The Advantages of Cedar Shingles
Updated: May 12
When it comes to first impressions among guests, onlookers and prospective home buyers, few details stand out more than the roofing. In many instances, the qualities of the roofing that most stand out are the shapes, colors and characteristics of the materials used.
Of course, the importance of roofing involves a lot more than just its visual appeal. Roofing must also offer security and durability to keep homes protected from weather and the elements. Out of all the roofing materials available on the market, cedar shingles are one of the most satisfying options in terms of visual appeal, security and durability.
Cedar shingles offer a range of benefits to homeowners in all types of housing styles and climates. Some of the biggest benefits of cedar shingles include:
A timeless visual appeal that always remains marketable, regardless of changes in residential architecture.
High insulation, which helps keep household members comfortable and indoor temperatures moderate, regardless of the weather outside.
Environmental friendliness, since cedar is a natural product, unlike asphalt.
Resistance to the elements, just as cedar has proven across centuries in the forests.
Furthermore, cedar shingles are a pleasant-smelling, mite-repellent option that can boost the value of a home in the eyes of buyers. The following 10 advantages are among the main reasons why so many people choose cedar shingles.
1. Visual Appeal That Lasts
One of the greatest benefits of cedar shingles is their everlasting beauty. When you consider the visual appeal of your home, you must also consider the durability of the features that give the home its visual appeal. After all, what would be the point in features that fail to last? With cedar shingles, you get the complete package — roofing with long-lasting visual appeal.
Visually, cedar shingles provide residential roofs with the natural texture and warm colors of wood. In terms of strength and sturdiness, cedar is a time-tested product that has survived in the forests through rain and shine for centuries. As such, cedar shingles require little maintenance over the average time span of a residential occupancy.
2. Insulation and Comfort
When it comes to the interior benefits of roofing materials, nothing beats cedar in terms of insulation. Cedar shingles serve as a protective barrier that prevents the passage of cold winds and hot sunlight from penetrating your attic and living areas. The inner grains of the wood have air pockets that prevent temperatures from passing through on either side.
During the warm months of summer, the insulation of cedar shingles helps keep homes cooler. As the hot rays of the sun blare down on your house, they are less capable of heating up your living areas when cedar shingles are in place to protect your interior. Likewise, the coolness provided by your A/C units is less liable to ooze out through your roof when cedar shingles are there. As such, cedar shingles can help you save money on your summer cooling costs.
The insulation provided by cedar shingles can also help you beat the winter cold. As rainy days turn to snow, cedar shingles help prevent the penetration of your interiors with cold drafts, and also trap in the warmth generated by your heaters and fireplace. Therefore, you don't have to crank up the heat as often during sub-zero temperatures when your house has cedar shingles to keep the heat inside.
3. Timelessness and Versatility
As a natural product cut from the woods, cedar has been used as a building material for centuries. As such, cedar has a timeless appeal that gives an ageless quality to houses from all different eras. Whereas certain other materials can render a property dated, cedar holds the same appeal today in the 21st century as it did in the 1800s and early 1900s.
On log cabins built in the mid-1800s, cedar roofing has long provided shelter to successive generations of occupants. Today, nearly two centuries after some of these cabins were built, the integrity of their original design can still be maintained each time new cedar shingles are applied — such is the timeless appearance of cedar.
The timelessness of cedar also gives the wood a versatility that makes it suitable for some of the more elaborate styles in residential architecture, such as the Painted Ladies of the Victorian era. From England to California, examples of this style still exist in villages and uptown neighborhoods. The Bay Area, for example, has dozens of these homes lined side-by-side with their prominent windows and bright colors. These homes have endured because they are well-constructed, thanks in part to cedar roofing.
While cedar is often associated with the rustic aesthetic, the wood has also proven to be compatible with modern residential architecture. The presence of cedar adds durability as well as contrast to the appearance of homes built within the past three decades. Regardless of the shape and layout, cedar roofing is one of the key features that has allowed homes of all ages to stand the test of time and remain viable on the real estate market.
4. Pleasant Smell
In new and old homes alike, one of the most comforting characteristics of any living area is the smell. Out of all the roofing and siding options, cedar has one of the most pleasant smells. The fresh smell of cedar can lend to the charm and coziness of a recently built home. Likewise, the delightful cedar scent can lend to the agelessness of older homes with cedar roofs and siding.
For guests and prospective home buyers, the smell of a house is one of the most immediately noticeable characteristics. From the moment a visitor arrives at the front door, his or her impressions of the property will largely be based on the smell that emanates from the wood. On a gut level, people can sense within a few seconds whether they'll enjoy their experience at a given residence. When it comes to placing homes on the market, the overall smell can make or break the property.
As long as cedar is properly maintained, it can aid in the fresh smell of a clean, decades-old house. The stereotype of a lived-in, cobweb-infested, stale-aired old house can be put to rest with the use of fresh cedar wood along the roof and walls. With its fresh smell, cedar can enhance the experience of a residential property — whether out on the porch or throughout the interior space — for occupants and guests alike.
As a relatively lightweight wood, cedar will not add excess weight to your house. Therefore, if you trade up to cedar from a weaker roofing material, you won't have to worry about the structural integrity of your roof once the shingles are in place.
On homes with simple structures, the addition of heavy roofing material could require extra support beams to upgrade the overall weight capacity. Such is not the case with cedar, which goes on lightly, yet forms a solid shield between your living quarters and anything that could hit your house, from strong winds, heavy rain and icy snow to falling leaves and hot sun rays.
6. Repels Insects
One of the biggest enemies to the structural integrity of a home is termite infestation. On houses made of wooden exteriors and drywall exteriors, termites can be especially troublesome. As they eat their way through walls and ceilings, termites can cause damage that can lead to huge repair bills for homeowners. However, houses with cedar roofs and siding are impervious to termites.
Cedar contains a property that repels termites. Within the dark layers of cedar wood, there’s a chemical termites instinctively avoid. As such, houses covered with cedar shingles and siding are far less likely to have termite problems. Even in areas that are especially prone to mite infestations, the insects are liable to pick properties constructed of material that is more favorable to their taste buds and digestive systems.
7. Damage Resistance
One of the keys to the longevity of cedar is its resistance to damage. As a wood that has stood tall and strong in the forests for decades and even centuries, cedar has proven itself throughout the ages as a timber that withstands the rough and often turbulent winds of nature. When you consider all the harsh wind and rain cedar has endured in the wild, it is no wonder the wood is one of the strongest, most durable roofing options.
Thanks to the general resistance of cedar to damage, shingles cut from the wood can maintain their shape and character with minimal maintenance for 30 years or more. Even for a wood, the strength of cedar is exceptional. Compared to shingles cut from other types of trees, cedar shingles are much less likely to swell over time in wet climates. If you have your cedar roofing treated with special coating, it becomes even more impervious to winter weather.
8. Environmental Friendliness
Among today's green-conscious homeowners, it is now more important than ever for homes to be safe, secure and environmentally sound. While various other roofing options will give you one or two of those benefits, cedar shingles provide all three. In addition making homes safe and secure from the elements, cedar is an organic product culled from America's forests. As such, there are no chemicals involved in the production of cedar shingles.
Each time a cedar tree is cut down for shingle production, a new tree is grown in its place. In essence, the industry for cedar shingles has played a significant role in the cultivation of cedar in the U.S. When you consider all the uses for wood in everyday life, cedar never really goes to waste, even after a cut from the wood has fulfilled its initial purpose as roofing material. Whereas certain other types of roofing end up in landfills, used cedar shingles can be ground into bark dust and used for gardening purposes.
9. Increased Real Estate Value
Homes that sport cedar shingles are popular on the real estate market. When prospective homebuyers scan listings for potential new homes, they look for features that ensure low maintenance and longevity. Cedar is well-known as one of the strongest materials for residential roofing. Therefore, whenever someone in the market for a new home sees cedar shingles on the roof of house for sale, a feeling of confidence about the property takes hold.
The average family occupies the same home for a period of roughly 13 years. When properly maintained, cedar shingles last more than twice that long. Therefore, if you have new cedar shingles installed on your home, it will likely be a one-time investment you won't need to repeat for as long as you own the property. If and when you do decide to sell, those same cedar shingles will serve as an enticement to people in the market for a new home.
10. Variety and Color
As a product cut from wood, cedar shingles come in a variety of shapes. Depending on your preferences as a homeowner, you could opt for shingles with square, diagonal, diamond-shaped or rounded ends. You might choose to match the shingles to a theme that ties in with the overall façade of your house. If you are in the market for something edgy and elaborate, you might even opt for one of the more arcane styles, such as arrow-tipped or half-cove shingles.
Cedar shingles can also be treated with finishes that can either enhance or alter the color of the wood. If you prefer the look of natural wood, a transparent finish will help keep the shingles in optimal condition throughout the years you own the property. Alternately, you could have the shingles treated in a reddish finish for a more fiery appearance, or you could even opt for a darker finish.
If you choose to leave the shingles unfinished, they will be somewhat more exposed over the years, but the appearance of the wood as it naturally ages can have its own charm. As years pass on, untreated cedar takes on a silvery or grayish tone. That said, treated shingles are generally considered more attractive on the homebuyers market.
Preserve Your Cedar Shingles With Roof Coatings
Now that you have chosen cedar shingles, consider having them treated with a finish that will make the wood as protective as possible. Consider a shingle finish that will enhance the natural appearance and timeless quality of cedar that makes the material work with any type of exterior design. Most of all, consider a cedar finish that will complement the façade of your home and possibly boost the value of your property.
With a finishing treatment of your cedar shingles, you could ultimately make the wisest home-improvement investment in the entire time that you occupy the property. Cedar shingles have stood the test of time because they are cut from one of the strongest timbers found in the U.S. forests. If you live in Fairfield County, Conn., or Westchester County, N.Y., contact Cedar Roof Coatings for a free estimate online or call as at 203.847.5740 for shingle treatment on your property.