Staining is just one method of treatment and not a very good one. The objectives of maintaining a cedar roof are threefold: Clean the roof, Preserve the wood, and Prevent moss. No where can it found found that changing the color is a necessary goal. One of the main reasons roofs started getting stained was simply to hide another, less attractive color – green. Copper Napthanate was commonly and still is used as a roof preservative. Aside from it’s nasty smell and harshness on the enviroment, it is a good wood preservative. Unfortunately, it is green.
Since very few people want a green cedar roof, the habit was started of adding pigment (stain) to the solution to hide the green. While this is the lesser of two evils, is still had its shortcomings. Even when treatments that are clear became available, many contractors and homeowners became accustomed to see a “stained” roof and used it as a milestone of determining that the roof was treated. Of course, some unscrupulous roofing contractors then realized that they could cut down on the “good stuff” and as long as the roof had a nice tint of orange or putty brown (the two most common options available), homeowners would consider their roof maintained. Take a look at the attached photo of such a roof – what a disaster.
It is just a terrible checkerboard. Now every roof that has shakes replaced is going to temporarily look checkered until the new ones evolve toward the older ones, but a roof like this is evolving away from uniformity. Also, you can see that the end shakes appear not to have any coloration at all. Why? Because they likely never had any to start with because the application did not want to get orange overspray on the light colored gutters and siding and have to clean it off.
Here is a simple guideline we give our customers: Roofs are not decks – they are not meant to be stained. Roof treatment, however, is a critical component to maximizing the most out of your expensive investment. If you are a Portland area homeowner who would like to learn more about proper roof maintenance, whether cedar, composition or tile, please feel welcome to contact us.