Home Contractor's Corner Timber time: Maximising the cedar shingle opportunity

Timber time: Maximising the cedar shingle opportunity

by Jennie Ward

As spring blooms, contractors could expect even more households to turn to maximising their outdoor space. Shaun Revill, Trading Director for SR Timber, highlights what role cedar shingles have in this market and outlines some recommendations for working with the product.

Shaun Revill, SR Timber’s Trading Director.

One trend we could see returning as the weather warms is for more homeowners investing their time and money into outdoor renovation projects. With many adopting a hybrid working style or maximising the space they have, the demand for outdoor rooms is primed. If a contractor is looking to capitalise on this, they need to be fully armed with the relevant product knowledge.

While traditional house builders might not be familiar with cedar shingles, we’re seeing more one-off developments spiking demand. Typically, this involves a specific use for the product, where the owner might want the particular look of cedar or where developments are set in woodland or rural locations.

Of course, there could be change coming. With achieving net zero becoming an increasing priority, house builders and specifiers are looking for materials with low embodied carbon and good sustainability arguments.

However, for now, outdoor garden buildings represent the greatest potential for cedar shingles, with many owners looking for their aesthetic and environmental properties. Combined with their signature colour and look, they are the perfect choice for garden rooms and outdoor builds.

Quality checks: what to look out for
As a sustainable solution, Western Cedar Shingles provide an environmentally friendly choice with the product being sourced from sustainable forests in Western Canada. Always check for the relevant sustainability labels, SR Timber cedar shingles are predominantly PEFC certified with full chain of custody certification.

Contractors should pay particular attention to the grade and labelling when selecting shingles. There are three grades available: red, black, and blue. The latter blue label is the top grade of shingle and recommended for use in the UK, with red and black having imperfections and knots in the product. Blue label are 100% heartwood and edge grain, so the grade won’t include knots or sapwood.

The label should also include the Certi-grade mark, signalling the shingles are produced to a quality, third-party accreditation from the Cedar Shingle and Shake Bureau (CSSB). We recommend purchasing blue label shingles with this certification as it confirms each shingle is graded and cut accurately, ensuring you get the correct square metres within the bundle.

For a customer who is looking for a low-maintenance solution, cedar is an excellent choice thanks to its natural insect and rot resistant properties. Upkeep is minimal with the shingles requiring no further treatment.

The Western Cedar Shingles are lightweight, aesthetically pleasing, and practical. With good weather resistance in exposed settings, cedar naturally ages over time, adopting a pleasant silvery-grey shade as part of the weathering process.

Installation best practice
When installing cedar shingles, we always recommend fixings are 31mm x 1.8mm annular ring shanked nails in stainless steel. This ensures the shingle stays in place and the fixings don’t corrode over time, providing a better, longer lasting finish.

For best practice, each cedar shingle should be fixed with two nails and a 5mm gap between each, and as a rule of thumb 1kg of nails will be required for every four bundles of shingles.

Contractors with experience will know how to properly lay shingles to a break bond pattern but taking on board some of these recommendations will help ensure the longevity of the build.

Finally, as with any roofing build we always recommend the use of graded roofing battens. No matter the project, contractors want to ensure they’re building not just with quality in mind, but safety and trust as well. Roofing battens graded to BS 5534:2014 provide peace of mind for contractors and owners alike.


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