No longer just a specialist roofing product, cedar shingles and shakes are starting to be used on a greater variety of projects where installation speed and sustainability are important. From commercial projects and self-builds to heritage properties and even social housing, the use of shingles and shakes is becoming more diverse, which means there are more opportunities for contractors to install them.
Contrary to popular belief, cedar shingles are straightforward and simple to fix, which can help to cut roof or cladding installation time. One key benefit of using cedar shingles is that they can be fixed down to a very low pitch of just 14 degrees and they don’t require specialist expertise to fit them. They are highly durable and can even be used in extremely exposed locations, such as coastal properties.
• Don’t take colour at face value
This Blue Label quality grade ensures the shingles are made from 100% heartwood for durability, 100% edge grain for stability and are 100% clear of any defects, such as knots. Just because a company puts a label in a blue colour on its bundles does not mean that it is on grade, or has undergone third party inspection.
Look for the Certi-label® name at the top of the label, this ensures the shingles are supplied by accredited mills which are regulated by CSSB (Cedar Shingle and Shake Bureau). Only those that have this are officially Blue Label. A Certigrade® label is included in every bundle, which includes details of the certification from members’ mills to prove they conform to the grading rules. The label contains some important information to ensure you are using the best quality products.
• Product grade
This is also marked on the label, number 1 is Blue Label, 2 is Red Label and 3 is Black Label. The label also shows evidence of third party quality checks, as well as full details of the source mill, and their product performance tests.
• Wood type
The age and growing method of the tree makes a big difference to the quality of the product. Western Red Cedar Shingles and Shakes are made from Thuja Plicata, a slow growing cedar which is strong and durable, also termed the ‘Tree of Life’.
Cedar shingles and shakes are a durable roofing and cladding finish, with a standard life of around 20 to 30 years but for maximum life expectancy we recommend they are preservative treated. Our JB Shingles can be treated with MicroPro®, which extends the life and offers a durability guarantee of 40 years.
Check what preservative treatment is used as many are alkaline and react with the natural tannins in the cedar and can leave black or dark stains on the shingles. There will be a separate treatment label in the bundle. MicroPro’s unique formulation is ‘clear’ and uses a suspended micronised copper-based preservative that leaves the shingle looking completely natural.
• Fire resistance
In some instances, cedar shingles and shakes may require treatment with a fire retardant. Always check with LABC when using them near a boundary, even if there is no building close by. Our fire retardant treatments comply with BS 476.EXT.S.AA B ROOF (t4) and BS 476 EUROCLASS B for roofing and cladding respectively, making them equal in performance to a clay tile.