So? What Happened?

The first thing that happened was that we cut down and used up a good proportion of the old growth cedar - the stuff which was mostly heart wood. (By the way - if you have some time after breakfast at Lake Quinault Lodge, there is a very nice self guided nature walk across the street. There are a few of the remaining fine old growth cedars, firs, hemlock the Sitka Spruce... - O.K., O.K., I will get back to work).

The next thing that happened was that we started to build houses with lower pitched roofs, ramblers with 4" in 12" pitches, etc. And we continued to use cedar roofing even though more and more of the material contained sap wood. In addition, due to the smaller size (and higher cost) of the logs, we started to use more flat grained and mixed grained shakes - not the straight grained stuff.

In order to cope with these new conditions, it became necessary (and required) to interlace the shakes with felt (tar paper). The good news was that this step reduced leaks. The bad news was that the tar paper increased the drying time and further helped promote rot in the shakes.

So, as the other roofing materials became ever better in quality, more and more of the cedar was of inferior quality and some of the cedar roofs failed (and are failing) in as little as 6 years.

Cedar Roofs