Cedar Hand-Split Shakes

Cedar Hand-Split Shakes

Hand-split cedar shakes have at least one split face for a naturally rustic, random width appearance.

Quite honestly, the Handsplit & Resawn shake market can be difficult to understand. Not only are there many different terms used for the same products, and the same terms used for different products, but virtually identical looking products to the untrained eye are vastly different to the mills, their distributors, the retailers and their bottom lines. We won't even try to sort it out here. 

Our goal is simple - to offer our customers top quality product at very fair prices. We do this by putting together a comprehensive system that assures you of:

  • Hand Picked Quality! Direct from the best mills to your roof! We work with only the most established mills in the industry, which guarantees you of finding products made from top-quality materials. We know the value that a cedar shake roof offers, so we are committed to helping our clients harness its full advantages. Aside from the state that your roof will be in, our top-quality products also grant optimal long-lasting value. You can save on costs, time, and other resources. 
  • Complete Satisfaction Before Purchase. You see the product before you buy. We are determined to help you realize that your purchase is one of the best you've ever made. We ensure this by allowing you to check the actual product before you decide to have it shipped to your address. In addition, you get an inspection report before you buy. This way, you can properly determine whether the shake or shingle or other cedar shake roofing product that you're planning to buy is the right one for your needs.  

Convenient and Pleasant Customer Experience

The WoodRoof.com system is designed to make your shake purchase easy and worry free. You can easily browse our catalog to find the product that you need. We have a wide selection of cedar shakes you can choose from. We also have handy tips and suggestions so that you can make a more informed purchase. As mentioned before, we guarantee that we will not sell the cheapest shake. However, we might just be the least expensive supplier for the highest quality shakes available. Give us a try!

Hand-Split Shakes - common products & sizes

Western Red Cedar Hand-Split Shakes are available in many types, sizes and grades. Please browse through these options below or in the menu box above left on this page. The items listed below are the most common choices. You will find a wealth of detail on each product page. If you need additional help, don't hesitate to get in touch with us.

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Frequently Asked Questions

The world of cedar shingles and shakes can be confusing. Since 2001, we have answered many, many questions. The most common FAQ are listed below. Please call or email with your questions. We are happy to help!

1. What is the difference between a shingle and a shake?

Yes, it can be confusing. What is the difference between a shingle and a shake? In short - shingles are sawn and shakes are split, but its not really that easy.

Western Red Cedar Certigrade® Shingles are:

  • tapered wood tiles, sawn on both faces
  • uniform thickness and appearance
  • random width, except for fancy butts and custom orders
  • packaged 4 bundles per roofing square (100 sq.ft.)
  • based on a 3 layer roof application with no felt paper interlay
  • manufactured into remanufactured sidewall shingles
  • also available in Alaska Yellow Cedar

Western Red Cedar Certi-Split®  Hand-Split Shakes are:

  • tapered wood tiles, with at least one natural split face
  • more irregular and rustic in thickness and appearance
  • random widths
  • packaged 5 bundles per roofing square (100 sq.ft.)
  • based on a 2 layer roof application with a felt paper interlay between rows
  • also available in Alaska Yellow Cedar

Western Red Cedar Certi-Sawn® Tapersawn Shakes are:

  • a hybrid between a shingle and a split shake
  • made in a similar fashion as sawn shingles
  • tapered wood tiles, sawn both faces
  • uniform in thickness and appearance
  • thicker than a shingle
  • random widths
  • packaged 5 bundles per roofing square (100 sq.ft.)
  • based on a 2 layer roof application with a felt paper interlay between rows
  • also available in Alaska Yellow Cedar

Click on this link to download technical brochure from the CSSB.

CSSB What is a shake shingle? CSSB What is a shake shingle? (264 KB)

Need more help? Please contact us!

2. What is the difference between #1 Grade and #2 Grade shingles?

Western Red Cedar Certigrade® shingles are available in four grades.

No.1 Grade Blue Label 

  • 100% edge grain, (no flat grain)
  • 100% clear, (no knots or defects)
  • 100% heartwood, (no sapwood)
  • This is the highest grade possible and the product is suitable for use in all cedar roof or siding applications
No.2 Grade Red Label
  • Mixed grain, (unlimited flat grain)
  • Knots and defects allowed in the top 1/3rd of the shingle
  • Small quantity of sapwood is allowed
  • A long lasting and very functional shingle when used correctly
  • A shorter exposure is required for use on roofs and walls
No.3 Grade Black Label
  • Mixed grain, (unlimited flat grain)
  • Knots and defects allowed in the top 2/3rds of the shingle
  • Small quantity of sapwood allowed
  • No visible knots or defects when applied at 3 layers
  • A budget minded grade that can be used very successfully - great value
  • A shorter exposure is required for use on roofs and walls
No.4 Grade Under Coursing 
  • Unlimited knots and defects throughout the face of the shingle
  • Can be used as a very rustic wall covering where water proofing not important. 
  • Generally used as an under course material
  • Also used as "builder shims"
3. What is the difference between Premium Grade and No.1 Grade shakes?

Western Red Cedar HAND-SPLIT and RESAWN are available in two different grades only - Premium Grade Blue Label and No.1 Grade Blue Label. Most mills make a No.1 Blue Label "Select" quality, an upgraded No.1 Blue Label. Yes, it is confusing...

Hand-split tapered shakes, (tapersplit shakes) and Straight-Split shakes (barn shakes) are almost always available in Premium Grade only. 

Certi-Split® Premium Grade Blue Label 

  • the highest grade shake available
  • 100% Edge Grain
  • 100% Clear (free of knots)
  • 100% Heartwood
  • quality and prices may vary from mill to mill

Certi-Split® No.1 Grade Blue Label

  • considered to be a lower quality roof due the flat grain component 
  • minimum 80% Edge Grain
  • maximum 20% Flat Grain
  • 100% Clear (free of knots)
  • 100% Heartwood
  • quality and prices will vary from mill to mill
"Select" No.1 Blue Label
  • CSSB-97 Certi-Split® grading rules do not definitions for "Select" quality
  • "Select" quality labels are a mill designated upgrade from a No.1 Blue Label
  • "Select" quality label specifications and pricing will vary from mill to mill
  • "Select" quality labels usually indicate the shakes have been edge trimmed, maintain a better average width and are more uniform in thickness / appearance. 
  • Non Certi-Split® shakes labeled as No.1 Select may vary significantly in quality and price within the market.
  • We recommend that buyers understand this difference when considering No.1 Grade Blue Label with a "Select" or other similar marketing designation.
4. What is the difference between edge grain and flat grain?

Edge grain and flat grain refer to the orientation of the tree's annular growth rings to the sawn surface of the shingle or the split face of a shake. These terms are used similarly in all aspects of wood products. Please find additional information and photos below to help define the differences.

Edge Grain

  • also known as vertical grain, quarter sawn, rift sawn or radial grain
  • all wood species are more dimensionally stable when sawn or split at 90º to the growth rings, (quarter sawn oak flooring)
  • edge grain better resists movement during changes in moisture content
  • 100% edge grain shingles or shakes will always perform better than grades that allow flat grain
  • the vertical lines on the exposed face of a shingle or shake indicate the fine grained growth rings of Western Red Cedar or Alaska Yellow Cedar
  • looking at the butt end of an edge grain shingle, you will see the annular growth rings standing on end, perpendicular to the surface - like a comb

Flat Grain

  • also known as flat sawn, slab sawn, plain sawn or tangential grain
  • flat grain boards or shingles tend to curl, cup or move more readily than edge grain products, relative to the wood species
  • flat grain cedar shingles and shakes can be used very successfully when the project and application methods are carefully considered. Ask us how to save money with mixed grain products! 
  • flat grain can be seen as the open, swirling grain on the face of a shingle or shake
  • looking at the butt end of a flat grain shingle, you will see the annular growth rings running from edge to edge, parallel to the face of the shingle
5. What is the difference between Red Cedar, Yellow Cedar and White Cedar?

These three seemingly similar species of coniferous softwoods are all native to North America only, but differ in may ways.  Please find a brief outline of their specifications, features and benefits below.

Western Red Cedar / WRC (thuja plicata)

  • WRC is known as the "tree of life" and used for centuries by the native peoples of the North American west coast
  • known for its excellent properties for exterior applications, WRC has been one of the major softwood species harvested for many decades
  • WRC grows west of the Rocky Mountains from Alaska down through British Columbia, Washington, Idaho and Oregon.
  • WRC varies in colour naturally, from a light yellow to a dark chocolate brown, even within the same tree 
  • fresh cut WRC has a sweet and delicious smell, loved by most everyone that experiences it
  • the worlds largest production of shingles and shakes for roofing and siding is produced from WRC, with approximately 75% of the this volume originating from a 60 mile (100km) radius of Vancouver, BC Canada
  • WRC shingles and shakes have been exported worldwide since the early 20th century
  • there are many variations of these products available - different lengths, different thicknesses and different grades all taking a special place in the market.
  • Welcome to WoodRoof.com - we are WRC shake and shingle experts! AYC and EWC too! 

Alaska Yellow Cedar / AYC (chaemcyparis nootkatensis)

  • AYC is not actually a cedar, but belongs to the cypress family of trees
  • also known as - Nootka Cypress, Alaska Cypress, Yellow Cypress, Nootka Cedar, Alaska Cedar, Yellow Cedar
  • this species is harvested in much smaller quantities than WRC and the other dominant species of the regions
  • AYC growths along the west coast mountains of USA and Canada,  north through Washington, British Columbia and Alaska
  • AYC tends to grow at higher elevations - approx 3000 ft (900 m) at the 49th Parallel
  • the shorter growing season at high elevation results in fine grain with very tight growth rings
  • AYC is harder and stronger than WRC and EWC, similar to old growth Douglas Fir
  • freshly cut, AYC is a bright and uniform yellow colour
  • AYC turns to a natural silver grey colour relatively quickly with good exposure to the weather
  • AYC has a distinct smell, very different than WRC and immediately recognizable to the trained nose
  • for roofing and siding, AYC shingles and shakes are best when Premium Grade Blue Label - 100% edge grain only
  • AYC is most commonly produced into 18" (45cm) lengths only
  • the most common AYC products are listed below, and come from mills near Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada
  • No.1 Blue Label 18" Perfection Shingles
  • No.1 Blue Label 18" Re-Butted & Re-Jointed Sidewall Shingles
  • Premium Grade 18" x 5/8" Tapersawn Shakes
  • Premium Grade 18" x 1/2" Medium Hand-Split & Resawn Shakes

Easter White Cedar / EWC (thuja occidentalis)

  • also known as Northern White Cedar, Yellow Cedar(!), Atlantic White Cedar, Swamp Cedar, Cedrus Lycea, False White Cedar, Thuia du Canada, American Arborvitae amongst others.
  • is native to the Great Lakes regions, Northeast USA and Southeast Canada.
  • is generally a much smaller tree than WRC or AYC
  • known for its good resistance to decay, is produced primarily into exterior and garden products
  • there is a large production and very strong product for EWC shingles, used mostly for exterior siding applications
  • produced mostly in 16" (40cm) lengths, EWC shingles are favoured for their tendency to turn a silver grey quickly and naturally
  • EWC is available in other variations of sawn shingles and in same cases split shakes. 
  • although used successfully for roofs, they are primarily flat grain (vs edge grain) so care should be taken for proper application methods and longevity expectations
  • these shingles are available in 3 grades:
  • "A" Extras - 16" shingles - superior grade, no knots or defects for roofs and walls
  • "B" Clears - 16" shingles - standard grade, no knots or defect on the exposed face, best used for walls 
  • "C" 2nd Clears - 16" shingles - economy grade, exposed defects, rustic appearance, best used for siding
  • all of these EWC shingle products are available "Re-Squared and Re-Butted" for a clean, square appearance on walls
  • all of these EWC shingle products are available with a very good selection of pre-primed, pre-stained and multiple coat stain finishes.
  • ask us more about these great siding shingles!
6. What does "Budget / Better / Best" mean?

We know cedar shingles and shakes - and the many variables. We want to help our customers understand the potential for differences between grade and quality.

Western Red Cedar shingles and shakes are available in many types and sizes. Products are manufactured and inspected to meet a set of grading rules set out by the Cedar Shake & Shingle Bureau, (CSSB-97) and various building codes in the USA and Canada. 

We believe that cedar shingles and shakes should be milled to the highest standard possible. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Some mills and wholesalers produce and promote sub-par materials, while other mills maintain the highest levels of quality possible. This range of qualities available within the same grading rule can be astounding. 

We have decided to use the terms, "Budget / Better / Best" rather than, "Good / Better / Best." We cannot recommend products in the, "Good/Budget" quality level unless you are familiar with the differences. In our opinion, this quality level is not, "good enough." In most cases, this crap will cost more money in the short and long term. 

We hope that these, "quality/price" designations help illustrate the different quality and price point levels in the market. We want to ensure our customers understand these variables and help them make informed decisions. Roofing and siding with cedar are significant decisions. Let us help you. Please call, email or send a message through the website. We are here to help!

Thank you for visiting WoodRoof.com. 

Love your roof.™ 

7. What is the difference between 18" Perfections and 18" R&R Sidewall shingles?

The Western Red Cedar No.1 Blue Label 18" Perfection Shingle is the most common cedar shingle used for roofing. It is popular all over the world. 

The Western Red Cedar No.1 Blue Label 18" Re-Butted & Re-Jointed, (R&R) sidewall shingle is the most common grade and size of shingles used for exterior siding. These R&R shingles have been used for many decades throughout USA and Canada.

What is the difference?

The 18" R&R shingles are remanufactured from raw 18" Perfection shingles for a number of reasons:

  • the shingles are selected to meet preferred aesthetics for use on walls
  • the shingles are kiln dried to pre-shrink and stabilize the wood
  • the shingles are cut square and parallel on all four edges - re-butted and re-jointed
  • the square edges speed installation and result in a more refined appearance
  • the kiln dried wood is now ready for priming, painting or staining
  • cardboard boxes keep the shingles clean, dry and ready for shipment
  • available in a variety of grades other than No.1 Blue Label
  • R&R shingles should always be kept clean and dry before installing
Please call or email with any other questions. Thank you. 
8. What does "coverage" mean?

Western Red Cedar shingles and shakes have standardized bundle sizes to cover a certain area, based on how this product is applied. In North America, we often use the term, "roofing square" or "square". This is know to be a roof or siding area of 100 square feet, (9.3 m2). 

A No.1 Blue Label 18" Perfection is normally applied on the roof at a 5-1/2" exposure. These shingles are packaged as four bundles per roofing square based on the maximum recommended 5-1/2" exposure. Therefore, each bundle will yield a coverage of 25 sq ft (2.32 m2) applied at 5-1/2" exposure, (140mm). This same bundle when applied on the wall at a 7-1/2" exposure, (190mm) will yield a coverage of 34 sq ft.

Please check our Coverage Tables for additional information. Call or email too! 

9. What does "exposure" mean?