Are you looking to replace your existing roof or need a new roof? If so, have you considered natural wood shingles? A good reason to use wood as a roofing material is if your home has some historical references that call for preservation by using wood. As well, wood has a distinctive look and aesthetic appeal.
What is a Wood Shingle Roof?
Natural wood shingle roofs are ones that are finished with wood from insect and weather resistant trees such as red cedar, redwood, and treated pine. Wood shingles are sawn on both sides and have an even taper and uniform thickness. Wood shakes differ in that they are split and have a more rustic, textured appearance. Shingles are available in 18 inch and 24 inch lengths that are overlapped for optimal weather protection.
Western red cedar and southern yellow pine shingles are available chemically pressure treated. This makes them fire resistant and better able to prevent premature rot and decay.
While cedar shingles can be placed on wood spacers or nailing strips, pine shingles are usually placed over a felt underlayment on solid decking.
Installing a Natural Wood Shingle Roof
There are several layers and steps we use to install a wood shingle roof. Each of these is in accordance with the National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) guidelines. When considering natural wood shingles, it’s important to keep in mind that the NRCA advises against using wood shingles on roofs with slopes less than 4 in 12. Here are the basic components, which we will describe in more detail.
- Removal of existing roof, if necessary
- Roof deck
- Wood shingles
- Gutters and downspouts
Wood roof shingle systems are applied over continuous wood decking, such as plywood sheathing, or over a spaced sheathing strips, depending on your climactic conditions. Solid plywood decking works well in cold climates where ice damming can be applied. Spaced sheathing is ideal for allowing the wood to “breathe” in warmer climates and those where humidity is an issue.
We will commonly use asphalt saturated organic felts as the next layer over plywood decking. These underlayments provide additional moisture protection on sloped roofs. Additionally, an ice-dam protection membrane should be considered if you live in an area where the average temperature is below freezing during the month of January. This membrane helps prevent leaks caused by ice dams that form along the edge of a roof.
Wood shingles are attached to a roof deck or strips with noncorrosive, galvanized steel, or stainless steel fasteners. We will use a minimum of two fasteners per shingle. Nails should be long enough to penetrate through all layers of roofing materials and extend through the underside of the roof deck.
Flashings for wood roof systems are necessary at perimeters, edges, penetrations, valleys, and at vertical surfaces. Metal, such as copper, is the preferred flashing material for wood shingle roofs.
Gutters and Downspouts
The roofing system is completed with the installation of eave gutters attached to downspouts. The downspouts will direct the water away from foundations or into a below grade drainage system that carries the water away from basements. This is very important if your project also includes basement remodeling.
Completion of the Work
Upon completion of a wood shingle roofing installation, your will receive a manufacturer’s product warranty and a workmanship warranty from us.
You will notice that your new roof initially appears pale brown or blonde in color, unless you have requested that it be sealed with a water-resistant coating which will appear slightly darker. A raw shingle roof will eventually weather to a warmer gray tone. A sealed shingle roof will retain its brown color as long as it is periodically maintained by reapplying sealer.
A natural wood shingle roof is both aesthetically appealing and, in many cases, historically appropriate. We would be happy to answer any questions you might have about installing a new or replacement natural wood shingle roof.