Cedar shingles and shakes make for a pretty durable roof, with the average cedar roof lasting about 30 – 40 years. In order to ensure that your cedar roof lasts as long as possible, there are a few things you should do while your roof is still young.
Make sure your attic is properly ventilated.
If your attic is not well ventilated, hot and humid air will build up in the attic. This moisture is not good for the roof – it will cause it to degrade more quickly. You can tell if your attic is properly ventilated by going up into the attic on a hot day. The space should feel somewhat warmer than the rest of your home, but if it feels overly hot and sticky to the extent that you're not able to stand being up there for more than a minute or two, it's probably not as well ventilated as it should be. Have a roofing contractor come out to investigate. If your attic is, in fact, inadequately ventilated, they can add more vents or perhaps even an attic exhaust fan to allow that moisture and heat to escape.
Get rid of any trees that overhang the roof.
Trees overhanging the roof create shade, which is not a good thing. A shaded roof will eventually grow moss and algae, which thrive in the shade. Cedar's natural oils keep these pests from growing initially, but these oils dissipate as the wood ages, making older cedar roofs more prone to moss and algae. These plants aren't just ugly – they break down your roof and lead to premature deterioration.
Trim any tree branches that overhang your roof, and keep them trimmed back. If a tree cannot be pruned to reduce overhang, consider having the entire tree removed.
Clean the roof every couple of years.
One reason why cedar makes such a good roofing material is that it breathes. It does not trap moisture inside of itself like many other woods do. However, when cedar gets dirty, it loses this ability to breathe. Dirt and debris clog its "pores" and moisture gets trapped inside of it, promoting decay. Keeping your cedar clean will increase its lifespan by preserving its ability to breathe. At least every couple of years, get up on a ladder and pressure wash your roof. If this tasks sounds too intimidating to you, hire someone to power wash your roof. It will be well worth the cost when you get an extra few years out of your roof. Talk to a roofer, like Belgrave Enterprises, for more help.