How to Install Cedar Shake Roof: A Comprehensive Guide

How To Install Cedar Shake Roof

Cedar shake roofs are a popular choice among homeowners due to their rustic and natural aesthetic appeal, durability, and energy efficiency. However, installing a cedar shake roof can be a daunting task, especially for those without prior experience. In this comprehensive guide, we will take you through the step-by-step process of installing a cedar shake roof.


Precision is key during the installation process to ensure each cedar shake shingle fits perfectly into place.
Precision is key during the installation process to ensure each cedar shake shingle fits perfectly into place.

Before we begin, let’s take a closer look at cedar shake roofs. Cedar shake roofs are made from natural wood, usually cedar, which is known for its durability and resistance to decay and insects. Cedar shake roofs provide excellent insulation, keeping your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. Furthermore, they are an eco-friendly option as they are made from renewable and biodegradable materials.

Tools and Materials Needed

Before you begin the installation process, it’s essential to have all the necessary tools and materials at hand. Here’s a list of tools and materials you’ll need:


  • Hammer
  • Nail gun
  • Tape measure
  • Chalk line
  • Circular saw
  • Pry bar
  • Roofing knife
  • Safety harness


  • Cedar shake shingles
  • Underlayment (roofing felt or synthetic)
  • Drip edge
  • Valley flashing
  • Ridge caps
  • Starter course
  • Roofing nails
  • Caulk
  • Roofing cement

Having all the necessary tools and materials ready before you start will make the installation process more efficient and minimize the risk of errors. Now that you have everything you need, let’s move on to the next step.


Before you begin installing the cedar shake shingles, it’s crucial to prepare the roof. This involves checking the roof condition, cleaning the roof, and measuring the roof area.

Checking the roof condition

Inspect the roof for any signs of damage or wear and tear, such as leaks, cracks, or missing shingles. Repair any damaged areas before you begin installing the cedar shake shingles. It’s also essential to ensure that the roof deck is in good condition and can support the additional weight of the cedar shake shingles.

Cleaning the roof

Clean the roof surface of any debris, dirt, or moss. This ensures that the cedar shake shingles adhere correctly to the roof and minimizes the risk of damage. Use a broom, brush, or pressure washer to clean the roof surface thoroughly.

Measuring the roof area

Measure the roof area to determine the amount of cedar shake shingles and other materials you’ll need. Measure the length and width of the roof, and multiply the two values to get the square footage. Add an additional 10% to the total square footage to account for waste.

Installation Steps

Now that you have prepared the roof, it’s time to start installing the cedar shake shingles. The installation process involves several steps, including installing underlayment and flashing, the starter course, cedar shake shingles, and cutting and fitting cedar shake shingles.

Installation of underlayment and flashing

Start by installing the underlayment, which acts as a moisture barrier between the cedar shake shingles and the roof deck. Secure the underlayment to the roof deck using roofing nails. Install the drip edge along the roof edge and valley flashing along the valleys to direct water away from the roof.

Installation of starter course

Install the starter course at the roof edge, using roofing nails to secure it to the roof deck. The starter course acts as a base for the cedar shake shingles and helps ensure proper water drainage.

Installation of cedar shake shingles

Begin installing the cedar shake shingles at the bottom of the roof and work your way up. Use roofing nails to secure the shingles to the roof deck, leaving a 1/8 inch gap between each shingle. Continue installing the shingles, ensuring that each row overlaps the previous row.

Cutting and fitting cedar shake shingles

Cut and fit the cedar shake shingles as necessary using a circular saw or roofing knife. Ensure that the shingles fit snugly together and do not leave gaps that could allow water to seep through. Use roofing cement or caulking to seal any gaps or holes.

By following these installation steps, you can install a cedar shake roof that is durable, energy-efficient, and aesthetically pleasing. In the next section, we’ll cover the finishing touches and maintenance tips to keep your cedar shake roof in top condition.

Finishing and Maintenance

Installation of Ridge Caps

The final step in installing a cedar shake roof is the installation of ridge caps. Ridge caps are the shingles that run along the peak of the roof. They are essential for preventing water from seeping into the roof and also add a finished look to your roof. To install ridge caps, you’ll need to cut cedar shake shingles to size and place them along the peak of the roof. Be sure to overlap the shingles to prevent water from seeping in.

Proper Ventilation

Another essential aspect of maintaining your cedar shake roof is ensuring proper ventilation. Proper ventilation helps prevent the buildup of moisture in the attic, which can lead to mold growth, rot, and other issues. Additionally, proper ventilation helps regulate the temperature in your home and can increase your energy efficiency. Be sure to install vents at the eaves and ridge of your roof to allow for proper airflow.

Regular Maintenance Tips

To ensure your cedar shake roof lasts for many years, it’s important to perform regular maintenance. Here are a few tips:

  • Inspect your roof annually for damage or wear and tear.
  • Clean your gutters regularly to prevent water buildup and damage to your roof.
  • Trim trees and branches near your roof to prevent damage from falling debris.
  • Remove any debris or leaves from your roof that may accumulate and cause water buildup.


Installing a cedar shake roof can be a challenging task, but with the right tools and materials, it’s a project that can be completed by anyone. Remember to take your time and follow the steps outlined in this guide to ensure a successful installation. With proper maintenance, your cedar shake roof will provide years of protection and beauty for your home.

Dayne Williamson

I'm Dayne Williamson, and I love all things technology and finance. I started Napo News Online as a way to keep people up-to-date on the latest news in those industries, and I've loved every minute of it. I'm always looking for new ways to improve my site and help my readers, and I can't wait to see what the future holds.

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