Thinking about cedar shake roofing for your home? If so, you’re looking at a beautifully rustic roof with a lot of advantages. Depending on your area’s climate, the quality of the product and installation, and the care you provide to maintain it, cedar shake roofing can last for up to 30 to 40 years.
Highly resistant to hail damage, cedar shake roofing makes an excellent choice for homeowners living in areas prone to such weather anomalies. Unlike tile, asphalt, or other types of roofing materials, cedar shake roofing absorbs the impact of hail more successfully and withstands damage better than many other products on the market.
Many people mistakenly think cedar shake roofing poses a fire hazard because of its wood properties. Manufacturers today offer flame-retardant cedar shake roofing that features a chemical treatment designed to make it just a safe as any other type roofing. Pressure-impregnated cedar shakes are also available that retard the growth of moss and mildew, which greatly extends the life of cedar shake roofing.
Although cedar shake roofing manufacturers offer varying warranties, the typical roof made from this material carries a guarantee ranging from 20 to 25 years. Purchasing shakes from a company listed with an association can help ensure you obtain the best-quality materials. One such organization, the Cedar Shake & Shingle Bureau offers consumers a number of assurances when manufacturers carry its endorsement on their products.
To ensure the durability of cedar shake roofing, take steps to keep standing water off it. This translates into trimming overhanging tree branches and keeping debris from building up on the surface of the roof and in the keyways (the area between shingles and shakes).
If your home has an attic, keep all ventilating sources such as louvers and roof vents, clear to prevent heat and moisture buildup from adversely affecting the cedar shake roofing.
Cedar shake roofing gives your home a high-end rustic appeal that stands out beautifully from the rest of the neighborhood. And with no-nonsense installation and a little care, your roof should last the duration of the home itself.
Of course, the first thing you’ll need to do is measure your roof. This is a simple calculation of the square footage of each section you would like to cover. Shingles come packaged to cover 100 square feet, so divide the total square footage of your roof by 100, and then add ten percent for waste allowance. This is the number of packages you need to buy to cover your roof.
The tools that you will need include a crowbar, hand plane, roofing felt, roofer’s hatchet and hammer, safety harness and ropes, and ladders or scaffolding. Also, it’s probably a good idea to invite a few friends over to help with the installation.
Start the first row of shakes at the bottom edge of the roof, making sure that they overhang at least 1 ½ inches over the edge. This will allow for water run-off. Fasten each shake to the roof with two galvanized roofing nails about ½ inch from each side and ½ inch above where the next row of shakes will overlap. This way, there won’t be any nails showing when you are finished.
On the first row, be sure to lay the shingles with the thicker part facing the peak of the roof. Space adjacent shingles about ¼” apart to make sure that they have room to expand when they get wet. Otherwise they will buckle and crack over time.
Attach a second row of shakes right over the top of the first row, this time with thick end facing the edge of the roof. This will form a double starter which is necessary for the first row. All subsequent rows will have the thick end facing the edge of the roof. Make sure to cover the gaps of the first row by staggering the second row by about 1 ½”. This will prevent rain from seeping in and causing water damage.
Snap a horizontal chalk line from one end of the roof to the other, about 1/3 of the way up the row of wooden shakes. This is the line where bottom of the next row will overlap the top of the current row, leaving about four to five inches of the row beneath it exposed. Make sure that you are still staggering the rows to prevent leaking. Trim the shingles to the correct length at the end of each row.
Work your way up the roof, continuing to snap chalk lines to keep the rows straight. When you reach the top, fasten roofing felt to the peak before you install your last row. Use a hand plane to level the edges where the rows from each side will meet at the peak.
If you have valleys, hips or ridges to cover, you will need to buy galvanized flashing to cover the seams before you fasten the shakes to your roof. The shakes can be trimmed with a utility knife for an exact fit.
It may take a while to get the first two rows started correctly, but once that is accomplished, the rest of the work is fairly repetitive. The valleys, hips and ridges will also take a little more time, but this is definitely a medium-skills project that will instantly add to the beauty of your home.