how long do cedar shingles last blog image

How Long Do Cedar Shingles Last?

Cedar shingles are a beautiful, rustic approach to roofing that many homeowners choose because of the wood’s longevity, and aesthetic appeal. However, cedar is sourced from nature, and like most natural things, it is subject to decomposition. How long a cedar shingle will last is dependent on many factors, which is why St. Charles, IL homeowners now prefer composite roofing materials that require no maintenance and last longer.

Factors that Affect the Life of Cedar Shingles

Some factors that affect the life of cedar shingles are controllable, and some are not. These include: 

  • Sun exposure
  • Wind exposure
  • Rain exposure
  • Overhead vegetation
  • Maintenance
  • Material Quality
  • Installation

Sun Exposure

Within one year of installation, your cedar shingles may turn grey from sun exposure. This is only superficial, and the wood underneath the surface will remain its original, rich color. Sun damage is a very slow process, but if you’d like the original color and don’t like the gray color that will be a disappointment.

Wind Exposure

Any major weather events put your cedar shingles at risk for damage. In extreme wind, shingles can be damaged or dislodged. Over time, wind can also erode the surface of cedar shingles. 

Rain Exposure

Shingles are meant to be water-resistant, but they do absorb some moisture and expand and contract. If that happens enough times over the years, the cedar may crack or split. Homes in St. Charles, IL are exposed to a lot of rain and humidity – not necessarily a great combination for cedar shingles.

Overhead Vegetation

If there are tree limbs overhead, this will create shade and debris on your roof. Both create a combination that promotes the growth of fungi, so opening your roof up to the sun can extend the life of your roof. 


All roofs require maintenance, and cedar shingle roofs must be clean in order to maintain their usability. This might mean using spray treatments to eliminate moss or lichens. It also means removing debris and cleaning the gutters. 

Material Quality

Like most construction, material quality determines longevity. If you have low-grade cedar shingles with no preservatives or retardants, you aren’t likely to keep your original shingles for decades. However, high-grade shingles will likely hold up well to many of the above factors. You get what you pay for when it comes to shingles. Buying bargain cedar shingles simply means they’ll have to be replaced more often. 


Finally, the installation of cedar shingles determines how long they will last. Shingles must be acclimated to the area where they will be used to avoid size fluctuations after installation. They must be overlapped properly and have ventilation. The tools used to secure the shingles to the roof can affect the success of the roof installation. If not properly installed, the life of your cedar roof can be compromised.

Cedar Shingles Are Beautiful but Require Maintenance to Last

Your cedar shingle roof must be maintained if you want it to last. A better alternative to cedar shingles is the new composite roofing material that requires little maintenance, is less expensive, and looks just as beautiful as real cedar shingles.

Call us today at 847.587.0872 to learn about the best roofing option for your St. Charles, IL home!

Scroll to Top

Get An Honest Quote, 100% FREE!