Check before coating a wood-shingle roof

Q. Is there a roofing compound that will extend the life of wood-shingle roof? A man passed by here who said the ends of my roof shingles were lifted. He would spray on a compound that would keep me from having to put on a new roof. My house is only six years old so I declined his offer. I want to take preventive measures but only if they are necessary. J. H. Colver Gravette, Arkansas

A. The Red Cedar Shingle and Hand Split Shake Bureau over the years has looked with a skeptical eye on field applications of any sort to a wood roof unit.

We have plied the bureau with questions from our readers about using this or that product on wood shingles or shakes so as to preserve their lives. The bureau, however, has been reluctant to recommend anything to us, even when veteran roofers have used and indeed recommend a homemade or manufactured product to lengthen the life of a roof.

So, as a result, we take the same position even while recognizing that there are materials or processes which have been proved successful in prolonging the life of a wood roof.

A properly installed six-year-old, wood-shingle pitched roof is just getting its knickers barely below the knees with the long pants of its life well ahead. Properly installed shingle or shake roofs should last at least a quarter of a century when installed properly in climates where shingles are well acclimated.

A passerby offering to spray a wood-shingle roof to preserve its life may have a good product, but more than likely both he and his product are marginal or totally useless.

Stick to the advice of local reliable roofers who have been in the area for many years. Their judgment and recommendations should be a lot more reliable than those of a transient.

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