Shake Roof Maintenance

Shake Roof Maintenance

How to Maintain a Shake Roof

Wood shakes, or shingles, are a rustic, interesting roofing choice, especially for a historic home. The life expectancy of a shake roof can vary widely depending on the climate where they are installed, the quality of the wood, and the care given to maintenance. With proper shake roof maintenance, you can expect your roof to last from 20 to 40 years. Without maintenance, you may be looking at only 7 to 15 years.

The life expectancy of a shake roof can be shortened by:

  • Environmental factors
  • Insects
  • Quality of wood shakes
  • Regular inspection
  • Care and maintenance

Ensuring the extended lifespan of your roof is entirely up to you. The first consideration is selecting quality shingles. The better the quality of the materials, the more protections they are infused with from the manufacturer and have the roof installed by qualified professionals. After installation, regular inspection and maintenance is the key. Here’s what you can do to keep your shake roof in shape.

Environmental Maintenance

Where you live is important. Wood shakes can age prematurely in either a wet or a dry climate. In a wet, humid climate, moisture can be trapped in the wood, especially if the installation does not allow for air circulation. Algae and moss that grows on wood can add to moisture retention.

Dry climates are equally destructive. If the air is too dry, wood shakes can crack and split, leaving your roof vulnerable to the elements. Fortunately, there are steps you can take to protect your roof against the elements.

Regular maintenance is important. Taking care of your wood roof is similar to caring for a wood deck. The first step to shake roof maintenance is to treat the wood with penetrating wood preservative about every five years, to protect against moisture and its effects: leaks, mildew, mold, and rot. Wood preservative will also help prevent dry rot.

Pressure cleaning

Keeping your roof clean and free of debris is key. Regular pressure washing will clean the leaves and other debris off the roof, and also remove the algae and moss. Your roof will last longer and look more attractive. Use a low-pressure setting to prevent damage while you’re cleaning.


Termites, carpenter ants, and other wood boring insects just love wood, and that includes wood shake roofs. Preventative pest control measures are a wise choice for the entire house, including the roof. Inspect the roof regularly for signs of infestation such as holes, trails, and brittle wood. Pests represent significant danger to your entire home. They can eat through the wood and undermine the structural integrity of your home, costing you a huge amount of money in renovation and repair costs.

Once a year, have your roof inspected by a licensed roofing professional. An expert will know the signs of damage, leakage, pests, and wear. By addressing potential problems, like worn spots or areas where moisture is collecting, you may be able to greatly extend the life of your roof. Shake roof maintenance can save you a great deal of money over the life of your home.

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