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Cedar Shake Roof Replacement: Essential Guide and Tips

Preserve Your Home's Charm: Time for a Cedar Shake Roof Replacement!

Discover the right time to get a cedar shake roof replacement. Cedar shake roofs enjoyed immense popularity several decades ago. Since the widespread adoption of asphalt shingles, new installations of cedar shakes have plummeted. Let’s look at some of the factors to consider when replacing a cedar shake roof before reviewing the signs that a replacement is required.

Factors To Consider When Replacing A Cedar Shake Roof

Several different types of expenditures arise when the time comes to replace a cedar shake roof. Installers often charge separately for cedar shakes and other crucial roofing components, including flashing, caulk, and underlayment.

Manufacturers saw or split each shake by hand, which explains their irregular shapes. Tapersawn shakes cost more than handmade cedar shakes because they have a smoother finish. Let’s examine some other considerations that affect the new cedar shake roof cost analysis.

Roof Square Footage

A professional roofer will calculate the square footage of the roof to assess how much time and money a new roof replacement will require. Roofers will charge for labor, cedar shakes, and other materials. The average cedar shake roof cost outstrips the price of installing asphalt shingles by almost double.

The installation fees increase for roof structures with complex features, such as elevated peaks, chimneys, or irregular slopes. For example, installers must bring safety gear to scale steep slopes. Also, fitting roofing materials around vents and chimneys require more time, equipment, and labor.

Types Of Cedar Shake Shingles

Cedar shake roofing materials remain one of the most expensive options on the market. Three grades signify the different qualities of cedar shingles.

Grade 1

Common cedar shake shingles come at an affordable price. As the least expensive choice, this material calls for regular upkeep because it tends to warp faster than the other two grades.

Grade 2

Select-grade cedar shakes consist of 20% common grade and 80% straight grain. These cedar shingles last longer than Grade 1 materials but need more care and attention than Grade 3 shakes.

Grade 3

Hand-selected, straight-grain cedar shakes cost 30% to 50% more than common-grade material. However, they last longer, even without regular maintenance. Made from natural wood, the straight-grain shingles lie flat and rarely warp.

Labor Charges

Professional installers will assess the amount of work required to replace an average cedar shake roof. Labor charges cover the following tasks:

  • Shingle Removal — Taking off the old roof shingles before replacing them with a new roof, which is charged per square foot
  • Roof flashing — Installing metal strips in vulnerable areas of the roof to prevent water seepage
  • Drip Edge — Nailing down angled metal flashing at the roof’s edges to redirect water into the rain gutter system
  • Underlayment — Laying down a waterproof sheet between the cedar shingle roof and the roof deck
  • Weatherproofing — Installing an ice and water shield protects roofs from wet climate conditions, such as heavy rain or snow
  • Roof Permit — Applying for roof permits before starting the roof replacement to ensure safety and building code compliance

Other Considerations During Cedar Shake Roof Replacement

A few considerations remain after accounting for the primary expenses of a cedar roof replacement. These factors concern maintenance, location, and wood treatments.

Regular Upkeep

Cedar shakes need periodic checkups to ensure their longevity. Roofing specialists will look for mildew, rot, or water leakage. They also charge for their services based on the square footage of the roof.

Homeowners should perform annual roof cleanups once or twice a year. Dislodge ice dams as soon as possible because they can lead to moisture retention. Hire an expert to deep clean the roof every six years.


Location also plays a role in the cedar shake roof replacement process. Labor charges vary from place to place, as do the prices for materials. The region’s climate can affect how long a cedar shake installation takes. Humidity and other unfavorable weather conditions can increase the maintenance required to preserve a new roof.

Special Treatments

Special treatments applied to a new cedar shake roof will prolong its lifespan. Common treatments include staining, sealing, and sanding. Other protective measures involve:

  • Fire resistance
  • Waterproofing
  • Fungal protection
  • Algae prevention

Some cedar shakes should not be sealed because they will rot if they retain moisture. Treating the cedar roofs every two to three years will maintain the natural look of the cedar shake.

Why Hire A Professional?

Many things go wrong when homeowners try to replace roofs by themselves. Most people think they can do the job on their own because the task looks easy, but roofing professionals exist for a reason.

Hazards Of Do-It-Yourself Projects

A cedar shake roof replacement demands knowledge and experience. One error can end up costing a significant amount of time and money. Doing the job without proper safety equipment can also lead to injury and an expensive hospital bill.

Even for minor repairs, homeowners should always consult skilled workers because they can determine the extent of the damage and decide how to fix it. Securing professional help will prevent roof leakages caused by shoddy, amateurish work.

Tips When Hiring A Professional

Homeowners should discuss all the details with a roofing company before retaining their services. With so many roofing companies marketing their services, customers must do their due diligence before choosing the right one. Some of the things homeowners should do before making a hiring decision include:

  • Reading reviews and ratings and observing the regularity of a complaint from customers
  • Requesting recommendations from friends and family
  • Inquiring about the time frame and services provided under a quotation
  • Finding out about the company’s license and insurance
  • Getting estimated rates from at least three different companies for comparison
  • Requesting that companies provide examples of earlier undertakings

When Do You Need To Replace Your Cedar Shake Roof?

The lifespan of a cedar roof spans a few decades. After crossing the 30-year mark, signs of wear and tear will emerge, including:

  • Warping
  • Rot
  • Leaks
  • Cracks
  • Moss growth
  • Missing shakes

Fixing The Visible Damage

When signs of deterioration or rot on one part of the roof appear, the natural reaction is to replace the damaged roof material. However, this approach can change the overall color and texture of the roof.

Even a small repair job will cost money and run the risk of damaging the good cedar shingles in the process. If a roof repair experiences too many complications, replacing the whole roof becomes the better solution.

Is There A Better Option Than Cedar Shake Roof?

Although cedar shake roofs have a lot of appeal for homeowners, the expensive price tag and care needed to maintain them deters most buyers. Asphalt shingles represent a safer, more affordable choice.

Advantages Of Asphalt Shingle Roofs

Most buyers choose asphalt shingles because:

  • They last longer than natural wood and require less maintenance
  • Homeowners can choose different colors and textures
  • They are made from recycled materials
  • They pose less of a fire hazard

Drawbacks To Asphalt Shingle Roofs

  • Some drawbacks to asphalt shingles include:
  • A shorter lifespan than some other roofing materials
  • Loss of granules under harsh weather conditions
  • Mildew growth

Replacing Cedar Shake Roofs | Mighty Dog Roofing

Replace your cedar shake roof with a premium roof system. Our expert roofers use energy-efficient, fire-resistant, high-quality materials to reduce our clients’ heating and cooling costs. Call Mighty Dog Roofing at (833) MIGHTY 4 to schedule a free consultation today!