Maintaining a Wood Shingle Roof



Whether your roof is made of wood shakes or shingles, odds are if you have a wood shingle roof, it’s made of western red cedar. The good news is a cedar shingle roof is a beautiful enhancement to your home that provides long-lasting protection from some of the worst that mother nature has to throw at us. Unfortunately, wood shingle roofing still requires regular maintenance.

Inspect regularly

First and foremost, keep on top of maintenance for your wood shingle roof by doing regular inspections. This is easily done from the ground level, but it is recommended you take a look at the wood shingles in more detail at least twice a year. Do this while you’re clearing gutters, hanging holiday decorations or trimming trees that have branches that come close to your home.

Additionally, it is important to do a thorough inspection following major storms, particularly where high winds are a factor. During any inspection, if you can keep a note of damaged or missing shingles, you can take the necessary steps to protect your wood shingle roof sooner rather than later. Things to look out for during your periodic inspections include:

  • Missing wood shingles
  • Shingles with cracks or other obvious signs of damage
  • Wood shingles that appear “curly” or bent at the edges.

If you are unsure about the extent of damage you have seen during your own inspection, contact a wood shingle roof expert for insight as to what your next steps ought to be.

Clean your roof

Annual cleaning to remove debris from corners and troughs along your roof line is part of maintaining a healthy wood shingle roof. In addition to this regular maintenance, it is highly recommended that you treat the roof to fully remove any mold, fungus or mildew that might be lurking in the naturally occurring gaps between shingles. While it might seem simple enough to spray away any signs of growth you find with the pressure washer, this is not a recommended method for cleaning your wood shingle roof.  Though not common, wood shingle roofing can develop unsightly stains or other marks over time. These can be washed away with specially formulated cleaners; however the detergents can be dangerous to handle, and your local regulatory authority may have guidelines on their safe use and disposal. This is where working with a local wood shingle roof expert can be beneficial.

Contacting a professional with appropriate equipment to remove mildew, mold or fungus is ideal. What’s more, a professional can often treat your wood shingle roof at the same time to inhibit the growth of similar items in the future.

Protect your roof

Providing a functional gutter system is part of protecting your roof – clean gutters allow precipitation to drain efficiently away from the wood shingles, rather than pooling near the edges of your roof. Clear downspouts seasonally, and inspect those gutter attachments for signs of wear or damage. If the gutter is pulling away from the point of attachment to the wall, you’ll need to check that board for damage to halt any rot before it spreads.

In addition to routine maintenance for the gutters, some experts recommend treating wood shingle roofing with preservative compounds designed to fend off the damage caused by organisms growing in the wood shingle, as well as the elements themselves.

A wood shingle roof is a great investment for your home, adding a durable finish and a particular aesthetic to the property for years to come. Routine maintenance and care will prolong its life.


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