Cedar Shingles – Making the Best Choice

Jul 17, 2015 Off Comments in General News by
Cedar Shingles – Making the Best Choice

There are many different types of Western Red Cedar shingles out there on the market, with varying degrees of quality. So how does the buyer and user know what to choose? This article will explain the differences and give some helpful advice in encouraging you to choose Cedar shingles. However, before we do, let’s take a quick look at why Cedar shingles are popular.

Cedar shingles are smooth sawn, tapered and random width wood tiles, They are commonly used for domestic and commercial roofing, as well as a cladding for walls, stable roofs, summer houses and gazebo’s. In addition to offering a high level of protection, they also contribute significantly to the achievements of Zero Carbon Housing, providing an environmentally friendly, durable and lightweight solution that is weather resistant in exposed situations. Shingles can also be fixed at a roof pitch as low as 14 degrees, offering the end user a reliable form of roof covering as an alternative to felt or lead.

Western Red Cedar (WRC) shingles
Western Red Cedar (WRC) comes from the West side of Canada and it is a timber that is renowned for its resistance to rot, as well as its attractive, deep red-brown colour. However, that statement is too simplistic, as the decay-resistance of WRC is confined only to the heartwood (ie, the centre part of the log) and its sapwood (the outer few layers of wood in the trunk) has no such immunity to rot.

The colour of WRC can be variable, ranging from salmon-pink to chocolate-brown, gradually turning silvery-grey over time when exposed on a roof or as an exterior cladding (and that is something which dedicated users of WRC often find very attractive). WRC is also quite low in density, which means that it forms an excellent additional layer of insulation to a building, be that as a roof covering or as a wall-cladding, helping to boost the energy saving potential of any design. In addition, wood is carbon-neutral, so what more could you want from your building material?

However, there’s even more. Another great attribute of Western Red Cedar is that it comes from a country that is renowned as a world leader in the lack of corruption in its forestry policies. By choosing WRC, it means that there is absolutely no problem in meeting the requirements of the EUTR, in terms of buying legally-sourced wood supplies. Add to that the ready availability of Chain of Custody (C-o-C) Certified WRC shingles and you will see that WRC really is an environmentally friendly choice for your project.

However, choosing the “right” sort of shingle to use is not simply a matter of specifying “Western Red Cedar Shingles” and leaving it at that. There are different qualities and differing production parameters that should be taken into consideration. The price, whilst being important, should be the last factor, not the first.

Certigrade shingles
Probably the best and most reliable “brand” is called “Certi”, which comes in a range of patterns, both with and without additional types of treatment (such as extra wood preservative or flame-retardant), and the best known in this range is the “standard” shingle, called “Certigrade”.

This is a guaranteed high-performance product, fully backed by the Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau (a “shake” is similar to a shingle, but produced slightly differently). Members of the CSSB are regularly inspected by the Bureau and given a third-party Quality Assurance, the “Certigrade” mark, when their products meet the CSSB’s exacting quality standards, so you can trust “Certigrade” shingles to always be reliable and consistent.

Blue Label shingles
The highest quality shingle is called “Blue label”. This should be 100% heartwood (that’s the long-lasting bit!), 100% clear (that is, free from knots or other wood defects), and 100% “edge grain” (that is, cut radially from the log, giving both improved resistance to weathering and improved resistance to shrinkage and distortion). Be aware, only the “Certigrade” brand of Blue Label shingles carry a warranty to prove that all of the above will actually be present in the shingles that you buy and use, so simply ordering “Blue Label” alone is not itself a guarantee of consistent quality and reliability. Furthermore, in using “Certigrade” products, the CSSB will be happy to provide advice on coverage (how many shingles to fix for different roof pitches and walls), and as a bonus, using “Certigrade” shingles will also then guarantee that you don’t get any “short measure”, giving you the coverage that you require from the quantity that the CSSB recommends.

Western Red Cedar shingles are an excellent choice for the environment, and “Certigrade” shingles are an excellent choice for you, as the customer.