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We are in the process of getting bids for replacing the roof on our 1926 storybook-styled cottage. As you can see by the photos, we have an unique situation where the roof curves at the peaks and at the rafter ends.



We would like to hear any opinions you all might have about which shingling material to use ( we are considering cedar and traditional asphalt shingles ), possible alternative suggestions on how to wrap the peaks and roof ends, or anything else you might like to comment on.


Tags: Cedar shingles, Roof replacement

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Steamed cedar shingles are the way to go. But you need a real professional with real experience. Which means big money.

Another nice way is to wrap the edges with copper and then shingle the field of the roof. That would look nice with your excellent choice in guttering. You still need a professional with experience, but the cost might be a little less.
Dennis, we had thought of that option as well. We are also considering having the cedar shingles installed in 'wave-style' vs traditional. Of course, that will add even MORE cost but there is an outfit based out of Florida who is going to give us a bid for both options, so we'll know exactly how much more pretty soon.
Yes, the gutters are very excellent. Is the wrapped roof look suppose to give the feel of thatch?
Yes it is, Phil. Spot-on!
Another thought:

Asphalt shingles are the new thing in the 1920's. Slate has been used for more than 50 years, along with cedar shingles, but now along comes asphalt.
(People like it so much that the slate roofers don't teach their children how to repair slate roof - and of course, slate roofs last a very long time too - and we almost loose the art of installing and repairing slate roofs. That's another story!)

Asphalt is also pliable in a way that wood shingles are not. Wood shingles can go side to side in curves, and they can do gradual curves vertically. The curves that imitate thatch are tighter than feels comfortable - to me - with a piece of wood. It seems to me that perhaps asphalt is the right material, and may have been the original roofing on the house. Wood also needs to breath all the way around so that it won't rot. It is laid on strips. I am having trouble visualizing the details necessary to curve the eaves in wood and also allow for air movement.

I have never reroofed a house like yours. I do not really know. I hope you will let us know what you find when you get to the underlayment. I am thinking about the materials themselves and their installation.
You have a cool house. It would be interesting to know if some of the roofing contractors have experience with wrapping synthetic shake tiles to conform to the rolling edges of your house? With the Ecostar 'slate' tiles there is a little bit of flexibility there - though not much. Just a thought as the recycled synth. products have a 50 year warranty and at first glance very hard to tell from real shake, or slate.
Hi KenK!

Thank you for the compliment!

We did take a look at some of the synthetic products, but they are a bit out of scale for our small house. Plus, the way the back of the shingle/shake/slate is designed, it makes the bending tricky, at least. The size of cedar shingles is in perfect scale with our home. Plus, we can dip them in a variety of stains - makes for a stunning effect. And while cedar will require cleaning and sealing every few years, they have a nice R-value which the synthetics do not. Still...the synthetics are a good consideration - good suggestion!!
I have no ideas about the roofing, but I just want to comment that you have a most amazing house. How unique!
Thank you, Paula! You can understand why we feel so passionate about keeping the design. Several people (including a few roofers) suggested we square-off the eaves to make everything easier. I suppose that is one solution, but one that we feel is wrong and NOT a consideration. We feel very strongly about the character and personality of our home.
I would like to share a story about a house like yours. Back when I lived in Colo I drove by this little nondescript house every day. Strange house with a funky asphalt shingles with the edges done in rolled roofing. One day I drove by and someone was tearing off the entire grey roof. Within a week they had installed cedar shingles in a wavy pattern with like every third shingle dropped down a couple inches. They did an excellent job, even wrapping the curves, eyebrow window, and edges in the same manner. From that day the house was called Fairy tale cottage. When it sold a year later the sale price had tripled. You have a great house, Good luck with it.
Thank you for sharing SUCH a lovely story, Lair! Just when we were feeling a little weary from several failed experiments (trying to steam-bend cedar shingles, designing and building forms around which to bend them, and breaking a lot of cedar in the process - returning to the 'drawing board' again and again) you provide us with an uplifting story and remind us why we pursue this with such tenacity. It's more about the beauty and being true to the original design than any increase of value/sale price...though that would be nice, too!! Thanks for the encouragement!! You've refreshed us.
Charlie & Sherri,

What a lovely house you have! If you are considering wrapping the edges of your roof in copper and possibly doing the roof itself in slate you may want to contact the roofing company I used. You could get their opinion and an estimate. They work nationwide. The Durable Slate Company, Columbus, Ohio. Mark Sherby is the Vice President. Contact him via email at MSerby@durableslate.com, or at 1-800-666-7445. You can email photos directly to Mark. A guy named Ray is their copper expert. Durable did a spectacular job installing the slate roof and copper gutters on my house (the gutters are hidden behind crown moulding) and the gutters on both my porches. My tower roof was done in copper when the house was built in 1903 and I had Durable replace the back pan on the backside of the tower when my slate roof was done in 2002. I have tons of photos here on my web page if you care to check the roofing pictures out. Good Luck!!

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