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The Lifespan of a Cedar Roof


As a non-traditional roofing material, cedar shingles present a unique, visually-pleasing choice for any roof. Cedar is the perfect material for historical homes, vacation homes and every home in between. The longevity of a cedar roof only adds to its appeal.

The timeless feel of a cedar roof adds a rustic touch to the overall look of a home, and customizing a roof can make it even more personalized for your vision. Cedar roofs add a level of detail and character that ordinary shingles might not provide. When a house has a cedar roof, it does not go unnoticed.

Why Choose Cedar?

The process of selecting a roofing material can be complicated and sometimes overwhelming, but cedar shingles offer an array of benefits that can make the choice easier, including:

  • Aesthetic Appeal: One of the main reasons homeowners choose cedar as their roofing material is its natural beauty. When a roof nears the end of its lifespan, cedar shingles make an incredible replacement. The level of detail and the typically warm-color tones of cedar shingles add increased aesthetic value to a home.
  • Extended Lifespan: How long will a cedar roof last? Some roofing materials need to be replaced every 12 to 20 years. But with a premium grade cedar roof, the lifespan is extended to at the very least, 30 years. With proper care and regular maintenance, it could last as long as 50 years and beyond. The average lifespan of a cedar roof can be more than double that of traditional roofs.
  • Installation Choices: There are many options available when it comes to installing a cedar roof. Cedar roofing comes in shingle and shake varieties. Shingles are more uniform in appearance, creating a classic, sophisticated look. Shakes will give more of a rugged look and feel. This style is less uniform than shingles. Their rough texture can help to create the rustic feel that so many homes are striving for.
  • Versatile Applications: Another benefit of cedar roofing is that it fits the style of many different homes. For New England and Nantucket-style dwellings, cedar roofs perfectly complement the architecture. The brightness of the wood looks great on vacation homes that are close to the ocean. Cedar roofs aren't only for coastal homes, though. Putting a cedar shake roof on a mountain cabin helps give it a relaxed and welcoming appearance.
  • Color Options: When it comes to the color choices for cedar roofs, there are several options. Cedar comes in white, yellow or red tones, though there are also almost endless possibilities with stains. It's easy to find a cedar roof in a hue that will complement the home and surroundings. Changing the color of the roof down the line by restaining it is also a possibility.
  • Eco-Friendly: Choosing a cedar roof is also better for the environment. Wood is bio-degradable, and every tree used to make shingles and shakes is replaced with a new sapling.

Cedar Roof Durability

Cedar is known for being more durable than other roofing materials. It lasts longer because the wood resists weather that may harm roofs made of other materials. Cedar roofs will withstand strong winds, snow, heavy rain and even hurricane conditions without a problem — that's why so many coastal properties that experience heavy storms benefit from cedar roofs. Other roofing material may wear down more easily and have to be replaced more often.

Cedarwood also has natural preservatives that help protect the structures it covers. These preservatives resist natural elements, moisture and decay in the wood. Cedar roofs are always working hard to fight off the elements. The minimum lifespan of a cedar roof is 30 years — however, when you regularly maintain it, it can last an astounding 50 years or more. We've even seen some Cedar roofs last over 90 years! Taking care of a cedar roof will ensure it lasts longer.

Taking Care of a Cedar Roof

Before installing a cedar roof, it's good to understand the proper maintenance of them. Properly maintaining a cedar roof will make it last longer and provide the most value.

One thing home and business owners should understand is which types of natural elements can damage cedar wood. Wood can retain water, and with humid, moist climates, can be prone to moss and fungus growth. These can significantly damage cedar roofs if not removed quickly.

It is also helpful to regularly clear away leaves, pine needles and other natural debris from a cedar roof. This debris can get between the shingles and shakes and into crevices, depending on the structure of the roof. Cleaning out gutters regularly will help extend the life of a cedar roof. Routinely getting rid of debris from the roof will only add to the natural beauty of the cedar and the overall aesthetic appeal of the roof.

Since fungus and moss need water to grow, cedar roofs should be kept as dry as possible. While there is no stopping the rain or snow, it is best to keep cedar roofs in as much sun as possible. Clip away branches that keep parts of the roof in the shade so the roof can be exposed to more sun.

To keep the cedar roof in the best shape possible, trim branches and trees so they aren't in contact with the roof. The branches could pull off shingles or shakes during a storm or heavy wind. When even one shingle is pulled off, it could cause issues with others and lead to leaks or pests. It's important to replace any lost shingles or shakes as soon as possible.

There are chemical treatments for cedar shingles or shakes that can prevent moss and molds. These treatments can also clean the cedar and bring out its natural staining. As a cedar roof ages, it experiences weathering naturally. This weathering may change the color of the roof over time, but the gray color cedar attains as it ages only adds to its charm.

A Cedar Roof Isn't Just Beautiful — It's an Investment

It's clear that cedar roofs are incredibly durable. With proper care, homeowners and business owners alike can enjoy cedar roofs for decades. Though many people choose cedar because of the material's natural beauty, it also provides a long-term investment.

The cost upfront for a cedar roof is higher compared to other roofing materials. However, the higher cost pays off in the long run since the roof will provide more value and last almost twice as long as an ordinary roof. In a practical sense, depending on the needs of a family or business, a cedar roof may be a better choice than other roofing materials. Even though it's a higher expense at the beginning, it provides a higher return on investment for the future.

Since cedar roofs are energy-efficient, they provide natural insulation that is up to two times stronger than other materials, like asphalt shingles. The cedar helps to keep homes warmer in winter and cooler in the summer. This means cooling and heating bills for buildings with cedar roofs will likely not be as high compared to those of a similar size that have a different type of roof. Additional insulation may not even be necessary, lowering other costs, as well.

Choosing to install a new roof is a big decision, but choosing a cedar roof is a decision you won't regret. People love cedar roofs for their beauty and unique quality. Friends, family and neighbors won't be able to help feeling envious of the added beauty a cedar roof offers.

Cedar roofs are an investment for the future. Not only is cedar beautiful and incredibly tough, but it also provides a great value. Save money in the long run by choosing a natural cedar roof.

Custom Shingles can help you turn your home or business into a paradise with cedar shingles or shakes. Call us today to request a quote for your new cedar roof!