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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.

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But there were plenty, too, who favored the cedar, and they had good advice, like that from Erik Eselstyn of North Montpelier, Vt.,, who counseled it was important to make sure the roof is properly vented:

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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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“Most important was using CedarBreather beneath the shingles. CedarBreather, a mat of tangled plastic strings, allows the constant flow of ambient air upwards beneath the shingles. Yup, the ridges must be vented.”

The roofers, indeed, did make sure Sheep Dog’s roof was properly vented. And we haven’t even put in the insulation yet, which could have caused moisture to build up if it also wasn’t properly vented, according to the Guardian Roof website:

“Buckled shingles could fracture and cause leaking. This could also be a symptom of a much more serious moisture issue. This can be related to shingle failure, or buckling of the sheeting beneath the roof. If you have buckling in your roof contact a professional for an inspection and diagnosis.”

Other than that, I was surprised to find very little on the Web about buckling cedar shake roofs. Although, ironically, the Stucco Co. did have a good discussion about buckling cedar shake siding.

Our contractors have said the problem might be that some kiln-dried shakes got mixed with the green shakes. Or maybe, the shakes buckled because they were installed in the chill of the winter. Although last week, when most of the shakes were put on, it was a "balmy" 35 to 45 degrees F. here in Connecticut.

So here is a plea for advice and counsel from any of you cedar shake roof enthusiasts who may have some advice to offer this newbie green renovator.

Editor’s note: Alexandra Marks blogs twice a week – usually on Tuesdays and Thursdays – about her green and budget-friendly restoration of a 1902 farmhouse in Connecticut. Click here to find all her blog posts and articles.

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