Grades and Types

Wood shingles are sawn on both sides to produce a smooth, uniform surface. Shakes, on the other hand, are split from logs, leaving both sides rough (see Types of Wood Shingles and Shakes, below, for both shake and shingle types).

Figure: Types of Wood Shingles and Shakes
Adapted from Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau
Adapted from Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau


Lengths and Weights

Shingles come in three lengths: 16-in. (sometimes called 5X), 18-in. (perfections), and 24-in. (royals). See Typical Wood Shingles and Shakes, below, for specification information.

Shakes come in 18- and 24-in. lengths, as well as in a 15-in.-long starter/finish shake. They’re available in two weights: mediums have 1/2-in. butts; heavies have 3/4-in. butts on average.

Figure: Typical Wood Shingles and Shakes
Shingles
Grade Length Exposure (3:12-4:12) Exposure (4:12-beyond) Courses per Bundle Bundles per Square
No. 1 Blue Label 16" (1) 3 3/4" 5" 20/20 4 bundles
18" (2) 4 1/14" 5 1/2" 18/18 4 bundles
No. 2 Red Label 24" (3) 5 3/4" 7 1/2" 13/14 4 bundles
16" (1) 3" 1/2 4" 20/20 4 bundles
18" (2) 4" 4 1/2" 18/18 4 bundles
24" (3) 5 1/2" 6 1/2" 13/14 4 bundles
No. 3 Black Label 16" (1) 3" 3 1/2" 20/20 4 bundles
18" (2) 3 1/2" 4" 18/18 4 bundles
24" (3) 5" 5 1/2" 13/14 4 bundles
No. 4 Undercoursing 16" N/A N/A 14/14 or 20/20 2 bundles
18" N/A N/A 14/14 or 18/18 2 bundles
No. 1 or No. 2 Rebutted/Rejointed 16" (1) 3 3/4" 5" 33/33 1 carton
18" (2) 4 1/4" 5 1/2" 28/28 1 carton
24" (3) 5 3/4" 7 1/2" 13/14 4 bundles

(1) 5X; (2) perfections; (3) royals

Slope: 4:12 to 12:12 is normal. 3:12 is considered minimum. For 3:12 to 4:12, reduce exposure (see exposure column). Below 3:12, create a waterproof deck.

Life Expectancy: 8 to 25 years.

Shakes
Grade Length & Thickness Maximum Exposure (4:12 & steeper) Courses per Bundle Bundles per Square
18" pack*
No. 1 Hand-split & Resawn 15" starter-finish 7 1/2" (for 18") 9/9 5
18" x 1/2" to 3/4" 9/9 5
18" x 3/4" to 1 1/4" 9/9 5
24" x 3/8"* 10" (for 24") 9/9 5
24" x 1/2" to 3/4" 9/9 5
24" x 3/4" to 1 1/4" 9/9 5
No. 1 Tapersplit 24" x 1/2" to 5/8" 10" 9/9 5
20" pack
No. 1 Straightsplit 18" x 3/8" * 7 1/2" 14 straight 4
18" x 3/8" 7 1/2" 19 straight 5
24" x 3/8" 10" 16 straight 5

* True-edge (24 x 3/8" hand-split shakes limited to 5" maximum weather exposure, per U.B.C.)

Slope: 4:12 to 12:12 is normal. Below 4:12, create a waterproof deck.

Life Expectancy: 10 to 30 years.

Adapted from Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau.

Note on life expectancy: Wood can be broken down by excessive moisture as well as by moss and other fungi, both of which are more common on north-facing surfaces. In the absence of moisture problems, however, the south side of a roof tends to degrade quicker because of its higher temperature and increased UV exposure. You can get a 30-year warranty if shingles or shakes have been pressure-treated at the factory.

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