5 Reasons to Avoid a Wood Roof

Who doesn’t love the look of a natural cedar shake roof?

The rich wood grain and rough appearance add instant curb appeal to a home or property. However, most property owners have limited experience with these systems and there is a lot of misinformation out there about them.

Full disclosure: Sparrow Exteriors installs Cedar Shake roof systems and our team knows how to design them to maximize their performance. We love Cedar Shake roofs and offer services from complete installation to repairs, cleaning and oil treatments – so when we make a list addressing the negatives of this type of roof system, you can rest assured we know what we’re talking about.

1. Price

Cedar Shake is far from an inexpensive system. The initial cost of installation has to factor in both materials and labor. While some may seek to cut corners by using non-Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau approved mills and inexperienced labor, this is sure to wind up far more costly than doing it right to begin with.

Beyond the basic cost of materials and labor there’s another issue. Recently, the United States implemented a tariff on all Canadian imported cedar. Sadly, we do not have cedar mills in the States so this effectively increased the cost of Western Red Cedar and other softwood by 20% to 30%. There is no sure way to know how long this tariff will remain in effect, but consumers are already experiencing this significant bump in cost.

2. Maintenance

Wood roofs require a lot of TLC. This requires they be kept free from debris such as pine needles and leaves, have routine repairs to replace curling or split shake, as well as have regular oil treatments every 5 to eight years.

Such maintenance is not only an inconvenience of the property owner’s time, but such work is often costly when performed by professionals.

3. Short Lifespan

Most of the old growth wood has been harvested, so newer cedar shake roofs utilize newer and less resilient wood. Factoring in the unique quirks of our where these roof systems are often installed straight to deck and/or over non-vented attics; a dual climate market where weather relentlessly assaults these systems – and you can expect your cedar roof in Georgia to last between 8 to 20 years.

Of course there are measures we can take to extend this lifespan, such as utilizing a cedar breather substrate and installing number one grade blue label pressure treated shake, but properly designed systems are more expensive.

4. Flammable

While some products are available with fire retardant, wood shake and shingle roofs increase the risk of structure loss due to fire. There risk has been considered so great, that some communities have implemented an outright ban on their use.

Insurance providers are far from unaware of this risk, so ensuring a home with a natural wood roof is often quite costly.

5. Lack of Installer Expertise

From the initial installation, to maintenance and repair there is a significant lack of expertise. We have routinely been called by clients to come out and repair a poor repair attempted by a self-identified professional.

If you’re fortunate enough to be in our service area, Sparrow Exteriors can certainly assist you with such services. However, if you’re not in the greater Atlanta area BE CAREFUL and thoroughly vet a contractor before letting them attempt to service your cedar shake or shingle roof.

If you desire the look of a natural cedar shake roof, but are demanding less maintenance and better performance check out our recent blog:

If you would like to schedule a free consultation regarding your wood roof, we invite to you to call us today and…