Can I Make My Cedar Shingles Darker?
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Can I Make My Cedar Shingles Darker?

  • Cedar Siding Church
  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Time to talk to Phillip in Rhode Island about a roofing question. What can we do for you?

    PHILLIP: Well, in Rhode Island, in my neighborhood in Jamestown, there’s a lot of beautiful, red cedar-shingled houses. And I just put brand-new, red-cedar shingles on my house, on my roof. I noticed some of the houses age beautifully. Like when I – what I mean in beautifully is they age darker red and sometimes little bits of black or streaks of black and red and deep, deep red. And some of them don’t age that way. It’s like – and I’m just wondering if you guys know anything about how to get them to age the way I want them to. I don’t want them to age light; I want them to age darker red.

    TOM: Yeah, we don’t always get to choose how we age, right? And that applies to our shingles, as well.

    So when you choose red cedar, that gets darker over time and it will turn to a very dark gray, typically, as it’s exposed to sunlight. I guess it’s possible that you could apply a stain to the cedar shingles, even though they’re roofing shingles, but most people don’t do that.  Or you can preserve cedar shingles by sealing them.

    So, what we typically get calls about, when it comes to cedar, is how to not to have – how to prevent them from getting darker. And one way to do that is to replace the vent across the ridge of the roof. Or if you don’t have a vent there, you can essentially do the same thing with a strip of copper.

    If you were to overlay the peak of the roof with, say, a 12-inch-wide strip of copper – so half goes on one side and half goes on the other – what happens is as rainwater strikes that, it releases some of the copper. Copper acts as a mild mildicide and helps to keep the roof shingles clean and prevents algae growth.

    PHILLIP: Oh. But it still – then they wouldn’t age dark; they’d stay lighter.

    TOM: It would be less likely to get as dark and they certainly wouldn’t grow an algae. Perhaps you may have noticed that sometimes when you look at houses, especially around chimneys that have metal flashing, you’ll see bright streaks at the bottom of the chimney. That’s for the same reason. What happens is that metal flashing releases some of its copper and then cleans that area under the chimney. That’s why it gets streaky there. But if you do it across the whole peak of the roof, then it will sort of clean evenly.

    PHILLIP: It’ll clean evenly. But I’m looking for that aged look: the kind of the darker-shingles aged look, the darker color. And I guess it’s just up to Mother Nature is what you’re saying.

    TOM: It really is.

    PHILLIP: Yeah.

    TOM: It really is.

    PHILLIP: I appreciate it. Thanks very much, you guys.

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