THE CEDAR ROOF AND ITS LIFE
Cedar shakes have been used as a roofing material for centuries for two major reasons. First cedar provides superior insulation. And second the wood itself contains high amounts of natural preservatives. The presence of these natural preservatives has led cedar roof owners through the years to believe that their roofs needed little or no maintenance. The truth of the matter is that these natural chemicals are depleted over time.
Over the years, rain extracts the natural preservatives from the wood and leaves it vulnerable to accelerated deterioration. As the preservatives are decreased, water enters the wood, causing the wood to expand and contract. This expanding and contracting creates cracks in the wood and provides places for algae, moss and fungi to take root. These living growths further deteriorate the wood as they draw food from it. Left unattended their spread will lead to premature roof failure.
Sunlight is also a major problem for cedar roofs. The sun's rays break down the wood at a cellular level. As the cells are broken down on the top layer of wood rain washes these cells away. This continuing cycle leads to the "greying" of cedar over the years. While many see this as the natural charm of cedar roofs, it is actually a visual signal of the deterioration of the wood itself.
If a cedar roof does not receive any maintenance it may last 10 years or more, depending on the severity of the elements. On the other hand, cedar is the only roofing material whose life can be prolonged by proper maintenance and preservation techniques.
Basic cedar roof maintenance includes debris removal, cleaning to remove algae, fungi, moss, etc., and application of a wood preservative. Annual inspections keep tabs on your roof to determine when this maintenance is required, but it's usually needed every 3 to 5 years.
Every 10 to 15 years, a cedar roof should be restored. The restoration process includes repairs to the roofing system, including replacement of shakes and ridge caps. AAA-1 is industry proven, and our technicians have the experience required to treat your roof with the tender loving care that it demands.
The Weathering Cycle
The cycle begins when water penetrates the wood causing it to swell. Then blistering heat from the sun dries the wood leaving it brittle. This continuous cycle of expansion and contraction causes your wood to warp, splinter and crack. Over time, the cracks, caused by additional wettings or freezing and thawing, grow larger and larger. Exposure to the sun's harmful ultraviolet rays turn bare wood gray and uneven in color. Moisture from rain, humidity and morning dew creates an environment conducive to mold and mildew growth. Through the interaction of sunlight and rainfall, cedar shakes and shingles can lose virtually all of their natural preservatives in as short as five years. At this age, most cedar roofs show signs of cupping, curling, splitting and decay.
Preserving your wood roof will protect it from moisture and sunlight which are the greatest enemies of any wood surface. Remember, as long as your cedar is protected, it will not only look great but can double---even triple the life of your roof. With this extended life, you will obtain real savings and make your wood roof more cost effective.
Preservation costs are relatively inexpensive compared to a re-roof. With the cost of cedar continuing to rise, preservation just makes sense.
Preservation within the first three months on newly installed cedar saves you three ways:
The graph above represents estimated costs and expected years of product service for a 3,000 sq. ft. roof. It is used as a general comparison only. Outside factors such as weather, costs of cedar, preservatives, labor and degree of difficulty can vary.
Thinking of selling your home? Owning a very expensive cedar roof can be a great asset or a frustrating and very costly factor in the home selling process. Protecting your wood roof can save you thousands of dollars on the resale value of your home. Whether your cedar roof is newly installed or a few years old, protecting your homes # 1 investment, its roof, is a great investment.
We recommend preservation within the first three months of product installation. By starting maintenance this early, not only are you protecting your roof but you save money by eliminating the need to have your wood roof power cleaned prior to preservation. Generally speaking the sooner preservation takes place in the life of your roof the longer you can expect it to last.
Your first treatment will last between five and seven years. Subsequent treatments can last as long as 8-10 years. Remember, you can save money on all your preservation treatments by eliminating the power clean stage by staying within your maintenance period.
It is necessary for your wood to be cleaned to allow the preservatives to be absorbed. Mold, Mildew, and dead wood fibers would stop the wood from absorbing the preservatives.
The preservatives give complete protection against moisture and sunlight: your roofs greatest enemies. You can expect your tinted preservative to hold its color protecting your roof from damaging UV Rays. The "free" oils fill in the spaces in the wood that open up through the aging process. This closes off any openings for destructive growths.
The Cedar Shake and Shingle is unlike any other wood surface including cedar decking. Your wood roof requires both specific knowledge and skill. Variables on every job include, proper roofing, equipment, type of shingle, specific cleaning chemicals, and wood restoratives, and necessary water pressure and fan tips. Only the knowledge of these variables and how they relate to each other can assure you of a successful job. Our company supplies a certified roofing maintenance technician. Remember, for your protection, only workers with the proper insurance should work on your roof.
Another good thing about cedar is that it is possible to replace and repair parts of the roof, without worrying that your replacement shakes or shingles are significantly different in composition from your original shakes or shingles. Over the hundreds of years that cedar has been used, the product has remained unchanged…it’s still cedar. As cedar advances to its mature stage, it is natural to expect some pieces to require replacement. Individual repairs are possible, and with prompt attention, proactive repairs can extend the life of your cedar investment.
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