Cedar roofing is a natural alternative to traditional asphalt shingles. If you prefer the rustic look of real wood on your home, this is the perfect option. While beautiful, cedar roofing can be difficult to work with. Here are the three most common mistakes people make when installing cedar roofing and the best ways to avoid them.
#1 – Failing to Ventilate the Shingles
Cedar is a very porous material, and this means it will absorb any moisture in the air around it. Failing to properly ventilate the roof allows moisture to remain in contact with the wood, and over time, this can cause the shingles to warp or curl around the nailed edges. What’s more, cedar shake exposed to a great deal of moisture without proper ventilation will absorb far more of that moisture than it should, which could lead to rot, mildew, and even mold.
#2 – Placing Shingles in the Wrong Order
When installing a cedar roof, remember that porous wood will expand and contract when exposed to varying temperatures and moisture. Because of this, shingle placement is very important. Cedar shingles are made in such a way that one end is much thicker than the other. When installing them, start at the bottom closest to the edge of the roof, place the shingles so they hang over the roof by about an inch and a half, and be sure that you put the thicker end at the top – but only for the first row. Then, work your way up, row by row, putting the thick part at the bottom and leaving about a quarter-inch gap between each one. This allows space for expansion and contraction.
#3 – Using the Wrong Nails
One of the worst mistakes you can make when installing cedar is using the wrong nails. Remember that certain metals will corrode when they come into contact with moisture, and because cedar tends to retain moisture, this is a recipe for disaster. You should always use aluminum, galvanized, or stainless steel two-inch nails. If you opt for stainless steel, choose your alloy carefully if you are near the ocean. Salt in the air can be detrimental to some alloys 304 alloy, which is the most common stainless steel nail. If you’re close to the ocean, opt for 316 instead. What’s more, be sure you use nails with ring shanks to keep the nails secure as the shingles expand and contract.
If you are hiring a roofing company to install a cedar roof, keep these tips in mind. These mistakes may not be noticeable at first, but over time, they can cause leaks, loss of shingles, and the need for multiple repairs.