Preserve and Protect
The Cedar Roof Company prides itself on providing homeowners with information and options to care for their wood roofs
by Sharon A. Shaw

Local residents with wood roofs have an expert they can turn to with all of their questions and concerns. The Cedar Roof Company (CRC), of Malvern, specializes in the installation, repair, cleaning and preservation of cedar shake and shingle roofs. They are also certified installers of Enviroshake composite cedar shakes. Enviroshake is manufactured using reclaimed natural wood fibers that allow it to achieve the same silvered gray color as weathered cedar. Enviroshake offers the curb appeal of natural cedar, without any required maintenance. CRC regularly services clients in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Connecticut, but its reputation and qualifications have earned it satisfied customers in several additional states. Loyal clients have even asked CRC to care for their vacation homes as far away as Maine.

Although many homeowners panic when they see evidence of a leak, CRC’s co-owner, Brian Pott, believes that the most important thing they should understand is that there is rarely pressure to make a quick decision about the replacement of their roof. “Even a visible leak can be fixed temporarily in order to allow a customer adequate time to consider their options,” he says. With more than 2,800 active customers and membership in local business and industry organizations, it is, in fact, the only company in southeastern Pennsylvania with a service department dedicated to maintaining and repairing wood roofs.

An Honest Assessment
CRC takes a conservative approach to roof repair because removing a cedar shake or shingle from a roof is an invasive process. In order to remove just one piece of wood, six nails must be broken or ripped out of their setting, which includes the layers of wood and decking beneath. For a cedar shake roof—where felt paper is commonly used to create an extra layer of protection—some tearing is unavoidable. This work should be done only by an experienced technician. CRC offers any wood roof homeowner who does not hold an active CRC guarantee or warranty a straightforward pricing structure for all repairs, meant to provide customers with a clear understanding of the services and options. For this, a technician will provide an overall inspection and analysis. Service fees include the first hour of labor and standard materials. If a second hour is needed, an hourly rate will apply. Should the work involved require more than three hours, the customer will not be charged for the initial visit. Instead, CRC will provide a written estimate—including all labor and material costs—explaining the problem and a remedy for repair. CRC guarantees the workmanship for all repair work for a minimum of three years.

CRC is so confident in its conservative approach to repairs that if the repair is not sufficient to resolve the issue and the customer needs a return service call, the time is billed at an hourly rate without any extra service charge. This sort of thorough and honest assessment is one factor that sets CRC apart from other roofing contractors. “Even an older roof whose care has been neglected may still be functional,” Pott says. CRC’s installation manager, Mike Malone, suggests homeowners receive an evaluation of their wood roof, in order to help them assess its current condition and future progression. Both Pott and Malone encourage homeowners to be present during the assessment when, according to Pott, his company can provide insight and discuss the options available. “You will learn more about your wood roof by viewing it with a qualified professional than you would by reading any proposal.”

Preserve it Now or Replace it Later
According to Pott, CRC’s goal is to educate homeowners about the options available for their roof by providing an inspection that examines the quality of their cedar shakes’ or shingles’ condition. The degree of environmental exposure the roof has received may determine whether or not it is a candidate for preservation. A southern, sun-exposed section of an unprotected wood roof will accelerate in weathering due to ultraviolet exposure. This UV-generated weathering causes cupping, curling, cracking and/or splitting damage to both shakes and shingles. A northern-exposed or heavily shaded section of an unprotected wood roof creates a moist environment, allowing moss to grow and accumulate. Moss harbors moisture, which prevents the wood from thoroughly drying. In time, if left unprotected, the result is unavoidable decay and wood rot.

Preserving a roof offers ongoing protection from both sunlight and moisture, a wood roof’s greatest enemies. Preservation makes economic sense. One of CRC’s mottos is “preserve it now or replace it later.”

“There are cedar roof homes scattered throughout the Delaware Valley where homeowners who chose to preserve and protect their wood roofs are avoiding costly replacement,” says Pott. “Their neighbors’ roofs never preserved—in many cases right next door and across the street—are failing because their owners neglected this important care option.”

Somerset Lake, located in Landenberg, Pa., is a neighborhood where approximately 235 homes were originally constructed with cedar wood roofs. Somerset Lake homeowner John Knotts says, “Fortunately, my home was one of the last ones built in the neighborhood, and I made the decision to preserve my roof at a younger age than most. The effectiveness of preservation became evident when I visually compared the appearance of my roof vs. others on my street that did not. The difference is clear and indisputable.” Knotts originally had his roof preserved in 2007 and is on CRC’s re-coat schedule for this spring.  

Preservation of a wood roof is a two-step process that starts with a thorough cleaning of the roof’s wood shakes or shingles to ensure product penetration, longevity and final aesthetics. In the second stage, experienced and skilled technicians operate a high-volume, low-pressure spray unit to evenly and precisely coat the entire roof surface. This preservation coating is specifically designed for both cedar shake and shingle wood roofs, and comes in one of three natural cedar selections, including a timeless Weathered Gray, a classic shade of Nantucket Gray and a Cedartone that beautifully enhances the look of “new” cedar.

All preservation customers of CRC receive a five-year limited leak and repair guarantee. The guarantee acts as a self-imposed cap relative to repairs with an added feature of real estate transferability. This guarantee is automatically renewed for customers who stay “in-cycle” with subsequent recoatings, suggested only once every five to six years.

CRC participates in continuing education for home inspectors in an effort to assist in facilitating real estate transactions for homes with wood roofs. Cedar shake and shingle roofs can be either a beautiful asset or a costly concern during these transactions. To alleviate this apprehension CRC also offers both three- and five-year leak and repair warranties. “We are the only local wood roofing company to issue roof certifications for home inspectors and warranties for the buyers during a real estate transaction,” Pott says. “We not only document the condition of the roof but also accept liability for its future performance. We want to create a customer who will be with us for the life of the home.”

The Cedar Roof Company
185-1 Lancaster Ave., Malvern
Phone: 610-647-3099