Is it time to replace your wood shake roof?

time to replace your wood shake roof

Wood shake roofs, most commonly built with cedar, begin their life as beautiful and durable roof systems. However, over time, the wood can deteriorate and leave your roof vulnerable to leaks, damage, and pest infestations. It is important to catch these issues early to avoid major damage to your home’s interior.

Five signs it’s time to replace your wood shake roof:

  1. Leaks – the clearest way to tell if you have a roof issue is if there is a leak. These are typically identified by water marks on interior drywall. Correcting an active leak can be a costly repair, so we advise regular proactive inspections to identify potential problem areas on your roof.
  2. Curling Shakes – it is natural for wood shakes to warp as they age. However, too much can lead to the wood curling upward significantly, which can create an easy entry point for wind-driven rain. Wood shake warping tends to be accelerated in the dry Colorado climate where many wood roofs begin to show their age sooner than other geographies.
  3. Split Shakes – some splits in the vertical wood grain will develop naturally over time. However, some of Denver’s larger hailstorms can cause an instant split in the shake and potentially put the roof at risk for water intrusion. A key method to tell if the split was caused by hail is to compare the color of the inside of the split to the color of the top of the wood shake. If the interior of the split is a more natural brown than the exterior, hail was likely the culprit.
  4. Missing or Damaged Shakes – one of the more common issues with wood shake roofs is the shakes can become detached from the roof deck and become removed from their intended location. If enough shakes become detached and move, your only option will be to replace the entire roof.
  5. Moss and Rot – because wood is an organic material, wood roofs are more at risk of breaking down if they’re located in a cool or damp area. If part of your roof is always shade-covered, it is more likely to experience moss or wood-rot. This can eat away and weaken your roof surface until it begins to fail and leak.

Are wood shake roofs legal in Colorado?

Certain cities and counties are no longer allowing new wood shake roofs to be put on existing homes. Many local covenant-controlled HOAs are also no longer allowing wood shake roofs in their communities. This is mainly because of the high winds we receive, and the dry air that creates a larger fire risk than in most states. You may also find that your homeowners insurance premium is higher with a wood shake roof for the same reason. Some cities and counties do still allow wood roofs, and we can help you understand your local building code if your preference is wood shake.

If your city or covenant-controlled community no longer allows wood shake roofs, you still have options if you are aiming for a wood shake appearance. There are several products that provide very realistic-looking wood shake roofs created from synthetic material (rubber and plastic), concrete, stone-coated steel, and even asphalt. See below for more detail about these options.

What are my options for replacing my existing wood shake roof?

One of the benefits of a wood shake roof is the timeless charm they provide. The good news is you can achieve the same effect with alternative roofing materials. Some of our favorite options include:

Is it time for a repair or replacement of your wood shake roof? Our team of experts is ready. Contact us here to get started!