Cedar shake

Anyone do a lot of it? I know in some areas it’s very minimal. I see a lot up here , and I know a lot of guys charge bug bucks to do it. Anyone have any expertise they would be willing to share? Very much appreciated

Hey Dave-I did tons of Cedar houses over the years. Even had one on the cover of www.cleanertimes.com 10 or so yrs ago. From one PWRA member to another give me a little background first so I can give you a more complete answer. Have you done any Cedar houses and whether it’s yes or know what have you heard is the way to clean it?

I stay far away from it, don’t want nothing to do with it lol

Why?? There good money and pretty easy to do. Nothing like vinyl but Cedar can pay 10x the price jist for a cleaning and if you are staining as well it you can get upwards to 25-30x the price of a vinyl house. I love booking Cedar house washes the most because my guys now are as good as I was and there’s nothing like seeing a blacken mold covered Cedar turn into a clean and brighten masterpiece;)

John, it’s 2 different mind sets. Vinyl cleaning you’re in and out; about an hour. With wood you could be there for days.

Yes Very true…I have both mind sets;)

I’m in the middle. I don’t do much vinyl and zero cedar shake.
Most of my houses are brick/dryvit/painted wood.

A how-to for cedar shake would be nice, hint hint.

Brick houses sometimes are a pain in the rump. Efflorescence Coming thru the brick can be a nightmare. Thankfully we don’t get to many Brick houses to clean. Dryvit and painted wood we clean them all the time. The painted wood can brighten right back up is cleaned correctly and the paint is in halfway decent shape…

Cedar shake houses not only do we clean or strip them we also a couple of times a year stain them a color(every year we get more and more away from color stains which includes decks as well). The best house money we get is if we seal the cedar afterwords with a natural type stain with just a tint of cedar color to it. It’s basically the clear natural stain. We spray these houses.

If I remember I’ll post some pics that are on my laptop. The pictures are from a few yrs ago and maybe one or two from this year. I’m not at these jobs anymore so there are no pictures… Unless it’s close to my neighborhood then I might take a ride by…

It might be better for me to show pics and break it all down here on PWRA… Remember wood restoration I use to love talking about it and it’s sweet memories. Now you have the Charlie Sodens of the world who wakeup,eat,sleep wood restoration like the way I was…

John, I have about 2 years experience in pressure washing in general. Been doing roof cleaning for just about a year with the gen 2 system. Buying my first hot water skid this winter. 8gpm 3-3500 psi hot, still shopping, but I’ve made my mind up that I’m getting a new unit as opposed to used. I’m in Minnesota, so we have a ton of cedar roofs and siding. I’ve seen guys pressure wash it with a wand, I’ve seen guys walking the roof with a surface cleaner, I’m guessing with the right solution you could downstream a solution onto it and rinse, but again that’s just me guessing. As far as experience cleaning shake, I have none. But I’m a fast learner :wink:

Hey Dave we clean alot of asphalt roofs because there popular here. Only once did I do a Cedarshake roof but that’s one of the few jobs I ever had to bite the bullet on. Darn near fell off this roof 3-4 times because I took to many stupid risk then. So that job we never completed. We left the roof neatly cleaned in certain areas though and the guy paid us completely for the house cleaning job and his massive deck that we cleaned and stained. So Cedar roof cleaning even though it probably very similar with Cedar siding cleaning… We don’t do it. Also there’s not many houses here that have Cedar roofs.

Cedar siding is very common here and it’s ladder work but it pays well… I’ll look for pics later and I’ll walk you thru it here. Roof cedar cleaning would be similar except you have to find a way to do it safely and not slide down it like I did a few times on this guys roof.

after all cedar shake cleaning, do you have to stain?

I’ve really been debating the entire staining aspect of even just decks with our spring push… Ill Dave those questions for another thread :wink:

For roofs I’ve heard arguements that you should seal them, I’ve also heard it’s good not to seal them. I think they said they needed to breathe.


The shakes should be sealed but what your going to find out mostly is that people don’t want to pay for the full Monty which is clean and seal. If you look at Cedar siding if a homeowner never takes care of them they start to blacken and eventually they start to get thinner and pretty much wither away. Especially on the sunny side of the house. Cedar shakes if taken care of can last a very long time. 30,40 and even 50 yrs if it’s well maintained.

The very least Cedar shakes should be cleaned every 3-5 yrs if it’s not going to be sealed. The mold and mildew growth on untreated Cedar can run rampant. People tell you that they like that blacken look so they do nothing. The day comes and they have to get some cedar replaced or worse yet a whole side replaced they run into issues where for one the cedar never matches up exactly. Yes they can let the new Cedar weather for a couple of yrs and it may match better but it’s not a desired look.

Also In wealthy area’s vinyl not only becomes obsolete its not allowed. Vinyl really is imitation clapboard and now it’s also imitation Cedar shake as well. My past job where I worked in an extremely wealthy area the building codes didn’t allow any Vinyl to be installed. Also off topic for a second, every house there was Zoned for 2 or more acres as well.

So with Cedar siding and roofs the money is in the wood.

It’s getting late here but either tonight or within the next few days I’ll break out my laptop and pop some pictures up for you and the PWRA Forum members so we can talk more about Cedar shake cleaning.


Ok Here’s some Cedar Shake cleaning 101… These pics here are from a few yrs ago so the picture Quality is low.

Pic#1 is the side of the house before anything was put on it
Pic#2 is the same side of the house after a stripper was put on it and powerwashed off. The stripper throws the PH of the wood which is why the wood gets so black before its powerwashed
Pic#3 is front of house which is a take off of pic 2. You can see how dark the shakes got from the stripper that was sprayed on it. You can one of my guys on the roof who’s using a powerwasher thats 2800rpms and he’s holding 40 degree tip around 6 inches away which means you take 2800/6 = a little under 500psi of water hitting the shakes. You can go a little further away than that on most houses.
Pic #4 once again shows you how dark the wood is. Also notice the clean side further down. Its clean but its still dark looking
Pic#5 the house is done and its still very wet. The guys already sprayed the brightner on it so to brighten the shakes by bringing the PH back up to normal.

We left the house wet and I never did see the dry look but doing this for years I know that house is going to dry Light where the shakes are going to look clean and brite and ready for stain/sealer or in this persons case its cleaned from all the mold/mildew that was growing on it.

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Here’s a house with a before and after where it was still drying.

Here’s a house that is Cedar Planks and you can see how black it is. The next picture my guys are almost done cleaning the back of it. This house when sprayed with the Brightner afterwords came out Sweet. We also stained this house when done,

Awesome information. Thank you!

This was a Hampton House. You can see in one of the pics of the guys spraying on the house the stripper. You also see the house when completed and then the last picture when it was sprayed out with a stain/sealer.

This house in 2008 I think was the year, we got $2800 to clean it which was done in 1 day and then we got an additional $6000 to stain it which took two days. The only problem with this house was the drive which was an 1 1/2 hrs each way… but the money was excellent.