Cedar Shake Singles: A roof option of the past for Colorado residents

Roofs made of natural wood material have long been an appealing roof option for Colorado residents. Cedar shake shingles, one of the most common wood roofs, are perceived to enhance the beauty and sophistication of a building, improve curb appeal, and add property value. Like most shingle roofs, with proper installation and maintenance, the lifespan of a wood shingle or shake roof is approximately 30 years. However, these systems need more regular maintenance – once or twice a year, compared to other shingles.

Due to being made of organic material, wood roofs are more susceptible to rotting and moss or mildew build-up because they soak up moisture from rain, hail, and snowstorms. Exposure to inclement weather can also cause the shingles or shakes to curl, cup, split, and detach, exposing your building to moisture intrusion. Additionally, wood shingles are typically made of western red cedar, which has a low ignition temperature, and combined with the hot, dry, and windy climate of Colorado, makes them an extreme fire hazard.

During wildfires, embers produced by the fire are lifted into the air and carried ahead of the fire, typically referred to as firebrands. Firebrand materials can be pinecones, bark, needles, leaves, or dislodged roof shakes and shingles. Thousands of firebrands can be produced during a major wildfire, and because of this, firebrands account for most homes burned during these wildfires.

According to the Colorado Division of Fire Prevention & Control, over 50% of the top 20 largest wildfires have occurred since 20161.  After the Hayman fire, Waldo Canyon fire, Black Forest fire, and many other notable fires, many Colorado counties have banned the installation of wood roofs or limited extensive repairs to wood roofs. as a fire mitigation measure.

Before purchasing a property, lenders often mandate securing property insurance before a loan closes on the property. The type of roof on your property affects your insurance coverage since a roof is a primary protection against hail, wind, fire, and other hazards. In fact, in fire-prone areas like Colorado, many insurance providers will not provide coverage for wood roofs because they are a fire hazard.

Because of the issues that wood roofing systems cause, many owners are replacing their roofs with a different shingle system. The most common shingle is asphalt shingle. They are available in many colors and patterns available on the market. If you still want the look of cedar shake or shingle, roofing manufacturers now produce synthetic shingles with the same or similar aesthetic as a traditional cedar shake or shingle. These synthetic systems are fire-resistant, making them an ideal alternative.

If your building has a wood roof, contact DCPS today at roofing.service@denvercps.com. We provide free inspections and estimates for the replacement of your roof to a Class A Fire Rated Roof system.