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Shake Roof

Mark P

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This is only my 2nd or 3rd wood roof in the past 4 years. I’ve spent the last couple of days rereading articles, etc on wood shake / shingle roofs. However, considering the size and COST of this roof I’d like a more experienced opinion.

The roof was replaced 3 years ago. This is shake and there is felt between each course. There are soffit and roof vents. The shakes are installed over plywood. The valleys are metal.

There are some shakes that are lifting up an inch or so. They do not look excessive. It has not rained for awhile here. It is my understand this is because they dry out and is to be expected and is okay??? I'm not to confident about this and am uncertain what to say.

Can anyone determine if this is in fact cedar? I read that shakes are made of other types of wood too.

Can you share a boiler plate you include in you reports on care and maintenance of this type of roof?

As always any assistance is appreciated.

By the way this is a bank repo.

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It's cedar; the uniform silver discoloration pretty much confirms that.

There's nothing really wrong with anything that I can see. Some shakes lift, some don't. Solid sheathing is acceptable in areas with wind-driven snow and I'm pretty sure that Illinois would definitely be an area of wind-driven snow. Cedar breather or battens under the deck over solid sheathing are only required in high humidity areas. Is your area one that's considered high humidity?

Sorry, I don't really have any boilerplate maintenance comments for shakes; just make sure your clients understand that fungi will literally eat the roof, so they need to keep it free of moss and that pressure-washing with high pressure (anything over about 100psi) is strictly verboten. In that price point, he probably won't be doing his own roof maintenance, but make sure that he ensures that whoever does the roof maintenance is insured 'cuz those babies are slick when they are even a little bit damp.

A shake roof needs annual tuneups; someone literally needs to climb up onto it once a year and replace shakes that slip out, remove and replace rotten shakes, replace ridge shakes as necessary, clean it and then treat it with a real preservative - not some rust-colored dye. Cost of having a shake maintenance company, that really knows what it's doing, maintain the roof over the lifetime of the cover can easily equal replacement cost but can double its service life so it's a wash. The best maintenance company around here used an HVLP (High Volume Low Pressure) method of cleaning shake roofs.

Take care of it and it will remain leak-free for a long, long time; ignore it, or hire the wrong toadstool with legs to do maintenance on it with a pressure washer and a bucket of rust-colored dye, and it will leak and not last nearly as long as one would expect it to.



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Yea, what he said.

I don't see problems with that roof.

If the curled shakes bother the buyer, they can be replaced easily (albeit the new shakes will be a completely different color)

Maintenance is key with these roofs.

Personal opinion: I don't see the benefit in cedar anymore. It's expensive and high maintenance. Why install it?

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I agree with everything Mike & Randy said.

The lifting shakes are a complete & total non-problem. Don't get distracted by them.

Out here, in the land of shake roofs, most of roof maintenance contractors don't know squat about how to care for a shake roof. I imagine it's even worse in your neck of the woods.

I'll bet you a dollar that house will need a new roof in about 10-12 more years.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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