Poor Quality Cedar Leads to Roof Failure
This excerpt is from an article previously published in Suburban Life magazine, September 2012
According to Mark Carroll of Capital Forest Products, in the 1980s, the Mid-Atlantic market was exposed to a considerable amount of off-grade wood. By using lesser-quality logs, cutting with less precision and packing to less stringent standards, some mills saved money on labor and material costs but produced substandard material. Homeowners and contractors who were sold these products during the building boom were not educated about the inferior grades being used. A poor economy was the root cause of the cost cutting then and, because of the recent decline in home values, Carroll sees these practices on the rise again. This explains the shortened life cycle of some homes’ wood roofs and why their owners may be reluctant to use cedar over alternative products.
Some off-grade mills will work with a contractor’s price requirements by producing a lesser-quality material to meet the pricing demands. “Unfortunately not all cedar is created equally,” Carroll notes. “To some mills a No. 1 label represents what they can get away with rather than the actual published grading rules. The homeowner is generally not aware of the sacrifices being made in quality in order to achieve a lower price. The homeowner never chooses to have an off-grade roof; it is the responsibility of the industry to educate homeowners and contractors alike of the differences in quality from one mill to the next.”
And the problem exists at all levels of the industry. Kerry Moleski of Bradco Supply says,
“There are wholesalers who buy noncompliant cedar roofing and then sell them to contractors for less than the on-grade materials.” The Cedar Roof Company representatives Brian Pott and Mike Malone agree they are seeing a lot of bad wood being installed.
Homeowners rarely know the difference for years, because, as Malone says, “Cedar represents itself well. It always looks great, but will it last?” Poor quality shakes and shingles are subject to curling, cupping and splitting, affecting a wood roof’s beauty and reducing its lifespan. Instead, Pott says, “We can get the best quality materials; we can offer the best installation and maintain it every five to six years. It will look great and you’ll never have to replace your wood roof.”