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Roof Replacement | Cedar Shake Roof

How Much Does a Cedar Shake Roof Cost?

January 15th, 2024 | 6 min. read

How Much Does a Cedar Shake Roof Cost?

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Cedar shake roofing is arguably the most aesthetically pleasing roofing material available to homeowners. But its high curb appeal comes at a premium price point. 

Unfortunately, the roofing industry avoids talking about pricing because it’s intimidating. But we believe you need transparency to truly determine if a cedar shake roof is right for you. 

For over 30 years, the team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided this transparency by answering all roofing-related questions homeowners have honestly. That’s why I’ll break down how much a cedar shake roof costs, what impacts the price, and other things homeowners must know about this roofing material.

This article answers the following questions:

  • How much does a cedar shake roof cost?
  • What are the different grades of cedar shake shingles?
  • What warranties come with a cedar shake roof?
  • How long does a cedar shake roof last?
  • Will a cedar shake roof lose its color as it ages?
  • Does a cedar shake roof need maintenance?

How much does a cedar shake roof cost? 

For tear-off and installation, a cedar shake roof costs around $25.00 to $30.00 per square foot. I’m sure the cost caused plenty of sticker shock, and rightfully so. 

cedar shake roof

However, cedar shakes themselves, and the labor required to install them is very expensive. There are also multiple cost factors based on your roof and the specific roofing contractor you hire. 

Below is a list of factors that directly impact the price of a new cedar shake roof:

While knowing the factors and cost numbers above is great, you won’t know how much your cedar shake roof will cost until after getting an estimate from a local roofer

5 more things to know about a cedar shake roof 

At this point, you know how much a cedar shake roof costs and what directly impacts the price. However, cost is just one thing you need to know before investing in one. 

Below are 5 more questions homeowners need answered before buying a cedar shake roof.

1. What are the different grades of cedar shake shingles?

There are 3 grades of cedar shake shingles: common, selects, and 100% straight grain. Common-grade cedar shakes are randomly cut and made from any part of the tree (basically the leftovers of other cuts). 

This grade is the cheapest, and their inferiority leads to splitting and warping. Select cedar shakes are a mix of 80% straight grain and 20% common that require going through them to find the best quality before installation. 

100% straight grain cedar shakes are the best quality and hand-selected. Because they're straight-grained, the shingles lay flat, and you don’t have to worry about them curling up. 

Because of the large investment a cedar shake roof requires, I recommend the 100% straight grain grade cedar shingles to get the best quality roof possible. 

2. What warranties come with a cedar shake roof?

For most roofing materials, you’ll get two warranties after installation on the roofing contractor’s workmanship and the materials themselves. While the workmanship warranty depends on your roof, there’s no manufacturer warranty on cedar shake shingles because they’re naturally made. 

Unfortunately, this leaves you with only your contractor’s workmanship warranty to rely on for your cedar shake roof. That's why it's crucial to hire a high-quality local roofing contractor that stands behind their work. 

To get the best roof possible, you should always look for a contractor that offers at least a 10-year workmanship warranty. However, don’t be afraid to shoot for a 20-year or lifetime warranty. 

3. How long does a cedar shake roof last?

With the investment you’ll make in a cedar shake roof, you should expect to get a good ROI. Well, a roof’s ROI (other than increasing your home’s value) is its lifespan. 

As long as it’s properly installed and with proper maintenance, you can expect a cedar shake roof to last 30 years. If you invest in quality materials and live in an area with the right conditions, you could possibly get up to 40-50 years.

The climate in our area of Nashville is great for a cedar shake roof, but somewhere with a much more humid climate can cause the shingles to age faster. So, it might not last as long if you live in an area with a very moist or dry climate. 

4. Will a cedar shake roof lose its color as it ages?

One of the biggest reasons homeowners are attracted to a cedar shake roof is its aesthetic and high curb appeal. However, most homeowners don’t consider wear and tear. 

side by side example of newly installed cedar shake shingles and aged cedar shake shingles(Left: newly installed cedar shakes; Right: aged cedar shakes)

As they age, natural cedar shake shingles change from a fresh cedar color to a worn (or aged) color. This means they won’t keep the original bright coloration but will turn a darkish brown instead. 

An aged cedar shake roof still offers a great look with high curb appeal on cottage, brick, and stone homes. However, some homeowners just don’t like the look once the wear and tear starts showing. 

5. Does a cedar shake roof need maintenance?

Whether it’s once or twice a year, it’s crucial to get a cedar shake roof periodically checked with a maintenance inspection. Remember, proper maintenance plays a role in a cedar shake roof reaching the lifespan I mentioned above. 

Maintenance ensures potential problems are caught and prevents future leaks before they start. It’s also a chance to clear your roof of sitting wet debris that shortens the lifespan of your cedar shingles. 

Because of this, it’s absolutely crucial to keep your roof running smoothly throughout its life with roof maintenance.

How does natural cedar shake compare to synthetic cedar shake?

Now, you know how much a cedar roof costs, how long it lasts, and other things you need to know before investing in one. If you think a cedar shake roof is right for you, you’re ready to reach out to a local roofing contractor for an estimate. 

The truth is that most homeowners won’t be able to afford this type of roofing material. However, there’s an alternative for homeowners who want the cedar shake roof look at a more affordable price and without some of the drawbacks. 

So, before jumping into a cedar shake investment, you need to know how it compares to synthetic cedar shake shingles. 

Check out Natural Cedar Shake vs. Synthetic Cedar Shake to learn if the natural or synthetic option is right for you.

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