wood shakes roofing in hot climate phoenix

Wood Shake Roofs: 3 Tips for Success in Hot Climates

If you love the classic, rustic appearance of the wood shake roof, then you may wonder if this roof type is a good choice for a home in the state of Arizona. The good news is that wood shake roofs can stay in great shape for many years, even when exposed to the hot Arizona sun on a regular basis, as long as you choose a heat-resistant wood shake species and you care for your roof properly.

Read on to learn three tips for wood shake roof success in a hot climate.

1. Choose the Right Wood Species

You have many wood species to choose from when selecting your wood shakes. Each wood species has its unique advantages, although Arizona homeowners should ensure they choose a wood species that is as heat-resistant as possible to ensure their shakes do not quickly warp or dry out when exposed to the sun’s hot UV rays.

Cedar shakes are popular in many areas of the country due to their durability and low cost. Cedar is a low-density wood, so it is resistant to shrinking and warping when exposed to the hot sun. This wood is also resistant to decay and is naturally insect resistant. A properly maintained cedar roof can last from 30 to 50 years or longer.

Wallaba shakes are also great options for Arizona homeowners. This wood species is so heat-resistant that it is often used to create roofs for homes in tropical climates all over the world. Wallaba shakes become reflective as they age. Reflective roof materials absorb less heat and reflect the sun’s UV rays to help keep your home cooler. This wood species is also naturally fire-resistant and can last just as long as cedar roofs.

2. Apply the Right Surface Treatments on a Regular Basis

Over time, sunlight, rain, and wind can discolor and degrade the surface of wood shakes through a process called weathering. While the surface of cedar shakes are expected to turn gray after about a year of sun exposure, wood degradation that is not cosmetic in nature occurs very slowly over the course of many years.

The weathering process can be slowed greatly by applying the right surface treatments to your wood shake roof on a regular basis. First, be sure to apply an ultraviolet (UV) light inhibitor treatment to your roof periodically. This inhibitor will reduce wood sensitivity to the sun to slow oxidation and other types of weathering caused by sun exposure.

Some roof experts also recommend the regular application of wood oil treatments. These oils improve roof appearance and protect the wood from the outdoor elements. In addition, regular application of a wood preservative can help prevent wood shake decay.

3. Avoid Shading Your Roof With Trees

You may be tempted to shade your wood shake roof with trees to prevent roof sun damage. However, you should always trim tree branches that hang over or near your wood shake roof, just as you would trim branches that hang over any other type of roof, because the disadvantages of shading your roof outweigh the advantages.

A wood roof that receives little to no direct sunlight is a better breeding ground for mold, fungus, and moss than a roof that receives frequent direct sunlight, because a shaded roof takes longer to dry after it rains than one that is not shaded. Mold, fungus, and moss all thrive in a warm, moist environment.

In addition, the longer your roof stays wet after rainfall, the greater the chance of moisture damage development in the form of wood rot or decay.

If you live in Arizona and love the appearance of rustic wood shake roofs, then you should know that these roofs can be good options for homes in hot, arid Arizona as long as you choose your wood species wisely and maintain your roof properly. Contact the roofing experts at SUNVEK for expert wood shake roof installation today.

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