Cedar Shake Roof Services

Cedar Shake roofs are special. Nothing is quite like Cedar for longevity, appearance and R-Value. Cedar is gorgeous and is a renewable resource that is locally sourced. However, it is sad to say that far too many cedar shake roofs are replaced prematurely because owners are simply unaware of the need to regularly service and maintain them. Far too many roofs are torn off when instead they could be repaired and brought back to serviceable condition, often at a fraction of the cost.  


Cedar Roof Repairs

Don’t Replace your Cedar Shake Roof…Repair it! Cedar Shake roofs are modular. This means nearly any component of the roof can be removed and replaced. And while it is true that at some point you roof may not be salvageable, it is often just as true that often what a cedar shake roof needs is some repairs and a proper cleaning and restoration to last decades longer. It would be fair to say that if done regularly, a cedar shake roof will last as long as the building is standing. Our team of experienced cedar professionals will evaluate your roof, determine which components require replacement or restoration and give you a quote. Roofs which looked like they were done for can be returned to fully serviceable condition.  

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This roof in Bellingham, WA was in dire need of restoration. It was literally infested with moss, mold, algae and mushrooms…yes mushrooms. Conventional wisdom would have been to replace it…even amongst our fellow roof cleaners. We are not conventional. 

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This is the same roof after being restored. 


Regular cleaning if your cedar shake roof is vital to its longevity. Removal of the debris, wood rot fungi, moss and lichen is crucial to the lifespan of the roof. Typically this should be done every 5-7 years. However, far too often a cedar shake roof is neglected. Decades of debris, moss and fungi take their toll. If the shakes are not structurally damaged to the point of failure, they can often be refurbished. Refurbishment is a more intensive process than cleaning. It can involve various methods of restoring the surface of the wood using multiple different products, balanced to meet the needs of the roof material. This is followed by the application of an oil to re-hydrate the shakes and allow them to expand and contract with changes in temperature and humidity. Shakes which dry out too much are subject to cracking and splitting. Restoration, while more costly than a basic cleaning, is still far less expensive than replacement. It can help bring an aged and unmaintained cedar shake roof back to life. Restoration can save you tens of thousands of dollars over the cost of replacement. A restored cedar shake roof also adds significantly to the value and marketability of a home. 


This roof is partially through the cleaning process. Notice the black wood rot fungi on the top vs the lighter color on the bottom shakes. 

Cedar Shake Roof Cleaning. 

Your Cedar roof, being a natural material, should be maintained. Like all woods, cedar is subject to brown and black wood rot molds. These fungi colonize the roof then begin to break down the structure of the wood. It is this process which turns your cedar roof black. The organic layer this creates encourages other organisms such as moss, lichen and algae to colonize the shakes, degrading them further. These organisms act to keep your roof wet and this is what destroys the integrity. If your roof is a light tone cedar or a distinguished silver color, it is fine. But if it shows brown or black or has moss or lichens on it, it is in need of cleaning and maintenance  Proper maintenance must include removal of these organisms from the wood. Debris should be removed from the roof annually at a minimum. When debris is allowed to remain on the roof, it holds moisture that allows fungi to colonize. This includes all the tree debris which builds up between the shakes. 


If your cedar shake roof has moss, it is need of a proper, professional cleaning. Unfortunately, all too many times people unknowingly put Moss Out, or Zinc Sulphate or Zinc Chloride powders on their roof to kill the moss. This is NOT recommended…particularly on a wood shake roof. Application of the zinc *will* kill the moss, but it also tends to have a drying effect on the shakes. In addition, the typical methodology and conventional thinking is that the zinc powder kills the moss and then it will simply rinse off. Unfortunately, this is not what happens in the real world. In the real world, a layer of dead material stays on the roof and falls into the cracks and crevices. This organic material then decays, creates a sticky organic layer which then becomes a great attractant and food source for more moss, algae, lichen and most importantly…wood rot fungi (aka mold). If they shakes are already infested with rot fungi, they tend to be more porous and easily allow the roots of mosses and molds to more easily infest the interior structure. The result is accelerated deterioration of the roof. While the moss may be gone, it is often back the next season with a vengeance.  It is for this reason, these products are highly discouraged. Instead, a cleaning which kills and removes the dead organic debris is called for along with a restoration of the surface so it can more easily resist further infestations.  

Finishes. Sealants, Stains, Oils. 

One of the most frequent questions we are asked is what should be put onto the roof in order to maintain it? Our answer is simple…oil. Cedar is a naturally oily wood and the only thing we recommend on that wood to replace the oils lost during evaporation and the improper use of zinc sulphate is more oil. 

The other frequent question is…should it be sealed? The answer to this is generally NO. The majority of cedar shake roofs are installed using more modern installation methods. As such, there is limited facility for the shakes to dry out from the underside. They depend on evaporation to achieve this. A sealant will trap moisture underneath the shakes leading to rapid colonization of wood destroying organisms and rotting from the underside. There has been more than one case of woods which looked serviceable on the outside, only to literally crumble under our feet…including one which was so bad a worker’s foot went all the way into the attic space. 

Stains. We will often recommend a light stain for your roof, particularly if new sections need to be installed. It MUST be remembered that a roof is a highly weathered surface and unless applied regularly, a stain will eventually weather off. Staining is also highly recommeneded if the home is to be marketed for sale.  


There is simply no way to sugar coat this. Cedar Shake Roofs are extrememely dangerous surfaces on which to work. They are very slippery and there is always a chance that shakes can come loose under foot. It is for this reason that we will ONLY work on your cedar shake roof safely. If we need to go on your roof, it is done with the greatest of care and PROPER roofing shoe attachments called Korkers. We utilize proper fall protection equipment including the installation of permanent fall protecion anchors. Our employees are experts in proper roof and fall protection safety. If a roof cleaner proposes getting on your cedar shake roof without proper safety equipment, we would question it strongly. 

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Glenn is harnessed up for safety and removing tree debris using compressed air on a cedar restoration project. 

The Process.

First, if there is a large amount of moss, we will likely do an initial application of a moss preventative product to start an initial kill. We will give this some time to work. Any loose, missing or broken shingles or top caps will then be replaced.  Then the process to fully clean and condition a cedar roof begins, starting with removal of any loose debris and dead moss which is brushed or blown off with high volume, low pressure compressed air. The roof is then sprayed with our cleaning solution formulated specifically for cedar which kills the fungi, mold and Lichen on the roof. Our solution is proprietary and not available to consumers. We then rinse the roof and apply a neutralizing agent, followed by an oil/stain. 



What is needed to keep a cedar shake roof properly maintained? Like any roof,  debris should be removed annually to prevent excess moisture from building up and getting underneath the roofing material. In our wet WA State conditions, your cedar shake roof should be maintained with our cleaning process approximiately every 5-7 years to keep it in tip top condition. For our clients who wish to maintain the color of their roof, a very light color restoration, oiling and light staining should be done every 3-4 years or so. Beach front homes require more frequent oiling due to the drying effects of high salt content air. Missing and cracked shakes and top caps should be replaced as soon as they are noticed. We do not recommend any sealing be done as your roof needs to breath and expel built up moisture. The only thing which should ever go on a cedar roof is either our cleaning solution, or a cedar shake specific oil. Newer cedar will eventually turn a beautiful silver color after cleaning. 


Authorized Franchise Member: Sullivan Cedar Network

Bruce Sullivan is one of the Nation’s leading experts on Cedar Roof Cleaning. He has developed and trained a network of some of the leading roof cleaning companies in the nation to clean Cedar Roofs using his Cleaning System. Peak of Perfection is proud to be the exclusive Authorized WA State Sullivan Cedar Network member.  

© Kevin Enderle 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018.  Peak of Perfection Roof Cleaning. A Division of Enderle Property Services LLC.