Wooden roofs are beautiful to look at, and they have started to become more popular with people leaning towards a rustic or colonial look. They can last you quite a long time if they are built properly using the correct materials, but you will eventually need to do some repairs. If you have a wood roof that needs some TLC or you want to replace your old roof with wooden shingles, have a look at these 5 tips to remodel a wooden roof in 2022.
Figure out what materials you need
If you have moved into a home with a wooden roof, then you might not know what type of wood was used on your roof. The most common type is US western red cedar, as it is known to be the toughest as far as weather and time go. A few other kinds of wood, like Atlantic white cedar, cypress, and California redwood, are sometimes used but not nearly as often. The closer the wood is to the area you live in, the cheaper the shingles will likely be, so do a bit of research before you start buying.
Purchase your supplies
You will be buying your shingles by the bundle, and each bundle will likely cover about 33 square feet. You should shop around and see what the prices are like for bundles, as they could vary quite a bit, depending on where you look and how much you need. Keep in mind that your roof should last you about 30 years if it is properly maintained, so any extra money you pay over asphalt shingles will be worth it. “People love the rustic look for their homes, and many have started to replace old shingles with wood roofs to keep up with the farmhouse trend,” says Virginia real estate agent Dustin Fox.
Tip #1: You might be able to get a fantastic price if you can find somewhere that sells wholesale, like a local sawmill.
Remove the problem
Whether you’re doing a patch job or replacing the entire thing, you will need to remove the old roof in order to put in your new one. Make sure you have all of your safety equipment (including safety glasses, this is important!) and head up to the roof with your pry bar. A pry bar is a great way to get off thinner shingles, but for wider shingles, you can get away with using a wide shovel to lift them off by prying them the same way.
Once you have the problem removed, you should make sure that the roof is stable enough to handle the new shingles. You might need to replace the roof deck and plastic cover to ensure that it is able to handle the nails coming in.
Prevent any future issues
One major concern people have with wood is its tendency to rot underneath due to the trapped moisture that isn’t evaporated, but there are a few great ways to prevent this during installation. Using a layer of mesh-like material in between the shingles and the plastic-covered roof deck is the best way to prevent any rotting. This way, any water that soaks into the wood will drip through the mesh and come out the bottom, and it also creates airflow so it can dry much faster.
Tip #2: You need to make sure that the corners of your roof have drainage running down so that the rain isn’t staying on your roof for too long.
Start your first row
One thing you need to know about cedar shanks is that they are not uniform. This is why many people prefer to use a row of singles over shanks when it comes to their starter row. Using shingles over shanks is the best way to make sure that you are starting on a flat surface when you start to lay down the rest of the roof. Make sure that your starter row isn’t placed too tightly against each other as the wood will expand, so keep a 1/4 of an inch gap to account for it.
Tip #3: Nail your starter row with two nails per shingle and make sure they are about halfway through the shingle. You don’t want them too high, or you will risk them being slowly lifted off by the wind.
You also need to consider how much of the shake will be open to the air, and this is called the “exposure.” Exposure is important and some companies will give you different measurements you should use for your exposure line. Sticking with their guidelines will ensure that the shakes will last a long time.
Tip #4: Make sure you use tar paper between the layers to ensure the water doesn’t drip too far between the gaps.
Take your time
The biggest thing you need to know about using wooden shingles or shakes is that it is going to take more time because you need to select each piece individually. You don’t want each row to become too stacked on top of each other. The best way to think about it is like building with assorted lego bricks. You need to layer the bricks on the weak points, so the wall is sturdy, and the same thing goes for a wood-shake roof.
Tip #5: You also need to ensure that the bottom of your next layer is being placed OVER the last layer’s nails. This will keep leaks at bay and make sure that the roof looks nice when it’s done.
The top of your roof (the hip and ridge areas)will require a slightly different technique, and you will need to trim off the top edge first to ensure it’s straight before you start. You will need to install the “ridge shakes” so that they overlap each other at the ends to form a tight seal.
Once you’ve finished, you can choose to go over it with a sealant if you want, but the options are not necessary for shanks that have been pre-treated. Now it’s time to sit back and enjoy your wood roof. Make sure you check it every few years (especially after big storms) to make sure there’s no major damage, and your wood roof will last you a long time.