Cincinnati’s #1 Wood Shake Roofing Contractor

Cedar Shakes and Shingles are made of natural, renewable resources - trees.  Cedar Shakes and Shingles are the most imitated type of roofing material.  Manufacturers of Asphalt Shingles, Clay and Concrete Tile, Metal Panel roofing, and most of the Alternative Roofing products all try to duplicate the look and feel of Cedar Shakes and Shingles.  They are also the most versatile roof that can be installed with their many different weather exposures, cuts, and installation patterns.

Q. Why is my cedar roof buckling, curling, lifting, warping?

A. Wood shakes that are buckling, curling, lifting and warping are a result of some basic mistakes. Believe it or not, the nailing of the shingle has a lot to do with its short term and long term performance.
1- Nailing the shingle improperly, most commonly too high. This deficiency has the shingle with not enough tension close to the exposure line and the shingle has no strength to stay down when it wants to lift.
2- Nailing cedar shake roof with nail guns and not hand nailing them. Nail guns are probably the biggest problem. Nail guns promote speed and speed promotes over nailing where the nail penetrates the shingle partially or completely. Either way, there is less nailing tension on the wood shingle, so when it wants to lift it does. Hand nailing is the only way to nail a wood roof.
3- Improper spacing or gapping of the wood shingles on the cedar shake roof. The roof shingles should be gapped, or spaced ¼”  from one another. This allows for breathing which is vital and space for the shingle to swell when it gets wet.
4- Nailing wood shingles on a roof with coated steel nails or worse plain steel nails. Cedar shake roof shingles absorb water and do retain moisture for some time, thus the nails will get wet and stay wet. These new coated steel nails of today rot quickly, the heads fall off, the shank rotts out and then shingles fallout. This is chronic in the wood roof arena today. Unfortunately, and do in large part to poor contracting, finding wood shingles in the lawn from a roof which is under 10 years old is normal today.

Cedar shake roof shingles must be nailed with stainless steel nails with a hammer. As well if the roof is within 15 miles of salt water it must be a 316 stainless steel alloy and not a 304. Outside 15 miles a 304 stainless steel alloy can be used.
Another very common cause of shingle problems is the sealing, preserving, or coating of a cedar shake roof. This is one of the worst offenders to premature wood roof failure.

Q. I am hearing I should seal, preserve, or coat my wood roof, should I…. it only makes sense?

A. As mentioned earlier, this is one of the worst offenses today in the world of contractor capitalism and wood roofs. Cedar roofs need to breathe, this is the key to their life. Sealing, preserving or coating of a wood shingle expedites the wood roofs life rapidly as it removes its ability to breathe. Regardless of what the coating is oil, copper based, zinc based, it is an absolute no no. See the picture below of a roof recently sealed and is failing badly. Curling, lifting, and buckling of wood shingles on a roof is most common on roofs that have been sealed. The roof is sealed (effectively it is varnished) it cannot breathe and as a result curls and buckles more than it already has or starts curling where it was not prior. The other factor that comes into play is in order to seal or coat a cedar shake roof it must be pressure washed with very intense pressure which inevitably causes damage which did not exist prior. Roofs today are being sealed, coated and preserved throughout Fairfield County as prominently as homes are being painted. It is tragic and only benefits the painter, contractor, or roofer who is benefiting from this quick extremely lucrative practice. It is by far the worst practice that could be performed on a cedar shake roof after it is installed.

Q. How much does a wood roof cost?

A. This question is like asking a jeweler at a dinner party how much an engagement ring costs without getting any detials: carat size, stone clarity, setting, the list goes on and on. A wood roof has far more variables, particularly if it is to be installed properly.

Q.Do I need to replace my flashing?

A: Most roofs with very few exceptions when being replaced need to receive new flashings. Here is why:

They are aluminum – flashings must be copper, or the like, meaning lead coated copper, zinc, or stainless. The reason is that you can solder these materials at the necessary joints, connections, unions. With aluminum flashings or steel flashings the joints are reliant on caulking or worse nothing as these materials cannot be soldered.

They are damaged – In cases where the existing flashings are copper and soldered, they are nailed through and mangled, as well get manipulated considerably through roof removal, so in either scenario there are breeches and in need of replacement.

No Ice shield – Most roof to sidewall intersections where roofs traditionally meet siding or a masonry wall, in the northeast it is a necessary practice to install self adhering bituminous membrane extending from the roof up the wall and under the siding (adhering to the wall). This membrane is also referred to as ice shield or ice and snow barrier. The most critical area to remove and replace flashings is at roof to sidewall intersections where siding exists. So this means the siding must be removed, ice shield installed under the siding, siding gets re-installed and painted or stained generally new siding is co-mingled with old as pieces are damaged through removal.

Roofers are reluctant to recommend flashing replacement as the process is tedious, and not as monetarily rewarding. Also they often do not have the necessary copper-smith artisan to perform the work. So they recommend reusing the existing flashings regardless of deficiencies.

wall flashing repair

copper wall flashing repair

A Cedar Shake Roof is crafted, not installed.

Anything short of crafting will result in premature failure.

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