Naturally beautiful, little else lends character to a home than wood. While a cedar roof is a pricier choice over more standard roofing materials, it offers greater durability and energy efficiency. Owners of higher-end homes or historic homes are more apt to choose cedar over the more common asphalt shingle. Provided the roof is installed properly, a certified cedar roof can last a good 50-60 years.
While roofing materials are casually referred to as shingles, when it comes to a cedar roof, the product is referred to as cedar shake. Thinner in grade, cedar shingles are more typically used for siding a house, although they can be installed on a roof as well. Cedar shake roofs are available in several styles as determined by the cutting method. Shakes with an exposed hand-split side coupled with a re-sawn side lend rustic appeal to a farmhouse or cabin style home. Conversely, fully sawn edging, available in either shingle or shake, offers a tailored look, or if tapered, a more textured look.
Cedar roofs also require a breathable underlayment. If the roof is being installed over a plywood decking, it’s critical that there’s an air gap. Older homes that may have been privy to plaster and lathe construction, likewise have a breathable deck. A cedar roof shouldn’t be installed with a split-felt underlayment over plywood, as this will ultimately rot the cedar.
Homeowners interested in cedar as an option however, need to do due diligence. Product should bear a certification label, assuring its quality. Our preferred supplier is the Waldun Group out of Canada. The Waldun Group is a member of the Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau, a trade association, where we, likewise, enjoy the privilege of membership.
“We know if we’re backed by the bureau, we’re abiding by best practices, and ordering and installing correctly,” says Evan Taylor, a senior project consultant here at G. Fedale.
Our cedar roofs are treated with a preservative, making them resistant to water damage. Avoid companies that offer treatments to existing roofs that are already treated during manufacturing as any additional treatment may void the warranty.
Cedar roofs are a delicate installation – as such, we subcontract to a specialized team of installers. And, given supply chain issues in the building trade, cedar products may take longer to get in. It’s easy to succumb to a company offering a low price, but given this specialty product, certified cedar along with a highly reputable roofing company experienced in cedar installation is critical.