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Davis Roofing: Article About Wood Roof Damage

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The rustic appearance of a wood roof complements many architectural designs while capturing the essence of bygone eras. Whether formed with cedar shakes or shingles made of cypress, a wood roofing system adds curb appeal to a building. Many property owners are willing to pay more for top quality materials made of wood than for newer, trendier products on the market. With steady maintenance, these attractive roof coverings can last as long or longer than their more contemporary counterparts. Davis roofing specialists can offer sound advice about caring for wood shingles or shakes; they can help customers know when repair or replacement is in order.

Like all natural materials, wood is affected by wind and weather. Heavy rains, record snowfall and severe storms can wreak havoc on a wood roofing system even after it has been installed with precision. Slopes that either face south or receive direct hits from storms that roll in suffer the most damage. When sidelaps are adequate and fasteners are in place, the risk of impairment is greatly reduced. The wood needs to dry quickly after the rain or snow has ceased in order to prevent leaks and deterioration.

Wood shingles and shakes may curl, cup, crack or split when they become weathered or aged.

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While flat grain products distort more easily than edge or slash grain, all wood roofing materials are prone to distortion. Curling can happen as soon as the wood is cut but is usually made worse by precipitation. The width of the shake or shingle cups when the underside is slower to dry than the exposed part. Although the dry section contracts, the bottom stays in an expanded state because it is retaining water.

When a wood shake or shingle cracks, it loses some of its artistry but doesn't necessarily create the potential for leakage. A check doesn't go all the way through the panel. A split, on the other hand, invites trouble. A natural split that runs down the heartwood's center requires the vertical joints to be offset. If it is caused by weathering, then the split is usually wide at the shingle's base. Rounded edges and consistent coloring generally indicates that the split did not happen recently and that significant exposure has occurred. A fresh split has sharp edges, and the wood inside is orange. When a split penetrates through the entire panel, the shingle or shake becomes loosened and vulnerable to the force of impact. A strong wind gust can easily blow it off the roof. In addition to creating an opening for water to seep through, a wide split exposes the underlayment to ultraviolet radiation that will destroy it and allow water to reach the roof decking.

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