Using cedar shingles or shakes as siding for your exterior walls can create an extremely beautiful and impressive facade. Many people choose this product for its rustic yet elegant look. But like anything, there are pros and cons to installing cedar shingles.
First, let’s take a look at the difference between a cedar shingle and a shake. People often believe them to be one and the same and use both “shingle” and “shake” interchangeably to describe either product. The truth however is that there is a difference, though it is a subtle one.
Cedar shingles as individual units are sawn, whereas shakes are split. Shakes are also thicker and rougher looking than their more refined shingle counterparts. However most wooden shingles are still undressed and thus have the rustic look that many people seek.
One major selling point for cedar shingles is that once they are installed you basically just leave them alone. Other than a little caulking you don’t have to seal them or even stain them. In fact, most home owners prefer to leave their shingle siding at the mercy of the elements so that in a few short years it turns into a lovely weathered gray that again, adds to that rustic look.
The downside of cedar shingle siding is that the material cost is on average about 25% higher than more standard materials. They are also a very time consuming item to install. So if you’re using a contractor, those two factors will automatically drive the price up.
Conversely, if you will be installing them yourself, then prepare for an exercise in tedium. You start at the bottom with a double row, then every six inches up (or whatever length you choose your exposure to be) you’ll have to measure and make a mark on each end of the wall and then strike a chalk line as a guide to follow for each tier. Depending on the length of the wall the chalk line may not make a level mark, so you might be forced into an even more tedious method such as measuring out your exposure and marking it at regular intervals along the wall so that you can hold a bubble level between marks and use that to pencil in a straight line.
Remember too that you must individually place and nail each shake or shingle, resulting in potentially thousands of singular items to be installed.
Another aspect for the do it yourselfers out there to consider is the seemingly endless amount of cutting that needs to be done around windows, doors and eaves. This rings especially true around angled windows and on gable ends where each shake must be cut and fitted.
Painting as well can be an issue. If you decide to stain or paint your shakes then the natural gap between each one will be difficult if not impossible to get at, thus necessitating a paint sprayer in order to fill them in. And while a sprayer comes highly recommended as a means to paint your exterior walls, it’s probably not the first thing on one’s mind.
In the end however, if you decide to adorn your walls with cedar shingles, no matter how hard it is on your pocketbook or your nerves, you’re sure to have a lovely looking place.
How Much Does Wood Siding Cost?, CostHelper