4 Problems with Fiber Cement Shakes

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Although many want the charming look of cedar, clay, or slate tiles on their homes, these tiling options require extensive and costly maintenance to preserve the integrity and expected life span of the house.

To remedy this problem, many manufactures offer alternatives, such as fiber cement shakes, that promise to require less repairs.

But is it worth having fiber cement shakes on your home?

What are Fiber Cement Shake Shingles?

Fiber cement shake shingles are an alternative roofing product that mimics natural wood and slate shakes that can be utilized for homes and commercial buildings.

Fiber cement shakes are made from a mixture of Portland cement and wood fibers (before 1980, they also included toxic asbestos), and weigh between 400 to 600 pounds per square.

Manufacturers produce cement cedar shakes in a wide variety of factory-applied colors, promising resistance to insects, fires, fungus, and weathering, and carrying warranties ranging from 20 to 25 years.

Fiber Cement Cedar Shake Performance Problems

Unfortunately, performance problems with cement shake roofs outweigh the benefits of cement shingles, prompting builders to consider other options. Here are four disadvantages of using fiber cement:

1. High-Maintenance Fiber Cement Shakes

The instability of cement in the cement shakes makes the roof prone to breakage. Long-term exposure to wind can cause wear and tear to the fiber cement roof, allowing water to penetrate, damaging the structure and roof. Moreover, fiber cement will break down after multiple freeze-thaw cycles.

High-maintenance fiber cement shake roofs require regular inspections and repairs to obtain the expected lifespan. To sustain their aesthetic value, cement shakes usually need repainting every 10 to 15 years, adding more maintenance costs.

2. Moisture-Absorption

Fiber cement shakes can hold moisture, leading to rot and damaging and unhealthy mold problems. Preventing moisture infiltration to the roof requires installation by an experienced professional. He or she will ensure proper treatment, with appropriate paint or caulk of all gaps and penetrations within the fiber cement roof.

3. Health Concerns when Installing Cement Shakes

Workers must take steps to protect their health when installing fiber cement shakes because cutting fiber cement siding releases respirable crystalline silica, a known human carcinogen. Inhaling too much silica can lead to lung cancer, silicosis, and COPD.

4. Environmentally Damaging

Producing cement-fiber shakes requires a lot of energy and water, which negatively impacts the environment. In addition, a cedar shake roof with an R-value of 0.15 contributes little to a structure's energy efficiency.

A Better Alternative to Fiber Cement Shakes — Composite Roof Tiles

Brava roofing tiles authentically mimic their natural counterparts. They come in any custom color or color combinations that won’t fade over time, as do fiber cement shakes. Eco-friendly Brava composite roof tiles are made with compressed recycled plastics and other sustainable materials. As a result, the process creates a more durable, low-maintenance, energy-efficient, and lightweight alternative roofing solution than fiber shake shingles.

  • Brave roof tiles have a 50-year warranty, and we guarantee that our Class 4 impact-rated composite shingles will resist damage from wind, hail, water, fire, and extreme-fluctuating temperatures, and they will last for decades with little need for repairs and maintenance.
  • The synthetic roofing tiles also resist damage from mold because they do not absorb water.
  • Energy-efficient Brava composite roofs reflect heat and sunlight away from a structure, lowering the temperature of a roof, which lessens attic temperature.
  • Compost roofs reduce energy use and maintenance problems, saving home and building owners 10 to 15 percent on annual energy bills.
  • Lightweight synthetic roofing tiles install easily, quickly, and successfully, without all the installation problems of heavy and toxic fiber cement shakes. To install composite roofing tiles, workers easily field-cut the shakes with a utility knife. Then, using a pneumatic nail gun and standard roofing nails, they nail the shakes in place.

Why Choose Brava’s Composite Roofing Tiles?

Brava composite roofing tiles are the best alternative to fiber cement shakes to replace natural cedar and slate roofing products.

Environmentally friendly, Brava composite roofing tiles guarantee a more durable and lower maintenance alternative to fiber cement shakes. Synthetic-cedar shakes resist moisture and maintain their integrity during temperature swings, saving you time and money on maintenance and repairs. The tiles also maintain their color and beauty for the roof's lifetime, unlike fiber cement shakes.

If you're interested in requesting a sample, requesting a quote, or finding a contractor, Brava can help.

For more on why you should choose durable, low-maintenance, and energy-efficient Brava composite roofing instead of fiber cement shakes or natural cedar and slate tiles, contact Brava Roof Tile today and use our photos, videos, and visualizer to select the tiles you love.

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