Cedar Roof Restoration

June 22nd 2010
Cedar Roof Restoration

In recent years it seems an entire industry has developed around restoring cedar roofing. Many of you with cedar roofs may have seen companies in your area offering roof restoration services. We have received many emails and phone calls to our office regarding the services that are being offered by roofing restoration companies. Here is an article to help you make an educated choice when dealing with your cedar roof.

The Southern Interior / Okanagan regions have extensive sun and extreme heat. Cedar roofing performs very well in these environments and has historically lasted upwards to 40 or 50 years. The Coast, Lower Mainland and Vancouver Island regions are temperate rainforest. Due to abundant rainfall, the lifespan of neglected cedar roofing is reduced. Organic debris from overhanging trees, wind-blown leaves, dust and dirt combine with the spring rains to provide an excellent medium to promote the growth of moss, algae and a host of other organisms that break down a cedar roof.

This situation has spawned an army of entrepreneurs offering to extend the life of cedar roofs with high pressure washing, and treatments with solutions of unknown ingredients while promising unrealistic warranties. Unfortunately the industry is largely unregulated, in the case of both the products and the work force. Desperate homeowners see this as a way to avoid re-roofing for another 10 years, when in fact, the damage in many cases has already been done from years of neglect.

Without question, maintenance in the form of cleaning is essential for roofing of all types but especially for cedar, since it is a natural product. High-pressure washing (with gas-powered pressure washers) can do more damage than good by removing the pulp of the cedar itself.


Cedar roofing should be cleaned regularly, spring and fall, with medium pressure or enough to remove debris that accumulated during those 6 months, and inspected in preparation for the next season.

Damaged and prematurely deteriorated tiles should be replaced. Ridge caps often separate due to failure of the fastener, which joins the 2 sides together causing them to open up. Ridge and hip caps oppose the flow of water along the grain so they tend to break down a little sooner than field tiles. They should be repaired or replaced as required. Even cracked or warped field tiles can be replaced without losing any watershedding performance.

Cedar has natural oils and natural anti-fungal agents, which is why cedar trees can live over 1000 years. Besides pressure treating the cedar by the manufacturer before installation, it is difficult to improve on cedar's natural long-lasting properties.

Do not use a topical treatment product that makes outrageous claims (such as a 10-year effectiveness); makes fire-retardant claims; is a sealant, waterproofer or plasticizer; or contains unfortified linseed oil, diesel fuel or crank case oil. Topical solutions such as latex, butyl, or silicon, "seal" or coat the surface of the cedar preventing it from "breathing". Anything used as a topical treatment should be labelled as a cedar roof treatment product or have a letter from the manufacturer stating that treating cedar roofs is an appropriate use for that product.

For more information visit www.rcabc.org or call 604-882-9734