A wooden shingle or a shake roof was once one of the only types available. Today it is a premium product that costs the homeowner more to purchase and install than regular asphalt shingles. Architects and building contractors choose wood roofs for their allure and natural appearance that merges well with the surrounding environment and intensifies the structure’s landscape.
The first notable change is the color. The beginning red-brown color continues to fade, and a graying process begins. This change to a silvery gray is the outcome of ultraviolet radiation from the sun removing the surface layer, which is less than 0.01 inch deep.
By nature, wood quickly attracts water to its exterior. When this happens, the wood expands. As it dries and the moisture lessens, it shrinks. This reoccurring wet–dry cycling causes the growth of compression and tension stresses; these, in turn, cause minute cracks to develop.
Over time, these cracks get larger and larger, caused by additional freezing or thawing components. The cracks also trap water and allow wood-rotting organisms to penetrate deeper into the wood. As the water pierces deeper, the wood becomes increasingly harder to dry. With growing moisture, the wood-rotting organisms extend their destructive action and damage more wood material than would occur during normal weathering.
Shingles Wearing Away:
As the roof proceeds to age, the sharp edges and surfaces from manufacturing are eroded by caustic particles carried by wind and water and by the process of sunlight. Wood-destroying organisms also continue to slowly degrade the surface material and the thicker butt edge. The roof loses its new impression. Debris from trees collects in the valleys and between the shingles.
After each rain, some areas may stay wetter longer. Soon, other plants are starting to develop, mostly lichens and mosses. More scrap and waste collects, and the roof appears to be natural and plain. There are cracks growing, and in certain areas cupping and coiling begin to become more noticeable. Then the leaks begin. Sometimes, this takes 30 years—sometimes, much less.
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