Life Expectancy of Cedar Shingle Roof

Life Expectancy of Cedar Shingle Roof

How Long Will a Cedar Shingle Roof Last?

Cedar shingles, also called shakes, are attractive and rustic. They complement a historic home beautifully, and add to the value of your home. But cedar shingles are expensive and there’s no guarantee they will last longer than an inexpensive asphalt shingle roof. Cedar shingles are a matter of taste and style, not an economic decision.

The life expectancy of a roof depends on:

  • environment of installation area
  • Insect infiltration
  • quality of wood
  • quality of installation
  • care and maintenance

Generally speaking, the life expectancy of a cedar shingle roof should be 30 to 40 years, but that is not always the case. Too often, cedar shakes need replacement after just 20 years. There are things you can do and decisions you can make to ensure your roof reaches the maximum lifespan.


One important consideration is where you live. Climate and environmental factors have a tremendous impact on cedar shingles. Putting cedar on a home in a humid or rainy climate can cause the shingles to prematurely age. Cedar shake roofs are vulnerable to algae and moss, which can compromise the integrity of the roof by trapping moisture. Exposure to constant moisture makes wood warp and bend.

Dry climates are also bad for cedar roofing. In a dry climate, the wood may crack and split if not carefully maintained. This can leave your roof exposed to leaks.

Proper maintenance is key to combat climate conditions and lengthen the life of your cedar shingle roof. By treating the wood with a penetrating wood preservative every few years, you lessen the impact of water, mildew, mold, and rot. Regular pressure washing on a low setting will help prevent moss and algae, and also keep your roof free of debris.


Any wood is a buffet for termites, carpenter ants, and other wood boring insects, and that can be a real pain for homeowners with cedar shingle roofs. Cedar is naturally resistant to pests, but not invulnerable. Pest protection is an advisable preventative measure for any home.

Quality and installation

Cedar shingles can vary in quality, and opting for cheaper materials can cost you in the long run. For longer life expectancy, start with the best quality shingle you can afford. Since proper installation is also a determining factor in the life of your roof, you also want to hire a professional roofing company with a good reputation. Ask about modern installation techniques that allow for air circulation. Good air circulation will allow the shingles to dry out after a rain and extend the life of your roof.

Finally, have your cedar shingle roof inspected once a year by a professional. An experienced roofer will check for signs of aging, wear, rot, and insect invasion. They will also be able to identify spots that collect moisture before water seeps through and becomes a problem. Keeping your roof in good repair with small repairs can add up to longer life for the roof and significant savings for you.

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