Cedar shakes and shingles are very popular for roofing due to its attractive appearance and longevity. They also have natural insulating properties. However, there are some disadvantages to using them. The main problem is that they are a potential fire risk.

When you buy cedar shakes, you will need to decide on the size, shape and quality of cedar shakes.

Two common types or grades are Premium and Number 1 cedar shakes. Both are made of heartwood, but premium grade shakes are 100% edge grain, while Number 1 shakes have a maximum of 20% edge grain. If you can afford to invest in premium grade cedar shingles, this will help increase their longevity. They are cut with the grain running perpendicular to the surface, which prevents the shakes from becoming curled.

Red cedar shakes are usually classified as Blue Label (100% edge gain heartwood, no defects), Red Label (about 66% heartwood, limited knots and defects), Black Label (about 50% heartwood, limited defects) and Under-coursing (which can be used as a starter strip, but not for exterior use).

A number of different finishes can be applied to cedar shingles, such as paints, coatings, oils and stains. The finish will usually be best when it is done as part of the manufacturing process, so it is best to choose the style you want before you buy your cedar shakes rather than attempting to achieve it after-wards.

You may want to consider choosing cedar shakes that have been treated with CCA or chromated copper arsenate, which can help prevent the growth of fungus, mold and mildew as well as preventing the activity of insects. It is also possible to treat cedar shakes to make them more fire resistant.

All cedar shingles and shakes used by Cupertino Roofing are treated with CCA and fire retardants and can meet all building requirements and fire restrictions. There are many different mills producing wood shakes, which are governed by the Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau.