Cedar Roof Ventilation Guide: Why It’s Important, Types, & More

Cedar Roof Milwaukee WI
June 8, 2023

Cedar shakes and shingles are popular roofing materials for a variety of reasons, including:

  • They are aesthetically pleasing and somewhat uncommon, giving your home a unique look. ✨
  • Cedar is an organic roofing material, lessening the environmental impact of your home.
  • When well-maintained, they can last for decades. 🌎
  • Cedar can withstand high winds and most other forms of weather, providing your home with protection from the elements. ⛈️

Despite the longevity and durability of cedar roofing, it’s not immune to damage and decay. Inevitably, there comes a time in every homeowner’s life when they’ll need to go through the process of cedar roof repair.

Keep reading to learn why it’s important to perform regular upkeep on your roof, how to tell when your cedar roof needs repair, and what the step-by-step process looks like.

Importance of Proper Maintenance

When many homeowners choose cedar roofing for their homes, they’re thinking of the promise of decades of quality roofing with few maintenance needs. While a cedar shake or shingle roof can be low-maintenance, it’s certainly not no-maintenance.

If not properly cared for, you run the risk of experiencing several consequences for your roof and home:

  • Decreased weather resistance
  • Decreased pest-resistance
  • Less effective insulation
  • Increasing energy costs

For all these reasons, it’s worth your time to regularly inspect your cedar roof and perform repairs when necessary.

4 Signs Your Cedar Roof Needs Repair Work

Thankfully, it’s not hard to tell when your cedar roof is due for some TLC. When you know what to look for, you can tell immediately when your cedar roof needs some help.

1) Split or Curling Roof Tiles

cedar roof repair needed for curling shingles
Cedar Roof Ventilation Guide: Why It’s Important, Types, & More 1

This is by far the most common reason you’ll need to call a repair service for your cedar roof.

Because cedar is an organic material, it’s susceptible to shrinking and expanding as the seasons change. Wood also absorbs water, encouraging your shingles to change shape or split over time.

Cedar shingles may also cup or curl. While some cupping and curling is normal, extensive warping indicates damage. You’ll know this is happening when the underlayer of your roof is visible beneath your shakes or shingles.

If you notice any shingles or shakes that seem to have changed shape or that are split, it’s in your best interest to take care of them as soon as possible to avoid damage to the underlayers of your roof or to the ceilings in your home.

2) Water Leaking

After a big rainstorm or winter thaw, you might notice leaking in your home or discoloration on your walls and ceiling. These issues, as well as others signs of water damage in your home, are key indicators that a part of your roof is leaking.

If you can pinpoint the source of the leak, your contractor should be able to repair just the affected part of your roof. However, if you notice multiple or widespread leaks, it may be time to swap out your old roof for an entirely new one.

3) Shingle Deterioration or Disappearance

Cedar shingles can deteriorate due to mildew, rotting, plant growth, or absorbing too much water. Any of these issues is reason enough to repair the affected shingles before the damage spreads.

Similarly, shingles may fall off your roof for various causes, such as extreme weather or improper installation. If you see any missing shingles or shakes, it’s time to call your local contractor.

4) You Can’t Remember When It Was Last Repaired

Finally, if it’s been more than a few years since your roof was last inspected or repaired, it’s probably wise to patch up a few spots and make sure your roof is ready to protect your home in the years to come.

How It Works

Once you’ve determined that your cedar roof is in need of repair, it’s time to get your contractor involved. Never try to do cedar roof repair or replacement on your own unless you have specific training in working with this roofing material. Not only could you cause damage your roof, but if your current roof is still under warranty, you may end up voiding that warranty when you take the DIY approach.

On the same note, make sure that the contractor you’re working with specializes in installing cedar shingles and shakes.


Despite all its upsides, cedar roofing does have one less-than-desirable quality: its cost. Cedar shakes tend to be higher in cost than other roofing materials, which is why it’s so important to extend the lifespan of your cedar roof through proper maintenance. While it’s difficult to say exactly how much your project will cost, the price will depend on a few factors:

  • The size of your roof
  • The extent of your project (just a few repairs, or a full roof replacement?)
  • The cost of living in your area
  • The type of shingle or shake you have on your roof
roof repair needs full replacement on cedar wood roof
Cedar Roof Ventilation Guide: Why It’s Important, Types, & More 2

In general, you can expect the average full roof replacement to cost a little over $20,000, with additional costs for labor. Check with your insurance to see if they’ll cover any of the costs before you begin the project.


After you contact your local contractor, they’ll send someone to you to inspect your roof and provide you with an estimate of what the project will cost, as well as their projected timeline. While many factors go into repairing a roof, most repair work should be able to be completed within a single day. A full roof replacement may take up to a week under normal circumstances.

Cedar Shake Roof Maintenance

Once the repair is complete, you can expect your cedar roof to last at least 20 years, and possibly up to 50 years. Completing the following maintenance tasks on a regular basis will help you avoid premature deterioration and other issues:

  • Remove leaves, pine needles, and other organic materials once a season and following major storms and weather events.
  • Trim overhanging trees and other plants to discourage moss and mold growth.
  • Check at least once a year for signs of bug infestations and other pests.
  • Unclog your gutters and downspouts every fall.
  • Maintain your tar paper and other breather materials, replacing them as necessary.
  • Keep an eye out for missing and broken shingles or shakes.

In addition to these routine maintenance tasks, it can be helpful to periodically soft wash (unpressurized wash) your roof to keep dirt and grime away. It’ll brighten up the appearance of your roof and expose early warning signs of damage so that you can get them looked at right away.

As your roof ages, adding various treatments to your cedar roof can preserve it and extend its lifespan for a few years. Depending on your climate and location, you may choose treatments that resist moisture, protect against bugs or fungus, or act as a fire repellant. Your contractor should be able to advise on the best course of action for your roof.

Your Local Cedar Shake Roofing Experts

Cedar roofs, while beautiful and timeless, require attention from their homeowners. Thankfully, your cedar roof repair doesn’t have to be just your responsibility; working with a local expert like DuraShield Contracting will help you maintain the health of your roof and home while avoiding unnecessary expensive repairs.

Here at DuraShield, we have ten years of experience in roofing and a specialized installation team dedicated to working with cedar shakes. We always provide you with a free estimate and are able to complete most jobs within a single day.

Ready to have a roof that’s durable and dependable? Contact us today to learn more!