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Sheep Dog Hollow: an eco-friendly renovation

Advantages and disadvantages of a cedar shake roof

A look at the environmental advantages as well as disadvantages of using cedar shakes for roofing.

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And then there are the inherent benefits of cedar: It is naturally bug-resistant and also provides excellent thermal protection, even if it’s not as efficient at reflecting the sun’s rays as a metal roof.

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Alexandra writes about the "green" and budget-friendly renovation of a 100-year-old farmhouse in south-central Connecticut.

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But I keep getting hung up on the some of the drawbacks of cedar shake roofs tha are noted on the site:

“Before you make your decision about buying cedar roof shingles, it’s important that you understand that there can be quite a few disadvantages. The main problem is fire safety because they aren’t fire-proof. If you do go ahead and install them, make sure you contact your home insurance company first to see if they would put up your premium because of this. There are cedar roof shingles however that have been pressure treated with fire resistant chemicals in the factory and class B and C fire resistance rating can be achieved.

And then, of course, there is the maintenance question, which was raised on the Triple A1 Roof care site:

“If a cedar roof does not receive any maintenance it may last 10 years or more, depending on the severity of the elements. On the other hand, cedar is the only roofing material whose life can be prolonged by proper maintenance and preservation techniques. Basic cedar roof maintenance includes debris removal, cleaning to remove algae, fungi, moss, etc., and application of a wood preservative. Annual inspections keep tabs on your roof to determine when this maintenance is required, but it's usually needed every 3 to 5 years. Every 10 to 15 years, a cedar roof should be restored. The restoration process includes repairs to the roofing system, including replacement of shakes and ridge caps.”

So, we’ll go with fire-resistant and forest-certified red cedar shingles installed by a local contractor. It’s not as green or energy-efficient as I’d like, but hey, you can’t always get what you want. And Martin is happy.

But I do also plan on taking the advice posted by Amanda M in the comments section of one of last week’s blog posts: “You let him have whatever he wants up on that roof- as long as HE's the one climbing up there to patch it after his shakes start rotting off or fly away in a windstorm…!”

Next: The Rumford Fireplace: energy-efficiency lessons from the 19th century.

Editor’s note: Alexandra Marks blogs twice a week about her green and budget-friendly restoration of a 1902 farmhouse in Connecticut.

The Monitor's Environment section has a new URL. And there's a new URL for its Bright Green blog. We hope you'll bookmark these and visit often.

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