So you have a wood shake roof, and with spring here you’re wondering, “do I need any repairs this year?” Well thankfully, whether your roof is cedar, pine, or treated pine, you can determine many of the factors that may require your roof to be maintained or repaired all on your own, if you are up to it. If you have a window from which you can see your roof, or if you’re brave enough to climb a ladder and take a peek at your roof from the top of it, here’s what to look for:
You can often see some shakes that have lost strips of wood, leaving it a few inches thinner than it was. This occurs when a split has progressed so far up the shake until it completely dislodges, and doesn’t have a nail to continue securing the wood. This sliver of wood will eventually get carried off the roof in a rainstorm, or blown off in a windstorm. If you’ve walked around your house and noticed large chunks of wood or found whole shakes lying on in your backyard, then it is likely that you’ve got some gaps on your roof.
Missing/Splitting Ridge Cap
Ice and rain also play a role in the expansion and contraction of ridge cap. Ridge cap is the two pieces of wood cut precisely so that they can overlap and then be stapled together right at the peak of your roof. Over time, the staples that hold ridge cap together can come loose, allowing for the pieces to separate. This separation can cause the felt paper that covers the peak to become exposed to the elements. Wind then also becomes a threat to ridge cap, as improperly secured or splitting cap can catch wind like a sail. In the worst-case scenario, several ridge caps can be blown off entirely, leaving whole sections of your roof's peak vulnerable.
The problems above are all routine signs of wear that happen on every shake roof over time. If you have any questions or concerns about your shake roof, give ARCO Roofing Solutions a call at 403-475-2704. We’re happy to keep you informed. If you’re curious about the extent of work that might need to be done, our inspections are free.
Exposed Felt Paper/Plywood
The felt paper is the water-proof layer that gets protected from hail by the shakes on top of it. If the shakes that protect this paper have been damaged or are missing, there is nothing between the felt paper and the elements. When felt paper remains exposed for long enough, rain and hail will start to deteriorate the paper, but it is the sun's UV rays that cause the most damage. Further deterioration will occur until the plywood sheathing underneath can be seen. This failing in the roof’s protective layers can cause leaks and mould that don’t only compromise the integrity of the roof, but can cause further problems in the ceilings and walls of your home.
Split on Split
It is common for shakes to split apart from the expanding and contracting caused by ice, rain and heat from the sun. This splitting is not always cause for alarm. For example, if the split aligns with solid shakes above and below the split, then it is no more concern than the spaces in between each individual shake on the roof, as each space is protected by the surrounding layers of shake. If, however, the split aligns with another split or gap between shakes, then the felt paper beneath the shakes becomes slightly exposed and can potentially become a larger problem down the road.