure you have a dependable roofing company so you can contact them right away when you badly needed repairs and when you have to carry out your annual general cleaning day. Your cedar roofing can protect you for at least 20 years so it’s only fitting to do your part in protecting it.