What is Cedar Shake Siding?

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  • Written By: Madeleine A.
  • Edited By: W. Everett
  • Last Modified Date: 07 November 2019
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Cedar shake siding is a type of exterior home siding that provides a rustic look because it is made of small cedar pieces attached to the exterior wall in shingle formation. Though this type of siding creates a desirable look, the installation process is generally more labor intensive than other types of exterior commercial siding. A cedar shake typically has the appearance of wedge-shaped wood, and when used for siding, it is installed in long rows in a vertical fashion, providing a dramatic, rich look.

Generally, the face of cedar shake siding is split and not sawed. Some makers of cedar shake siding offer both types, but split-face is generally considered the more traditional of the two. In addition, by splitting the shake, the grooves in the wood are emphasized, which usually enhances the appearance of the shingle. When the shake is split, however, the surface becomes much rougher than the sawed-face shake. By visiting a local home improvement store or working with a qualified contractor, consumers can choose among a variety of colors and styles.


There are some advantages that cedar shake siding has over other types of wood exterior siding. Cedar shake siding typically resists warping better than other siding types and is less prone to cup or split than other woods. In addition, cedar shake siding is easier to work with, which sometimes garners lower contractor quotes, as most enjoy the ease of working with cedar. In addition, when properly seasoned, cedar shake siding shrinks less than most other types of wood.

Frequently, cedar shake siding offers exceptional protection against insects because of the cedar oil, which repels many insects. The part of the cedar with the highest concentration of cedar oil is the heartwood, which is the part of the cedar tree that is most desirable for outdoor siding use. Cedar oil also provides excellent protection against wood rotting. Heartwood cedar is also desirable for use in spas because spas and saunas are exposed to high humidity levels.

Cedar siding is generally an excellent finish for the exterior of a home, however, there may be a considerable amount of prep work to do before the installation process begins. Many times, because the preparation process can be labor intensive and involved, the installation of cedar siding may not be appropriate for the homeowner who chooses to install it himself. In addition, prior to the installation of cedar siding, other home exterior renovations may be needed before the process can begin.


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