Cedar shakes come in a variety of grades and styles. However, they can be roughly categorized by appearance, thickness, and quality.
There are generally two (2) types of cedar shakes:
"Split & Re-Sawn Cedar Shakes"
The most common type of cedar shake available is termed, "Split & Re-sawn." These shakes are produced in a mill by running a 24” long block of cedar through a machine that mechanically splits the wood into planks, following the grain. These planks are then run through a band saw at an angle to produce two tapered shakes. They will be “split” or rough looking on one side and “sawn” or smooth on the other side. These shakes usually appear quite rustic, as the split follows the natural grain of the wood. The thick end of the shake, or the “butt”, may not be perfectly square and the sides of the shake may not be exactly parallel. When installed, the “split” side will be the visible side.
"Taper-Sawn Cedar Shakes"
The other type of cedar shake available is termed, "Taper-Sawn." These shakes are produced by running the 24”-long block of cedar through a band saw only. The result is a tailored looking shake as both sides are smooth and flat lying with the butt and the sides trimmed square and uniform.
Cedar shakes usually come in two thicknesses as measured at the butt of the shake. "Medium" cedar shakes are a minimum of 1/2" thick and "Heavy" cedar shakes are a minimum of 3/4" thick. Even thicker cedar shakes are available upon request. A popular 7/8" taper sawn shake is available, too. Generally speaking, when it comes to the quality of cedar shakes, thicker is better.
A major factor affecting the quality of a cedar shakes involves the percentage of “Flat Grain” shakes present in bundles comprising several shakes. When shakes are split or sawn, the mill tries to follow the natural grain of the shakes so that the grain shows vertically on the face of the shakes. This “Edge Grain” is very desirable because it helps water quickly drain off the shakes, thereby increasing their life span. Unfortunately, as a cedar block is split some shakes will, inevitably, be split at a right angle to the block, so the edge grain runs vertically up the side of the shake. In turn, the face of the shake will show a flat grain and will not shed water as quickly. A lower number of flat grain shakes present in a bundle indicates a higher bundle quality. When a bundle of shakes is termed “#1”, it means the bundle may contain up to 20% flat grain shakes; when it contains 100% edge grain shakes, the bundle is termed “Premium”.
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Paramount Roofing offers a wide range of asphalt, architectural, and cedar shingles that can meet any budget.
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