A cedar roof represents a good value in that cedar is rot resistant and can last in roofing applications for up to 40 years. While a cedar roof could last longer than you are in your home, it is important to remember that individual shingles can fail long before the entire roof does. Thus, to avoid leaks, damage to the rest of your roof stemming from such leaks, and water damage in your home, you need to repair your shingles as needed.
Repairing Vertical Cracks
Repeated cycles of expansion and contraction can crack shingles, and they are most likely to crack along the grain, which means you will have cracks running from the top to the bottom of a shingle. If you have a vertical crack that extends beyond the area where the damaged shingle sits on top of the shingle from the row below, leaks can form. In order to fix such a crack, you can pull the two sides of the single together and drive a nail into the shingle on either side of the crack. You should then cover the nail heads and the crack itself with roofing cement. On the other hand, if you have many cracks running through a shingle, you need to make a more extensive repair.
Repairing a Badly Damaged Shingle
If you have a shingle that is cracked against the grain or that has many cracks running through it, you will need to follow these steps to make a repair:
1. Use a nail puller to remove the nails that hold the damaged shingle in place. Be careful not to damage the shingle from the row above in the process.
2. Measure the gap between the shingles on either side.
3. Measure your replacement shingles, and if necessary, cut it so that it is a half inch thinner than the gap between the shingles.
4. Slide the new shingle into place, maintaining a 1/4-inch gap between the new shingle and the shingles on either side.
5. When the bottom edge of the shingle extends about a half inch below the other shingles in the same row, drive nails into the top of the shingle. Slant the nails upward and drive them as close to the shingle from the row above as possible without damaging it.
6. Cover the nail heads with roofing cement.
7. Tap the bottom edge of the shingle until it is even with the other shingles in the same row and the nail heads are covered.
As you can see, making repairs to a cedar shingle is not too difficult. However, it does require you to work on your roof. If you are uncomfortable with heights or any other aspect of making roof repairs, you should leave the work to professional roofers in your area.