Sagging Cedar Roof - Should I buy?


I have recently moved to Quebec City and am looking at purchasing a home built in the year 1800. So, the house is 220 years old with a stone foundation, stone/mortar walls and a cedar roof…which looks to be in bad shape. Some cedar shakes look loose, but what is really alarming is the sag at the the roof peak. It is a gradual sag with no true problem area. U-shaped roof peak, is the best I can describe it.

It is a beautiful house that me and ma blonde are very excited about. However, this roof scares the bejesus out of me. I have done some reading and realize that cedar roofs are expensive. I can handle that. What I can`t handle is a structural repair.

The roof was done 30 years ago, the real estate agent said. He also said that it has a lot more life expectancy. The house is around 30 x 29with a very steep incline (lots and lots of snow here).

What would the worst case scenario cost me? What would just a cedar roof replacement cost? Would you be scared away from this house, or is it worth the trouble? There are certain historic appearances that need to be preserved if the roof needs to be repaired/replaced.

Thanks in advance.



If you send pics, it would help a lot.

1 Like

Have someone that knows what their doing inspect the roof. With respect to the sag, the house is 200 years old plus. The ridge beam is probably sagging a bit. I don’t know squat about building practices 200 years ago but this should be easily determined by someone who can get in the attic and examine your framing. It may be relatively minor and could be fixed. Perhaps not. Before I’d buy, this is the primary thing I’d try to find out.

As far as the cedar shakes, life depends upon the quality of cedar shakes that were installed, the quality of the install and the maintenance that has been performed since install. Chances are, No 1 premium shakes weren’t installed and there is a big variation in the quality of materials when it comes to shakes. And cedar shakes require resealing every 5 to 8 years depending on the quality of the materials and the environment you’re located in. If that wasn’t done at all, and many Owners don’t do the maintenance, 30 years is a reasonable life expectancy.

We’ve installed quite a number of cedar shake roofs. I personally would never install one on my own house. We have converted a number of shake owners to Brava Synthetic Composite Shakes which is a far, far superior product. And it would give you 50 to 100 years of life expectancy with zero maintenance required. And IMHO, look better as well. You can choose the color you wish (fresh, medium aged or fully aged and points in between) and that won’t change. Brava Shake would preserve the historic Cedar Shake appearance while providing performance and reliability.

Cedar Shake and Brava are expensive roof options. $1200 to $1500 US per square. So chances are, a replacement for that house is going to be anywhere from $25K to $100K dependent upon the size.

Wealthy local guy had a guy come from europe to frame his houses with bellied ridge and bowed rafters. Put slate on them. When he told me that, I said I coulda just gave you my shit list, there are guys here that don’t charge extra to screw up a framing job!