Why Are Most Wood Roofs Made From Cedar?

For most home elements made from wood, you see multiple types of wood being used. For example, people can make a hardwood floor out of oak, cherry, or maple. This does not tend to be true of roofs, however. If you see a wood roof, there is a very good chance that the roof is made from cedar. It's very rare for other woods to be used in roofing. Why is this? Well, as it turns out, cedar has some unique qualities that make it an exceptional roofing material.

Cedar has straight, sturdy grain.

Some woods have really curled or uneven grain patterns. Cedar is the exact opposite. Its grain is straight and sturdy. This makes it easy to cut cedar with the grain, forming shakes. Those shakes are perfect for roofing. When cut in this way, wood does not absorb moisture well. Instead, the water will trickle down the shake, and the roof, as a whole, will shed water well. This reduces your risk of leaks and water damage.

Cedar does not rot easily.

Rot is a common concern when wood is used to make outdoor elements like fencing and decks. A roof is exposed to a lot of moisture. Cedar can stand up to this much better than other woods because it is virtually resistant to rot. This is partially because of its long, sturdy grain. However, cedar also contains potent essential oils that keep bacteria and fungi from growing within it. Rot is caused by bacteria and fungi, so cedar resists rotting.

Cedar is not attractive to termites.

In some areas, termites are a real issue. There are dampwood termites, which really only eat wet and deteriorating wood, but there are also drywood termites that will gnaw on wood that's in good condition. Cedar is a bit of an exception, though. The essential oils in cedar give it a really strong taste that most termites don't like. In a really infested area, you may have a few termites nibble a cedar roof, but they'll likely move on rather than destroying the cedar completely. A structure made from oak, maple, or pine would not fare as well.

It is true that most wood roofs are made from cedar. This is not because roofers lack creativity or because cedar growers have a monopoly on roofing. It is only because cedar tends to be better-suited for use on the roof than other woods. For more information, contact a roofing contractor.