Cedar shake is one of the most popular roofing components. The shakes can last more than 30 years. But you know you have to maintain the roof properly in order to enlarge the lifeline of the shakes. To repair, inspect or maintain the roof, you have to walk on the roof. Though it is safe to walk on a cedar shake roof, you need to be very careful.

The fragile and slippery cedar shakes make it tough for the roofers to walk on those. With a pair of quality roofing shoes having spikes, necessary safety gears and techniques, you would be able to walk on a cedar roof without any hesitation.

I guess you’re a roofer who hasn’t walked on a cedar shake roof and wondering, how to walk on cedar shake roof? Just go through the article. Here we have described the best techniques in detail.

How To Walk On Cedar Shake Roof
Photo Credit: semperwest.com

How To Walk On Cedar Shake Roof: The Ultimate Guide

You must take all necessary safety measures before setting foot on the roof. For this, you are going to need a pair of roofing shoes, personal safety equipment (safety harness, roofing rope), a ladder with ridge hook and roof brackets. Let’s get to know them briefly.

Roofing shoes with spike:

non slip Roofing Shoes With Spike

Cedar shakes are a bit more slippery than the other roofing materials. You need to be very careful when walking on these. You have to put on shoes that can produce more friction than ordinary shoes to have a good grip to the surface.

For this purpose, spiked shoes are the best. But keep in mind that the spikes should not damage the shakes.

Instead of using roofing shoes, most people use universal shoe covers. These are designed to fit perfectly over any type of shoes or boots. These shoe covers come with integrated spikes. Thus it can provide more grip than ordinary shoes.

Safety harness:

Safety Harness

Never get up on the roof without wearing a safety harness. OSHA’s fall protection standard requires each worker who is working or walking on a surface which is 6 ft or more above a lower level, shall be protected by using safety net system guardrails or personal fall arrest system. The former two are too expensive for simple maintenance.

That’s why, wearing a safety harness is a must when walking on a cedar shake roof. Nowadays most harnesses come equipped with a full kit. The kit includes heavy duty anchors, full body harness, lanyard, clutches, buckles, rope grabs. Follow the user manual to use those kits perfectly.

Roofing rope:

Roofing Rope

Ordinary ropes are not strong enough for this. You must pick the one that is more sturdy. Connect a roofing rope to the anchor. You can either install the anchor on the peak of the house or install two anchors on the ground of two opposite sides of the house. Connect a rope with the anchors.

Attach a rope grab with the rope. This rope grab will allow you to control the vertical movement along the rope. The rope grab will lock into your desired position, even in case of a sudden fall.

Use a ladder with ridge hook:

Use A Ladder With Ridge Hook

This is one of the cheapest and easiest to walk on a cedar shake roof. Just attach a ridge hook with your ladder. This will allow you to keep the ladder flat on the roof and use it as a platform to work. You can easily walk on them without affecting the shakes.

Use roof brackets:

Use Roof Brackets

Roof brackets make it easier to walk on a cedar shake roof. You need to install these along the eave of the roof. You can place your foot on these brackets while walking on the roof. These also help to reduce the chance of slipping.

After taking all the safety measures now you are eligible to get yourself up on the roof. Still, you need to be very careful while walking on the shakes.

In many cases you will find the roof full of moss and mold. These will make it very difficult for a roofer to move on the roof. Try to identify the shakes that are less slippery. The roofing shoes or shoe covers with spikes will help you to have a good grip to the surface of the roof.

 As the shakes are made of wood, they generally become very fragile after a few years of use. Always remember to step on the upper side of the shake. If you step on the lower side of a shake, you may end up splitting it into parts or displacing it.


I guess, now you have learnt the core ideas of how to walk on cedar shake roof. I hope you will implement these ideas while walking on a cedar shake roof.

If your roof is too steep or you’re not confident enough to do the job safely, then you must call the professional roofers.


As a civil engineer and roofer, I love to share the experience that I have gained through the last couple of years. In the roofing industry, practical experience is a very crucial fact that can help you a lot. Hence, I want to help you with my blog.

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