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When it comes to siding materials, cedar siding has always been a staple for homes in New England due to its durability, natural beauty, and resistance to pests and decay. It’s often used on traditional New England-style homes, as it complements the classic architecture and blends in well with the natural surroundings. The beauty of cedar siding lies in its natural warm hue that gracefully ages into a grey patina if left unfinished. 

In the 17th and 18th centuries, cedar clapboard siding became so popular that it was known as “New England clapboard.” As it continued to grow in popularity, manufacturers began producing a variety of types of cedar siding– including cedar shingles and cedar shakes. Today, homeowners are turning to these types of cedar siding as an eco-friendly, long-lasting, natural alternative to vinyl and other siding materials. Many people assume the difference between cedar shakes vs shingles vs clapboard siding is just aesthetic, but the shape of each of these types of cedar siding directly impacts their performance and one may be better suited to your home’s needs. 

What is the difference between cedar shingles and shakes?

When comparing cedar shingles vs cedar shakes, they both have the appearance of a ‘shingle,’ but one is much more polished than the other. Cedar shingles vs cedar shakes have different methods of production, different textures, and different thicknesses that ultimately impact the overall performance of these two types of cedar siding. In addition to the physical differences between cedar shingles vs shakes, they have different maintenance requirements that may change your opinion of which type of cedar siding best fits your needs.

 Cedar Shingle Siding

Cedar shingles are thin, smooth pieces of cedar that are sawed in a mill to produce even, clean, uniform shingles. When installed, the shingles lay flat and evenly against the house, and offer a classic and timeless look that complements many architectural styles. One benefit of cedar shingles is that they perform better than cedar shakes in high wind conditions, due to their thinner and flatter nature – that’s why you’ll notice cedar shingles on homes in coastal areas like Cape Cod or Newport, RI!

 Cedar Shake Siding

Whereas cedar shingles are milled by a machine, cedar shakes are hand-split from a cedar log, giving them an irregular shape and rugged appearance. The irregularity of the cut makes each shake unique and gives your home a three-dimensional appearance when they’re installed. Cedar shakes are thicker and more textured than shingles, which not only makes them more durable but also gives them a more rustic and natural look than the appearance of shingles. The thicker profile of shakes offers many benefits to homeowners – not only will they be less prone to warping or cupping, they also offer more protection from the elements and act as a better insulator for your home!

 Cedar Clapboard Siding

Now that you know the difference between cedar shakes vs shingles, you might be wondering about cedar clapboards. Clapboard siding, also known as lap or bevel siding, is a type of wooden siding that consists of long, thin boards that are installed horizontally with each board overlapping the one below it. This overlapping design helps to provide protection from the elements and creates a distinctive, textured look. Clapboard siding is lightweight and easy to install, and offers an elegant look of simplicity to your home.

What is the major disadvantage of cedar shakes?

One major disadvantage of cedar shakes is that they require more maintenance than other types of cedar siding. Cedar shakes are thicker and have a rougher texture which can make them more susceptible to weathering and splitting over time. This means that they’ll require more frequent maintenance than shingles or clapboard siding. Additionally, cedar shakes are more difficult to install than other types of cedar siding, which can increase installation time – and therefore costs. Despite these disadvantages, homeowners who don’t mind undertaking a little maintenance will be rewarded with gorgeous natural siding for decades to come.

Hire A Professional Siding Installer

Your choice of siding will ultimately depend on the style of your home, your personal preferences, and your budget. No matter which option you choose – shingles, shakes, or clapboards – cedar siding provides natural beauty, durability, and value to your home! With proper maintenance, care, and installation, your cedar siding should last for the next 50 years. To discuss a siding repair or replacement project, please call our team 617-969-4900.


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