Chevron Shingle Oil on Cedar Roof

devehfMay 13, 2012

Do you think it is valuable to apply Chevron shingle oil on a cedar shingle roof?

A guy who repairs roofs in our neighborhood full of cedar shingles wants to charge me $500 for spraying Chevron Shingle Oil on my roof every 3 years. I see a neighbor's rood that he just did which looks awesome. Another neighbor had it done a year ago and I can't tell at all. It looks very gray. Our roofs are 21 years old in this subdivision. I have read various cedar shingle industry brochures as well as reputable state university sources which state that shingle oil is not necessary for maintenance of cedar shingles. So I took a pass on this service and hired the guy to perform repairs on the dozens of cracked and missing shingles for $300. This is worth it to me because I can't find cedar materials at Home Depot and don't want to spend hours hunting them down at the specialty forestry products wholesalers (plentiful here in Boise, ID). Plus I would have to borrow belay equipment from my climbing friends and all that jazz to give me protection on top of a 2 story house.

I think I am doing the right thing with fixing the broken things instead of paying for cosmetic shingle oil application. But am I making a mistake? Will the oil hold of the inevitable roof replacement?

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I had a neighbor here in southeast CO who coated his cedar shingle roof with boiled linseed oil every 3 years. It lasted over 50 years. He felt he was too old at 75 to work up there any longer so he went to a steel roof then.
I would say yes, it's worth it.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 5:50AM
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Boiled Linseed Oil is basically what all the good cedar shingle preservatives have as a base product from what I recall. It has been used here on L.I. for years to treat and preserve wood shingle roof's and there are many decades old shingle roof's here.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2012 at 8:51AM
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If you have a 21 year old roof, it means that it is made from newer cedar which does not last as long as the old roofs did which were old growth cedar. I had a 1954 house with a cedar roof that was 20 years old when I bought it in 1974 and the cedar lasted another 10 years before replacement. The subsequent cedar roof lasted only 15 years, even though I got the best cedar shakes then available. I think you are lucky that yours is still passable, but it is nearing the end of its useful life and I don't know that oiling it at this point will be a benefit.

    Bookmark   May 17, 2012 at 8:33PM
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I spoke to a few neighbors who said the Chevron shingle oil treatment did not appear to give them any benefit other than cosmetic appearance for 1 year. I'm glad I did not waste the money.

    Bookmark   May 28, 2012 at 1:09PM
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I will disagree on the merits of shingle oil. For the past 10 years, I have lived in what is now a 24 year old home with cedar shakes. For the first 14 years nothing was done to the roof except nail down loose shakes. Upon moving in, I found a cedar roof person and every two years he is out nailing down shakes, replacing badly worn shakes, updating ridge cap, painting flashing and applying shingle oil. The shingle oil's purpose is not for cosmetics - the shakes do that by their own nature. The oil allows the cedar to better breathe and withstand the elements. If shakes are properly taken care of, they will last close to 50 years. In regard to "newer" vs "older" cedar, not accurate. Cedar is not man made, nor a hybrid, but a natural wood. Find a person who applies the shingle oil and that same person will, most likely, be able to care for your roof. I live in the midwest and have a roof covering approximately 2,300 square feet. Just had te roof completed (done in even numbered years) for $1,600. To do a complete tear off and apply architectural grade asphalt shingles would cost ~$35,000 based on the roof line. I can get 20 more year fom my roof (20 years x an average of $800/year, non-indexed, =$16,000). The time value of money is on my side. And that does not factor in how much nicer a shake roof looks on your home.

Whatever you do, do NOT stain, varnish or seal your shake roof. Cedar needs to breathe.

    Bookmark   June 26, 2012 at 12:08AM
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I own Assurance Roofing out of Fort Collins, CO. Even though I have no direct experience with oil coated wood shake shingles, I know that there is a HUGE difference in how long a wood shake roof lasts according to (primarily) the original quality of the wood shake itself. I have seen a few (5 or 6) untreated wood shake roofs that lasted 45 years before being replaced. But, I have seen many more (several dozen) newer shake roofs that required replacement in the 20 -25 year time frame. In my experience a typical shake roof needs replacing when it is 20 - 30 years old. And, I have never replaced a wood shake roof that was less than 20 years old. In comparison an asphalt shingle roof needs replacement when it is 10 to 15 years old. A 20 year old asphalt shingle roof in Colorado is pretty old. An asphalt shingle roof that is 30 years old is fairly rare.

    Bookmark   December 4, 2013 at 4:00PM
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My neighbor just replaced his roof. What was there had been medium grade composition shingles that were installed when he had the house built 41 years ago. I don't know how unusual that is, but we have milder weather here than you have in Colorado.

The better quality comp roofs have longer warranty periods than you describe, you ought to be selling those.

Nice job bumping an 18 month old thread, BYW.

    Bookmark   December 5, 2013 at 2:18PM
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