Stone slab roof (C) Daniel Friedman

Wood Shingle & Wood Shake Roof Wear Signs & Installation Problems
     

  • WOOD ROOF WEAR / INSTALLATION DEFECTS - CONTENTS: Signs of trouble on wood shingle or wood shake roofs. Wood shingle roof inspection, failures, repair, product defects. Roof inspection, leak detection, roof diagnosis, roof repair. Key design details & references for wood shingle roofs.
  • POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about signs of wear or damage to wood shingle or wood shake roofs
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Wood shingle or shake wear, damage, or leak indicators: here we discuss the inspection of wood shingle or wood shake roofing for indications of wear, poor installation, or other troubles that affect the remaining life of a wood shingle roof, wood shake roof, cedar shingle or cedar shake roof.

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Examples of Wood Roof Wear or Installation Problems that Limit Roof Life

Stone slab roof (C) Daniel Friedman Improperly set wood shingle roof (C) Daniel Friedman

[Click to enlarge any image]

Worn out wood shingle roofs: Our photo of a worn-out, curling, thin, split wood shingle roof is at above left. That's pretty easy to estimate.

Wood shingle placement & side lap offset: Take a close look at the new wood shingle roof at right. The side lap offset on this roof looks as if it barely complies with the 1.5" offset we want to see - it might be an improper installation, with many shingle butt joints offset by as little as 3/16" over one another. If so, this roof is likely to be leaky and it was not installed according to industry specifications. A closer look is needed.

At Anecdote of a "Bad" Roofing Contractor we give details about another case of improper nailing pattern for wood shingle roofs. In three successive courses of wood shingles or shakes, no butt joints should be in direct alignment (joints over joints), and between any two adjacent shingle courses the side lap offset of shingles over the course below should be 1 1/2" or more.

Wood shingle side gaps: Wood shingles are nailed with a 1/4" to 3/8" gap between adjacent shingles to accommodate shingle movement and dimensional change when shingles are wet by rain or melting snow. Omitting this gap can lead to a buckling, splitting, and failed wood shingle roof. Wood shakes require a still larger gap of 3/8" to 5/8" separation. More details are at WOOD ROOF INSPECTION GUIDE.

More Wood Shingle Roof Details & Indications of Wood Roof Trouble

Thick moss on a wood shingle roof (C) Daniel Friedman Curling wood shingle roof (C) Daniel Friedman

Our photo of a moss-overgrown wood shingle roof is at above left. Additional examples of moss and lichens growth on roofs as well as discussion of how to remove and prevent this problem are at ALGAE, FUNGUS, LICHENS, MOSS on SHINGLES.

Cedar shingle roof venting alternative (C) Carson Dunlop AssociatesOur photo of a curling and splitting wood shingle roof at above right demonstrates early wear and damage that might occur when wood shingles are installed over un-vented solid plywood decking.

Carson Dunlop's sketch at left shows an alternative method for providing (some) ventilation under cedar shingles when applied over a solid plywood roof deck. In our OPINION, installing wood shingles over un-vented solid plywood decking cuts the roof life in half, but this vent product might extend wood shingle life.

Carson Dunlop's sketch (below left) illustrates the traditional cedar shingle application pattern on spaced plank sheathing - a design that allows the shingles to dry quickly, extending the roof life. Our photo (below right) shows this traditional wood shingle roof installation at which the shingles were nailed on spaced sheathing, affording good ventilation.

For added details about proper wood shingle or wood shake roof installation, perhaps the most authoritative source of wood shingle and wood shake information is from the Western Red Cedar Shingle & Shake Bureau (now the Cedar and Shake Shingle Bureau, since not only western red cedar is used for roof shingles).

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