Tips for Estimating the Costs of Cedar Shingles

What You'll Need
Tape measure

Cedar shingles are a beautiful and low maintenance option for the exterior of your home. Though cedar is more expensive than some other wood options, it lasts a long time and can be installed without any treatment to the wood. In fact, many homeowners choose cedar because as it ages it turns a beautiful silvery gray color. 

Step 1—Decide How Much of Your Home You Want Shingled

Before you can talk about pricing cedar shingles, you have to decide how much of your home is actually going to be covered in shingles. This depends on 2 factors--the architectural style of your home and your budget. 

Many homes have brick foundations that will not be covered in shingles. The shingles may begin a foot or 2 from the ground. Other homes have cedar boards that run along most of the house and shingles from the midpoint to the roof line. Then, there are houses that have shingles from the top to the bottom. What is the style of your home? Do you want to compliment the current architecture or are you looking to make a change?

Since cedar shingles are among the most expensive choices to install on the exterior of your home, many homeowners decide to only add the shingles to areas that will be seen from the street. Therefore, the back of the house is often left in its current state or painted a complimentary color. This can cut down on the price of the cedar shingles and make such an undertaking more affordable. 

Step 2—Take Accurate Measurements

Now that you know how much of your home you want shingled, you can grab your tape measure. You are going to want to have a pencil and paper handy to mark your measurements. Measure the width of all 4 sides of the house and add them together. For example,  a house with 2 sides measuring 50 feet each and 2 sides measuring 32 feet each would look like this when written down for the calculation; 32+32+50+50 =164. If you don’t plan on shingling the back wall of the house, don’t include the measurements in your calculation.  

You will then multiply that total by the height of the walls. However, if you are shingling only 1 portion of the wall, include the measurement for that portion only. If the house in the previous example had exterior walls that were 10 feet high, and you planned on shingling the entire wall, you would multiply 164 by 10. That would give you the total exterior square footage. In this case it would be 1640 square feet. If however, you are only going to add cedar shingles 3 feet from the roof line, you would multiply 164 by 3.

Step 3—Check Current Lumber Prices

Now that you have your exterior square footage, you can contact lumber yards and contractors to gauge the total price of the project. Though you probably won’t be able to get a guaranteed price without someone coming on site, you can get an idea of how much you would have to pay for such a job. An even better way to estimate the cost is to have 3 reputable contractors offer bids on the job. Averaging the total of these 3 bids will give you the best estimate of your expected cost.

That’s it. Good measurements and a clear vision will help you gauge the cost of adding cedar shingles to your home.