27 Sep

Cedar Shingles and Shakes—Some Factors that Can Influence Your Choice

Jennifer Blair's article for is about the factors you should consider when purchasing cedar shingles or shakes, which can also be custom-cut into various shapes to match your home's architecture or your siding design preference. You should weigh the pros and cons before purchasing any type of material.

Right CedarBoth red and white cedar are used for siding materials, but there are differences between the two species. Red cedar siding is usually more durable and comes in a variety of styles so you have more design options for your home's exterior. White cedar siding only comes in one style, so its design possibilities are limited. 

Cedar siding typically has two finishing options: a semi-transparent or solid finish. A semi-transparent finish is applied in a single coat and protects the siding from the elements. However, because the finish is semi-transparent, it allows the natural color and texture of the cedar to show through. Solid finishes also protect the siding from the elements, but it stains the cedar to alter its natural color. 

The sheer number of siding options that are currently available in the market makes choosing really difficult. However, if you've already made up your mind to have cedar siding installed, you'll find it easier to pick the type if you are aware of the different grades, styles, and finishes of quality cedar shingles. Some suppliers like provide a list of all the features of cedar that you need to know to make an informed decision.

Cedar shake or shingles usually come in three grades based on their thickness and breadth. The process of installation may differ due to quality gaps but the basic ideas are simple enough for the average person to understand. Coating for protection also has various requirements depending on the material. All these can be properly explained if you go to the right cedar shingle or shake supplier.

Your choice of siding determines the outer appearance of your home, which you'll have to live with for several years. Beyond the quality and protection value, think of the look and feel you're trying to achieve. This is why you should be careful in deciding which of the available products you should install. Consider all these factors carefully and trust the right suppliers

(From How to Choose the Right Cedar Siding, SFGate)

26 Sep

Quality Cedar Shingle Siding Protects Your Home Against the Elements

Karyn Maier's article for discusses some interesting facts about cedar, including its historical significance, superior qualities, and various uses. Cedar is a very viable material in making durable siding for homes. It can even surpass the qualities of vinyl and aluminum, two of today's most popular siding options. 

Wise Geek

Today, cedar is used abundantly in the home construction industry, as well as in commercial building. Due to the rich amber hue and even texture of the wood grain, cedar siding imparts a warm, inviting look to any structure. It also offers a seamless integration with any style or design. In fact, while cedar siding is very popular to use when building new homes of contemporary design, it is also used to enhance the intricate features of Victorian architecture.

The natural pigmentation of cedar holds up well on its own with a simple finishing stain. However, the wood contains so little resin that it readily takes on other types of finishes, including paint. In addition, cedar contains a high concentration of thujaplicins, tropolone compounds that are responsible for giving the wood its characteristic aroma. These compounds are also poisonous to unwanted intruders, such as fungi and wood-eating insects.

Climate change results in stronger storms and temperature extremes that today's homes are not designed to withstand. This is where reliable cedar shingle siding offered by companies like comes into play. While many homes are already equipped with siding, the kind of material used can make all the difference.

Cedar is known to be very tough and can withstand wind speeds of up to 245 mph, which is equivalent to the force of some of the strongest hurricanes on record; with weather systems like Sandy occurring more often than usual, having proper protection is becoming more necessary. When used as siding, cedar can make a highly efficient shield for a home when a superstorm strikes. Additionally, it resists insect infestation and weathering and has an anti-bacterial property, making it an extremely useful option in more ways than one.

Moreover, the natural beauty of cedar cannot be neglected; while vinyl and aluminum can also offer protection, they can't provide that impressive look. Those who want a rustic and organic home exterior can consider getting quality cedar siding shingles. Since it is also an excellent insulator, users can also cut down on their energy expenses while helping the environment at the same time.

(From What is Cedar Siding?,

25 Sep

Wood is, and Always will be, the Best! Benefits of Cedar Shake Siding

To the average homeowner, vinyl is the material of choice for siding because it is cheap, flexible, and versatile. This sentiment is understandable because some are more inclined towards practicality, but people should also open themselves up to other viable materials. For instance, beautiful cedar shake siding has merits that others simply cannot replicate.

Cedar SidingIn a world made up mostly of homes with the same old vinyl siding, homes clad with cedar siding stand out as unique and beautiful. Homes with cedar siding as their exterior have a rich, brown warmth. According to the National Roofing Contractors Association, wood shingles are usually made from western red cedar, cypress, pine and redwood trees. The cedar can be cut to form planks that are fit together, or can be in the form of shingles or “shakes.” The use of cedar has been going on for a long time in the United States and Canada. As a matter of fact, the material has a fascinating history that many homeowners may not even know about.

The website further posts four reasons why you should consider wood. Since it seems to fit the bill in almost every category, cedar, redwood, and pine are thus suitable candidates for a reliable siding system. Special wood preservatives can boost the beauty and durability of wood sidings even further by enhancing their warm and natural look and offering protection against moisture and mold. 

Some construction retailers like capitalize on these features by using high quality materials like Western Red Cedar extensively on their cedar wood siding projects. When installed and applied properly, these can protect against insects and regular wear and tear. Moreover, unlike other materials, wood is also Eco-friendly and recyclable, which means that a home can contribute to conserving the environment. 

Wood also has natural thermal insulation properties that help regulate indoor temperature: trapping heat during chilly winters and expelling it on hot summers. These can help a household save energy, which in turn can help families manage their budgets more easily. In a time when the economy is tough and investments are hard to trust, there are still certain things that you can rely on: your home, if you take care of it properly, is still the best asset of all.

(From Benefits of Cedar Siding, Red Beacon, undated)

24 Sep

Getting One with Nature: Things to Keep in Mind when Installing a Cedar Shake Roof System

Wood has been used as a construction material for thousands of years; even today, many houses in Canada and the US still rely on a strong cedar shake roof for protection against the elements. It is a popular roofing material for homeowners who wish to give their houses a natural, rustic look.

Wood Shingles

There are two types of wood roofing—shingles and shakes. Neither boasts the practicality of a modern roofing material like asphalt shingles, but it’s difficult to deny traditional wood’s aesthetic appeal. In fact, many other roofing products try to simulate look of wood shingles and shakes. Made from cedar, spruce, or treated pine, wood roofing is especially appropriate for older homes and those based upon historical styles. 

Wood shingles are machine-cut and tapered for a trim, crisp appearance. By contrast, wood shakes look more rustic, as they are hand-split on one side. Each has its own specific installation requirements, but generally speaking, wood roofing is more difficult to install than some other common roof types. Though susceptible to discoloration, wood products last about as long as asphalt (up to 30 years), plus they’re biodegradable and derived from a renewable resource. 

Shakes and shingles are usually made from redwood, pine, or cedar. Among them, Alaskan Yellow Cedar is reputed to be one of the best roofing materials around, offering decent durability, flexibility, and resistance against the cold. Despite the name, this type of cedar is also found in British Columbia, Washington, and California. The rarity of the material means that only a few reputable companies and online retailers like can offer them and install them for interested customers.

Thankfully, other types of wood roofs are also recommended and ordinary homeowners can carry out basic maintenance on their shingles and shakes. By applying the proper treatments and preservatives, a cedar shake roof can be keep free of insects, moisture, and discoloration, thereby extending its lifespan.

On the downside, wood requires regular maintenance if you wish to preserve its beauty and form for a long period of time. Regular checkups are necessary to make sure that small problems don't turn into huge issues that would lead you to replace everything. Even though you can perform the basic maintenance steps, make sure to contact a reliable roofer from time to time to give you correct appraisals on damage that you may not be able to see.

(From The Basics: Wood Shingles and Shakes, Bobvila, undated)

07 Sep

A Guide to Properly Replacing and Installing Durable Cedar Shingles

An article on published last August 30, 2013 offers tips to homeowners looking to swap their siding. The article strongly recommends inspecting the structure and looking for signs of damage before going through with the procedure. The article also offers tips on finding the right contractor for the job.

Re-SidingSiding serves as a covering for the exterior of a home, so naturally it would take damage from the elements. It's important for householders to maintain upkeep of their siding if they wish to preserve the durability of their homes. Of course, homeowners have the option of replacing their old siding with new cedar shingles.

The article starts by enumerating a list of damages that homeowners need to look out for in their siding. Visible signs of sagging, cracking, blistering, dents, fading, missing pieces, pest infestation, rotting, and water stains are good indicators that a siding needs changing. There are many materials worth using as siding, so householders should choose carefully which type appeals to them the most.

All that siding can't just attach itself to the house; either the homeowner has to affix the shingles on his own, or will have to call upon contractors to do it for him. Householders looking for a contractor should consider taking referrals from family and friends. It would also help if homeowners stuck to looking for contractors who are licensed and specialize in siding; checking with the Better Business Bureau can help there. Of course, households should get written estimates from as many contractors as possible in order to get a better view of the project's cost.

When opting for new siding, wood might not be your first choice as a material, but you should reconsider, as they have a lot of benefits to them. Stylish cedar shake shingles from suppliers like can give any home that warm and classic look. They're also quite easy to maintain and replace in case of damage.

Siding can and will sustain damage over time, but that's just the cladding doing it's job. Homeowners who want their houses to last longer should be wary of the state of their siding. Replacing them after a certain number of years is a good practice that's sure to preserve the condition of a home's outer walls.

06 Sep

Adding a Touch of Nature with Help from Classic Cedar Shingle Siding

In a article published August 7, 2013, writer Lucia Howard was interviewed on the release of her new book Shingle Style: Living in San Francisco's Brown Shingles, which covers the distinctive brown shingle style found in and around San Francisco. Said brown shingles can most notably be found among Berkeley homes, with the academic and dynamic lifestyles led by the people in that area inspiring the use of the iconic shingles.

Berkeley's BrownYou don't have to be a college student or professor to appreciate classic cedar shingle siding though. The cladding is a great way to imbue a traditional look upon any home while providing a tasteful means to protect the outer walls. Shingle siding is also great as an insulator, and can improve a home's ability to retain heat during cold seasons.

According to the creator of the brown shingle book, living in a house adorned with unpainted wooden shingles a hundred years ago was a way to convey “reverence for the forest.” Those who used wooden shingles in the past did so to be closer to nature, and such homes were usually lush in plants and foliage. Berkeley had the most ideal landscape and climate for such homes, hence a good number of brown shingle houses could be found there.

Shingles were a huge design fad back in the day, and were considered uniquely American by the historian Vincent Scully. While the brown shingles are a West Coast thing, even the East Coast has its own shingle design elements, making the design universal to the country. As an enduring design element, shingles will continue to grace American homes, regardless of what they're made of—wood, metal, fireproof materials, and so on.

Wooden shingles might strike some as too old, but they can be a surprising fit for the most modern of homes. However, not all kinds of wood will qualify for decent siding due to varying degrees of coloration and sturdiness. Interested homeowners should look only for the most durable cedar siding shingles, like those from, to fit over their houses.

Shingles might be a common sight on older homes, but that doesn't mean newer houses shouldn't try it. The brown shingle homes featured in the article prove that their beauty is timeless. Folks should seriously consider decking their residences in cedar wood shingles for that nostalgic and natural look.

05 Sep

Cedar Shake Siding Materials: Providing More Curb Appeal to Homes

Whenever you see homes with wooden shake sidings, you may get a feeling of deja vu that may be hard to ignore. After all, homes with wooden sidings have been built in various parts of the world for centuries now. However, according to an article by Brice Particelli on, people normally think of the warm smell of cedar closets whenever they think of cedar.

Cedar SidingsYet cedar is more than just what your closet is made of. Look around you and you might see cedar shake siding materials like those offered by providing adding curb appeal to the homes they're installed on. In fact, many homes also have cedar shakes or shingles for their roofs that not only provide protection but also increase their value.

Particelli claims that cedar is an excellent siding material to choose for your home's exterior; it offers superior noise reduction, insulation, and a long service lifespan. Unlike many siding materials, cedar is a low-density softwood with an open cell structure that makes it easy to be used in construction. This quality is also what makes it a great insulator, keeping heat from escaping during winter and cool air from escaping during summer.

Since it reduces heat flow, Particelli says that it also creates a natural acoustic barrier. At the same time, cedar is also a sustainable and sturdy wood whether it is painted, treated, or left in its natural state. However, one of the most important reasons why many people choose natural cedar wood siding is because of the various styles it provides.

Cedar sidings come in a wide range of stains and textures that provide your home with a natural look, thus letting it blend well in any kind of surroundings. In their natural, unfinished, and unstained condition, cedar wood sidings look like textured, grainy wood with a hint of aroma. When stained, it still retains some of its textured, grainy look, yet can be made to look differently. 

On the other hand, cedar has natural anti-bacterial and anti-fungal properties that makes it rot resistant even when not treated. Although it changes color in time, proper maintenance can prolong its lifespan. It may be relatively more expensive than other siding materials, but cedar remains unmatched by many in terms of the natural beauty it can provide your home.

31 Aug

What is your environmental statement?

OK, so you want to use cedar shingles or shakes on your new roof or wall. Congratulations! 

The industry in British Columbia, Washington and Alaska use old growth trees, Western Red Cedar and Alaska Yellow Cedar to produce these wonderful products. Our forestry, logging and milling companies are bound by the worldwide laws and regulations to ensure ethical and environmental harvesting methods. 

As an end-user of these products, you create a demand that maintains these industries - a very large part of our local economies for well over one hundred years. We would like to ask you, the customer - what is your environmental position when using these products?

Blah, blah, blah.

Posted by Lloyd

14 Aug

The story of the high grade shake blocks...

In speaking with one of the shake block cutters on Vancouver Island, we learn about the fate of his high grade shake blocks being sent to market. There are 20 cords, (60 m3) sent by truck to Mission, BC. One half the load went to a mill with a history of making only high quality shakes. The other half of the load went to mill well known for making a shake not so much to make the grade, but to hit a price point in the market. 

The exact same high quality shake blocks - environmentally harvested from "dead & down" trees in the forest, logged over 50 years ago and now being made available - hand cut and lifted by helicopter to a waiting truck. 

This is the story describing the trail of differing philosophies and economies that run through our industry. 

Mill "A"

The high quality mill receives their 10 cords of shake blocks and plans to make a very nice Certi-Split® Premium Grade 100% Edge Grain 24" x 3/4" Heavy Handsplit and Resawn Shake. They look over the wood and decide that it looks great and continues with their plan. Their usual production consists of the following step to maintain quality:

  • the blocks are visual inspected and the roughest pieces sorted out to be used for other products. Twisted or corrugated wood will downgrade the final product. The buyer is expecting the best, so the mill uses the best wood. 
  • it is difficult to cut shake blocks on the side of a mountain with a chainsaw, so each block is trimmed to a consistent length, squaring up the ends.
  • the cuber-man is skilled, working at his job for 20+ years. He knows how to work the wood, splitting the blocks into uniform shake blanks, maintaining 100% edge grain.
  • next, the man on the band saw trims the edges. Straight, clean edges makes for an easier install, reduces waste and looks great. It is a worthy upgrade for this product.
  • now trimmed, the shake blanks move through the conveyor towards the resaw machine, where they will be sliced diagonally, on edge, producing two tapered shakes, each with a split face and resawn backs. Care and attention at the resaw ensures that the butt and tip thicknesses are uniform. 
  • the shakes are a good, fair thickness - giving the customer more than the minimum 3/4" according to grading rules.
  • the packer is the next step in quality control, looking at every shake, culling out imperfections and filling the bundle - again giving the customer a very nice, fair product that exceeds the grade.
  • these bundles cost a little more, but the long term return on investment for the buyer is significant.
  • in the end, the mill produces 45 bundles from the 10 cords of blocks that sell at the mill level for a total of US$2,025.00
  • Mill "A" has taken an amazing natural resource, employed dedicated, skilled workers at a good wage and manufactured the wood into a worthy product.
  • the home owner gets a beautiful roof that will last 30-50 years

Mill "B"

The second 10 cords of high quality shake blocks take a different journey. The mill is not a member of the Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau. The mill is not inspected by an independent third party grading authority. The mill is self graded and not inspected. In comparison to the process above, Mill "B" gets to work.

  • the plan is to produce a No.1 Grade Blue Label 24" x 3/4" Heavy Handsplit & Resawn shake. According to the CSSB-97 grading rules, this grade normally allows a maximum of 20% flat grain mixed in with 80% edge grain. 
  • the blocks are not inspected or sorted out. All of the blocks go to the cuber-man to be split into blanks.
  • the blocks are not trimmed to length and the ends not made square.
  • the unskilled cuber-man blows through the wood, without concern for final product. He doesn't understand the wood and doesn't understand the value of this natural resource. 
  • the edges are not trimmed - the shake blanks are rough and ready.
  • speed and production is the mantra. The shake blanks crash through the resaw machine. Butts and tips are irregular and off-grade. Shake thickness maintains a bare minimum, if that. 
  • the packer fills his bundles without care and attention. He hasn't been trained very well and the bundles present as sloppy.
  • the bundle is short packed. It won't cover the 20 square feet on the roof, like the No.1 Blue Label says it will. 
  • the percentage of flat grain in the bundle creeps up well over the allowed 20%
  • the cut-out yields 60 bundles and it is sold at $35 per bundle, totalling $2,100 revenue - more than Mill "A" - and Mill "B" has a much lower overhead. 
  • the shakes are sold as a commodity to the highest bidder - a wholesaler sitting in an office 300 miles away that will never see the product. 
  • the wholesaler sells the shakes based on price - "a number on an invoice" - to a roofing distributor in the Mid-West. 
  • the roofer buys the shakes because the roofing distributor says this is the best we can get these days. "There isn't any good cedar any more..." 
  • the builder wants the roof done cheap, "I just want a cedar shake on the roof so I can say it has a cedar shake roof, so I can sell the house to someone who always liked the look of cedar shakes. I only need it to last 5 years, and then I am off the hook." 
  • in this version of the story, the home owner gets cheated, the industry gets a bad name and Mother Nature gets cheated. 
  • move the story ahead 10 years and the home owner must now tear off the cedar roof.
  • he decides to replace it with asphalt shingles - the ones made from oil - the ones spit out by an automated factory - the ones that will sit in a landfill forever after they get torn off the roof in 15 years. 

Posted by Lloyd

11 Aug

"Well, they're just No.3's..."

This week, we needed to source 60 squares, (240 bundles) of WRC No.3 Grade 18" Perfection shingles to fill a 40ft container for an old customer of 25 years. It was a rush order, and due to tight market supply, we contacted to a long time broker/wholesaler in the industry. After receiving their assurances that the stock was on good and on grade, we confirmed the order. 

When the shingles finally arrived to load our container, (arrived 24 hours later than promised) a quick glance at the five pallets on the truck told me that something looked wrong. I asked the driver what mill they were from. My worst fears were heightened. I took out my measuring tape, put on my glasses and started measuring the butt thicknesses. 

Measuring 5 butts together, as per the grading rules most all the shingles were too thin. The others were too thick. The wood grain was horrible. Within 5 minutes, I told the trucker to keep the pallets on the truck. 

Shingles Rejected. Return to sender. 

When we called to complain, the salesman whined and weaselled, "Well, they're just No.3's..." 

No.3 Grade 18" Perfections can be a great product when produced, graded and utilized properly! When the mill and the wholesalers cheat, downgrading the product's value - the whole industry is downgraded. 

This is just another experience that strengthens our resolve to support only top quality manufacturers so that our customers get top quality products, every time! 

Posted by Lloyd

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