Western Red Cedar, a wood commonly found on the North American West Coast, is a popular source of manufactured cedar shakes and western red cedar shingles. With its warm, aesthetic appearance, Western Red Cedar has long been used for roofing and sidewalls, because of its durability and weather-resistance, and good thermal insulating properties.
There are two choices for cedar shingle roof material. Western Red Cedar shingles were typically used in the 20th century. The longevity of Western Red Cedar is about 20-30 years, depending on maintenance and application.
Alaskan Yellow Cedar was introduced as a cedar shingle roof material around 20 years ago.
Some say Alaskan Yellow is superior to Western Red Cedar, having a bit more dense growth rings, although its longevity is still not proven to be longer than Western Red Cedar. The color of the two are different upon application, Western Red Cedar versus Yellow/Pink, but they both gray out over time, with the Yellow being a bit lighter than the Western Red Cedar.
Manufactured primarily in British Columbia, Canada, and Washington State, Western Red Cedar shakes and Western Red Cedar shingles combines a traditional look with reliable performance and provide an environmentally sound option for western red cedar shingles roofing, siding, and exteriors.
Traditionally, 18th century cedar shingles roofing would have been local material, most likely pine or oak or being a lighter gray than the Western Red Cedar. Also, after some queries, nail guns can be used with both applications, as long as the substrate is somewhat predictable in density.
Western Red Cedar shingles have been used as a roofing material for centuries for two major reasons. First Western Red Cedar provides superior insulation. The wood itself contains high amounts of natural preservatives.
The presence of these natural preservatives has led cedar shingles roofing owners through the years to believe that their roofs needed little or no maintenance.
The truth of the matter is these natural chemicals are depleted over time.
Over the years, rain extracts the natural preservatives from the wood and leaves it vulnerable to accelerated deterioration. As the preservatives are decreased, water enters the wood, causing the wood to expand and contract. This expanding and contracting creates cracks in the wood and provides places for algae, moss and fungi to take root. These living growths further deteriorate the wood as they draw food from it.
Sunlight is also a major problem for western red cedar shingles roofing. The sun's rays break down the wood at a cellular level. Rain removes the broken down cells. This continuing cycle leads to the "graying" of cedar over the years. While many see this as the natural charm of cedar shingle roofing, it is actually a visual signal of the deterioration of the wood itself.
If western red cedar shingles roofing does not receive any maintenance, western red cedar shingles installations may last 10 years or more, depending on the severity of the elements. On the other hand, cedar is the only roofing material whose life can be prolonged by proper maintenance and preservation techniques.
Basic cedar shingles roof maintenance includes debris removal, cleaning to remove algae, fungi, moss, etc., and application of a wood preservative. Annual inspections keep tabs on your roof to determine when this maintenance is required, but it's usually needed every 3 to 5 years.
Every 10 to 15 years, cedar shingles, roofing should be restored. The restoration process includes repairs to the roofing system, including replacement of shakes and ridge caps.