Although wood shake roofing looks stunning on many homes when first installed, it can fade, warp, split, or rot over time, leaving your home vulnerable to water damage, pests, and costly repairs. To keep your wood shake roof in good condition and extend the life of your wood roof, you need to perform regular maintenance and update the chemical treatments to prevent pests and mold.
While consistent maintenance can prevent a wood shake or wood shingle roof from aging, discoloring, or deteriorating as quickly, it’s a lot of work to upkeep shakes or shingles. At Brava Roof Tile, we have developed an unbeatable alternative, composite material that looks like wood but protects like no other roofing material: Brava synthetic cedar shakes.
History of Wood Shake Roofing
Wood shake roofing is one of the oldest types of roofing. Before wood mills could create even wood shingles, wood shakes were hand-split to make wood shake roofing. The difference today between wood shakes and wood shingles is that wood shakes are now mechanically split to retain their rustic texture, while manufacturers cut wood shingles evenly from planks.
While many types of wood are popular options for a wood shingle or shake roof, cedar shakes and cedar shingles are some of the most popular for wood roofing. Cedar begins its life cycle in a light or medium warmer tone and gradually weathers to a cooler gray color. Other types of wood shakes or shingles offer a stunning array of different colors and weathering that many people find appealing.
Common Issues with Natural Wood Shake Roofing
Some of the most common issues with natural wood shakes or shingles include:
- Uneven fading
- The high maintenance they require
- Natural deterioration over time
- Flammability of wooden roofs
1. Uneven Fading as Wood Ages
Many people purchase wood shake roofing anticipating a certain amount of color change as the wood weathers over time. However, several factors can affect the way a wood shake roof discolors over time. Some factors include:
- The direction the house faces
- Shade from nearby trees
- Patches or repairs to damaged shakes or shingles
- Mold or mildew growth on the roof
To protect your wood roof’s natural color and help it age gracefully, you need to schedule regular maintenance, including pressure washing, staining, sealing, and applying fire- and pest-resistant coatings.
2. High Maintenance To Protect the Roof
Natural wood roofing is susceptible to all the same problems as a wood fence or wood deck—except those are property add-ons. Your roof protects your home from the elements, so if you don’t maintain a wood roof properly, your home, family, pets, and belongings will be at risk. While cedar is naturally pest and rot resistant, you still need to maintain it to preserve your roof.
Regular maintenance for a wood roof should include:
- Pressure washing every 2-3 years to remove mold and mildew buildup
- Staining and sealing after each pressure wash
- Replacing any cracked, warped, or rotted shakes or shingles
- Updating fire resistant coating every five years or according to manufacturer instructions
- Applying water-resistant coatings, fungicides, and algaecides to deter rotting
A wooden roof that doesn’t receive regular maintenance will suffer weathering and damage much sooner than a wood roof that does. A well cared-for wood shake roof can last approximately 30 years or longer, while a wood shake roof that receives no maintenance could suffer serious damage in ten years or sooner, depending on the climate.
3. Natural Deterioration of Wood Shake Roofs, Which Can Rot or Warp
Heat, cold, humidity, and snow or ice can affect wood shakes or shingles over time, leading to cracks, splits, curling, cupping, and missing shakes or shingles. This damage shortens your hand-split, wood roof’s lifespan and exposes your home to the elements.
Damage to a wood roof over time can disturb the water resistance of your roof, allowing rain or snow melt to leak into your home. In cold temperatures, water can seep between shingles and freeze, further damaging your wood roof and exposing more of the roof deck to the elements.
4. Loss of Fire Resistance Over Time
New wood roofs come pre-treated with fire-resistant coatings. Over time, these coatings deteriorate, making your wood roof and home susceptible to fire damage. Part of your regular maintenance needs to include applying new fire-resistant coatings.
Get the Look of a Wood Roof Using Synthetic Cedar Shakes
Synthetic cedar shakes made from recycled materials will keep your roof looking like new cedar shakes for 50 years. You can also install an aged cedar synthetic shake roof with an Aged style that will retain a rustic weathered appearance without having to waiting 30 years for it to fade to the right color!
Synthetic wood shakes and shingles are also naturally fire-resistant, with a Class A or Class C fire rating, and made from recycled polymers that offer energy efficiency while also being a sustainable, green alternative. When it's Brava shake vs natural wood, Brava wins wins every time!
Request a Sample Today
At Brava Roof Tile, we offer natural-looking synthetic wood shake roofing for homeowners who want a traditional look without the traditional upkeep of real wood. Fill out our form online to request a sample of our synthetic wood shakes and see the color options in person.