How To Tell If You Need A New Cedar Shake Roof

While cedar shake roofs are sometimes thought of as weak or old-fashioned, the truth is that they can last just as long as an asphalt roof. Your cedar roof will, however, reach a point at which it needs to be replaced. It's important to know the signs that your cedar roof is on its last legs so you can replace it in a timely manner before your home suffers too much water damage.

Warping Shingles

Cedar shakes will dry out as they age. As they dry out, they tend to curl a little. Some curling along the edges is not unusual and should not alarm you, especially if your roof is more than a few years old. However, there will come a time when your shakes start looking outright warped and not just a little curled. The whole sides of the shakes may lift off the roof surface. Badly warped shakes are no longer protecting your home as they should and indicate that you need a roof replacement.

Black Streaks and Spots

Cedar is favored as a roofing material because, unlike most woods, it resists rotting. However, this does not mean your cedar roof will never rot. If you live in a moist environment or your roof is shaded by a tree, it may eventually reach a point at which rot starts setting in. This does not usually happen until the cedar is really old and has lost the cedar oils that cause it to resist rotting in the first place. So, if your cedar roof looks like it is rotting, you're likely due for a roof replacement.


Cedar shakes are cut with the grain. In other words, the grain of the wood will run from the top of the shake to the bottom of the shake. Sometimes, these shakes will begin splitting down the middle. You'll be able to see the vertical splits from the ground. This usually does not happen until the shakes are old, dry, and fragile. They may split after being hit with hail or a tree branch. Split shakes allow for leaks, and they fall off pretty easily. So, if you have a lot of split shakes, it's a good idea to have your roof replaced.

If you think your cedar shake roof might need to be replaced, schedule a consultation with a roofing company. They can tell you how soon you need a roof replacement. It may be in a few weeks or a few years.

Contact a roofer for more information about roof replacement