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Wood Shingle Installation

How do you install wood shingles? Installing wood shingles is an art form that dates back to medieval times and the thatched roofs of peasants in Europe. At Custom Shingles, we are experts at creating the beautiful and undulating look of a thatched roof home using cedar, teak, wallaba and similar materials. Not only do these roofs look unique and attractive, but they are also energy efficient and incredibly durable.

But installing cedar roof shingles — and shingles made of similar materials — isn’t a do-it-yourself project. Wood shingles deliver incredible longevity when properly installed, but they do require a significant upfront investment. If they are installed improperly, the roof can be prone to leaks, or it may require expensive repairs well before you would expect to need maintenance for a wood shingle roof.

If you’re wondering about cedar shingle installation, here’s a look at the process:

Preparing for Wood Shingle Installation

Custom wood shingles and shakes are typically attached to some sort of sheathing installed on the roof. This is typically either solid deck sheathing or spaced sheathing, and in some cases, the shakes and shingles are attached to what’s called a rain-screen. The local climate and common weather patterns typically influence how the shakes and shingles are attached to the roof.

In dry regions, solid sheathing is the most commonly used surface. If the region is known to experience heavy snowfall, it's common to use a solid plywood deck for installation. Spaced sheathing and rain-screen are more commonly used in areas that experience higher humidity. Building codes in certain areas may have additional requirements based on heavy winds, hurricanes and other natural events that commonly occur there.

 wood shingle installation process

Spacing Shingles and Shakes

Weather is also an influence on how far apart shakes and shingles can be spaced. Spacing depends on both the width of each shake or shingle, as well as the direction of the grain. But it also depends on the moisture present at the time of installation.

Vertical-grained shakes and shingles swell or shrink only half as much as flat-grained shakes or shingles, which means they allow for more space between them. Flat-grained shakes and shingles need much less space between each one to avoid the chance of buckling. Also, narrow shingles require less space than wide shingles.

What about the moisture? When moisture is low, leave more space between shakes and shingles. When moisture is high, tighten the spacing a little bit. Insufficient spacing will lead to buckling and ruin the appearance of a wood shingle roof, requiring repairs and reinstallation.

How to Fasten Shakes and Shingles

 wood shingles installed

You cannot use the same nails for wood shingles as you would use for asphalt or other more commonly used roofing materials. Find ring-shank nails with blunt tips for fastening custom wood shingles, and make sure they are made of corrosion-resistant materials — hot-dipped galvanized or stainless steel are good bets.

Make sure the fastener’s head is flush with the shake or shingle surface, and always avoid either over- or under-driving the nail. The corrosion-resistant material should prevent iron stains from appearing on the shake or shingle near the fastener’s head.

To prevent the forming of mold or algae, you may choose to use copper or zinc strips as well. Interlay the strip near the ridge vent or cap, and the placement should help prevent the spread of mold, moss or algae down the roof’s surface. The ideal spacing for zinc and copper strips for most effective performance is six feet, though some installers choose to place them as far as 12 feet apart.

Custom Shingles: The Best at Installing Wood Shingle Siding

As noted, creating and installing wood shingles is a veritable art form, one with deep roots in the thatched roof-filled countryside of medieval Europe. When you choose a custom wood shingle roof for your home, not only are you choosing a solid investment that delivers a huge return, but you’re also choosing a unique and beautiful look that visitors will fall in love with and that will boost your home’s resale value. While not just any homeowner can choose custom wood roofing as a do-it-yourself project, you do have a trusted service provider in Custom Shingles.

Since our first project in 1982, we've been using proprietary processes and patented tools to bend, form and fabricate our own shingles, and we've been using our experience and expertise to deliver outstanding results for homes of all types. When you're ready to unlock the value and beauty of a custom wood roof, make sure you're getting the very best materials and very best installation service when you choose Custom Shingles.

Contact us today for a free estimate on wood shingle and shake roof installation.

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