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    Cedar Roof Replacement

    Popularity of Cedar in Atlanta

    Cedar roofing is a beautiful, natural product that is becoming increasingly popular in the Atlanta market.  The shingle is often found on high end, new construction homes from Buckhead to Milton.  In this guide, Bird’s Eye Roofing will overview several items to consider when installing your cedar roof.  We will explore its advantages, drawbacks, various types, and alternative options, empowering you to make informed decisions.  This guide also assumes that when to replace your cedar roof is now, and that you’ve determined cedar roof maintenance is not an option.

    Cedar Roof in Milton

    Benefits of Installing a Cedar Roof

    1. Natural Insulator. Cedar is a remarkable natural insulator, helping to regulate your home's temperature and reduce energy costs. Enjoy comfort in every season.
    2. Aesthetic Appeal. The timeless elegance of cedar shingles or shakes can transform the look of your home. Cedar roofing provides an aesthetically pleasing upgrade that reflects your style.
    3. Increased Curb Appeal. A cedar roof isn't just a functional covering; it's a statement of your home's character. Elevate your home's curb appeal with the unique charm of cedar.
    4. Impact Resistance and Potential Insurance Discounts. Cedar roofs are surprisingly durable, and their impact resistance can lead to potential insurance discounts, saving you money in the long run.

    Choosing the Types of Cedar Roofing

    Western Red Cedar

    Red Cedar vs. White Cedar

    Red Cedar is the most common cedar shake in the Atlanta area.  This shake darkens to a muddy brown over its lifespan and is more durable than the white cedar. Red cedar is often found on farmhouses and rural homes.  Red cedar is one of the most versatile soft woods in the world.

    White Cedar is more common in the northeast and on the ocean.  This cedar fades to a grey overtime and is less durable than the red cedar.

    Hand Split Red Cedar Shakes

    Shakes (Hand Split) vs. Shingles (Tapersawn)

    These options affect the visual texture of your roof and its performance. Hand split shakes are the most popular in Atlanta and have a more rugged, natural look.  The shingles (tapersawn shingles) are cut and have a cleaner look. These are more common in the Northeast.

    How to Install a Cedar Roof

    A cedar roof surpasses its primary function of protecting your home; it embodies the artistry of skilled craftsmanship while adding a touch of timeless elegance. The process of installing a cedar roof requires a delicate blend of precision and creativity, resulting in a roofing system that not only shields your home but also enhances its aesthetic appeal. Let us explore the meticulous steps and subtle nuances involved in the installation of a cedar roof.  All installation methods should reference the Cedar Bureau's cedar installation guidelines.

    Removing an old cedar roof

    Removing the Old Cedar Roof

    The first step after protecting the home is removing the old cedar roof.  

    Replace Rotten Decking

    Once the decking is exposed, all compromised decking must be replaced.

    Install Underlayment

    Underlayment is installed over the roof deck to prevent moisture from entering your home.

    Install Ice & Water Shield

    Ice and water shield should be installed in the valleys and other sensitive areas.

    Replace Flashing

    All flashing should be replaced on a roof during a reroof.

    Install Open Valleys

    Exposed metal will be installed in the valleys which will have superior water shedding abilities and act as a great accent on your home.

    Cedar Roof Open Valley Flashing
    Western Red Cedar

    Install Starter Shingles

    This row of shingles will help align and protect the base of your cedar roof.

    Install Cedar Shakes

    Cedar shakes require hand nailing and spacing between the shakes so they can breathe.


    Install Ventilation

    A gap at the ridge will suffice for ridge vent, or other ventilation such as power vents or slant back vents may be installed.  Cedar will already keep your attic cooler than other types of roofing products, but ventilation will ensure proper attic air flow and lengthen the lifespan of the cedar product.

    Install Hip and Ridge Shakes

    Cedar hip and ridge shingles will be installed on the hips and ridges to fully enclose the system


    Cedar Hip and Ridge Shakes

    Disadvantages of Cedar

    While cedar roofing is absolutely beautiful, there are some additional items that should be considered when purchasing a cedar roof system.

    Cedar Roof Cost

      • Material cost. Cedar materials are significantly more expensive than asphalt shingles due to the fact they take decades for nature to grow and must be shipped from the Pacific Northwest.

      • Labor cost.  Installing cedar shakes takes 2-3x as long as installing asphalt shingle products, so the labor costs are 2-3x as expensive.

      • Contractor Quality.  Contractors should have experience with cedar and specialty products.  This will eliminate a lot of contractors that can work on the project.

    More information can be found at our how much does a cedar roof cost?

    Cedar Roof Maintenance

    Cedar roof maintenance is more intrusive and expensive than maintenance on other roofing systems.  Here's a checklist of maintenance tasks and the potential costs every 5-7 years:

      • Broken, curling, or cupped shakes should be replaced or resecured
      • A cleaner should be applied to kill mold, algae, and other growths that will break the cedar down more quickly
      • Stain the cedar shakes to protect from UV rays
      • Estimated cost: ~5% of total roof replacement cost

    The benefit to maintenance is the roof will last up to 30+ years and will be rejuvenated every 5-7 years to look new.

    Cedar Roof Maintenance

    How Long Does a Cedar Roof Last?

    Cedar roofs are expected to last 30 years.  They will have a shorter lifespan if maintenance is not performed, or if inferior products were used during installation.  If quality products and maintenance are performed, the roof can last up to 40 years.

    Cedar Roof Alternatives

    Cedar roof alternatives can be considered for cost reasons, and maintenance considerations.  Other products to consider could be:

    • Designer Asphalt Shingles.  These will cost 50% less than cedar shingles.  CertainTeed Presidential Shake is an example of an asphalt shingle with a shake look.
    • Synthetic Cedar.  These are cedar shakes that are manufactured with rubber like material.  This eliminates the need for maintenance, but the installation cost and lifespan are similar.

    Choosing a Cedar Roof Contractor

    Selecting the right contractor for your cedar roof replacement is essential. Look for these key factors when making your choice:

      • Strong repair knowledge to stop leaks: Ensuring your chosen contractor can effectively address roof repairs is paramount.

      • Experience with cedar: Experience in working with cedar roofing is invaluable for quality installation.

      • Insurance: Ensure your contractor has the necessary insurance coverage to protect your interests throughout the replacement process.

    Cedar roof replacement is an investment that can elevate your home's beauty and performance. With the guidance and expertise of a reliable contractor, you can ensure your new cedar roof will be a source of pride for years to come.