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Cedar Shake Siding Price Guide

Cedar is a naturally beautiful, textured and durable building material, but it's rather expensive and requires some maintenance. Therefore, homeowners typically choose cedar products for aesthetic reasons not financial or practical considerations.

Cedar shingles contribute to a home’s rustic charm and are available in a range of colors, from yellow and white to shades of red and brown. Additionally, when cedar shingles are properly maintained, they can last for well over 100 years

The Costs

  • Minimum: $5
  • Maximum: $8 

Clarification of Terms: Cedar Shakes & Cedar Shingles 

Although cedar shakes and cedar shingles are terms used almost interchangeably, they are actually 2 different products. Historically, these 2 were produced using very different methods as recently as 50 years ago, but the modernization of the manufacturing process has clouded the distinction for today’s consumers.

Originally, cedar shingles were sawn off of a block of cedar and cedar shakes were split off of the block using a mallet and froe. Today’s shakes are typically sawn at one end and machine-grooved for a thicker, more rustic appearance. Because of their irregular appearance, shakes do not lay flat when installed, so wind and precipitation can make their way through the gaps. On the other hand, cedar shingles are more precisely milled, resulting in a more uniform product. They lay flat when installed, and the overlay between shingles leaves little gap exposed to the elements.

Although shingles have a more uniform appearance and shakes are more rustic-looking, both installations are labor and time-intensive, making for a costly process whether one chooses to do it themselves or contract a professional.

Advantages of Cedar Shake Siding  

Cedar shingles are tempered with a number of advantages. They have a finely grained texture and a unique satin luster that provides a striking charm for a home’s exterior appearance. Because cedar is virtually pitch and resin free, it readily accepts a wide range of finishes including oils, paints and stains. It is also shrink-resistant. Cedar is generally less expensive than vinyl siding, and it is a better insulator than most other siding options. It makes a better siding option because it reduces outside noise and insulates against extreme temperature changes. This insulation does reduce heating and cooling costs, providing significant savings on utility bills, but cedar also has a number of disadvantages that impact the cost over its lifespan.

Disadvantages of Cedar Shake Siding 

Cedar requires more maintenance and diligent attention than other types of siding. In the very least, homeowners need to power wash cedar shingles or shakes on a low setting each year to remove bugs, dirt and mildew that may be causing harm to the wood. If the homeowner wants to maintain the original color of the cedar, re-staining or re-painting on a regular basis, sometimes as often as once per year, is a necessity. If one does opt to allow cedar to age naturally without a care to rotting or warping, there is no need to chemically treat the shingles or shakes since cedar is naturally an antifungal and antibacterial wood.

Varieties of Cedar

Cedar is a part of the pine family, with a number of varieties growing across the northern United States. Most cedar shingles or shakes are produced from red, yellow, or white cedar:

Western red cedar durable, flexible, naturally insect-resistant, and more porous than other types of cedar. This porosity makes it easier to stain or fireproof than other cedar varieties. Red cedar is also very long lasting, warps less than other varieties, and is less expensive than other cedars.

Yellow cedar is a much heavier wood than red cedar because of its natural wood oil and its tight grain. It is an excellent choice for both roofing and siding because of its natural ability to repel water and insects. This same quality that makes this wood ideal, is also the reason that is difficult to paint or stain. Fortunately, paint and stain are not necessary for yellow cedar because the elements will weather it to a beautiful silver gray color. It is also very durable and holds nails better than red cedar.

White cedar grows predominantly in the eastern United States. It is considered one of the finer grades of cedar and has a light, blonde color and distinctive, pleasant scent. It is also long-lasting, weather-repellent, insect-resistant, and a source of good insulation. Like red cedar, white cedar can be painted, stained, or left to weather naturally. 

The Environmental Impact of Cedar Siding Materials

A number of studies already demonstrate the benefits of wooden structures: they consume less energy, discharge less water pollution, emit fewer greenhouse gases and produce less solid wastes than steel or concrete buildings. Cedar, more specifically, is a great insulator, so it conserves energy and reduces the impact a building leaves on the environment. To top off the great economical qualities, cedar wood is a renewable resource. 

Most importantly, cedar shingles and shakes are produced from primarily salvaged wood. Material left over from past logging work or windblown wood left on the forest floor is unsuitable size for lumber mills, so it is manually retrieved or picked up by helicopters to become cedar shingles or shakes.

In spite of the costs of materials and installation, cedar shingles and shakes add a distinctive, charming quality to many different architectural styles. They are an ecologically-responsible resource, and for homeowners willing to invest the time, money and energy in cedar siding products, this unique charm will last for 100 years or more.

Last updated on May 18, 2016

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