Replacing cedar shake roof with asphalt shingles

On a home along a river, at the coast, or lakeside, nothing looks better than cedar shingle roofing. Just thinking of cedar shakes brings images of log cabins or beach houses that are weathered just enough for that perfect look. Even in the middle of a suburban neighborhood, cedar shake roofs really stand out.

Although there are several reasons to prefer cedar shake roofing materials on a residential roof, there are a few drawbacks. Wood roofs need a lot more maintenance than asphalt shingles and may cost up to five times as much. Asphalt shingles are more fire-resistant than cedar shingles, too (although some additives may help with that).

When it comes time to replace your cedar roof and are considering a switch to asphalt shingles, there are some differences to consider. The life expectancy of either material is a huge consideration. Asphalt shingles are rated for 30 years or more while cedar shake roofs are expected to last 30 years or less.

Roof Installation Differences

More common than cedar shake, you’ve probably seen a roof replacement or installation with asphalt roofing shingles. It’s relatively straight forward: there is the roof structure, then sheets of plywood decking, an underlayment, and finally the asphalt shingle. These shingles have different designs and a variety of colors to match the home.

The decking materials are usually installed with a little gap to help with expansion and contraction and to keep the roof from buckling. Felt paper or synthetic underlayment is then installed horizontally starting from the bottom of the roof and overlapping. The shingles are applied in the same manner.

Cedar shingles follow the same method, starting from the bottom and moving up the roof. However, there are a few different ways to install cedar shingles. The first is similar to asphalt shingles. Roof decking is installed first, but the underlayment and cedar shakes are intermingled.

Once a few rows of underlayment are in place, a row of cedar shingles can be put down with half of the shingle going under the next row of the underlayment. This creates a weave effect that makes the roof much more secure and water-resistant.

Another method for cedar shake installation is known as skip-sheathing. Rows of 1×4 inch boards across the trusses are placed and the cedar shakes are then attached to those. There is no decking, which actually helps with cooling costs during the summer months because there is more ventilation. These gaps also allow the shakes to dry after a storm.

Time is a consideration, too. An experienced roofing contractor can expect to finish a 2,000 square foot home roof installation in two days or less depending on the size of the crew. Cedar shakes are much more involved and can take up to three times as long to install.

Cedar Shake Tear-Off

Depending on how the cedar shake roof was installed, the time frame could be altered. With skip-sheathing, tearing off the cedar shingles must be done manually because there is no decking to help with prying shakes up. You also need to make sure that no debris falls into the exposed attic.

The 1×4 boards can be kept in place if they are still in good shape. If the additional weight isn’t an issue, roof decking can be installed right over the top. This can cut down on the cost of dumping waste materials and the time to remove the skip-sheathing.

From there, the installation of the asphalt shingles can begin. Flashing around the chimney, vents, skylight, and other openings should be checked to see if they are in good shape, need to be replaced, or can just be covered by new flashing.

Work With Experience

Whether it’s replacing cedar shakes with asphalt shingles, repairing broken or lost shingles, or re-roofing your home with metal roofing during a home improvement project, it’s important to use experienced professionals. No matter how pretty the new roof looks, if it wasn’t installed correctly, you could be looking at big repair bills down the road.

Since 1992, Warner Roofing and Construction has been installing new roofing systems all around Clark County. In addition to roofing, we also install gutters, skylights, and solar tubes as well as offering recommendations for maintenance to make sure your roof lasts as long as it should.

Interested in having a new roof installed? We work with many roofing materials and stay up to date on advances in the industry as well as improved installation practices. We work fast, safe, and professional to ensure our clients get the roof they deserve. Reach out today for a free estimate.

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