How to Install Cedar Shake Roof: A Comprehensive Guide

How to Install Cedar Shake Roof?

To install a cedar shake roof, you will need the proper tools and materials including ventilation components, underlayment, cedar shingles, roof battens, self-adhesive tape, safety equipment, and more.

Start by installing ventilation components and then place the underlayment.

Next, secure roof battens and begin installing cedar shingles in layers, making sure to trim the top layer.

It is important to take proper safety precautions and consider professional installation for the best results.

Key Points:

  • Gather proper tools and materials, such as ventilation components, underlayment, cedar shingles, roof battens, self-adhesive tape, and safety equipment.
  • Begin installation by placing ventilation components and underlayment.
  • Secure roof battens and start installing cedar shingles in layers, trimming the top layer.
  • Take necessary safety precautions during installation.
  • Consider professional installation for optimal results.
  • Overall, the process involves preparing the roof, placing materials, and ensuring safety.


Did You Know?

1. The use of cedar shakes as roofing material has been traced back to ancient Rome, where they were commonly used in the construction of temples and prominent buildings.

2. Cedar shake roofs are not only aesthetically pleasing, but they also have natural insulation properties, providing better temperature regulation than traditional asphalt shingles.

3. In the early 18th century, cedar shake roofs gained popularity in North America due to the abundant availability of cedar trees and their remarkable durability against harsh weather conditions.

4. The installation of cedar shake roofs requires expert craftsmanship, as the shakes need to be cut and fitted by hand to ensure a proper and secure fit. This labor-intensive process contributes to the uniqueness and charm of cedar shake roofs.

5. Contrary to popular belief, cedar shake roofs can be environmentally friendly. When properly maintained and periodically treated with eco-friendly preservatives, cedar shake roofs can have a lifespan of up to 50 years, reducing the need for regular replacement and minimizing waste.

Introduction To Cedar Shake Roofs

Cedar shake roofs have long been a favored choice among homeowners because of their natural beauty and durability. However, their popularity has waned in recent years due to the rising cost of cedar and the growing preference for metal roofs. Nonetheless, for those who still admire the rustic charm of cedar shake roofs, understanding the proper installation process is crucial to ensure their longevity and effectiveness.

Remodeler Andrew Grace offers valuable insights into the installation standards of cedar shake roofs. It’s important to note that while cedar shingles are commonly used on walls, cedar shakes are typically installed on roofs. Cedar shakes have a unique aesthetic appeal and are renowned for their rough-hewn appearance, which adds a timeless and rustic feel to a home’s exterior.

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Types Of Cedar And Their Uses

There are two main types of wood used for cedar shakes: Western Red Cedar and Alaskan Yellow Cedar.

  • Western Red Cedar is the most common and widely available type of cedar used for shakes. It is known for its rich color variations and natural resistance to rot, decay, and insects.
  • Alaskan Yellow Cedar, on the other hand, is harder than Western Red Cedar and is particularly popular on the West Coast of the United States.

The choice of cedar type depends on factors such as availability, local preferences, and budget. While Western Red Cedar remains the more popular option due to its accessibility, Alaskan Yellow Cedar is favored for its hardness and durability. Ultimately, both types of cedar shakes offer excellent structural integrity and weather resistance, making them suitable choices for roofing applications.

Grading Standards And Installation Details

To guarantee consistent quality and installation standards, the Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau (CSSB) has established grading standards and installation guidelines for cedar roofs. The CSSB, a nonprofit organization, is dedicated to maintaining high industry standards and promoting the correct use and installation of cedar shakes and shingles.

The grading standards set by the CSSB classify cedar shakes based on their thickness, length, width, and overall quality. Opting for Premium Grade Certi-Split handsplit cedar shakes, which are made from 1-5/8-inch-thick cedar and have 100% vertical grain, is recommended for roofing projects. These higher grade cedar shakes offer better aesthetics, fewer defects, and greater durability.

In terms of installation, cedar shakes rely on multiple layers for waterproofing. This includes the use of felt and a ventilation matrix. Additionally, in areas prone to ice dams, an ice barrier is necessary to prevent water damage. By following the CSSB’s installation guidelines, homeowners can ensure that their cedar shake roofs are properly installed and capable of withstanding various weather conditions.

Waterproofing And Protection Against Ice Dams

One crucial aspect of cedar shake roof installation is ensuring proper waterproofing to protect the underlying structure of the roof from water damage. To achieve this, a combination of self-adhered membrane, ventilation matrix, and felt are used to create a watertight seal. These layers work together to prevent water infiltration and provide an added barrier against leaks.

In regions prone to ice dams, which occur when snow on the roof melts and refreezes at the eaves, an ice barrier is essential. Without an ice barrier, water can back up under the shakes and cause potential damage to the roof and interior of the house. By installing an ice barrier, homeowners can ensure that their cedar shake roof remains protected and secure during harsh winter conditions.

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Installation Process And Sealants Used

The installation of a cedar shake roof involves several key steps to ensure a secure and effective result. The process begins with the placement of a starter course of underlayment shingles. These shingles are 18 inches long, sawn, and 1/2 inch thick at the butt. They are made of cedar and are strategically positioned to overhang the fascia by 1-1/2 inches (rake ends overhang 1 inch) to prevent the first row of shakes from flaring up.

The first row of shakes is then aligned with the starter course below and secured with two stainless-steel staples. These staples should be placed 3/4 inch from the edges and 1-1/2 inches above the exposure line. Proper spacing between shakes is crucial, with recommendations ranging from 3/8 inch to 5/8 inch apart. Joints should be offset by at least 1-1/2 inches.

Subsequent courses of shakes follow a similar installation process, starting with snapped lines indicating the location of the felt interlayer and the butt end of the next course. It is important to maintain consistency and quality throughout the installation, ensuring that two fasteners are used, even on the widest shakes.

Another vital component of the installation process is the use of felt interlacing. The felt is stapled on top of the shakes at a distance from the butt that is twice the width of the exposure, which is typically 20 inches for this type of roof. The felt used should comply with ASTM D4869 or ASTM D226 standards to ensure its durability and suitability for the application.

  • Starter course of underlayment shingles
  • Proper spacing between shakes
  • Two fasteners for each shake
  • Felt interlacing at a distance of twice the width of the exposure

Maintenance And Longevity Of Cedar Shake Roofs

While cedar shake roofs can add a unique and rustic aesthetic to homes, proper maintenance is crucial to prolong their lifespan. Regular inspections, cleaning, and prompt repairs are essential to ensure the roof’s durability and integrity.

A properly maintained wood roof can last 30 to 40 years or more, thanks to the natural properties of cedar that make it resistant to decay and insects. To maintain the roof’s appearance and performance, homeowners should regularly remove debris such as leaves and branches. Additionally, it is important to check for damaged or loose shakes and promptly replace them to prevent water infiltration.

In terms of longevity, choosing the right type of cedar, following proper installation techniques, and adhering to maintenance guidelines are key factors. The CSSB recommends the use of heavier, higher-quality felts such as ASTM D226 Type II or ASTM D4869 Type IV, depending on the roof pitch and local building code.

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By implementing these measures and staying vigilant with maintenance, homeowners can enjoy the timeless beauty and long-lasting functionality of their cedar shake roofs.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the minimum slope for a cedar shake roof?

The minimum slope for a cedar shake roof is typically recommended to be at least 1/6th or 4-in-12, which means there should be a 4-inch vertical rise for every 12 inches of horizontal run. This slope ensures proper drainage of water and prevents any potential water damage or leaks. It is also important to note that the maximum recommended weather exposure for 24-inch shakes is 10 inches. Considering these factors, it is advisable to adhere to the minimum recommended slope for a cedar shake roof to ensure its longevity and effectiveness in protecting the structure beneath it.

What do you put under cedar roof shingles?

When it comes to deciding what to put under cedar roof shingles, both felt and synthetic underlayment options are viable choices. However, synthetic underlayment is increasingly favored as the best installation option in today’s market. Its superior performance and durability make it a reliable choice for supporting and protecting cedar roof shingles. With synthetic underlayment, you can rest assured that your cedar roof will be well-supported and maintain its performance over time.

How are cedar shingles attached?

To attach cedar shingles, there are a couple of effective methods. One way is to use a 31mm x 1.8mm stainless steel ring shank nail, which should be hammered into the shingle. This double-nailing technique helps ensure secure attachment. Another faster option is to use a ShingleFix staple with a Paslode gun. This method offers convenience and speed. To prevent splitting, it is important to position the fixings 19mm in from the edge of the shingle, about 38mm up from the bottom of the course above. By following these guidelines, you can successfully attach cedar shingles without compromising their integrity.

What is the best way to glue cedar?

To achieve the strongest bond when gluing cedar, consider using a high-quality polyurethane adhesive specifically designed for woodworking projects. Apply the adhesive evenly on the surfaces to be glued using a brush or a small roller. Instead of using clamps every 8″, opt for using long, adjustable bar clamps that apply even pressure along the entire length of the boards. Allow the glued cedar to dry for a minimum of 24 hours for the best results. This method will ensure a durable and long-lasting bond for your cedar projects.

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