Cedar Roofing products have had their reputation decline over the last 10 to 15 years as the fall out from the Pine shake fiasco has generally affected all wooden roofs. When it was discovered that the untreated pine shakes were rotting before they were even 7 years old, they were taken out of the list of allowed roofing materials in June of 1997. For a few short years the green CCA (Copper Chromium Arsenic) treated pine was still used but around 2002 the fear of the Arsenic leaching out of CCA treated materials pretty much eliminated the use of CCA treated products. The general mistrust of wooden roofs affected cedar as well. Unfortunately around the same time period the majority of cedar shake roofs that were installed in Alberta were a poor quality of cedar shake known as #1 Medium. The #1 designation meant that only 80% of the shakes had to be good edge grain shakes and the rest could be flat grain and inferior material. In addition the 1/2” butt medium thickness is too thin for our dry Alberta climate and after about 15 years of service life they tend to crack and split resulting in pieces falling out and cracks forming above the space where two shakes are joined below them (crack on crack) and roof failures. In addition the fire susceptibility of cedar caused some hot publicity.
Cedar has a long and well demonstrated history as a good roofing product, and is still a good roofing material choice for those who like the rustic look of cedar. It is however extremely important that a high grade of cedar shakes be supplied. While we at Canmark will give comparative quotes and will do lesser grades of cedar shakes if our educated customer insists this is what they want, we strongly encourage those who wish to have a cedar shake or cedar shingle roof to choose the best quality cedar available. We use “Waldun” www.waldun.com/waldun Premium Heavy 100% edge grain shakes which should have a service life of around 30 years for the vast majority of our cedar shake jobs. A top quality blue label cedar shingle should last up to 50 years so if you do like cedar don’t be discouraged about all the bad press, just insist on good quality product.