Cedar Shakes....should I slowly back away?

dreambuilderFebruary 13, 2013

I'm being drawn to the look of cedar shakes for the outside of a home that will be on waterfront property. For those of you with experience with cedar should I back away slowly and pick something else or try to find a "manufactured" shake that looks 1/2 way decent? Thoughts on maintanence?

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Where is the project? Ocean or lake? What are your concerns?

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 3:36PM
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Lake property--northern climate so lots of snow. My main concern is upkeep. I think I've read every year for the first 3-4 years they have to be sealed then every other year after that. I don't really care for hardi products and I know some on here have had peeling issues with hardi. I just think cedar looks like it "fits" in a lake setting--I envision white trim and manufactured stone columns/accents....I just don't know if I want the upkeep for the look....plus would it look weird next to all vinyl/hardi sided homes?

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 3:40PM
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Something like this is what I'm thinking....

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 3:47PM
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Sorry, commented on the wrong thing

This post was edited by wishiwasinoz on Thu, Feb 14, 13 at 10:03

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 4:10PM
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Not sure why you would seal red or white natural cedar shingles, unless you are trying to preserve their unweathered look (which is a bit of an oxymoron, IMO, since one of their values is being maintenance free as they weather over time). Cedar shingles weather beautifully into a warm gray or a deep brown, depending on type of cedar. The natural weathering can be accelerated, if desired, by using a "weathering gray" stain after installation. With white trim, the cedar looks beautiful, IMO and requires NO maintenance.

Good luck with your project.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 4:24PM
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We have lots of cedar on our house! All the wood you see is Western Red Cedar. None of it was sealed, just stained with a high quality exterior penetrating stain (Sansin brand). From my understanding, the stain/finish you choose as well as the level of exposure determines how often your cedar would need to be refinished. We may be refinishing some of our fascia in 2-3 years but most of the wood should be ok for 5 years. There is a company we will hire for this.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 4:43PM
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I am in love with this cedar ceiling as well......Would love this in covered stoop and in a family room vault. I must be in a cedar phase! Ha:)

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 4:49PM
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There can be a big difference in the performance and longevity of shakes and shingles. Most of the homes that have old cedar, are from old growth and are true split shakes which last much longer than the typical shingles that most builders are using these days. They can be a lot of maintenance if you want to keep any color other than weathered gray.

Exposure makes a big difference too. South facing elevations have a shorter life than North.

For those of you on the East coast, check out Poplar Bark as a lower maintenance and more sustainable alternative.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 9:13PM
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I put resawn rebutted white cedar shingles dipped in Cabot's Bleaching Oil on a house on an island in a lake in southern Maine in 2000 and nothing has been done to them since and the house looks looks great. It's probably time to repaint the windows and trim but that's not difficult since they can be painted from the inside with proper precautions and there are no corner boards.

I've seen untreated red cedar shingles on houses on an island off the coast of northern Maine that have had nothing done to them for 50 years. Using a sealer is apparently an attempt to make the shingles look like they did when first installed which is something someone north of Boston would not be able to understand. Maintenance for them is replacing some of the cracked or excessively curled shingles every 20 years and leaving them to darken and blend in with the others in a few years.

Resistance to weathering with little maintenance is the primary benefit of shingles and why they are commonly found on oceanfront houses. Trying to maintain their original appearance is contrary to that advantage.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 9:14PM
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Are woodpeckers a problem with cedar shingles? In the south, they can be a problem with real wood siding but I am not sure if they will look for insects in cedar shingles. Our first house in NC had real wood siding and we could hear the woodpeckers on the house but I don't remember what kind of wood it was.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2013 at 9:30PM
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Without knowing the project location it is pointless to guess about the possibility of woodpecker damage.

They are not a problem in New England.

Here is a link that might be useful: red-headed woodpecker map

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 9:44AM
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Brad Edwards

+1 with exactly what vigil said...

    Bookmark   February 14, 2013 at 11:59AM
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