Installing a Cedar Roof: Tips and Mistakes to Avoid

Cedar roof shingles are very flexible construction materials, in that owners can install a cedar roof over an existing roof structure. Cedar shingles are also made of strong materials and can last for years, and are also resistant to insect damage.  Homeowners are usually attracted to cedar shingles appearance as it can lend a rustic and countryside appearance to their homes.

When installing cedar roof shingles, owners or workers need to be aware of a few precautions, follow certain procedures for safety, and maximize the potential and features of said construction materials.

The Weather Factor

Install cedar roof shingles on a clear day or during fair weather conditions. Do not attempt installation during rainy or harsh conditions. When installing, work your way from the bottom up.

Installation Tips

When installing a shingle, make sure that the thick section of it is pointing down to the ground.  It is also recommended to use 2” stainless, galvanized or aluminum nails per shingle, as these types of nails are known for their anti-corrosive properties.  Nails made of other materials can easily rust and can leave stains on your shingles.  Nails should be placed at least 4” from the thick section and 1” from each side. 

Make sure that the shingles’ ends are level with all the rest.  If there are protruding sections, trim them to size. Since wood is known to expand when exposed to moisture it is important that you leave a gap of around ¼” in-between shingles.

For the succeeding row of shingles you can use a chalk to draw up a line on the existing roof shingles as a guide for even and accurate placement. When you are at the peak of your roof and at the last stages of the installation process, place building paper on the surface first before placing the final row of cedar shingles.  Make sure to cut to size the last shingles to conform to the shape of your roof’s peak.

When cedar wood shingles are properly installed, air circulation would freely flow from underneath the shingles which would protect your roof from damage caused by excessive moisture.

The Right Working Gear

Wear sturdy shoes that have rubber soles for traction when installing cedar roof shingles. Also use a safety harness for additional safety, since you will be working at an elevated area.

The Design Factor

A well maintained cedar roof would last for many years.  Other variables affect the longevity of cedar shingles such as weather and slope.  Roofs that have steep designs usually last longer since water and other objects would flow down and not reside on the shingles.  Flat designs are more susceptible to decay and damage since weather materials can remain on the roof longer and add weight to the roof structure.

Part of the charm with cedar roof shingles is their rustic appearance which gets better with age.  What’s more, cedar roofs are easy to maintain, and generally do not require constant repair or replacement.