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Should I Replace My Cedar Shingles with Composition Roofing?

Posted on July 18, 2015

We hear this question frequently. Some of our customers are concerned with loss of value to their home if they switch from cedar shakes to composition shingles. Others are concerned they’ll lose the energy benefits of using wood, especially if they have an older home.

There are some major things to consider before making the switch.

Comparison of Environmental Impact
Even though composition roofing is an oil-based product, it is a recyclable product. It’s used for asphalt pavement, aggregate base and subbase and cold patches for road and parking lot surfaces. It’s impact on the environment is at the front end during the refining process.

Quality cedar shakes must be taken from the heartwood of older cedars. So even though they do have some insulating properties and allow the roof to breath, their use could potentially increase greenhouse gases due to deforestation.

Cedar shingles can be recycled most of the time into mulch. You want to take care that you don’t mulch garden areas, because of the chemicals used to make them fire resistant can be harmful.

Comparison of Maintenance Costs
Ease of repair for cedar and composition roof tiles is about the same. But maintenance can be more costly for cedar. You must commit to regular roof maintenance to remove leaves, algae, fungi and moss. You’ll also need to apply a wood preservative no less than every 3 years. You’ll also need to plan on replacing the ridge caps and any damaged shingles every 10 to 15 years.

If you choose an algae resistant composition tile, you’re looking at very low maintenance costs for about 20 years. Otherwise in the Pacific Northwest, composition roofing requires regular moss removal as well. Most experts recommend professional cleaning and treatment at least once a year.

Addition of a zinc strip at the top of the roof ridge or a copper wire at the top ridge and midway down the roof does work to prevent moss growth. Many homeowners agree that both options are unattractive.

Equally Upscale
There is no question that cedar shakes are very attractive and upscale. The many dimensional profiles available in composition roofing make it a classy-looking option as well.

Composition roofing does give you far more choices. There are multiple styles and colors to choose from. From irregular cuts and angular lines to wide cuts, your roof adds more style to your home than ever before when you use composition roofing.
With whole palettes of colors to choose from, your roof will inspire the color scheme of your home. The variations in the shading of the ‘separate’ shingles gives you a range of choices in paint colors.

Architectural tiles can look wood-like in certain colors, while they mimic slate in other shades.

Roof Life Span Considerations
It’s impossible to guarantee a cedar roof for 50 years. That’s exactly what some high-end composition roofing manufacturers do. Even their lower-end products frequently carry a 30-year limited warranty.

Well cared for, a cedar roof can last 30 years. So it’s your choice.

Would you like to learn more?
A Hayes Roofing representative would be happy to speak with you about your different roofing options. Give us a call at 425-348-4145 or call us Toll Free at 877-9WE-ROOF.

Providing Affordable Roofing Services in the Greater Seattle area.