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Characteristics of Quality Cedar Shakes & Shingles

Understanding the value of Cedar Shake & Shingle Bureau-certified product

Not all cedar shakes and shingles are created alike.  Cedar has a lot of character, an attractive trait that modern manufacturing has long tried to replicate in other roofing materials.  But that character also results in a wide variation in quality, which is important to consider when evaluating cedar for your next roofing project.

That’s where the Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau comes in.  Since 1915, the organization has been the recognized authority for technical information, installation guidelines and promotional materials relative to Cedar shakes and shingles.  More than a resource, the Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau also certifies the product of its member mills with the Certi-label designation.

Certi-label cedar shakes are manufactured by experienced craftsmen who take pride in their trade and the quality of their product. Despite their varying sizes and sometimes remote locations, member mills are bound together by a rigid quality code. Products are inspected to conform to various local, national and international codes and standards. Grading is governed by the type and number of defects allowed in the product based on UBC 15-3 and UBC 15-4. Characteristics addressed include size, grain type (vertical and flat) and coverage. Grading is done visually. This is important because it ensures that you are receiving 100sqft of “on grade” material in every square.


Characteristics of Cedar Shingles

    • Sawn on both sides for a tailored appearance
    • Available in 16″ 5X (Fivex, for 5″ exposure on a roof installation), 18″ Perfections and 24″ Royal lengths
    • Butt thickness is gauged using a stack of shingles to meet the proper measurement
    • Number 1 Blue Label is the highest grade of shingles for roofs and sidewalls. These top-grade shingles are 100% clear and 100% edge grain.
    • Number 2 Red Label is a good grade for many applications (commonly sidewalls). Not less than 10″ clear on 16″ shingles, 11″ clear on 18″ shingles, and 16″ clear on 24″ shingles. Flat grain and limited sapwood are permitted in this grade.
    • Alaskan Yellow Cedar, also known as Western Cypress, is also available.  Heavier and denser than western red cedar, it features a uniform pale yellow color that weathers to a light silver.
    • Normal shingle roofing installation requires ice and water protection at the eaves and 30# felt in the field.


Characteristics of Cedar Shakes

    • Hand-split; split face exposed with a naturally rustic appearance, sawn on back
    • Normal shake roofing installation requires ice and water protection at the eaves, 30# felt, and the interweaving of 18′ wide 30# felt as an additional layer of protection against wind driven rain and snow.

Cedar shakes and shingles are available chemically treated (CCA, used for “outdoor wood” since the 70’s), from the mill, for decay resistance and fire resistance (class “C” or class “B”). Treated cedar is typically specified by the architect. Warranties are available.


Fastener and Accessory Recommendations

    • Cedar shakes and shingles are typically hand nailed, using a 4d, 5d or 6d Maze nail, depending on the thickness of the product that is being used. Stainless steel staples, pneumatically driven, are also an approved fastening system. 
    • The most commonly used flashing material is copper – for valleys, drip edge and soil pipes. Other corrosion-resistant material may also be used.
    • Cedar Breather is used between the cedar roofing and the deck. It allows air to circulate under the Cedar to help keep the underside dry and add to longevity. It is recommended in the Midwest by the Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau.

Authentic cedar shakes and shingles create a timeless, classic look.  When you purchase Certi-label product, you know you’re receiving 100 square feet of on-grade product in every square – and the resources available from the Cedar Shake & Shingle Bureau can guide you with installation techniques backed by over 100 years of experience.  Wimsatt Building Materials stocks only cedar roofing that is Cedar Shake & Shingle Bureau-certified product, along with the fasteners, ventilation, and copper flashing needed to complete cedar roofs in accordance with CSSB installation instructions.  When you have a job that requires cedar roofing, you can count on us for quality materials!

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