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Blending Old Cedar with New Cedar

There are 10 repairs in this photo. Can you spot them? This is a 11 year old wood roof one year after Kuhl replaced damaged cedar shakes. Orono wood roof one year after insurance repair work.

Minneapolis Wood Roof Owners FAQ’s

1. If our wood roof is washed, how well with the new shake repairs blend in?

2. If we choose not to clean our cedar roof, how long with the new cedar shake repairs be obvious?

3. What can we do to get the new cedar roof repairs to match our old cedar roof?

I get asked these and related questions all the time.

Here are a few insights I’ve gathered over the years that might help. First, cedar fades as the result of basic oxidation. Ultra-violet rays break down the lignin (the glue that holds wood cells together) and as that occurs the surface begins to grey. Variables such as the orientation of the roof pitch (north, south, east, west), the roof pitch, tree coverage and character of the wood itself will factor in to how quickly the new cedar shake and shingle repairs will fade. There are chemical agents that hasten the fading process slightly but there is nothing that will instantly blend old cedar roofing with new. Not in a permanent sense anyway. Another approach to blending new cedar roofing with old is the use of tinting or staining. We can tint and stain new wood roofing repairs to blend into the surrounding roof in such a way that those repairs will be hard to detect from the ground. The problem is that as the new cedar begins to fade and change colors through natural weathering, what was once a good match becomes an increasingly obvious eyesore. When it come to blending new cedar roof repairs with an existing roof our advice is simple. Either wash the roof and have more immediate material color consistency or exercise patience and wait for the new to fade in to the old. Of course, in situations where the existing roof is quite dark, as in the case where black mold, moss or lichen as moved in, the new shake repairs are not likely to ever blend in well.

Another interesting and very important thing to note about the main photo at the top of this post is the natural variation in the original roofing. You can see 40-50 pieces that are significantly lighter grey than surrounding pieces. The most obvious patch is a little over half way up the pictured roof slope slightly left of center. Those shakes were installed 11 years ago but for some reason have not faded at the same pace as surrounding material. This is most likely due to differences in the chemical composition of those shakes. They were either taken out of a different part of the tree or from a different tree altogether (more likely). Cedar roofing is a natural material and will have a wide range of coloration as the result.  If p

erfect color consistency is your goal it is best to avoid cedar shakes and shingles.

Here is 12 year old, medium hand-split cedar shake roof in the same neighborhood as the subject roof. The new shakes are quite obvious from the ground. They will blend in quite well within a year.

12 year old cedar shake roof in the same neighborhood. These repairs are less than one week old.

Here are the repairs on this cedar shake roof one year after installation on this Orono wood roof.











New wood shake roof in Minnetonka with color variations


14 year old heavy hand-split cedar shake roof with repairs two years after completion.

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