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use "cedar breather" don't put them directly on the felt!!!

Posted by jb on February 1st, 2001 02:13 PM
In reply to Do I really want cedar shingles??? by gris on January 31st, 2001 10:59 PM [Go to top of thread]

9 of 9 people found this post helpful

I love them too, but they can be pricey. Around here we only use red cedar shingles for roofs. I am going to put them on the front roof plane of my house only because no one can ever even see the back, so I'll save a ton of dough. There are special solutions that you can use to spray on the roof to kill the mildew. Actually I think that too much shade is worse for these roofs than too much sun. In the shade you can get lichens that end up eating the wood and dramatically reduce their life expectancy. There are relatively new "oil" treatments for shingles that are professionally applied. This preservative treatment can dramatically increase the life span of your cedar roof, even if only done once. Maybe every 5-10 years might be best. Don't do it yourself because you WILL fall and hurt yourself; oil and roofs don't mix well. If you don't like the "new" look, wait a year for weathering before applying preservative. Find a roofer that knows what you are talking about and use him. If he doesn't seem to know what you are talking about when you say "oil my cedar roof shingles" then run away and find someone who has done it before.
You say he said he would tar paper, then vapor barrier, then shingle? What is vapor barrier doing on a roof? Hopefully you have misunderstood him because this sound pretty wacky to me, I've never heard of such a thing, its nutty.
Yes, they are more labor intensive and the materials cost is higher too. Just think, where an asphalt shingle would be put down it would take probably 4 - 6 cedar shingles to cover the same area, hence more labor. Where I live it does increase the value of the home somewhat. All the very best homes have them.
The question of cupping needs some looking into. These shingles cup only if they are not installed correctly. Think about it, these are pieces of unpainted, untreated wood that are exposed to the elements. Hence, they get wet and absorb water into their cells. When the sun comes out, the top dries and the bottom doesn't. Wood swells when it gets wet and shrinks when it gets dry, so the back side of the shingles are swollen and the front shrinks dry... instant cupping. Once this keeps happening for a while your shingles might just stay cupped. The oil treatment I discussed will help lessen this. The only CORRECT way to install these shingles is NOT to put them directly on top of the felt (tar paper). There are basically two methods of keeping them up off the felt so that the backs are allowed to dry and prevent roof damage and cupping. 1. Install pieces of strapping across your roof, on top of the plywood every 6" or so and nail your shingles to them (old fashioned and expensive but it works) or, 2. use a product such as cedar breather. If you don't do one of these methods then you really could be wasting your money and you would be better off using asphalt. Get 3 bids and don't even consider a roofer that doesn't know what I am talking about because they should (at least about the air under the shingles if not the oil which could be regional). Do it right or don't do it at all I say...

Here is an article that I found that illustrates the venting I'm talking about and shows how to do it right.

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