Format Shakes (split)
Suitability Roofing
Timber species Yellow cedar
Appearance Straight edge
Dimensions (l x w) up to 610mm, widths between 100-355mm
Thickness (mm) 16mm
 
 
 

Although lesser known than shingles, cedar shakes are a thicker and arguably more characterful alternative. They are available in two types – ‘tapersawn’ which have smooth uniform surfaces (essentially a thicker and longer shingle) and hand split which have a rough irregular texture on the face and are suitable for more rustic applications.

Matching pre-formed ridge units for both types of shake are also available. Other accessories stocked include the correct type of stainless steel nail necessary to install cedar shakes and suitable breathable roofing membrane.

To continue the look Silva also stocks saw textured and smooth planed Western Red Cedar boards suitable for use as fascia, soffits, barge boards and trim.

At a glance

  • Choose Tapersawn for a more uniform appearance (like a thicker shingle)
  • Choose Handsplit for an irregular textured rustic look

Two grades available

  • Premium Grade: 100% heartwood, clear with 100% edge grain and no defects
  • #2 Grade: Allows limited defects 9" above the butt

Tapersawn’ shakes are available in a choice of two grades and ‘hand split’ are available in premium grade only.

What is the difference between tapersawn and handsplit?

Tapersawn shakes

With a thicker butt & longer length than shingles, cedar shakes are produced by cutting blocks from the log to the desired length. Shakes are then taper sawn to size on both sides in the same way a shingle in manufactured. They differ from shingles in two ways; at 450/610mm they are longer & at 15-19mm the butts are much thicker.

A shake roof has the same smooth textured look as a shingle roof but as shakes are thicker and heavier more defined shadow line is created.

Handsplit shakes

With a thicker butt and longer length than cedar shingles, cedar shakes offer a rustic, rough look full of character due to being Hand split when manufactured.

Hand split shakes are produced by splitting cedar blocks with a hyrdaulically powered knife into straight boards, or blanks. The blanks are then sawn from corner to corner, producing two tapered shakes, each with a natural split face and a sawn back.

In the past the main difference between shingles and shakes was that shakes were thicker at the butt end and had a rough irregular texture giving a more rustic appearance. Nowadays a tapersawn shake is available which is produced in exactly the same way as a shingle – by sawing from blocks (or bolts) rather than splitting. The only difference is that the tapersawn shake has a thicker butt than a shingle, and they are longer (than most shingles).

Traditionally the more uniform cedar shingles were used as cladding and roofing on grand colonial style homes on the East Coast of the United States whereas shakes tended to be used on smaller cottages, cabins and more rustic styled buildings.

The shingle gives a flatter more tailored appearance whereas the shake gives a chunkier more characterful appearance. The shadow lines on each course are more defined on shake clad roof or wall and the overall appearance is thicker and heavier. The tapersawn shake has a flat uniform surface whereas the hand split shake has a rough irregular texture suitable for more rustic applications such as cabins.

Being thicker, shakes will last a bit longer and provide slightly better insulation than shingles.


Although lesser known than shingles, cedar shakes are a thicker and arguably more characterful alternative. They are available in two types – ‘tapersawn’ which have smooth uniform surfaces (essentially a thicker and longer shingle) and hand split which have a rough irregular texture on the face and are suitable for more rustic applications.

Matching pre-formed ridge units for both types of shake are also available. Other accessories stocked include the correct type of stainless steel nail necessary to install cedar shakes and suitable breathable roofing membrane.

To continue the look Silva also stocks saw textured and smooth planed Western Red Cedar boards suitable for use as fascia, soffits, barge boards and trim.

At a glance

  • Choose Tapersawn for a more uniform appearance (like a thicker shingle)
  • Choose Handsplit for an irregular textured rustic look

Two grades available

  • Premium Grade: 100% heartwood, clear with 100% edge grain and no defects
  • #2 Grade: Allows limited defects 9" above the butt

Tapersawn’ shakes are available in a choice of two grades and ‘hand split’ are available in premium grade only.

What is the difference between tapersawn and handsplit?

Tapersawn shakes

With a thicker butt & longer length than shingles, cedar shakes are produced by cutting blocks from the log to the desired length. Shakes are then taper sawn to size on both sides in the same way a shingle in manufactured. They differ from shingles in two ways; at 450/610mm they are longer & at 15-19mm the butts are much thicker.

A shake roof has the same smooth textured look as a shingle roof but as shakes are thicker and heavier more defined shadow line is created.

Handsplit shakes

With a thicker butt and longer length than cedar shingles, cedar shakes offer a rustic, rough look full of character due to being Hand split when manufactured.

Hand split shakes are produced by splitting cedar blocks with a hyrdaulically powered knife into straight boards, or blanks. The blanks are then sawn from corner to corner, producing two tapered shakes, each with a natural split face and a sawn back.

In the past the main difference between shingles and shakes was that shakes were thicker at the butt end and had a rough irregular texture giving a more rustic appearance. Nowadays a tapersawn shake is available which is produced in exactly the same way as a shingle – by sawing from blocks (or bolts) rather than splitting. The only difference is that the tapersawn shake has a thicker butt than a shingle, and they are longer (than most shingles).

Traditionally the more uniform cedar shingles were used as cladding and roofing on grand colonial style homes on the East Coast of the United States whereas shakes tended to be used on smaller cottages, cabins and more rustic styled buildings.

The shingle gives a flatter more tailored appearance whereas the shake gives a chunkier more characterful appearance. The shadow lines on each course are more defined on shake clad roof or wall and the overall appearance is thicker and heavier. The tapersawn shake has a flat uniform surface whereas the hand split shake has a rough irregular texture suitable for more rustic applications such as cabins.

Being thicker, shakes will last a bit longer and provide slightly better insulation than shingles.


 
 
 
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