If you’ve never been on your roof before it’s difficult to tell what type of materials are covering your head. From the ground, a cedar shake roof has a natural wood-like look with the color depending on the aesthetics and health of the shake. Interestingly enough, if you were to get on your roof you would potentially find two different looking types of shakes. For those of us that are less than ladder enthusiastic, Patrick D. Morin gives us an up close view and description of flat grain and vertical grain cedar shakes.


When we determine how the repairs are we’re looking for failed flat grain, this would be an example of a shake that was cut out of inferior wood compared to these vertical grain shakes surrounding it. You can see after 12 years the flat grain has fallen apart and this is 20% of the wood in a blue label #1 shake is flat grain, 80% is vertical grain. Flat grain means it is cut out of the round, if you look at the butt ends you’ll see that it’s got a curve to it, which makes all the grain on the top as big as your finger. Vertical grain means cut out of the straight grain and all the grain runs vertically and you can see how tight they stay even on a south wall or south facing roof that stresses the wood, it does the same thing on tile and composition, the roofs wear out where all the water hits.

If you have Stepnophobia (fear of ladders) or Acrophobia (fear of heights), you can call on one of Roof Life or Oregon’s daring roofing experts to make the climb and give you a free roof inspection.

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