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Old 06-12-2015, 09:23 PM   #1
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Cedar Roof 101???


So, I have very little background with cedar roofs. I'm not even certain if mine is shake or shingle at this point. I think shake? Either way, I've redone asphalt roofs before, but with my new home, and list of projects, I'd rather try to get as many years as I can from this roof. I live in Eastern WA. Warmer/dryer climate than the left side of the state.

Some initial questions-
If I do a low pressure wash to clean the roof off, what is best to refinish/seal it with? Linseed oil? Something specific? Something to prevent mildew/moss etc?

Also, it looks it if the shakes are just attached to strips of wood underneath. There is no paper or anything behind them. Is that normal? I'd assume not, but one guy I talked to made it sound like it was. Also, I've noticed that I can see tiny bits of daylight looking from the inside out. No gaping holes, but this still surprised me.

Any initial pointers would be great. I'm a shop teacher trying to make the best of this summer in getting my new home in good shape.
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Old 06-12-2015, 09:35 PM   #2
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That's how cedar shingles were originally supposed to be installed. When we could get good #1 shingles they were known to last 40-50 years without any type of sealer.

In a dry climate you shouldn't have a mildew/moss problem unless there are trees overhanging the house and or blocking sunlight and air circulation. If this is the case removing them or pruning will do more for the shingles than all the washing and sealer could ever do.
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Old 06-12-2015, 10:00 PM   #3
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Well, that's where the giant sycamore comes into play... I love the big monster, but it doesn't help with the sunlight on the shingles. Keeps the entire front yard cool though. It's the largest ones I've ever seen. It has half a dozen branches that are larger in diameter than a large tree trunk...
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Old 06-13-2015, 06:28 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gijoe985 View Post
So, I have very little background with cedar roofs. I'm not even certain if mine is shake or shingle at this point. I think shake? Either way, I've redone asphalt roofs before, but with my new home, and list of projects, I'd rather try to get as many years as I can from this roof. I live in Eastern WA. Warmer/dryer climate than the left side of the state.

Some initial questions-
If I do a low pressure wash to clean the roof off, what is best to refinish/seal it with? Linseed oil? Something specific
Chevron Shingle Oil is what I've always used on cedar. It does need to be reapplied every few years though and home heating oil company's are the only place I've been able to find it. That link I provided is the first time I've seen it available online and that price is about twenty bucks more than I've ever paid for it.
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Old 07-23-2015, 12:49 PM   #5
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Ok, so I'm reviving this old thread. I've finally got time to tackle this.

1- How are these roof treatments applied? Roll/brush on? Or spray on? I assume an oil like this would be thick and brushed.

2- Should I be able to see daylight in certain areas from inside my attic? My guess would be no...

3- Here are some pictures from my roof. Any additional thoughts would be great.



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Old 07-23-2015, 01:21 PM   #6
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I've laid down a ton of asphalt shingles, I've torn off my share of cedar but have only laid cedar two or three times.
In my opinion, from those pictures, your on borrowed time. The best thing you might be able to do is stay off of them and let them die with dignity.

But somebody with more cedar experience may say otherwise.
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Old 07-23-2015, 01:29 PM   #7
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Yeah, the home inspector said 10 years. I don't know what to expect. No leaks though.
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Old 07-23-2015, 02:02 PM   #8
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I just wonder if walking around on them trying anything would do more harm than good. I don't know, I'm just wondering.
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Old 07-23-2015, 02:21 PM   #9
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Your shingles are installed using furring strips spaced for the desired exposure. This practice gave extended life to the shingle because they were able to breathe.

The occasional light seen from inside isn't uncommon and those small gaps will normally close with the first few rain drops and that's why we seldom see any water damage interior.

Those shingles and the install method was used almost exclusively in the early days but those roofs were much steeper and as I posted before the quality was much different then when we had the wood resources to quarter saw that isn't available today.

If that roof was mine I wouldn't attempt to seal or oil it but try to only remove the leaf debris, and as Craig mentioned " die with dignity". And I agree with the inspector, another 10 years possibly 12 and I would estimate that roof has been on at least 35 years.
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Old 07-23-2015, 02:29 PM   #10
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Those are getting pretty rough and a little late in their life to get any of the benefits that oiling would have brought. Not to mention that just doing the prep required to ready them for oil would likely do more harm than good.

You say you have no leaks but are you sure? Just because you haven't seen water inside the living space doesn't mean that you don't have any leaks. If you can see daylight through the shakes themselves then how could that not be a leak.

Personally, any money you were thinking about throwing at restoration I'd earmark toward a new roof fund.
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Old 07-23-2015, 05:02 PM   #11
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I am not a ceder expert by any means but, I've always understood that shakes were applied in stages, so a course was installed, then a 18" wide felt, then another course and so on. There were not tight, and the sheeting isn't tight either everything breathed and that was your attic ventilation. They also had a rough surface and would swell up when they got wet. SO you would see daylight looking in the attic on this type.

The ceder shingles would be installed in more of a fashion of traditional shingles.

I would not seal shakes.

I would seal shingles.

How ever I agree with everyone else. Do not walk on those and save the cash for a new roof. Those look to be in pretty rough shape. I would save extra coin and do copper flashings, yes they are expensive but ceder and copper go together like beer and pizza.



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Old 07-23-2015, 05:10 PM   #12
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I'll probably go with asphalt shingles when the time comes. Realistically, whatever is cheapest. I'm not too concerned with the looks as far as style is concerned.

How would be best to clean it? Pressure washer on a very low setting? Just enough to get the moss off?
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Old 07-23-2015, 05:17 PM   #13
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I'd leave it alone, walking on it and washing it off will do more damage then good.
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Old 07-23-2015, 05:23 PM   #14
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Would you second that SeniorSitizen?
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Old 07-23-2015, 05:55 PM   #15
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I wouldn't walk on it, as suggested, to clean it. Just leave it be.
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