How To Lay a Cedar Shake Roof

It is possible to lay a cedar shake roof on your home, and to do it yourself.  Regular shingles only last around 20 years.  The cedar shake roof can last for up to 50 years, and is much nicer than an asphalt roof.  Not only is it better-looking, it is more practical and saves money.  By laying a cedar shake roof, you are actually insulating your home more efficiently; it also saves you money by lowering your cooling and heating bills.  However, be aware that cedar shakes are not fire resistant.  Be sure that before you start to lay a cedar shake roof on your home that it is legal to do so in the area that you live.  Laying a cedar shake roof is not easy, but if you are ambitious and love to do home improvement projects yourself it can be accomplished.

To lay a cedar shake roof, you will need cedar shakes, nails and galvanized nails, a roofing hammer or nail gun,  a nail holder and stripper, a hatchet for the shingles, a safety harness, proper toe boards and a chalk box.  It is also necessary to wear rubber-soled shoes while doing this job.  Only do this job yourself if the roof is not too steep.  If it is, get professionals to lay a cedar shake roof for you.

  • Shuffle the cedar shakes in the package so that there will be a nice mix of colors on the roof. 
  • Nail the drip edge along the eaves.  Put water barrier material on the roof's lower part that overlaps the drip edge. 
  • Cover the area above the barrier with felt that is overlapping the bottom edge.  Then nail drip the edges along the rakes. 
  • Nail the top sides of the felt into the sheathing every five or six feet.
  • Install the cedar shakes straight and at a 9-inch exposure.  Put another line of shingles at the other side of the roof.  Put a string to the butt end of the two cedar shakes and line up the butts on the string.  The cedar shakes should be spaced 3/8" apart. 
  • Do the second course right over the first course.  Overlap the cedar shakes to be sure that each joint is closed to the weather.  Cover the nails as you work up the roof.  Do not use a diagonal pattern, and vary the widths.
  • Use 2-inch nails to nail the cedar shakes in place.
  • Snap a chalk line even with the ridge of the roof.  Then cut the cedar shakes to fit with the circular saw.
  • Using galvanize valley flushing, flush them and work over to the water splash with the cedar shakes.  Cut the shakes to fit.
  • Adhere the caulk and flashing over any nails that are showing.  Using the cedar shakes, work up to the ridge of the roof.  On the last row, glue them down with roofing caulk.  Be sure to cover all nails and nail holes.


Share this article!

Follow us!

Find more helpful articles: