05 Dec

Wooden You Try It: The Many Virtues of a Classic Cedar Shake Roof

Steve Thomas’ article for This Old House magazine takes a look at the different types of roofing materials available today and emphasizes the need to select roofing materials that strike the optimum balance between beauty and durability. “The most important trend to note, however, is that as with home-construction materials in general, there is an increasing move towards engineered roofing materials,” he says. Among other things, Thomas highlights the benefits of wood shake or shingle roofing.

For looks, it is hard to beat a wood shingle roof. Over time it weathers out to a gray or soft silver that seems to root the house to the landscape. Several species are used: Western Red Cedar, Alaskan Yellow Cedar and Eastern White Cedar. Shingles are relatively smooth and cut to a uniform thickness, although they vary in width. Wood shakes are thicker and rougher, being split rather than sawn from the logs. Wood roofs are meant to breathe and should be laid over a substrate that allows air to circulate behind them: skip sheathing — wood strips or battens nailed directly to the roof rafters — is the traditional method of installing a wood shingle roof.

In areas where the risk of wildfire damage is rather low, cedar wood shingles can prove to be an irresistible option. Cedar wood resists rot quite well thanks to its natural oils, which act as preservatives. Interestingly, cedar resists termite infestation up to a certain extent. In any case, property owners would do well to hire professional roofers to install high-quality cedar shake roof, householders should remember to enlist skilled roofers to install the shingles.

Folks worried about having a wooden roof that’s susceptible to fire, curling, and rot shouldn’t worry too much. The shingles can be treated to resist fire and rot, and daily maintenance can preserve the shakes for up to 50 years. Proper fastening can also secure wooden shakes, and protect them from high winds. In many ways, wooden shingles perform just as good as other types of roofing; homeowners only need to ensure that these roofing materials are treated properly beforehand.

When it comes to durable cedar shake roofing, homeowners should turn to no less than a trusted name in the industry such as Folks shouldn’t underestimate the strength of wood, as cedar wooden shingles make for particularly good roofing with the right treatment and proper installation method.

(Article Excerpt and Image from Choosing Roofing Materials, This Old House)


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