Everything You Wanted To Know About Cedar Roofing

If you're a homeowner searching for the perfect roofing material, you might give cedar roofing a try. Cedar is one of the world's strongest woods, and it's a superior choice for roofing for many reasons. Common questions about cedar roofing include:

Is Cedar Recommended For Your Climate?

Because cedar is an unusually hard wood that contains natural preservatives that guard against insects and moisture, it's recommended for all but the wettest of climates. 

Is Cedar A Good Fit For Your Roof?

If you're looking for a solid, reliable roofing material that will last a lifetime, then cedar may be an appropriate choice for you. Several factors to keep in mind when deciding whether to use cedar as a roofing material include:

  • Roof Grade: Cedar is not recommended for flat or low-grade roofs because pitch is needed to promote run-off of water. 
  • Upkeep: Wood roofing requires a bit more maintenance than other types of roofing to ensure its longevity.
  • Discoloration: Cedar shakes will age and color naturally over time, becoming gray. If this sounds unattractive to you, then cedar is not the right choice. 
  • Price: Cedar is a relatively expensive option for roofing compared to other materials.

Why Do Homeowners Choose Cedar Roofing?

The biggest reason homeowners request a roof constructed of cedar shakes is because they're looking to create a rustic feel. But cedar is a good choice for other reasons, as well, some of which include:

  • It is a gorgeous, earthy material.
  • It's durable enough to resist damage from moisture.
  • It repels insects naturally.
  • It holds nails tightly during strong winds.

Are There Different Types Of Cedar Roofing?

There are two types of cedar generally used in making cedar roofing:

  • Red Cedar -- Red cedar is more well-known as a material for roofing. It's typically less expensive, and it tends to turn gray over time. 
  • Alaskan Yellow Cedar -- This cedar is more dense and more resistant to cracking. It also turns slightly silver during the aging process. Often, yellow cedar is also more expensive per square foot than red cedar. 

What Are The Differences Between Shakes And Shingles?

Traditionally, cedar shingles were sawn from a wood block, and shakes were split using an ax or chisel. As a result, shingles tended to lend a more refined look to a roof. Shakes were meant to appear rustic or even hand-hewn. 

Today's shakes and shingles are mostly machine-made, however. Extra care is taken to help shakes maintain their rustic appearance, such as adding in grooves after cutting. Two big differences between shakes and shingles are that shakes are thicker, and they don't lay quite as flat as shingles when used in roofing. This can allow moisture to penetrate beneath the natural gaps. For this reason, extra care must be taken when installing a roof using cedar shakes. Typically, this means adding an extra insulating layer beneath the cedar. It also usually means added costs of installation.

Understanding both the advantages and drawbacks of cedar roofing is vital in installing a roof that you'll love forever and that complements your home's period, style, and location. Cedar is a unique choice that's not a fit for everyone, so be sure to ask your questions first and talk to your roofing contractor before making the final decision. This type of roof generally costs more than other materials, and it lends a home a distinct look that may or may not match the home's style. The maintenance and upkeep of cedar is different from that of metal, asphalt or tile, and the intricacies of installing it require the services of someone who's properly trained and certified.