Vital Information for Maintaining a Cedar Shake Shingle Roof
If you have a cedar shake shingle roof:
- Are your shingles curling or cupping?
- Do your shingles have a black, gray, or mossy color?
- Is mildew or fungi growth damaging your roof?
To prevent yourself from answering “Yes” to these questions, a regular professional roof cleaning is necessary to keep your roof in peak condition. Regular maintenance on your cedar shake shingle roof can extend its life for up to 60 years, potentially saving you tens of thousands of dollars you would otherwise spend on a replacement.
How will the roof cleaner determine if I need to have my cedar shake shingle roof cleaned or replaced?
The first thing the roof cleanerwill do is look at the first layer beneath your shingles. This is known as the felt layer, which is what essentially protects your home. He will look for any areas that are cracking, dried out, or unyielding. If no issues are found, and the felt layer is in good condition, he will most likely recommend simply having the shingles cleaned. A felt layer in peak condition should last for many years, so long as the shingles are maintained.
If the felt layer shows signs of damage, it is because the shingles have begun to deteriorate due to neglect. The shingles protect the felt layer, and if they are unable to breathe, the felt may deteriorate to the point where water damage starts to occur. It is at this point that you will need to consider a total roof replacement.
What will the roof cleaner look for when cleaning my cedar shake shingles?
If not properly maintained and cleaned, cedar shake shingle roofs will have infestations of mold, moss, algae, mildew, lichen, and fungus. A professional roof cleaner will pay particular attention to any signs of fungi, specifically “white rot” and “brown rot.” These two types of fungi spread at a very rapid pace, and if left untreated, will cause the shingles to deteriorate.
White rot fungus present itself as a greyish white color. It commonly causes the wood to feel moist, soft, spongy, or stringy. It is dangerous because it simultaneously breaks down all the major wood components (cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin) in your shingles. This causes the shingle to gradually degrade to a spongy and stringy texture, causing it to weaken, shrink, break, and collapse.
Brown rot fungus, commonly known as “dry rot,” presents itself as a black or dirt brown color. It commonly causes the wood to be dry and fragile, cracking across the grain. It is dangerous because it rapidly decays the cellulose and hemicellulose in the shingles, leaving a brown residue of lignin (the substance that holds the wood cells together). Brown rot is generally more serious than white rot, as it can quickly weaken the shingle before any visible signs are detected. If left untreated, the shingles will easily crumble into cubes, and turn into a powder when crushed.
What should I do with all this information?
All homeowners with a cedar shake shingle roof need to have a professional cleaning and maintenance schedule in place, or end up with premature repairs or total roof replacement. A professional roof cleaning will remove unwanted infestations, preserve your felt layer by allowing your roof to breathe again, and ultimately give your roof a brand new appearance.