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Yellow Cedar Shakes

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#2 Tapersawn



Premium Tapersawn



Premium Handsplit




This product is temporarily out of stock.
It is due to come back in stock soon.
For more information call 0151 495 3111.


Although lesser known (at least in the UK) than shingles, cedar shakes are a thicker and arguably more characterful alternative. They are available in two types – ‘tapersawn’ which have smooth uniform surfaces (essentially a thicker and longer shingle) and hand split which have a rough irregular texture on the face and are suitable for more rustic applications.

Matching pre-formed ridge units for both types of shake are also available. Other accessories stocked include the correct type of stainless steel nail necessary to install cedar shakes and suitable breathable roofing membrane.

To continue the look Silva also stocks saw textured and smooth planed Western Red Cedar boards suitable for use as fascia, soffits, barge boards and trim.

At a glance

  • Choose Tapersawn for a more uniform appearance (like a thicker shingle)
  • Choose Handsplit for an irregular textured rustic look

  • Two grades available:
    Premium Grade: 100% heartwood, clear with 100% edge grain and no defects
    #2 Grade: Allows limited defects 9" above the butt

Tapersawn’ shakes are available in a choice of two grades and ‘hand split’ are available in premium grade only.

Longer, thicker, heavier. Shakes provide an attractive alternative to traditional shingles.

Yellow Cedar is far less widely known and used than Western Red Cedar, yet it offers very similar performance characteristics. In fact in many areas Yellow Cedar is superior to Western Red Cedar.

Yellow Cedar grows along the Pacific coast of North America, from Oregon in the south up into Canada and as far north as Alaska. It shares a similar growing region to Western Red Cedar; however Yellow Cedar usually grows at higher elevations which can make access for logging difficult. This probably accounts for the fact that despite its abundance it does not have the widespread commercial availability of Western Red Cedar.

When most people think of cedar roofing they think of shingles, however there is another type of cedar roofing that has been around a lot longer called shakes. Shingles and shakes are similar in that they are both tapered pieces of wood primarily used as a roofing or cladding material for buildings, however there are differences between the two types which can have a subtle effect on the character of the building.

Historically cedar shakes were produced by splitting straight grained knot free sections of logs (called bolts) by hand with a mallet and froe or an axe to produce thin tapered sections with a rough irregular surface. It was necessary to hand dress each shake to smooth out the back surface to enable it to fit evenly on the roof. In the early 19th century production was revolutionised with steam powered saw mills which made possible the mass production of uniform shingles produced by sawing rather than splitting. These shingles had (and still have) smooth surfaces and an even taper.

What is the difference between Tapersawn and Handsplit?

Tapersawn Shakes

With a thicker butt and longer length than shingles, cedar shakes are produced by cutting blocks from the log to the desired length. Shakes are then taper sawn to size on both sides in the same way a shingle in manufactured. They differ from shingles in two ways; at 450/610mm they are longer and at 15-19mm the butts are much thicker.

A shake roof has the same smooth textured look as a shingle roof but as shakes are thicker and heavier more defined shadow line is created.

Handsplit Shakes

With a thicker butt and longer length than cedar shingles, cedar shakes offer a rustic, rough look full of character due to being Hand split when manufactured.

Hand split shakes are produced by splitting cedar blocks with a hyrdaulically powered knife into straight boards, or blanks. The blanks are then sawn from corner to corner, producing two tapered shakes, each with a natural split face and a sawn back.

In the past the main difference between shingles and shakes was that shakes were thicker at the butt end and had a rough irregular texture giving a more rustic appearance. Nowadays a tapersawn shake is available which is produced in exactly the same way as a shingle – by sawing from blocks (or bolts) rather than splitting. The only difference is that the tapersawn shake has a thicker butt than a shingle, and they are longer (than most shingles).

Handsplit shakes are still available, though nowadays they are split with a hydraulic axe and sawn on the back to ensure an even fit. They still have the same unique rustic irregular texture as those produced by hand over 200 years ago.

Traditionally the more uniform cedar shingles were used as cladding and roofing on grand colonial style homes on the East Coast of the United States whereas shakes tended to be used on smaller cottages, cabins and more rustic styled buildings.

The shingle gives a flatter more tailored appearance whereas the shake gives a chunkier more characterful appearance. The shadow lines on each course are more defined on shake clad roof or wall and the overall appearance is thicker and heavier. The tapersawn shake has a flat uniform surface whereas the hand split shake has a rough irregular texture suitable for more rustic applications such as cabins.

Being thicker, shakes will last a bit longer and provide slightly better insulation than shingles.

Read more

Approximated Nails usage guide - 1 kilo of 2.65 x 50mm Stainless Steel Annular Ringshank Nails will be required to fix 4 bundles of Premium shakes / 3 bundles of #2 Grade shakes

Recommended use (Premium) - A premium option for a wide range of uses, particularly main building roofs and walls where rustic character is desired. 

Recommended use (#2 Grade) - An economical option offering great deal of versatility. Contain a high proportion of high quality tiles.

Batten Spacing - Space battens to coincide with the weather exposure. Spacing between adjacent shingles (joints) should be a minimum of 9mm and a maximum of 16mm.
Joints in any one course should be separated not less than 38mm from joints in adjacent courses and in any three courses, no two joints should be in direct alignment.

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Coverage and usage information

#2 Grade Tapersawn

Premium Tapersawn

1 Bundle on roofs with a 13º+ pitch




Premium (Blue Label)

This top grade requires all shakes to contain 100% heartwood, clear with 100% edge grain and no defects

#2 Grade (Red Label)

No.2 Yellow Cedar Shakes are an economical option offering a great deal of versatility. While being graded as No.2, they contain a high proportion of high quality tiles and are often specified and perfectly acceptable to use on residential properties unlike lower graded shingles.

More about the Yellow Cedar Species

Yellow Cedar shingles and shakes are graded to the same exacting quality control product standards written by the Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau for Western Red Cedar.

Due to the high rainfall and colder temperatures of its local climate, Yellow Cedar grows very slowly which creates very tight growth rings. There is little distinction between early wood and late wood rings which makes for very dense wood, a consistent colour and a high degree of stability throughout the tree. Furthermore, Yellow Cedar possesses a high level of natural decay resistance and is a very hard softwood. Being stable, strong and extremely weather resistant, Yellow Cedar is an ideal material for shingles and shakes. Its longevity, superior performance characteristics and the fact that it weathers to a consistent light silver grey make Yellow Cedar shingles and shakes a much sought after roofing and cladding material. They have been used for centuries in certain regions of North America and their reputation has spread and led to their use in all parts of the continent. Now here in the UK, Silva Timber are the first company in Europe (as far as we know) to supply Yellow Cedar shingles and shakes.

Historically Yellow Cedar has been widely used in boatbuilding and marine applications because of its excellent weather resistance and strength. Its strength and lightness in weight have even led to its use in aircraft construction. Yellow Cedar is also used in Japanese garden design and architecture, and because it thrives in wet environments it is also used around pools and in saunas.


This product carries Programme for the Endorsement of Forest  Certification  (PEFC)

The PEFC Council is an independent, non-profit, non-governmental organisation founded in 1999 which promotes sustainably managed forests through independent third party certification. The PEFC provides an assurance mechanism to purchasers of wood and paper products that they are promoting the sustainable management of forests.

PEFC works throughout the entire forest supply chain to promote good practice in the forest and to ensure that timber and non-timber forest products are produced with respect for the highest ecological, social and ethical standards. Thanks to its  eco-label, customers and consumers are able to identify products from sustainably managed forests.

Silva Timber meets the requirements for PEFC Chain of Custody within the BM TRADA Certification Limited Scheme for TRADA - Trak chain of custody certification.

Certificate number: BMT-PEFC-0319

Western Red Cedar is the ultimate green building material. It is legally, responsibly and sustainably harvested in the publicly managed forests of British Columbia, Canada. Less than 1% of standing timber is harvested each year.

For each tree harvested, three are replanted to ensure the forests will exist in perpetuity. Western Red Cedar has a low impact on the environment throughout its life cycle. It requires significantly less energy to produce than man-made alternatives and is bio-degradable.

  • FSC
  • PEFC
  • Trada member
  • Responsible purchaser
  • Cedar Shake & Shingle Bureau
  • Secured by