How to take care of a wooden shingle roof

14 September 2015
 Categories: , Articles

If you want your house to have a quaint, rustic, country feel to it, there is no doubt that the roofing option for you is wood shingles. The effect is something far more old-fashioned and homely looking than slate tiles or a sheet of aluminium.

Typically, wood shingles are made from western red cedar as it has properties that allow it to hold up to various weather conditions — even the extreme weather conditions of Australia. But this does not mean that you can just let your wooden shingle roof sit idly over the years. In fact, wooden shingle roofs need more care and attention than most other types of roof. So how can you make sure that it is kept up in good condition?

Remove roof debris

The big difference between having a shingle roof and any other kind of roof is that there is far more scope for debris to collect within the textured surface of the shingles. This debris could include fallen leaves and needles from trees. It's a bad idea to let this debris sit idly for a couple of reasons. First of all, it will stop water from running off your roof, and secondly, the debris will harbour moisture, which can lead to the growth of wood destroying fungi (which causes more damage to properties than termites, floods, and fires combined). Removing the debris is a fairly easy task to perform if you can get on to your roof. Use a garden hose to spray most of the debris away, and get into any hard to reach areas with a broom.

Make regular repairs

The price that you have to pay for using attractive-looking wooden shingles on your roof is that the shingles will take any opportunity to rot, break, and curl upwards. All of these things can cause debris to get stuck within the shingles and leaks to occur too. For this reason, you will need to lean on the talents of a roof contractor to give your roof an MOT every six months or so. They will then be able to make any necessary roof repairs, such as gluing down shingles that are coming apart from beneath, and using extra powerful pressure washers to get rid of rot, moss and fungi that refuses to budge with DIY methods.

Install zinc strips

There is another trick that you can use to prevent moss from growing over your roof. Install some zinc strips along the ridge of your roof (which you can get a roofer to do if you feel uncomfortable with the task), and the zinc acts as a natural deterrent for the onset of moss. Copper works just as well as zinc, and this is an extremely economical solution for keeping moss at bay.

Protect the roof from UV rays

In Australia, where the summers are extremely hot and dry, exposure to UV rays is a constant threat. And the threat is not just to your skin, but also to your home. A wooden shingle roof in direct sunlight will be exposed to UV rays, which can cause structural degradation. You might think that the solution would be to plant some trees so that overhanging branches will shade the roof. And while this will provide shade, it will also increase the amount of leaves, sticks and needles that can fall from the tree on to your roof. The solution is to apply an oil based preservative that will penetrate deep into the wood and protect the shingles against UV rays. The preservative should last for at least three years, but it will then need to be checked by a professional roofer to see if another coat needs to be added.