Using Cedar Shingles for House Siding

Sidings prepared from cedar shingles are among the most popular of house siding choices. Before installing cedar shingles, features of cedar shingles such as their pros, cons and maintenance demands should be carefully understood.

Pros of Using Cedar Shingles:

1. Durability

Cedar shingles can easily last for up to ten years with basic maintenance, making them among the most durable of house siding options. Shingles prepared from western red cedar wood are considered the best in homes where rotting is an issue. Western red cedar is among the most durable of cedar wood types and is highly impervious to water. Furthermore, cedar shingles are slightly tapered at one end to ensure that they interlock easily and assist water run-off.

2. Aesthetically Better

Cedar shingles used for siding purposes are a bit different from wooden shakes. Cedar shingles are created as individual units that that are slightly thinner and have a smooth surface. Shakes have a split configuration and are thicker, rendering them a slightly unaesthetic appearance.

The untreated/unpainted variety of cedar shingles is preferred for its typical, rustic appearance that is rendered by the wood grain. This is also a money-saving option of cedar shingles—many homeowners don’t stain/paint cedar shingles. The typical, weathered, slightly-grey appearance that cedar shingles gain in a few years further adds to their rustic aura.

Cons of Using Cedar Shingles: Greater Expenses & Time-Consuming Installation

Cost consideration for cedar shingles is usually higher than other siding choices. Cedar is among the more expensive woods. Furthermore, handling cedar wood shingles and installing them is not within the realm of DIY projects for everyone. Cedar shingles are retailed as individual shingles, wherein each shingle needs to be nailed that can stretch the installation time. Handling cedar shingles around demanding corners, like doors and windows, needs more than basic woodworking skills.

When to Use Pre-coated Cedar Shingles?

Pre-coating the shingles is a good idea if you want to retain the natural reddish-brown coloration of cedar wood shingles. This color is eventually leached away due to the weather elements. Pre-coating is a bit expensive, but it can significantly elongate the retention of this natural shade. Pre-coated cedar shingles are easily available, in which they are treated with preservatives in a factory setting. Pre-coating can be done as a DIY project with oil-based preservatives that also help to retard the growth of mildew/mold. Preservatives enriched with copper/zinc make the cedar more immune against moisture-induced damage.

Understand Cedar Shingles Maintenance

Despite being quite durable, cedar shingles need some degree of maintenance since they are continuously exposed to the moisture, sun, debris and pollutants.

Installation Features that Aid Cedar Shingle Maintenance

  • Use weather-proof nails, like zinc-coated nails to prevent rusting of nails and shingles.
  • Using a durable sealant is recommended for filling any cracks as a part of periodic repairs or when installing shingles around corners/edges.
  • In high-rainfall areas, it is recommended to incorporate a layering of asphalted felt under the shingles.

Remove Debris

Every kind of debris, whether organic or synthetic, can damage the cedar shingles in the long-term. Debris leads to the formation of small pools of water that can damage the most durable of sidings, including cedar shingle sidings. Thus, make it a point to clean the sidings regularly.

Clean Mold/Mildew

Please note that cedar shingles are resistant, but not immune to mildew/mold growth. Thus, periodically cleaning the shingles with a mixture of household bleach and water is recommended.