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Sheep Dog Hollow: an eco-friendly renovation

What to do when the new shake roof buckles?

In a home renovation, the owners decided to install a cedar shake roof, but it buckled in the first serious rain.

By / January 28, 2010

After a debate about what kind of roof to put on Sheep Dog Hollow, a 1902 farmhouse that's being renovated, a cedar shake roof was installed. But it developed a problem. What now?

Joanne Ciccarello/Staff/The Christian Science Monitor


So far Martin and I have been extremely fortunate in our attempt to renovate Sheep Dog Hollow in as green and economical manner as possible. While the 100-year-old farmhouse has needed a complete overhaul – from its once impressive granite foundation to its crumbling roof – we’ve been blessed to work with capable carpenters and masons who’ve dealt quickly with whatever problem the old house has thrown up at them. And there have been plenty.

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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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That said, we’ve been spared the harrowing scenarios that can be found with a quick Google of “home renovation nightmares.”

But now we have a problem, and a serious one. The new cedar shake roof that was finally put on in the past two weeks has buckled after the first serious rain. And not just a little.

Just two days ago, you could look up and see the beauty the natural cedar shakes lent to the old place which, if I do say so myself, is looking rather pleased and proud of itself with its recent upgrades.

Now, thanks to the buckled shakes, it’s looking kinda rumpled – like it needs to brush its hair.

Our roofing contractors are from a local company with a good reputation. They’re aware of the problem and they’ve assured us that it will be taken care of. And I have to trust them, since I’ve already paid 98 percent of their bill and the check has cleared. (I know, I know, I should have waited at least 30 days to be sure there were no problems. But they asked for payment of most of the cost when it was three-fourths of the way done. Is this common practice?)

Now, I have to mention here that I was never a big fan of putting on cedar shake roof. I wanted a standing seam metal roof, like Thomas Jefferson used at Monticello and also the people who built my grandparents’ old Virginia farmhouse.

But in the spirit of compromise, I bowed to the wishes of my loving fiancé, who wanted his “green” roof also be beautiful. (This was also a question of taste since I think standing seam metal roofs are just as lovely…)

Now, I’m not going to engage in “I told you so….” (Although, just by mentioning this, I sort of already have. Forgive me, Martin!) Many of you who commented on the debate agreed a standing metal seam roof was a better, longer-lasting green option and I thank you.

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