Wood shakes are one of the most beautiful roofing options around, and, if well taken care of, they can make a home appealing for up to four decades after they were installed. Let’s start with taking into consideration several factors that affect the service life of a roof, like:
- Environment (Salt content of the air in the locality, frequency of rain, humidity, hail storms, etc.)
- Nearby (Overhanging) Tree Branches
- Product Quality
- Quality of Installation
- Foot Traffic
Out of these factors, maintenance is the one you have most control over. Wear and tear will undoubtedly take its toll on a roof but employing routine maintenance can catch problems while they are small, giving you the opportunity to remedy them before they worsen. Keep big problems at bay and you can ensure that you make the most out of your roof’s service life.
In the case of wood shakes, care and maintenance usually involves:
- Removing debris. Let wood shakes breathe by ensuring leaves, branches and other debris do not build up on keyways and surface areas. This will let you keep your roof from being always wet, avoiding moisture-related problems.
- Getting rid of overhanging branches. Leaves from overhanging branches (and the branches themselves) can sweep over wood shakes, essentially scratching at your roof. Prevent unnecessary wear and tear by removing or trimming tree branches hanging over wood shakes.
- Controlling moss and algae. Nailing copper or zinc strips at your roof’s ridge cap and on the field can effectively control moss and algae, if wood shakes are not treated. Chemical treatments may be used but make sure they are specifically meant for wood shakes.
Power Washing is a quick way to remove debris but it can strip away protective coatings on a roof. To restore wood shakes after a thorough cleaning, have topical treatment re-applied. If debris build-up isn’t severe, wood shakes should be power washed with pressure comparable to a garden hose.