How much does it cost install a cedar shake roof?
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Cedar Shake Roof Installation Cost Guide
Updated: August 18, 2022
Cedar shake roofs are a popular option for homeowners who want a rustic or natural appearance for their home. The beautiful roof style is exceptionally durable and can stand up to heavy storms. They are also popular among those who want a more environmentally friendly or green roof as well. In addition, they offer impressive energy efficiency by creating greater insulation for the home than other roofing materials. Properly installed cedar shake roofs can last up to 50 years. The only significant drawbacks are that they require regular maintenance to stay looking good and are costly to install.
The national average cost to install a cedar shake roof ranges from $11,000 to $17,500, with most people paying $14,250 for a 1,500 sq.ft. cedar shake roof fully installed. At the low end of the spectrum, you can install 1,500 sq.ft. low-grade cedar roof shakes for $8,250. At the high end of the spectrum, you might pay up to $30,500 to remove an old cedar roofing and install a new 1,500 sq.ft. premium tapersawn cedar shake roof and a chimney.
Cedar Shake Roof Price
|Cedar Shake Roofing Cost|
|National average cost||$14,250|
Cedar Shake vs Shingle
Cedar roofs can be made of either cedar shakes or cedar shingles. Some people may use the terms shake and shingle interchangeably, but these two materials are distinct and produce different looks for your roof. Cedar shakes appear as hand-split pieces of wood, which gives them a more rustic appearance. They have a deeper texture with irregular sizes and are thicker. Cedar shingles are machined to provide a more precise appearance and size. The shingles are even and neatly taper toward the back with a uniform style. Shakes look more rustic in appearance, but shingles are more transitional in size. Depending on the manufacturer or your particular taste, shingles and shakes can be fashioned so they are longer or thicker but still have similar costs for price and installation.
|Type||Cost per Sq.Ft. (Installed)|
|Cedar Shingle||$4.50 - $9|
|Cedar Shake||$5.50 - $13.50|
Cedar Shake Cost Per Square
The average cost of cedar shake per square ranges from $350 to $850 and includes only materials. Cedar shakes and other types of shingles can be sold in what is referred to as squares. A square measures 100 sq.ft. The squares come packaged in either paper or plastic-wrapped bundles specially designed so a roofer can easily carry the shingle bundle around on the roof for ease of installation. Also, the bundles can easily be lifted up on the roof using a forklift or some other machinery. Often, roofers will stack all of the squares needed to complete the roofing job on the roof for ease of use.
Cedar Shake Roof Cost Per Square Foot
Cedar shakes average $3.50 to $8.50 a square foot uninstalled. A roofer will measure the roof to calculate the square footage. They will typically factor in an additional 10 percent into the square footage measurement to take into consideration the hills and valleys of the roof because the roof’s surface is not always flat. Most cedar shakes are sold in bundles known as squares. Each square holds 100 sq.ft. of shakes which is enough to roof a 10 ft. by 10 ft. roof section.
Cost of Cedar Shakes by Material
The cost of cedar shakes averages $3.50 to $8.50 per square foot uninstalled. However, when installing shakes, you have other options made from different types of materials. Cedarwood shakes are the most common type of material, but other wood shakes are available. Each type has its pros and cons that you should consider when making a choice.
|Type||Cost per Sq.Ft. (Materials Only)|
|Synthetic||$3.50 - $6|
|Cedar||$3.50 - $8.50|
|Wood||$5 - $9|
Synthetic Cedar Shake Roofing
Synthetic cedar shake roofing material averages $3.50 to $6 per sq. ft., depending on the brand. It is an option that is highly durable. It contains no organic material, so it does not break down very quickly. In addition, it requires much less maintenance than real cedar shakes. The roofing material is also much lighter than real wood shakes or cedar shakes. Unlike real cedar shakes, synthetic cedar shake roofing usually only lasts around 30 years. The material can also start to fade over time.
Cedar Shake Roofing
A cedar shake roof averages $3.50 to $8.50 per square foot. It is highly durable and can easily last 50 years or longer when properly installed. The roofing repels insects due to the resin in the cedar. It can also stand up to storms and heavy winds well. However, cedar shakes weigh a great deal. This may lead to structural problems for the building that has to hold the load of the shakes year after year. Also, the cedar shakes are a fire danger if they have not undergone fire preventative treatment.
Wood Shake Roof
A wood shake roof averages $5 to $9 per square foot, with the most common ones used for roofing other than cedar being teak and wallaba wood. The wood shakes give a rustic look to the building, so they are favored for log homes. Wood shakes can withstand heavy storms well. However, they are susceptible to wood-boring insect damage. Also, the wood shakes are very heavy, leading to structural problems in the building over time as settlement occurs. A wood shake roof requires maintenance and is usually considered a fire danger.
Cedar Shake Cost by Size
The cost of an average cedar shake ranges from $3.50 to $8.50 per sq.ft., depending on the length of the shake. Typically, cedar shakes are available in 16,18, and 24-inch lengths. The standard size is a 16-inch long shake with the mandatory 8-inch width, which is typically used when roofing a house. The 18-inch is referred to as “Perfection,” and the 24-inch one is known as “Royal” in the roofing industry and is premium grade shakes. The butt thickness usually measures ⅜ to 1-inch plus. The differences in length and thickness are purely aesthetic. Some people seeking a rustic appearance prefer the 16-inch long cedar shakes to create an overhanging look, but others prefer a more extreme overhang so opt for the 24 inches.
|Size||Cost per Sq.Ft. (Materials Only)|
|16 inches||$3.50 - $5.50|
|18 inches||$4.50 - $6.50|
|24 inches||$5.50 - $8.50|
Cedar Shake Price by Type
The average cost of cedar shakes, whether hand split or tapersawn, ranges from $3.50 to $8.50 per sq.ft. Cedar shakes are slightly thicker than the standard wood shingle or shake. When shopping for the best cedar shakes for your residence, you’ll encounter two popular types referred to as hand split and resawn or tapersawn. Both types are commonly used for roofing and sidewalls. They are usually recommended for a roof with pitches of 4:12 or steeper.
|Cedar Shake Type||Cost per Sq.Ft. (Materials Only)|
|Hand Split||$3.50 - $6.50|
|Tapersawn||$4.50 - 8.50|
The cost of hand split cedar shakes is from $3.50 to $6.50 per sq.ft., depending on the length, thickness, and quality. The hand split shakes are hand split on one side and sewn on the other (back) side to give it a rustic appearance. You can buy either 16, 18, or 24 inch lengths and ¾”, 7/8”, 1”, and 1 ¼” in thickness. It is crafted to look like it has been cut using a traditional ax or mallet. One more type is used in practice called taper split or medium split, which is very similar to the hand split shakes. Medium split shakes are similar to the hand split ones and have a textured look but are not as thick as the hand split ones and come in ½” or 5/8” thickness. These shakes are a favorite shake choice for historic homes and vary in size slightly to give them a more traditional appearance.
Tapersawn Cedar Shakes
The cost of tapersawn cedar shakes is from $4.50 to $8.50 per sq.ft. depending on the length, thickness, and quality. They are not hand split but rather sewn on both sides around the edges, giving it a smoother look on both sides. Tapersawn shakes can be bought in 18 and 24-inch lengths and 5/8”, ⅞,” and 1” thicknesses. The tapersawn is designed to be thicker than the average shingle. The added thickness lets the shake be applied to the roof as a shake with a paper/felt interlay. The look of the tapersawn cedar shake is considered visually pleasing because it boasts a defined shadow line with a heavier butt.
Cedar Shake Cost by Brand
The average cost range of cedar shakes by brand ranges from $7 to $13.50, depending on the brand for materials only. When shopping for cedar shakes, you will encounter several leading brands. Each one has its pros and cons. You’ll need to research the brands, their costs, and their inventory line to determine which one best fits your needs. Also, find out if they offer a warranty on the shingles. Some of the brands sell synthetic, natural, and hand split varieties.
|Brand||Cost per Sq.Ft. (Installed)|
|Enviroshake||$7 - $10|
|CeDUR||$9 - $13|
|Brava||$10 - $13.50|
Enviroshake offers cedar-lookalike shakes for $7 to $10 per sq.ft. installed. It is considered a cost-effective option for homeowners who crave a cedar shake look but do not want to spend the high cost for the authentic wood shake. The Enviroshake offers numerous color options that look like natural cedar during various stages of the shake’s life. As a natural cedar shake ages and changes color. Each color is considered a lovely part of the natural aging process. Enviroshakes imitation shakes strive to show the color variances of the natural wood.
The cost to install CeDUR Shakes average $9 to $13 per sq.ft. depending on the shake that you choose. Unlike a synthetic shake, CeDUR shakes are fashioned from real wood. To form the shake, they take real wood and use a state-of-the-art manufacturing process to mold the wood into a shake that looks like it is a slab of real wood. Each shake shows deep grain patterns and a natural wood appearance. Also, the product is a solid color. The shakes have a Class A fire rating.
Brava Cedar Shake
Brava Cedar Shakes cost $10 to $13.50 per sq.ft. installed. Each Brava Cedar Shake looks like a hand split cedar shake but is actually fashioned entirely from 100 percent plastic recycled synthetic material. The synthetic shakes have a Class 4 impact rating and a Class A fire rating. The shakes are made to last 50 plus years and require no maintenance to continue looking good. They are designed not to fade and crack. The shakes are also available in numerous colors.
Cedar Shake Roof Installation Cost
The average cost of labor to install a cedar shake roof ranges from $2 to $5 per sq.ft. For a 1,500 sq.ft. roof with cedar shakes with a moderate pitch, the installation costs will be about $5,250 for labor and $9,000 for shakes, drip edge, and other materials for a total average price of $14,250. Cedar shakes may cost slightly more to install than cedar shingles. Homes with a higher pitch or slope to their roof also have higher installation costs than homes with more moderate pitches.
Cedar shake roof installation involves different steps than other roofing materials because cedar shakes need to breathe. This means the installation takes longer and is more time-consuming than other roof types. To achieve this, the traditional roof deck is removed, and spaced sheathing is installed in its place to allow for air circulation. This is covered with a cedar shingle underlayment, which facilitates air movement while helping manage moisture.
Flashing is installed around all openings and along the drip edge. Then, the first course of shakes is installed at the bottom edge of the roofline, overlapping it by a few inches. The shakes must be nailed down by hand rather than using a nail gun because a gun could damage the material. Each course is laid overlapping the one installed below it, moving up to the ridge. Installing shakes instead of uniform shingles may take longer because the installer has to dry-fit and piece together the different shakes to get the best fit. Shingles can be done slightly faster because they are a uniform size. A good installer, however, can usually install a shake roof as quickly as a shingle roof.
Cedar Shake Roof Replacement
To replace a cedar shake roof, roofers will charge $2.50 to $6.50 per sq.ft. for the labor needed to tear off the old cedar shake roof and install a new one, making the total cost of replacement $8 to $12 per sq.ft. When roofers provide a price per square that includes labor, the price normally includes everything needed to complete the job, such as underlayment, roof flashing, drip edge, ridge capping, roof ridge, and an ice/water shield.
A cedar shake roof might need replacement when it reaches the end of its lifespan. If the shingles start to crack and degrade, then it's time to consider a new roof. Most cedar roofs will last 50 plus years.
Cedar Shake Colors
When installing cedar shakes, you can opt to stain the shakes a certain color. Most people select a translucent or semi-transparent stain because they want the wood’s natural beauty to show through and display the rustic beauty of nature. You can opt for a cedar shake roof stain that complements the wood’s natural color or go with red cedar shakes or white cedar shakes to replicate other hues of the wood’s natural lifespan. Red cedar colors make the shakes look new year after year, but a white cedar stain gives the cedar wood a look of aging, which many people like.
Cedar Shake Roof Treatment
Cedar shakes are typically sold pressure impregnated (pressure treated) with fire retardant treatments. With such shingles, you should always check the manufacturer's warranty to make sure that it does not violate the warranty if you decide to stain the shingles. The pre-treatments are used to make the shingles fire-resistant. It also helps them stand up to mold or pests. Untreated cedar shingles develop a weathered look, but sealed cedar shingles retain their new appearance longer and hold their color well. You can opt to treat an untreated shingle roof after it is installed if you want to keep the shingles from aging too fast.
Cedar Shake Roof Maintenance
Cedar shake roofs require more maintenance than other roofing materials. They need to be cleaned frequently to remove any debris that could stop them from breathing properly. They need ice dams removed immediately to prevent wood rot. They should also be treated periodically to make them flame-retardant. Some homeowners may choose to treat them against insects and fungus, although this is not always necessary because cedar is naturally resistant to both.
If you do not want your cedar roof to weather and turn gray, apply stains or sealants to help maintain its original color. In some climates, you may also need to use sealants to prevent moisture problems that can lead to wood rot, swelling, or buckling of the wood. Cedar is most prone to cracking, so watch for signs of cracked shakes and replace rotted cedar shingles as needed.
Asphalt Shingles vs Cedar Shakes
Like all materials, cedar shake roofs have positive and negative attributes that you need to weigh as you make your decision. Most people consider cedar shakes more visually appealing than asphalt, especially for a historic home or rustic log cabin. Cedar shakes are also fairly durable and are not affected by hail, damaging an asphalt roof.
Compared to asphalt shingles, cedar makes a better insulator, helping most homes keep their energy costs down. An asphalt roof is not as energy efficient or considered eco-friendly. This, combined with the fact that cedar shake roofs last longer and are easily recycled or biodegradable, makes them an eco-friendly choice as well. The average lifespan of most asphalt roofs is only 20 years compared to 50 years for cedar shingles.
Cedar shakes are more expensive than standard asphalt shingles, however, and require expert installation. In addition, cedar shakes require a lot of maintenance. You need to keep the roof clear of any leaves and debris at all times, prevent or remove ice dams as quickly as possible, and make repairs frequently to stop any damage from spreading. However, you’ll need to replace an asphalt roof more frequently, so the price might offset the cost of maintenance.
Enhancement and Improvement Costs
Cedar Shake Roof Treatment
A cedar shake roof treatment typically costs $200 to $1,000, depending on the type of treatment you’re doing and its application. Aside from the basic maintenance, to ensure that the cedar shake roof will last long, there are a few treatment options you can apply. This includes water repellents, fire repellents, algaecides, and fungicides. As the roof is exposed to the sun's UV rays, the elements, and water, of course, these treatments need to be reapplied every one to three years, so the shakes don’t degrade and darken over time. A sealant keeps the cedar shake color new and prevents mold, mildew, and rot. However, keep in mind that you should never apply a sealant to some types of cedar shake roofs, as the sealant prevents the shakes from getting the air they need to stay dry.
Install New Gutters
When you decide to reroof your house, you might want to consider installing new gutters around your home. The national average cost to install new gutters is $900 to $5,000, with most people paying around $1,410 for 150 linear feet of seamless aluminum box gutters with four downspouts. Gutters range in cost from $3 to $30 a linear foot installed. Adding a gutter system helps water drain away from the cedar shakes, preventing mold or mildew buildup.
Roof Heating Cable Installation
Installing roof heating cables cost around $4 to $6 per linear foot of roof edge or $400 to $600 for 100 feet. The thermostat will cost an additional $125 to $200. The roof heating cable prevents ice dams from developing along the eaves of the roof and running your cedar shingles. Adding heating cable to your gutters and downspouts will add $200 to $300 for every 100 feet of the roof edge.
The cost to install a skylight averages from $800 to $2,500, with most people paying $1,500 to have a medium-sized skylight with a vinyl frame, flashing, and plastic costing installed at the time they have their new cedar roof installed. A skylight will let light enter your home. Having one installed at the same time you re-roof your house is an easy way to ensure that the skylight is installed correctly and looks good alongside the shingles.
The cost to install a chimney made of either brick, block, or stone and stands 30 feet high averages from $4,000 to $8,000, with most people paying around $6,500 to have the chimney installed. Many people opt to have a new chimney installed when they have a new roof placed on their home if their old chimney is leaning, cracking, or failing. A new chimney is a safer option than a faulty one.
Additional Considerations and Costs
- Number of squares. High-pitched roofs increase the number of squares (100 square feet) of material and labor. Very steep roofs will, therefore, have a higher cost to install. A 1,500 square foot roof would normally be $14,250, but one with a much higher pitch could increase the cost to $17,500.
- Complements architecture. Cedar shake roofs are the ideal complement to many styles of architecture, including rustic homes, Arts & Crafts homes, Cape Cods, Dutch Colonials, and Gambrels.
- Permit. Most areas require a permit for a new roof. Check with your local town hall to find out if this is the case for your area.
- Lifespan. The lifespan of a cedar shake roof varies based on the climate and how well it is maintained. While many roofs last up to 50 years with proper maintenance, they may only last 20 - 30 years in very wet climates.
- Pressure washing. If needed, you can pressure wash your cedar shakes to clean them before sealing or treating. Cedar shake roof cleaning will remove mold and mildew that dulls the appearance of the wood shakes.
- ROI. The ROI goes up 75 to 80 percent on residences with a cedar shake roof due to its added durability and longevity.
- How much does cedar shake cost?
The national average cost to install a cedar shake roof ranges from $11,000 to $17,500, with most people paying $14,2500 for a 1,500 sq. ft. roof cedar shake roof fully installed.
- How long does a wood shake roof last?
Most wood-shake roofs will last 50 plus years, but they might last only 20 to 30 years in wet or humid climates.
- Can cedar shake roofs be repaired?
Yes, you should make repairs frequently to maintain the overall quality of the roof.
- Can you walk on a cedar shake roof?
Yes, walking does not damage the shakes.
- When should I replace my cedar shakes?
If you notice several cracks in the shakes or have issues with dry rot, it may be time to replace them. Typically, a well-cared-for cedar roof will last 50 years before it needs replacement. However, storm damage can cause shingles to break or crack so patch repairs might need to be carried out during the roof’s lifetime.
- Should you seal a cedar shake roof?
This is a personal choice. Some people seal the roof to preserve its original color, while others seal it if they live in a very wet climate.