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How To Identify Good Cedar Roofing

Tips on Grading the Cedar Roofing that Shows up at Your Home for Your Roofing Job

Case Study 4

Introduction, by Steve Kuhl

There are many variables that factor into the quality and character of cedar shake and shingle roofing including the age of the tree when logged, the region the tree came from, the thickness of the material, its’natural oil and resin content and the percentage of clear heartwood in each piece. Perhaps nothing has a more immediate impact on longevity than grain orientation, however. Put simply, the more edge grain (aka ‘vertical grain’) the better. One of the favorite tricks roofers use to reduce the cost of their estimates is to source their material through lower quality mills. The point is, regardless of the color of the Label, vertical grain content is an easy identifier that anyone can use to determine the relative quality of cedar shake and shingle roofing and siding.

Telling the Difference Between Vertical and Horizontal Grain

Case Study 4.2

View looking at the butt end of two cedar shakes

Vertical Grain vs. Horizontal Grain

Vertical grain is also called ‘edge grain’, ‘vertical sawn’ and often carries the designation of Premium on the manufacturers label. To be characterized as Premium, each bundle of cedar shakes must contain 100% vertical grain shakes. Horizontal grain is also called ‘flat sawn’ and ‘edge grain’. 95% of the roofs applied in Minnesota are certified as #1 Grade, Blue Label material, which are certified to contain no more than 20% horizontal grain. In short, Premiums are 100% vertical grain and #1 Grade are at least 80% vertical grain. The more vertical grain the better. If you can afford 100% vertical grain it is a good investment.

Case Study 4.3

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