Home Improvement

The Cost of Cedar Roofs: More Expensive, but Worth It?

The Cost of Cedar Roofs

Cedar shake roofs are a popular option for homeowners looking for a natural and rustic appearance for their roofs. Made from natural cedar wood, shake roofs can provide both an aesthetic appeal and energy-efficient benefits.

Cedar shakes are wooden shingles that are split from the log by hand, giving them a unique texture and appearance. The thickness of the shake can also vary depending on the desired look.

While cedar shake roofs are a costly option compared to traditional asphalt shingles, they have a longer life expectancy and require regular maintenance to keep their natural beauty. Proper maintenance includes regular inspections for insect or water damage and treating the wood with fire retardant treatments for added protection.

Professional installation is required for cedar shake roofs, as the complexity of the roof can vary depending on the square footage and type of material used. Labor costs can add to the overall expense of roof replacement, but the result is a unique and popular choice for homeowners.

The Cost of Installing a Cedar Roof

When it comes to roofing materials, cedar is a popular choice for homeowners. Not only does it provide a unique and rustic appearance to a home, but it also offers several benefits such as energy efficiency and durability. However, many homeowners are often concerned about the cost of installing a cedar roof.

The cost of installing a cedar roof can vary depending on several factors such as the size of the roof, the type of cedar material used, and the complexity of the roof’s design. On average, the cost of a cedar roof installation can range from $8 to $12 per square foot. This means that for a typical 2,500 square foot roof, the cost of installing a cedar roof can range from $20,000 to $30,000.

It’s worth noting that the cost of labor can also play a significant role in the overall cost of a cedar roof installation. Due to the complex nature of laying cedar shakes and shingles, professional installation is highly recommended. Labor costs can vary depending on the contractor and their experience, but on average, labor costs can range from $3 to $5 per square foot.

Maintaining a cedar roof can also add to the overall cost. Regular maintenance is required to ensure the longevity and durability of the cedar material. This includes annual inspections, cleaning, and treating the wood with retardant treatments to protect against insect and water damage.

While cedar roofing may seem like a costly option upfront, its durability and energy efficiency can provide long-term cost savings for homeowners. Additionally, a cedar roof can increase the resale value and curb appeal of a home.

When considering the cost of installing a cedar roof, it’s important to weigh the benefits and potential long-term cost savings against the upfront costs. Working with a reputable roofing contractor and performing regular maintenance can ensure the longevity of a cedar roof and provide homeowners with a beautiful and functional roofing option.

Factors Impacting the Overall Cost of a Cedar Roof

Before investing in a cedar roof, it’s important to understand the various factors that impact the overall cost of installation and maintenance. One of the key factors affecting the cost of a cedar roof is the type of material used. Cedar shakes are available in different grades, with higher-grade materials being more durable and longer-lasting. However, these higher-grade materials come at a premium cost, and the overall cost of installation can increase significantly.

The size and complexity of your roof also affect the cost of installation. A more complex roof with many angles and slopes will require more time and expertise to install, which can drive up the cost. The amount of labor required is another significant factor, with skilled roofers charging higher rates due to the organic nature of cedar shakes and the skill required to install them.

Maintenance is also an important consideration when it comes to the overall cost of a cedar roof. Regular inspections and cleaning are necessary to prevent damage from insects and moisture. Retardant treatments may also be required to protect against damage from severe weather conditions. Failing to maintain a cedar roof can lead to costly repairs in the future, increasing the overall cost of ownership.

Overall, while cedar roofs may require a higher initial investment than other roofing materials such as asphalt shingles, they offer a unique and natural look that many homeowners find appealing. By understanding the various factors that impact the overall cost of a cedar roof, homeowners can make an informed decision about whether it’s the right choice for their home and budget.

Maintenance and Repair Costs Of A Cedar Shake Roof

Cedar shake roofs are made from organic material, particularly natural wood, and offer a unique appeal that cannot be matched by synthetic materials such as asphalt shingles.

However, cedar shake roofs also come with their own set of challenges, particularly when it comes to maintenance. Proper maintenance is critical if you want your cedar shake roof to remain in good condition and protect your home from severe weather and water damage.

One of the most important aspects of maintaining a cedar shake roof is regular inspection. You should inspect your roof at least twice a year, in the spring and fall, to check for any signs of damage or wear and tear. Look for cracks, splits, or warping in the wood, as well as signs of insect or water damage.

Regular cleaning is also essential for a cedar shake roof. You should remove any debris such as leaves, branches, or moss from your roof every few months to prevent them from collecting and causing blockages that can lead to water damage. A pressure washer can be used to clean the roof, but it’s important to use low pressure and avoid spraying directly at the shakes, which can cause damage.

Proper maintenance also involves the application of fire retardant treatments. Cedar shake roofs are organic and can easily catch fire if not treated with a fire retardant. Contact a roofing contractor to apply these treatments to ensure maximum protection.

In addition, professional installation is crucial for the longevity and durability of your cedar shake roof. A skilled roofing contractor will be able to install the shakes properly, ensuring that they are securely fastened to the roof and will not become loose over time.

While cedar shake roofs can be a costly option, their life expectancy and energy efficiency make them worth the investment. With proper maintenance and regular care, your cedar shake roof can last for decades and continue to enhance the natural beauty of your home.

Common Problems With A Cedar Shake Roof

Cedar shake roofs are a popular choice for homeowners who want a natural and rustic appearance for their homes. However, like any roof, cedar shake roofs are not immune to problems. Here are some common issues that can arise with a cedar shake roof and the potential repair costs associated with each:

  1. Water damage: Cedar shake roofs can absorb water over time, which can lead to rot and decay. This can result in leaks and damage to the underlying structure of your home. The cost of repairing water damage can vary greatly depending on the extent of the damage. Minor repairs can cost around $500, while more extensive repairs could cost upwards of $5,000.
  2. Insect damage: Cedar shake roofs are susceptible to damage from insects such as termites, carpenter ants, and beetles. These insects can bore into the wood and cause structural damage to the roof. The cost of repairing insect damage can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars, depending on the extent of the damage.
  3. Shingle deterioration: Over time, cedar shake shingles can become brittle and crack, leading to leaks and other damage. The cost of replacing individual shingles can range from $10 to $20 per shingle, depending on the grade of cedar shake used.
  4. Moss and algae growth: Moss and algae can grow on cedar shake roofs, which can cause the shakes to retain moisture and deteriorate more quickly. The cost of cleaning and treating a cedar shake roof for moss and algae growth can range from $400 to $1,000.
  5. Improper installation: If a cedar shake roof is not installed properly, it can lead to problems such as leaks and loose shingles. The cost of repairing a poorly installed cedar shake roof can range from $1,500 to $5,000, depending on the extent of the repairs needed.

In order to avoid these problems and their associated repair costs, it is important to properly maintain your cedar shake roof. Regular inspections, cleaning, and treatment with fire retardant can help extend the life of your roof and prevent costly repairs in the future. If you do experience problems with your cedar shake roof, it is important to hire a qualified roofing contractor to ensure that the repairs are done correctly and effectively.

Pros and Cons of Investing in a Cedar Shake Roof

Investing in a cedar shake roof can be a great choice for homeowners who are looking for a rustic appearance and a roofing material that is environmentally friendly. However, like any other roofing material, cedar shake roofs have their own set of pros and cons.


  1. Natural beauty: Cedar shake roofs are made of natural wood, giving them a unique and beautiful appearance. They add a touch of rustic charm to any home.
  2. Energy efficient: Cedar shake roofs are great at keeping homes cool in the summer and warm in the winter. This can help homeowners save money on their energy bills.
  3. Long lifespan: Cedar shake roofs can last a long time with proper maintenance, often up to 30 years or more.
  4. Eco-friendly: Cedar shake roofs are made from natural, organic material that is biodegradable and renewable. This makes them an environmentally friendly choice.


  1. Costly option: Cedar shake roofs are generally more expensive than other roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles. The cost of installation and maintenance can add up over time.
  2. Regular maintenance required: Cedar shake roofs require regular maintenance, such as cleaning, treating for moss and algae growth, and replacing damaged shingles. Failure to maintain the roof can lead to costly repairs and replacement.
  3. Insect and water damage: Cedar shake roofs are susceptible to damage from insects such as termites and beetles, as well as water damage from exposure to rain and snow. This can lead to costly repairs and replacement.
  4. Fire hazard: Cedar shake roofs are not fire-retardant and can be a fire hazard in areas prone to wildfires. Homeowners in these areas may need to opt for fire-retardant treatments, which can add to the cost of the roof.


Cedar shake roofs can be a great choice for homeowners who prioritize natural beauty, energy efficiency, and eco-friendliness. However, they come with a higher cost and require regular maintenance to keep them in good condition. Homeowners should carefully consider their options and consult with a roofing contractor before investing in a cedar shake roof.