Cedar shake siding, a cornerstone of early New England construction, regained popularity in the late 19th century. With its rich texture, natural-wood warmth, and smoothly colored tones that vary from light ocher to a deeply honeyed brown, it’s easy to understand its appeal. That combined with a subtle, fragrant aroma all its own make cedar wood shakes the most popular real-wood siding material on the market today.
Another benefit to cedar wood siding lies in its durability. Natural oils work in this type of wood to resist insects and discourage the growth of mold and mildew. With proper finishing and maintenance, siding made from cedar wood shakes last for years, aging with graceful beauty over time.
The one downside of cedar shakes is combustibility; the older and more dried out the sakes get, the more flammable. Class B or C pressure treated shakes have a chemical treatment, which makes them more fire resistant.
Shakes are made by splitting a piece of lumber along the grain direction into tapered hand-sawn shakes. You can also get non-tapered shakes, also called straight-split. The lumber is either Western Red Cedar or Northern White Cedar.
Because of the way cedar grows – its very cell structure -it creates air pockets and thereby provides a natural insulation factor far superior to brick, concrete, and to almost any other type of wood. Cedar wood siding also makes a good barrier against sound because of its noise reduction and suppression characteristics.
Cedar wood shakes are typically sold in 48″ lengths, and no, they do not come cheap. At around $160 per square foot, investing in cedar wood siding does take some serious financial consideration. But then when bearing in mind the beauty, durability, and classic good taste this type of siding provides, if the pocketbook can withstand the initial cost, the investment worth surely pays off in potential resale value, if not in the knowledge of having the finest siding available.
Unless you plan on installing cedar wood siding yourself, it pays to check out any and all contractors you’re considering hiring to do the work for your. Make sure any company you deal with is licensed, insured, and bonded. This helps alleviate the worry if things go wrong for any reason.
Additionally, insist that all work be clearly detailed in a signed contract. And last, but not least, require at least three references from any contractor you talk to and then take the time to call them. These simple, yet so often overlooked steps can make the difference between having a good experience and a nightmare on your hands.
Cedar wood shakes lend an air of natural refinement and beauty to your home. Since they are expensive, take the initiative to have them put on right. You’ll be thankful every time you look at them.