How to Replace Cedar Shakes: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Are you considering replacing your cedar shakes but unsure where to start? Look no further! In this comprehensive guide, we will walk you through the process of replacing cedar shakes, ensuring that your roofing or siding remains in optimal condition. Whether you’re a seasoned DIY enthusiast or a homeowner looking to understand the process better, this article will provide you with the knowledge and confidence to tackle this project successfully.

Understanding Cedar Shakes

Before diving into the replacement process, let’s familiarize ourselves with the beauty and benefits of cedar shakes. Made from natural cedar wood, these shakes are popular for their durability, aesthetic appeal, and ability to withstand the elements. With proper maintenance, cedar shakes can last for many years, providing an excellent investment for your property.

Signs of Cedar Shake Replacement

Recognizing the signs that indicate cedar shake replacement is crucial in preventing further damage to your roofing or siding. Keep an eye out for signs such as rot, warping, or noticeable damage. If you notice any of these issues, it’s essential to address them promptly to avoid more extensive and costly repairs down the line.

Step-by-Step Guide: How to Replace Cedar Shakes

1. Preparation: Tools and Materials Needed

To begin the replacement process, gather the necessary tools and materials. You will typically require a hammer or pry bar, a circular saw, replacement cedar shakes, roofing nails, a ladder, and safety equipment such as gloves and goggles. Ensuring you have everything on hand will make the process smoother and more efficient.

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2. Removal: Properly Removing Old Cedar Shakes

Start by carefully removing the damaged or worn-out cedar shakes. Using a pry bar or hammer, gently and systematically detach the shakes from the surface, taking care not to damage the surrounding area. If necessary, use a circular saw to cut through any stubborn nails or shakes that refuse to budge.

3. Inspection: Evaluating the Underlying Structure and Addressing Any Issues

With the old shakes removed, inspect the underlying structure for any signs of damage or weakness. This step is crucial as it allows you to identify and address any potential issues before installing the new shakes. Replace any damaged sheathing or repair structural damage to ensure a solid foundation for the replacement shakes.

4. Installation: Techniques for Installing New Cedar Shakes

Now comes the exciting part – installing the new cedar shakes! Begin by positioning the first shake at the bottom edge, ensuring it aligns properly with the existing shakes. Secure it using roofing nails, ensuring they penetrate the underlying structure. Continue installing the shakes row by row, overlapping each one to provide proper protection against the elements.

5. Finishing: Nailing, Sealing, and Protecting the Shakes

Once all the new cedar shakes are in place, carefully inspect the installation for any loose shakes or nails. Ensure each shake is securely fastened, and use a sealant to protect against moisture and extend the lifespan of the shakes. Pay attention to the edges and corners, as these areas are more vulnerable to water seepage.

6. Maintenance: Tips for Maintaining and Prolonging the Lifespan of the New Shakes

To ensure the longevity of your newly replaced cedar shakes, regular maintenance is key. Clean the shakes periodically, removing debris and preventing the growth of mold or mildew. Inspect for any signs of damage or wear, and promptly address any issues that arise. Additionally, consider applying a protective coating or stain to enhance the aesthetic appeal and protect against UV rays.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long do cedar shakes typically last?

Cedar shakes, when properly maintained, can last anywhere from 20 to 40 years. Regular inspections and maintenance are essential in prolonging their lifespan.

Can I replace cedar shakes on my own, or should I hire a professional?

While some homeowners may choose to replace cedar shakes themselves, it is often advisable to hire a professional, especially if you lack experience in roofing or siding projects. Professionals have the necessary expertise and tools to ensure a proper and efficient replacement.

Are there any alternatives to cedar shakes for roofing or siding?

Yes, there are alternative materials available, such as asphalt shingles or synthetic roofing options. However, cedar shakes remain popular due to their natural beauty and durability.

How much does cedar shake replacement usually cost?

The cost of cedar shake replacement can vary depending on various factors, including the size of your project, labor costs, and the quality of materials used. It is best to obtain quotes from reputable contractors to get a better idea of the overall cost.

What are the potential challenges or risks involved in replacing cedar shakes?

Replacing cedar shakes can be physically demanding and potentially dangerous if not done correctly. It may also involve unexpected structural issues or the discovery of hidden damage. Hiring a professional can help mitigate these risks and ensure a successful outcome.


Congratulations! You now have a comprehensive understanding of how to replace cedar shakes. By following our step-by-step guide and considering the tips provided, you can confidently tackle this project and ensure the longevity of your roofing or siding. Remember, proper maintenance and periodic inspections are crucial in preserving the beauty and functionality of your cedar shakes. Don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance when needed, as their expertise can make a significant difference in the outcome of your project. Happy replacing!

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