Cleaning Wood Shingles

by April Reinhardt
(last updated June 9, 2014)

If you've roofed your home with wood shingles, you've spent quite a bit of money on your investment. Sometimes costing three times as much as asphalt shingles, wood shingles also have a shorter life expectancy than their synthetic counterparts. Made mostly from cedar or redwood, the natural roofing is manufactured in two forms—wood shingles or shakes. Shakes are handmade, hewn from dead trees or leftover logs, providing a rough appearance. Shingles are machine sawed and are thinner than shakes.

Wood shakes and shingles provide a warm charming look, and sometimes a rich aroma, and are more vulnerable to algae and mold growth because of their organic composition. While some roofing contractors argue that wood shingles do not require cleaning, others state that cleaning is required for them to reach their full life expectancy. With proper maintenance, wood shingles can last eight to twenty-five years.

This is a list of equipment that you will need to clean your wood shingles:

  • Ladders
  • Portable scaffolding
  • Push broom with soft bristles
  • Several garden hoses to make one length long enough to reach the top of your roof from your water spigot
  • Pump sprayer
  • Wood shingle cleaner purchased from your local hardware or home improvement store. Roof manufacturers recommend a product called Roof Reviver.
  • A large bucket

Since wood shingles are softer than asphalt, never scrub them. Instead, gently agitate them when cleaning, else you may scrub away wood fiber and shorten the lifespan of the shingles. Also keep in mind that if you use a bleach cleaning solution, it will kill the landscaping around your home when it spills over the edge of your roof. Cover any vegetation around your home before you begin cleaning your roof, and follow these steps to clean your wood shingles:

  1. In your bucket, mix the cleaning solution according to the package directions.
  2. Pour the solution into your spray pump, and spray your wood shingles.
  3. Allow the solution to stand for the recommended time on the product instructions, and then rinse away with your garden hose. If you feel a slimy residue when you touch the shingles, then repeat the process.
  4. Make sure that you thoroughly rinse the roof since product residue may damage your shingles if you allow it to linger.

Again, it is important that you never scrub wood shingles. Simply spray the cleaning product onto your roof in sections, and then use your push broom to gently push the cleaner off the shingles, in single downward strokes. Do not use a sprayer attachment on your garden hose when rinsing your shingles. Instead, allow the water to flow freely from the water hose and gently wash away the cleaning solution.

Author Bio

April Reinhardt

An admin­istrator for a mutual fund man­age­ment firm, April deals with the writ­ten word daily. She loves to write and plans to author a memoir in the near future. April attend­ed More­head State Uni­ver­sity to pursue a BA degree in Ele­men­tary Edu­ca­tion. ...


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