As cedar shakes age, they tend to warp and distort. While some warping is normal and natural, too much distortion can cause the roof to leak or shingles to suffer damage. One of the most common ways shingles warp is curling or cupping.
Curling and cupping happen over time as cedar shakes or shingles are subjected to UV radiation, rain, heat, and other natural forces. Over time, the expansion and contraction of the shingles can lead to cupping and curling. Excessive cupping and curling which exposes the underlayment beneath the shakes is a sign that your roof needs repair or replacement.
You should also note that new cedar shingles or shakes will cup or curl slightly, but extreme cupping or curling is a sign of a bad installation. This is why it is vital you only work with roofers who have experience installing and maintaining cedar roofs.
Along with cupping and curling, age and elemental exposure can also cause cedar shakes and shingles to split. Splits can happen very gradually or they can be sudden events. In any case, split shingles are often a sign you need to replace your roof or at least consider repairs.
If you do notice any split shingles on your roof, pay attention to how the split looks compared to the rest of the shingle. A split that is a noticeably brighter color than the shingle’s exterior is usually a sign of storm or debris damage. In these cases it is worth checking your homeowner’s insurance policy to see if your roof work might be covered.
Unlike asphalt shingles, cedar shakes are made of organic material. Over time water and sun exposure can cause cedar shakes to soften and start to break down just like any other wood. Rot, moss, mold and algae are very common problems with cedar shakes, especially when they are installed in shady or cool locations with lots of rain or water exposure.
To check for rot or growth on your shakes, look for the following signs or symptoms:
A final sign your cedar shake roof might need replacement is if shingles are missing entirely or if pieces of them are missing or damaged. While cedar shake roofs are extremely durable, they still can’t stand up to missing shakes and excessive damage. If you’re seeing leaks or other problems inside your house, check to make sure none of your shakes are missing.