Reusing Your Old Cedar Shakes When Re-Roofing

When you're planning a new roof installation with all-new materials, your worn-out shake roof may have quite a few shingles with life left in them still. You don't want to send them to the landfill, but you can't keep them on your roof. So once your re-roofing service tears off the old roof, what's to be done with it?

Here are a few ideas for reclaiming, recycling, or even upcycling the shakes on your own property.

1. Shed or Siding

If you have a barn or outbuilding on your property (or are building one), you could consider using any still-intact shakes as an outbuilding roof.

Or, if they aren't quite watertight enough for a shed roof or your shed doesn't need a new roof right now, you could use them as a siding instead. The silvery weathered look that old cedar gets can help lend a rustic aesthetic to your shed, which can go quite well with a metal-roofed building.

2. Garden Decor

Not everyone has a need for a roof or siding material on another building on their property, though. However, you can also use old cedar shakes as garden or landscaping decor. For example, you could use the cedar shakes to create a DIY decorative windmill, or use them to build or decorate a wishing well to cover an unsightly wellhead.

Some other ideas for how you could reuse these cedar shakes as garden decor include:

  • Create birdhouses
  • Edge garden beds or paths
  • Use them as rustic signs with words painted on
  • Use them as a material for yard art

Whether you have a traditionally landscaped yard or a large, rustic-looking garden, you can find a cedar shake project that will fit in.

3. Shred for Mulch

Another possibility for shingles, especially those that are very damaged, is shredding them to use for mulch in landscape beds. Because of the chemicals typically used in treating cedar roof shingles, you'll likely want to avoid using this on edible plants such as vegetables or fruits. However, you can still use the mulch around decorative plants.

These three ideas can give you some inspiration for just what to do with your cedar shake roof after your roofing contractor tears it off. And when choosing which type of new roofing to put on during your re-roofing job, don't forget to think about how you're going to re-use (or recycle) that new material at the end of its lifespan as well.