Cedar is the best performing material for making shingles and shakes. Shingles are sawn by machine and therefore have a smooth surface and uniform thickness but they may vary in width. Shakes are manufactured by wood splitting and therefore have a rather rough textured front surface and smooth back.
Cedar shakes roofs are more rustic in appearance, with shakes having been split to reveal the natural grain of the wood. Shakes are typically thicker than shingles, and may be uneven in width and length, producing a textured and more varied roof. Cedar shakes are made by carefully cutting down and splitting pieces of cedar.
Within the cedar shake shingles category, hand-split and taper-sawn cedar shakes are the two options. The hand-split shake has a rough outside and creates a more rustic effect. The taper-sawn cedar shake is sawn on both sides and retains the thickness and strength of a shake while remaining closer to the texture and tailored appearance of a shingle. Taper-sawing means the shake is cut so it’s slightly thicker at one end, creating its taper.
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