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Replacing Cedar Shake Roof With Rubber Shake Roofing

Euroshield Rubber Shake RoofingWas your home built in the 1970s or 1980s with a cedar shake roof?

If so, that roof is on borrowed time.

Even if your cedar shake roof was built 20 years ago, it could need replacing very soon. The question is what do you replace it with?

Roofing technology has likely advanced greatly since you last needed to consider this question. You have options available to you now that simply weren’t on the market then.

If you love the traditional appeal of hand-cut cedar shake shingles but are looking for a more durable option, rubber roofing may well be the answer.


The long-lasting appeal of wood shake

Cedar Shake Roof Problems in Canada and USAWood shake roofs have been a prominent feature of homes and businesses all over the US and Canada since Colonial times, thanks to the abundance of lumber here.

The rich, natural wood grain has always been highly prized and the life expectancy of those old-growth cedar roofs was 30+ years.

According to current logging industry regulations, however, forest depletion and policies introduced to protect old-growth mean that the materials available today tend to need replacing after only 15 – 20 years.

In extensive parts of North America, roofs take a heavy battering from hail, high winds, heavy rains, ice, snow, UV radiation and thermal expansion, which can all contribute to the deterioration of your roof.

Cedar shake roofs often show signs of weathering after only 5-10 years, damaging not only their aesthetic appeal but their structural integrity too.

A roof replacement should, therefore, be high on the list of priorities if your roof was built towards the end of the 1990s or before.

How do you know when to replace your cedar shake roof?

Replacing a roof can get expensive.

It helps to know what you should be on the lookout for during inspections of your cedar shake roof so that you know when the time to replace it arrives.

Which problems typically show first? What are the most serious problems? When does a roof replacement become a necessity?

Typically, you should be on the lookout for these tell-tale signs of an ageing cedar shake roof.


Roof curling, cupping and warping are signs of natural stress caused by the sun’s UV rays and rain. They are part of wood’s natural weathering and the ageing process.

Shingles curling

  • Cupping is caused by uneven moisture absorption and drying. The wood swells as it absorbs moisture and upon drying, shrinks. The undersides of the shakes often dry more slowly than the exposed faces, causing cupping across their width.
  • Curling occurs along the length of the shake and is again caused by the unevenness of moisture cycling. leading to exposed underlayment or roof decking and potential bigger problems down the road.


cracked roof tile - cedar roof problemsAll grades and types of cedar shakes and shingles will crack, split and fray naturally as they age.

The wood expands and contracts over time from moisture and drying cycles and microorganisms (like moss, lichen or algae) grow on exposed interior surfaces that are untreated, weakening the shake. Splits can occur from:

  • Natural weathering (typically wider at the base of the shingle)
  • Hail impact
  • Footfall (walking on cedar shakes is not recommended)
  • Mechanical damage

If the splits extend the length of the shake, they may loosen and be more easily blown off or damaged from further weathering or impact. They may also allow water to penetrate the roof rather than running off.

Splits that are wide enough to expose the felt underlayment to sunlight can cause UV radiation to deteriorate the felt, eventually allowing moisture to penetrate deeper into the roofing system.

According to the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (InterNACHI), after 10 years’ exposure, 66 percent of cedar shake roofs will develop splits.

Splits in your roof are a sure sign that you need to consider a replacement.


Faded Roof Shingles - Shake Roof ProblemsObserve colour changes to your cedar shake roof as this is a telltale sign of weathering.

Sunlight and moisture will change the chemical makeup and appearance of the shakes, turning the reddish-brown colour to silvery gray, usually within the first 10 years of the roof’s life.

As the years pass, your roof will turn a darker gray colour due to colonization by microfungi.


Algae and moss on roof shinglesLeaves, needles, moss, algae, mould and other debris naturally starts to accumulate on a cedar shake roof as the years pass.

Without regular maintenance, moss, algae, mould and fungi can start to destroy wood with rot problems, slowly degrading your shake roof.

Failure to deal with gathering moisture in your roof will promote the growth of plants like lichens and moss, accelerating the decline of your roof through rot.

Maintain, repair or replace?

A cedar shake roof requires deterioration prevention maintenance every 2-4 years just to keep it safe and doing the job it's intended for.

Regular treatments are needed to reduce rotting, warping, moisture absorption, and moss growth.

You should also perform the maintenance steps that are advisable for any type of roof:

  • Check for storm damage using binoculars or a drone and check inside the house for leaks or damp spots
  • Clear gutters and downspouts – keep them clear of debris like leaves, twigs, etc. which can attract moisture and lead to a buildup of moss, mould and mildew on your roof. Note: pressure washing is not recommended for cedar shake roofs
  • Cut back overhanging branches before the fall to reduce debris, mechanical damage, and shade (which encourages moss growth)

A professional maintenance company should conduct an annual inspection of your cedar shake roof. Professionals will notice things you do not and will conduct tests and observations to assess the integrity of your roof.

You will be made aware if roof treatments, repairs or a roof replacement are necessary.

If you’re prepared to take the necessary preventative steps, you may be able to prolong the life of your roof beyond 20 years.

However, these treatments can be expensive and most homeowners forget about their roof once it’s installed. Consequently, by the time the problems are identified, they are already too far gone to repair and the roof needs replacing.

How does rubber solve cedar shake roofing issues?

Many homeowners in the US and Canada put up with the limitations of cedar shakes because they love the appearance.

That’s fair enough. They do look great.

But what if you could achieve a similar appearance to cedar shake roofing with a roof that you never again need to worry about replacing?

Euroshield® offers a lifetime warranty on all of our rubber roofs. Our Ranchlands Shake and Beaumont Shake panels faithfully emulate the rustic charm of hand-cut cedar shake shingles while also providing unmatched durability.

Decades ago, wood shakes and shingles were the only options available. Now, you have the option of a virtually indestructible roof that looks very similar - made from 95 percent recycled materials, including the highest quality virgin crumb rubber derived from recycled tires.

We designed these materials to mimic the beautiful look of natural cedar without its obvious drawbacks.

Panels are engineered with the rich grain and vertical grooving that accurately depicts natural cedar shake, providing the visual appeal of authentic shake without the associated problems:

  • No splitting or cracking
  • No curling or cupping
  • No holding moisture, organic growth or rotting
  • No hail damage – industry-leading impact resistance (Class 4 UL2218)
  • No need for expensive roof treatments
  • Less colour fading – maintains its authentic colour with high carbon black content for UV resistance
  • Less environmental damage – in fact, it has a positive effect on the environment by keeping old tires out of landfills

Why replace your cedar shake roof with Euroshield® roofing?

Ranchlands Shake and Beaumont Shake roofs are virtually maintenance-free and will provide a lifetime of trusted performance even in the worst weather conditions. They are backed with a generous 50-year warranty that includes hail protection.

In short, you get all the fine aesthetics of hand-split cedar shake combined with the unmatched performance of rubber.

So, if you’re looking to convert your cedar shake roof to something more durable find out why so many homeowners are converting to Euroshield® rubber roofs.


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