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Battling Mother Nature To Protect Your Cedar Shake Roof

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A new cedar roof on your home gives it a fresh look. But wind, rain, snow, and pests can begin wearing your roof down quickly. The International Association of Certified Home Inspectors says you could expect to get nearly 25 years out of your wooden roof. That's if you can win the battle to keep nature from aging or damaging it early. Here are some ways you can get the most out of your roof, and not lose the battle to nature and the elements.

Wind, Rain, Snow, and Ice Damage

Heavy storm winds can cause roofing nails to be pulled up slightly. This makes the shingles more vulnerable to wind tearing them off and moisture getting under them. After heavy winds, check that all shingles are intact, hammer down nails that have pulled up, and replace missing nails.

Keep gutters cleaned so rain doesn't overflow onto the edge of your cedar shakes, causing wood rot or moss to grow. Brush heavy snow off of the roof and break up any ice build-up. Snow can melt and refreeze, expanding in the cracks in the shingles, causing them to crack. Ice build-up is heavy and can put stress on individual shingles and rafters.

Leaf, Limb, and Other Green Problems

Trees growing over your roof deposit branches, sticks, and leaves onto it. This debris can pile up and create a water dam, keeping moisture trapped on your roof. This creates wood rot, which disintegrates the shingles. Sweep off or power wash any debris from your roof before it has the chance to create a solid mass that holds onto water.

While cleaning the roof, look for signs of broken shingles from falling limbs. If possible, cut back any trees hanging over your roof to minimize the damage from heavy limbs.

If your roof gets little direct sunlight, portions of it may stay damp and allow moss to grow. Moss sends tiny roots into the shingles that cause them to crack. It also holds moisture against the roof, so moss is frequently associated with wood rot. A wet cedar roof is slippery, especially where moss is growing. Have licensed roofers clean off your roof, since they have the procedures and tools to be safe. Wood roof sealers that contain copper are available to apply to the roof to reduce moss growth. Your roofing contractor can recommend the best sealer for your location and apply it safely for you.

Pests and Your Roof

Birds will make holes in the wood shingles while looking for an insect meal. These holes reduce the integrity of the shingles, making them more vulnerable to winds, and allowing water to get underneath.

Look for soft, crumbling edges on shingles which may be a sign of insect pests. Lift up loose shingles and look for decay. Termites, powder-post beetles, and carpenter ants may be the culprits. If you see these signs, check in the attic for signs of insect damage in the roof rafters. Wood rafters that have been damaged by burrowing insects can sag, putting stress on the roof, cracking shingles, and pulling up nails. You'll need a pest control specialist to get rid of any insect pests and prevent them from coming back.

Get the most out of your wood roof by inspecting it often and repairing even the most minor damage. Keep the roof cleaned off and contact a roofer like Standard Roofing & Exteriors Ltd to replace any damaged shingles. By giving your roof a little attention every year, you should get good service out of it for its full 25 years or more.