Cedar is a terrific siding material for your home’s exterior. We use it primarily on high end Luxury homes throughout the Jersey Shore. Especially popular on luxury homes in places like Mantoloking and Spring Lake. Cedar is one of the most durable softwoods, offering excellent noise abatement, insulation, and longevity. It looks beautiful and ages very well. Cedar can be stained almost any color or left natural. There are so many benefits of cedar shingles we’ll be going over below.
Cedar shake is far and away the most popular type of real wood siding. In this article we’ll take you through the pros and cons of cedar siding compared to vinyl and fiber cement. We also discuss cedar siding maintenance which should definitely be considered before deciding to use cedar on your home. Finally we talk about how cedar is actually made. If having read this article you think cedar siding is right for your project then give us a call at 732-892-1386 or send us an e-mail to set up a free consultation.
The Benefits of Cedar Shingles
Cedar is a low-density softwood which has an open cell structure. In other words it’s a softer wood making it a good roofing and siding material. It’s durable and a terrific insulator. Because of it’s low density less heat is transported through the wood. This helps stop heat from escaping in the winter and the cool air from escaping in the summer. Cedar has a reduced heat flow which creates a natural sound barrier. Cedar is also a sustainable, durable wood. It can be stained, painted or left natural. But the main reason people choose cedar siding or shake as it’s commonly called is the style. It’s a very rich look and most people at the shore really love it. These are just a few of the benefits of using cedar shingles on your home.
How is Cedar Siding Made
One of the great benefits of cedar shingles is that it’s a 100% natural eco friendly product. Check out the video below to find out how and where your cedar siding is manufactured.
Cedar Siding Style
Cedar siding, also called shake, comes in a variety of stains and textures. It’s one of the warmest woods, offering a very natural look to your home that blends in well with the environment. It’s also eco friendly because most other siding products are made of plastic. The spectrum of patterns and styles in cedar siding is broad. Including bevel, board and batten, channel, tongue and groove, and wavy edge bevel. In its natural unfinished and unstained state, cedar shake is a textured grainy wood with a nice aroma. Stained, it retains the attractive perceptible grain, but can offer a wider variety of exterior home design options. And, of course, if you prefer to paint your cedar siding, that is an option as well.
Cedar Shake Maintenance
Natural antibacterial and anti-fungal properties are two of the benefits of cedar shingles . This allows you to leave the wood untreated without worry of excess warping, rotting or cracking. It does weather somewhat changing color over time. Offering a much more rugged look than stained cedar siding offers. For those who like the stained look, cedar requires more maintenance than some other woods. To preserve the style you’ll need to re-stain or re-paint on a semi-annual basis. This is something to consider when choosing cedar shingles or siding. Left untreated cedar generally takes on a greyish coloring. Similar to homes you’ll find in the Hamptons or along the Jersey Shore. There are so many wonderful benefits of cedar shingles but it does require maintenance to keep those benefits intact.
Whether you stain your cedar or allow it to weather naturally it helps to do some basic maintenance as you would with any wood product. Like any other exterior you’ll get extra years out of your siding if you annually power wash. Your best bet is hiring a professional cleaning company because they’ll know how much pressure to use and what cleaning solution is safe. If you do it yourself make sure to use a mild solvent or soap and water with some bleach. And keep the pressure low.
Cedar siding is a terrific building material that is long lasting and attractive. One of the benefits of Cedar siding is it’s a classic look that’ll never go out of style. Its low density makes it a terrific insulator and the variety of color possibilities is almost endless. There is really no benefit to use composite shake impressions other than to avoid the semi annual maintenance.
Benefits of Cedar Shingles:
- It’s the genuine article with beautiful, warm aesthetics, feel and homey aroma that create an ambience unmatched by vinyl and fiber cement despite their good points
- A variety of siding styles and wood grains give you the opportunity to customize the look of your home
- Cedar takes stain very well, revealing rich texture
- Resists swelling, cupping and cracking better than pine and fir, though when not cared for, can have more issues than vinyl or fiber cement
- While there is more upkeep required, the long-term durability of cedar siding is excellent, especially when compared with vinyl siding
- Cedar shingles and shakes are available to complement cedar siding and produce a beautifully blended exterior for your home
- Installation and repair of cedar siding is relatively easy
- Total job cost for cedar siding is competitive with fiber cement and premium vinyl siding, though more costly than standard vinyl siding
- Renewable, reclaimable and biodegradable (if it hasn’t been treated with a preservative)
Cedar Siding Disadvantages:
- Must be regularly stained and sealed, at significant expense, to protect it from moisture penetration and possible rot, mold and warping
- Cedar not properly cared for will become susceptible to insects, an issue not found with fiber cement and vinyl
- Woodpeckers occasionally bore into cedar siding
- Being wood, it has a lower fire rating than fiber cement
- If chemically treated for fire resistance, it becomes less environmentally friendly than untreated wood
Cedar Siding Grades
Cedar siding is available in clear and knotty grades. Clear cedar is considered premium cedar, so it is more expensive and a good choice for an upscale project. Knotty cedar is more affordable and produces a more rustic look. Different grades are another of the benefits of cedar shingles. Different grades are available at different price points. Making cedar shingles affordable for almost any home.
There are several grading agencies in the US and Canada, and each uses slightly different terminology. A complete list of grades includes these or similar terms:
Clear Heart Cedar: The best of the best cedar shows few growth characteristics such as knots and receives this grade
A Clear Cedar: It provides a very fine appearance with slight growth characteristics such as visible rings but no large knots.
B through D Clear Cedar: As you’d expect, the appearance gets less clear from B to C to D, and the siding gets more affordable. Not all manufacturers use B, C and D grades.
Rustic Cedar: Milled with a rustic saw texture, this grade is typically used on the sides of homes rather than on the front exterior wall. It’s an affordable grade of cedar siding.
Select Knotty Cedar: This siding contains knots that are “sound and tight,” in the words of one producer. Your options are rough or dressed edges and smooth or saw-textured face.
Quality Knotty Cedar: This is a slightly inferior grade with more knots, open knots and/or streaks. It offers the most rustic look.
Cedar Siding Maintenance
Genuine cedar siding is going to require washing and staining/sealing or painting on a regular basis. Your climate and landscape will determine how often these processes are required.
Power-wash every two to four years: Dusty climates will require more frequent washing. A mild, non-phosphate detergent is recommended. Wet climates can produce mildew which must be cleaned away with a mild bleach solution using oxygen bleach.
Stain or paint as needed, usually every three to five years: Walls that are exposed to sun and high heat will fade faster than those that are not, so they’ll require more frequent staining or painting to protect the wood from damage.
Extractive bleeding: This is a staining of the wood caused by tannins in the wood, water or iron. You might be able to rinse it away with a hose. Otherwise, a mild acid solution should be effective.
Iron stains caused by iron fasteners: Cedar should be installed with hot-dipped galvanized, aluminum or stainless steel nails to avoid staining. However, if iron nails were used and rust stains occur, the staining can be removed with a commercial cleaner prior to staining or painting the siding.
Chalking: This is a sign that the paint on the cedar is failing. The siding should be washed and repainted.
Peeling, flaking or blistering: These issues are signs that the wood behind the paint is wet, causing the paint to lose adhesion. It is recommended that you contact a siding professional or home inspector to locate the source of the moisture so that it can be remedied before the siding is scraped and stained or painted.
Note: For natural beauty cedar wood can’t be beat, but it comes at a price. There are so many benefits of cedar shingles but ongoing maintenance of your siding is essential to keep it looking its best. If caring and cleaning for cedar siding sounds like a drag then take a closer look at vinyl siding and fiber cement siding which both offer wood-look siding with much less aftercare.