Repairing a Shake Roof in Seattle

DISREGARD everything on the web written about repairing shake roofs.

You might not believe me, BUT…

Replacing or pulling damaged or rotten shakes is really bad for the roof system- here’s why:

1- Take a look at the shake system:

  • This system is one of the best systems for roofing in the Pacific Northwest.
  • For one, they are made from Western Red Cedar (thuja plicata) a wood indigenous to the region.
  • Although cedar sap has some preservative qualities, treated shakes are better and will give you 30 to 50 years of fairly maintenance free peace of mind.

repair_12- Another system quality is the interlayment. Most roof systems have underlayment, a layer under the main materials. Underlayment is the last barrier if water gets through the roofing materials.

For more roofing facts and information please see our Seattle area roofing FAQ

As you can see in the picture, if water gets through the shakes the interlayment catches it and puts it back on top of the lower row of shakes.

repair_2Most “experts” will tell you to remove the bad shakes and insert new ones. As you can see in the picture below, when the shake is pulled out two layers of interlayment below are torn. Also when the new shake is driven into place it tears the interlayment above.

So… the way to repair a shake roof is to insert flat metal pieces under the problem shakes. We refer to these as tin shingles. Most of the time they stay put pretty well; if you are concerned with them sliding down put a bit of roof adhesive on them.


I took some pictures of a roof I visited lately; they had installed the tin shingles but they didn’t cut the excess length so the metal does not show.


Need a Seattle Roofing Contractor? Contact Sharp Roofing today. Call us today for a Free Estimate or Roof Inspection (206) 367-7663 or fill out our contact form here.