Can Cedar Siding Be Used For Roofing?

cedar roofing

Cedar siding is often used for the exterior of homes because it’s both beautiful and durable. But when it comes to roofing, it’s not quite the same story.

While you could technically use cedar siding for roofing, it’s not the most practical choice. Cedar roofing materials, like cedar shingles or shakes, are specifically designed for that purpose.

They’re made to be more resilient to the elements and have a thicker profile, which provides better insulation and water resistance.

Cedar siding, on the other hand, is typically thinner and not intended to handle the same level of stress that a roof has to endure.

Plus, when you use materials specifically designed for roofing, they often come with warranties that you won’t get if you use cedar siding instead.

So, even though cedar siding is a great option for the exterior walls of a home, it’s probably best to stick with cedar shingles or shakes if you want that same beautiful look for your roof.

What are the differences between cedar siding, cedar shingles, and cedar shakes?

Cedar siding is essentially made from flat planks or panels of cedar wood that is installed on the exterior walls of a building.

It’s known for its attractive appearance and natural resistance to decay and insects. Cedar siding can come in a variety of styles, like clapboard, beveled, or tongue-and-groove, to give homes a distinct look.

Now, cedar shingles are a bit different. They’re thin, rectangular pieces of cedar wood that are used for roofing or siding. When used for roofing, they’re installed in overlapping rows to create a watertight barrier.

What’s interesting about cedar shingles is that they’re usually machine-cut, giving them a uniform and smooth appearance. When used for siding, cedar shingles are often called “shingle siding” or “shakes siding” and give the house a unique look.

Cedar shakes, on the other hand, are similar to cedar shingles in terms of their purpose, but they’re split rather than cut. This gives them a more rustic, textured appearance.

Because they’re thicker and more irregular than cedar shingles, cedar shakes are better suited for roofing applications where they provide good insulation and durability.

Cedar siding is for exterior walls, while cedar shingles and shakes are primarily for roofing, though shingles can be used for siding as well.

The main difference between shingles and shakes is the way they’re made and their appearance, with shingles being smoother and more uniform, and shakes being thicker and more rustic-looking.

What are the pros and cons of using cedar siding for roofing?

So, using cedar siding for roofing might not be the best idea, mainly because it’s not designed for that purpose. But let’s talk about some of the potential positives first.

Cedar siding is undeniably beautiful and adds a natural, warm aesthetic to a home. It’s also resistant to decay and insects, which is a bonus for any exterior material.

Now, let’s move on to the downsides of using cedar siding for roofing. First off, cedar siding is typically thinner than cedar shingles or shakes, which are specifically designed for roofing.

This means that cedar siding might not hold up as well to the elements or provide the insulation and water resistance that you’d expect from a proper roofing material.

Also, since cedar siding isn’t intended for use on roofs, it’s less likely to come with warranties that cover roofing applications. This could be a concern for homeowners who want to ensure their investment is protected.

Lastly, cedar siding might not meet local building codes and regulations for roofing materials. This could lead to problems during construction or inspections, and might even require costly modifications to bring the structure up to code.

While cedar siding has some advantages as an exterior material, it’s not the most practical choice for roofing. Instead, it’s better to use cedar shingles or shakes, which are specifically designed for that purpose and come with the necessary durability, thickness, and warranties.

How thick should cedar shingles be?

Cedar shingles are typically thinner than cedar shakes, but they still need to be thick enough to provide durability, weather resistance, and a good aesthetic appearance.

The thickness of cedar shingles can vary depending on the specific product and the manufacturer, but they generally range from about 3/8-inch to 1/2-inch thick.

It’s important to keep in mind that the thickness of the shingles will affect their performance and appearance. Thicker shingles often provide better insulation and durability, which can be crucial in areas with extreme weather conditions.

However, the desired look of the roof and budget constraints might also factor into your decision when choosing the thickness of your cedar shingles.

When selecting cedar shingles for your roofing project, it’s a good idea to consult with a professional roofer or a knowledgeable contractor.

They can help guide you toward the right thickness and style for your specific needs and local climate.

Can you use siding nails for shingles?

While it might be tempting to use the same nails for both applications, it’s not necessarily the best idea. Let me explain why.

Roofing nails and siding nails are designed with different purposes in mind. Roofing nails, which are used for installing shingles, typically have larger heads and shorter shanks.

The larger head helps to hold the shingle in place, while the shorter shank reduces the chance of the nail penetrating through the roof decking.

Roofing nails are also often galvanized or coated to resist rust since they’ll be exposed to moisture.

Siding nails, on the other hand, are designed for attaching siding materials to the exterior walls of a home.

These nails usually have smaller heads and longer shanks, as they need to penetrate deeper into the wall framing to secure the siding.

Siding nails may not always be rust-resistant, as they’re not always directly exposed to the elements like roofing nails are.

Using siding nails for shingles could lead to a few problems. The smaller heads might not hold the shingles in place as securely, and the longer shanks could potentially puncture the roof decking, leading to leaks or other issues.

Plus, if the siding nails aren’t rust-resistant, they might not hold up well to moisture exposure and could corrode over time.

So, it’s generally best to use the appropriate nails for each specific job. When it comes to installing shingles, stick with roofing nails to ensure a secure and long-lasting installation.

How to use cedar boards as roof shingles?

Using cedar boards as roof shingles is an interesting idea, while it’s not a traditional approach, and I’d still recommend using actual cedar shingles or shakes designed for roofing, I can give you a general idea of how you might go about it.

First, you’d need to select the right cedar boards for the job. Ideally, you should choose boards that are straight, have minimal knots, and are resistant to splitting.

You’ll also want to cut the boards into uniform sizes, depending on the desired look and coverage you want on your roof.

Before you begin installing the cedar boards, make sure your roof has proper underlayment and ventilation in place. This helps protect the roof decking from moisture and prolongs the life of your cedar boards.

Now, when it comes to installation, start at the bottom edge of the roof and work your way up. Place the cedar boards in horizontal rows, making sure each board overlaps the one below it by at least a couple of inches.

This will create a natural water barrier and ensure that any rain or snow that lands on the roof flows downward and off the edge.

It’s essential to nail the cedar boards securely in place to prevent them from lifting or shifting due to wind or other weather conditions. Use corrosion-resistant nails and space them evenly along the top edge of each board.

As you move up the roof, stagger the joints between the cedar boards to create a more watertight seal and improve the overall appearance of your roof.

Keep in mind that cedar boards are not specifically designed for use as roof shingles, and this approach may not provide the same level of protection, durability, or warranty coverage as traditional cedar shingles or shakes.

Additionally, it’s always best to consult with a professional roofer or experienced contractor before attempting a non-standard roofing project like this.

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