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How To Choose The Right Cedar Roof Shingles For Your Home

Cedar roof shingles are a very traditional-looking roofing material with broad appeal. You might choose them for their beautiful gray color, which results from the shingles' exposure to the rain and sun. Although the gray patina of weathered Western Red cedar looks great on a variety of house styles, not all cedar roof shingles are the same, and certain styles of shingles might look better on your home than others.

Popular Cedar Roof Shingles

  • Split Shake. This is the most rustic cedar roofing style, because the exposed face of the shake has a very rough texture. Shakes are generally 3/4 of an inch thick at their bottom edge, which yields noticeable shadow lines and a varied roof surface. You might choose split shakes for a log cabin or country vacation home.
  • Tapersawn Shake. Unlike split shakes, tapersawn shakes are cut smooth on both sides of the board and are thinner at the exposed butt end, which results in a more uniform-looking roof. You could use tapersawn shakes on a timber frame home or a ranch house that has real wood siding.
  • Shingle. Thinner and smoother than both of the above shakes, a traditional cedar shingle is often used on historic renovations, Victorian style houses, and Arts & Craft Bungalows. Most shingles have a neat and tidy appearance, and there are different grades available, which distinguish the cut of the shingle as well as its overall appearance. The grade also affects the price of the shingle, for example Cedar West sells their #2 shingles for about $100 a square, while their #1 premium grade can sell for almost $170 a square.

Although there are different brands of shingles available, most cedar shingles come from timber mills in the northwestern United States and Canada. The grading system is generally consistent from brand to brand as well. Most cedar roof shingles and shakes, regardless of their grade, last about 20 years. When installed correctly and maintained regularly, some roofs have lasted as long as 50 years.