Is it time for a roof replacement? Do you want a beautiful looking cedar shake roof? 

If so, you need to know the different grades of cedar shingles. Luckily, we’re here to break it down for you so you can choose the right one for your cedar shake roof. 

The team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided the residents of Nashville with high-quality cedar shake roof replacements since 1990. We take extreme pride in everything we do and are proud to offer you a lifetime warranty. When you work with us, you’ll never worry about your roof again. 

So, what are the different grades of cedar shake shingles? Always eager to help you understand your cedar shake roof replacement, I’m going to answer that and more. 

Continue reading to learn what a cedar shake roof is, the grades of cedar shingles, and 3 more things to know about a cedar shake shingle roof. 

What is a cedar shake shingle roof?

Before we get to the 3 grades of cedar shake shingles, you need to know what a cedar shake roof is. A cedar shake roof is a premium roof system made of natural wood (cedar) materials. 

While it serves the same functions as an asphalt or metal roof, it’s one of the most aesthetically pleasing roofs you’ll see. That’s what sets a cedar shake roof apart from the more common roof types we see around the country.

The 3 grades of cedar shake shingles 

Now that you know what a cedar shake roof is, you’re ready to learn about the grades of cedar shake shingles. The 3 grades (types) of cedar shake shingles are common, selects, and 100% straight grain.

grades of cedar shake shingles

To make these shingles, they take large cedar trees and cut them into 2-foot sections and hand split them or saw them into a tapered thickness (tapersawn). Hand split gives you a more rugged look, while tapersawn is a much smoother look.

Below is a quick break-down of each of the 3 grades of cedar shake shingles. 

1. Common cedar shake shingles

Common grade is the cheapest and most inferior of the 3 types. They’re randomly cut and made out of any part of the tree (basically the leftovers of other cuts). These cedar shake shingles will be the first ones to split and warp.

2. Select cedar shake shingles 

The next grade of cedar shake shingle is selects. These shingles will be a mix of the 2 other types of grades, somewhere around 80% straight grain and 20% commons. Your local roofing contractor should go through the selects to find the best quality cedar shingles to install on your roof.

3. 100% straight grain cedar shake shingles

The third and best quality grade of cedar shake shingles is 100% straight grain. Each one of these is hand-selected and straight grained. When the grain is straight, the shingles lay flat and you don’t have to worry about them curling up.

If you’re already investing in a cedar shake roof, I recommend spending the extra little bit of money and go with the 100% straight grain grade cedar shingles to maximize your new roof.

 

3 more things to know about your cedar shake shingle roof

Now you know the 3 different grades of cedar shake shingles. However, there’s still more you need to know about a cedar shake roof.

Continue reading to learn 3 more things to know about your cedar shake shingle roof. 

1. The other materials that make up a cedar shake shingle roof

Your cedar shake roof is more than just the cedar shingles you see from the street. It’s a combination of different key roofing components and materials to ensure your home stays leak-free. 

While the cedar shake shingles are the bulk of a cedar shake roof, all the other roofing materials are just as important. But what are they?

The main materials and components that make up your cedar shake roof are: 

  • Roof decking
  • Flashing 
  • Underlayment 
  • Drip edge 
  • Ice and water shield 
  • Cedar shake shingles 
  • Ridge capping 
  • Roof vents 
  • Pipe boots

All of these materials are important to help your cedar shake roof do what it does best, protecting you and your family. To learn more about the functions of each roofing component and material, read this article on the 9 materials included in your roof replacement

2. How the weather and climate affects cedar shake shingles

For a cedar shake roof to reach its potential, the conditions in your area have to be right. A very moist or dry climate will shorten the life of your cedar shake shingles. 

Damage from moisture or high heat won’t have an immediate effect, but you won’t get the most out of your investment. 

Be aware, the climate isn’t the only thing you have to worry about. You also have to be concerned about the amount of extreme weather in your area, like straight-line winds (aka damaging winds) during heavy thunderstorms, hail storms, snow storms, and tornadoes. 

Straight-line winds can rip your cedar shake shingles off your roof if they’re not properly installed and, depending on the extent of the damage, could lead to a roof replacement. Hail and snow won’t have an immediate impact on the life of your new roof. 

However, the more hail and snow your cedar shake roof is exposed to will definitely shorten its lifespan. If a tornado hits your home, there’s a good chance your cedar shake roof has extensive damage and you’ll have to get a full roof replacement.

If any damage is caused to your cedar shake roof from extreme weather, you’ll have to rely on your homeowner’s insurance to take care of your problems

3. How long your cedar shake roof will last 

When investing in a new roof, you’re expecting to get as many years out of it as possible. This is especially true when investing in a new cedar shake roof. 

But how long will your cedar shake roof actually last

As long as it’s properly installed and with proper maintenance, you can expect to get 30 years of life out of your cedar shake roof. If you invest in quality materials and live in an area with the right conditions, you could possibly get up to 50 years out of it.

Remember, cedar shake shingles are naturally made, so there’s no manufacturer warranty on the materials if they fail prematurely. This leaves you with only your roofing contractor’s workmanship warranty to rely on if there’s ever a problem with your cedar shake roof.

To get the best roof possible, you should always look for a contractor that offers you a lifetime warranty. To learn more about roof warranties, read this article on what roof warranties cover

How much will a cedar shake roof cost?

Now you know the different grades of cedar shake shingles to help you decide which one is right for your roof. Remember, I recommend spending the extra little bit of money and go with the 100% straight grain grade cedar shingles if you're investing in a new cedar shake roof.

You also learned 3 more things to know about your cedar shake shingle roof. But there's still one important piece of information missing from this article, how much a cedar shake roof costs. 

Because we don't shy away from pricing questions like the rest of the roofing industry, we wrote another article breaking the cost of your new cedar shake roof. 

The team at Bill Ragan Roofing has provided the residents in Nashville and surrounding areas with high-quality roof replacements since 1990. We strive to provide you with an experience rare in the roofing industry with our workmanship and customer service. Our main goal is helping you make the right decisions. 

To learn the price of a cedar shake roof, check out How Much Will Your New Cedar Shake Roof Cost? (Price, Factors, & More).

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