A natural, organic material like cedar has a beauty that you just can't get with any other roofing material. While you can get cement and metal roofing tiles that are designed to look like natural wood, there simply is no replacement for the real thing. The way cedar weathers, the way the grain will start to stand out over time, the way it smells after a rainstorm—these are qualities that simply can't be duplicated.
If you want a cedar roof for your house, you need to be prepared to have your roof repairs when necessary in order to get the most life from your roof:
Step 1: Frequent Inspections
Moss can promote rot, hail can crack old shingles, falling limbs can rip them off your roof, and if you are not vigilant, your first clue that you have a problem will be when you see signs of water damage in your home.
For the best protection, you should inspect your roof for damage at the very least after every violent storm in your neighborhood. One way to look for damage is to climb up on your roof, but if you have a good pair of binoculars, you can scan for broken or missing shingles from the safety of your yard.
Step 2: Replacing What Was Lost
When you find a damaged shingle, you should replace it as quickly as possible. Use the following steps as a guide:
1. Use a hammer to break up a cracked shingle. It is easier to remove small pieces of broken shingle than to remove the whole thing.
2. Gently lift the bottom edge of the shingle from the row above and use a cat's claw to remove the nails that held your damaged shingle in place.
3. Fill the nail holes with roofing cement. Be sure to flatten the cement so that your new shingle will be able to rest securely against your roof.
4. Measure the gap between the shingles on either side of the now missing shingle and cut your replacement shingle so that it is half-an-inch thinner than this gap.
5. Place the new shingle flat against your roof and slide it into place. Maintain a quarter-in-gap between the replacement shingle and the shingles to either side.
6. When the bottom edge of the shingle protrudes a quarter inch below the shingles in the same row, stop sliding and nail the shingle to your roof. Be sure to angle your nails upward.
7. Cover the nail heads with roofing cement.
8. Gently tap the bottom edge of the shingle with your hammer until it is even with the other shingles in the same row.
As you can see, replacing a cedar shingle is a fairly straightforward process that any do-it-yourself should be able to handle. However, if you have a steeply pitched roof or would rather not climb up on your roof for any reason, you should call in a professional to make the repairs for you.