There was a time years ago when the wooden shingle or shake roof was one of very few available types of roofing. These days, it’s a less common choice and more of an ultra-premium option, which comes with quite the price. Wooden shingles are chosen for both their natural beauty and hard-wearing properties. Despite their high quality, shake roof cleaning is still required to maintain this roof type. This is a job that requires a slightly different approach in order to both achieve the desired result and avoid damaging the shingles in the process.

Care and Maintenance

Along with looking the part, a quality shake roof will usually offer superior performance and protection from hail, strong winds, heavy rainfall and so on. They may be more susceptible to damage from warping, splitting, and rotting than other types of roof, though all such risks can be minimized with preventative care and maintenance.

Looking after a shake roof means keeping an eye on leaf litter, dirt, grime, and the general debris that accumulates over time. This build-up can be found both on and between the shingles, along with any valleys created by the roof structure itself. Debris should be removed on a regular basis, paying particularly close attention to your roof during the late-spring and mid-autumn.

Accumulation of dirt and debris will over time have two detrimental effects on your roof. First of all, a build-up of debris makes it more difficult for water to drain away from your home efficiently, which can lead to leaks and erosion. Secondly, debris can also harbor and retain moisture on a near-permanent basis, which can lead to the growth of wood-rotting fungi, mold, mildew and moss..

The kind of wood destroying organisms that could slowly eat away at your roof require a constant supply of water to survive. If you can minimize accumulation and retention of water, you’ll also reduce the likelihood of fungal and other damage.

Promote Faster Drying

Along with adequate shake roof cleaning, it’s also important to think about promoting faster drying. Where areas of your roof spend prolonged periods in the shade, moisture naturally evaporates much slower or not at all. In addition, the cooler temperatures combine with the moist conditions to promote the growth of roof moss.

Branches can also lead to reduced flow of air around certain areas of the roof, once again leading to the build-up and retention of moisture. Where moss or lichens are growing excessively, it’s usually a strong indicator of an area of your roof that’s not drying fast enough. These are also the areas that are most likely to rot and deteriorate at an accelerated pace.

Any overhanging branches that come into physical contact with the roof itself should also be removed, or trimmed back as necessary. Over time, branches that brush or scrape the wooden shingles will eventually compromise the integrity of their surface, or perhaps dislodge them entirely in severe weather conditions.

Deeper Cleaning for Shake Roofs

We aren’t going to kid you here with a description of how you might DIY a cedar shake roof cleaning. We strongly recommend that you hire licensed, trained professionals, with proper insurance for their work (Liability Insurance), and their workers (Workers Comp). Safety issues multiply exponentially on cedar shake roofs, and it is truly beyond the scope of this article to explain everything that should be done to prevent damage and injury.

We do not recommend pressure washing cedar shake roofs. That being said, their are some very good, reputable, experienced roof cleaners who do use pressure washers on cedar shake roofs. If you are going for pressure washing, make sure you get one of those. Excessive pressure will almost certainly cause damage to the shingles, if not rip them clean off the roof entirely.

We prefer to use our proprietary Cedar Shake Gentle Wash specifically formulated for cleaning cedar shake roofs. We apply with low pressure, and let the cleaner do the work, not water pressure. We prefer to apply the soft wash type cleaner from ladders, or even the ground, if possible, to minimize time on the roof. After application, we rinse away the dirt and organic material which has been lifted and emulsified by the cleaner, leaving the cedar shakes looking nearly brand new.

If our customers prefer, we can use our very effective oxygen-based Green Clean technique and get very nearly just as good a result, in an environmentally friendly manner.

After cleaning and drying we recommend that the shakes be treated to replace the lost natural oils, to help prevent prevent cracking and curling. There are a variety of commercial products available, most of them petroleum based. We prefer and recommend linseed oil. It is very effective, environmentally friendly, and leaves the roof with a rich natural wood tone, instead of the bright colors one sees with the petroleum based products, which often have dyes in them.

If your cedar shake roof needs expert cleaning and maintenance, click the button or give us a call at (503) 407-3346 for a free estimate.

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