Cedar roofing is a beautiful material, but it can be tricky to work with. The rustic all-natural wood expands and contracts depending on the season and is susceptible to water damage if proper precautions aren’t taken. Protect your new cedar roof by avoiding these mistakes as you plan your install.
1. Not Letting the Wood Acclimate
You might be tempted to install your new cedar roofing as soon as you receive it, but you need to make sure the wood has enough time to be exposed to your home’s climate before you start. The wood might expand or contract depending on temperature and moisture levels. Place the shakes or shingles under cover and off the ground outdoors. The amount of acclimation time will depend on the wood you choose and your region.
2. Wrong Nails
Use stainless steel, galvanized, or aluminum two-inch nails when working with cedar. If you use stainless steel, choose your alloy based on your distance from the ocean. Use a 316 alloy if you live less than 15 miles from saltwater; otherwise, use a 304 alloy. Using a nail with ring shanks prevents the nail from popping out as your cedar roofing expands naturally.
3. Using a Nail Gun
Nail guns tend to fire the nail too far into the shingle, causing it to crack and eventually fall off. Also, firing the nails quickly can cause you to miss the skip sheathing beneath the shingle. Any missed nails will be more likely to cause shingles to crack and curl. To avoid this, hand-nail two nails into each shingle. Place the nails four inches from the top and one inch from each side.
4. Improper Shingle Placement
Starting at the bottom row, overlap each shingle at least an inch and a half over the edge of the roof, with the thick end at the top for the bottom row only. Then, add shingles above that with the thick part at the bottom. Leave about a quarter-inch space between each shingle so they can expand naturally.
5. Shingles Not Ventilated Properly
If a cedar roof lacks ventilation or doesn’t have any at all, it can lead to serious damage like shingle warping or curling. Also, ventilation allows the shingles to dry properly so they don’t rot. To achieve proper ventilation, you can use a cold roof system to ventilate your roof and keep it temperature balanced. The three essential parts of a cold roof system are eave venting, ridge venting, and skip sheathing.
Now that you know what to watch for, your roofing installation should go according to plan. While installing cedar roofing is definitely not for beginner DIYers, it’s a project some knowledgeable homeowners feel confident taking on. Whether you hire a professional contractor or not, just make sure to do your research and equip yourself with the proper knowledge before you get started.
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