A shake is a shingle made of wood from split logs. Shakes have been traditionally used to make roofing shingles and siding applications all over the world. The roofing shakes are of higher grade than siding shakes. Shakes that are correctly applied provide protection from the weather for a long lasting duration and give a rustic, authentic look. Cedar shakes are made from Western Red Cedar.
In North America shakes are normally made in lengths of 24 inches for roofing and in 48 inch lengths for siding.
Shakes and shingles must all be edge grain cut to insure that as the wood dries there is no splitting or warping. When the wood is bucked, or cut to form the lengths, they must be made directly perpendicular to the grain in order to preserve product quality and durability. When cutting blocks to be processed, the cut always starts on a knot, a burl, or other imperfections so as to maximize the area of productive wood.
Shingles are then cut from the blocks with a circular saw, and then one side is tapered with another saw, called a trim saw to achieve a tapered cut, with one end thicker, and the other tapering into a flat, thin edge. Placed appropriately on a roof, this gives a remarkable water tight surface.
The nice thing about this type of roofing is that they really last a long time. As time passes, they weather into a grayish sheen and they seem to get stronger with age. Most shake shingles today are treated with a fire retardant that insures that the shingles will not be as susceptible to fire.
The shake shingles are applied to the roof over a plywood base, covered with an underlayment, and the shingles being overlapped. There are situations in warmer climates, where the shake shingles are applied with no plywood or underlayment, which allows the attic to ‘breathe’ as the heat rises or lowers. There is some controversy in this, especially with air conditioning in houses and buildings. A roof that is sealed more effectively would give an air conditioned house more efficiency.
They is no doubt about the handsome, rustic look that these shingles gives to a house, both on the roof and on the siding. The distinctiveness of a home with cedar shakes sets it apart as something special that will always be something to talk about.