Siding is a crucial part of the outside of your home. Whether you choose vinyl, wood, cedar, or aluminum siding, you must maintain and care for your home annually to keep it healthy and attractive. While, cedar siding may require a significant amount of upkeep, the aesthetic appeal is worth the extra effort.


Real cedar shake siding is an excellent siding option for distinguishing your home from the rest of the block’s uninspiring facades. You’ll get a stunning and timeless look with cedar shake siding that continues to improve with age. The warm undertones mature into a gorgeous finish, obtaining a lovely grey patina.

What Is Cedar Shake Siding?

Cedar shake siding is used as the outer cladding for dwellings and is constructed from shakes — pieces of wood split from a cedar logs. Shingles and shakes are often mistaken for one another. However, shingles are cut to size by sawing a piece of wood on all sides. Shakes are manufactured by splitting the wood. As a result, shakes have some natural shape and size variances and a more rustic appearance. They’re sometimes called “rough shingles,” which fairly accurately describes their appearance.

The breaks in shake siding are traditionally long, and the shakes are overlapped in a design that covers some areas of the home or the whole exterior of the house. The varied sizes of the shake shingles adds visual interest. Small shakes, for example, may be utilized towards the roof, whereas larger shakes may be used throughout the structure.

What Is Under Cedar Shake Siding?

Before installing cedar shake siding, it’s good to put up a weather-resistant barrier. The Dupont Tyvek brand is a popular choice since it combines a drainage system and a weather-resistant barrier in one product. It encourages water drainage beneath cedar siding by safely directing moisture away from the shake.

The weather-resistant barrier is installed over an approved exterior sheathing board on the outside of the insulation cavity. The barrier should be trimmed as closely as possible to the edges of exterior windows and doors, and the seams should be sealed with tape. 

How Long Does Cedar Shake Siding Last? 

Cedar shake siding can withstand the elements and survive for many years if properly maintained. In fact, because cedar shake siding can last 20-40 years if well maintained, several manufacturers provide warranties lasting over 25 years.

Cedar siding that has not been treated is not as durable or long-lasting as cedar siding that has been properly finished. A finish on your cedar siding protects it from the elements, allowing it to last longer. If left untreated, the siding will decay and soften after roughly five years due to the moisture that enters the unprotected wood. 

Painted cedar siding will last around 12-15 years. Painting offers a similar level of protection as staining.

How Do You Maintain Cedar Shake Siding?

To keep moss, algae, and mold from growing on cedar shake, they must be cleaned on a regular basis. Surface treatments are also required to protect them from dampness adn insects. The cedar will become worn and rotted if not maintained regularly.

Each year, you should inspect your cedar siding. Look for loose or damaged panels, scratches or blemishes, or rot throughout the entirety of your exterior.

During your inspection, you should do the following:

  • Nail down loose shingles
  • Replace any missing shingles 
  • Fill any holes, blemishes, or gaps with putty or caulk

Other things you can do to keep your cedar shake siding in good shape is to keep the trees and shrubs trimmed at least two feet from your shingles. You should keep your gutters clean as well. A clogged gutter will overflow, soaking the cedar below.

Can You Pressure Wash Cedar Shake Siding?

If you don’t clean your cedar shake siding now and then, it will sprout algae and mold. Your cedar siding may deteriorate and darken due to the growth.

Blast the grime away using a detergent and pressure washer to reveal the beautiful cedar color beneath, just like you would on a wooden deck. A consumer-grade gas pressure washer with a 3000 PSI pressure is ideal for washing cedar shake siding.

Keep an eye on where you’re spraying — light fixtures, windows, vents, eaves, and loose shingles should not be sprayed directly as the high pressure can cause serious harm.

How Often Does Cedar Shake Siding Need To Be Replaced?

Cedar shake siding may endure an extended period if erected and appropriately maintained. However, environmental factors can play a part in the longeviety of your siding.

If you live in the Pacific Northwest, for example, cedar may decay considerably more quickly than usual due to the high moisture content of the air. Moisture will cause the wood to bubble, crack, and/or blister. 

You’ll know it’s time to replace your cedar shake siding if it shows signs of deterioration or wear and tear that can’t be repaired or maintained.

Cedar Shake Siding Types

Cedar shake is a beautiful option for siding, whether you want to emphasize one section or cover the entire house. However, not all cedar shake siding is made from…well, cedar. There are options!

Natural Cedar


Cedar is a low-density softwood, making it a light and easy-to-work-with material that also happens to be an excellent insulator. Cedar is a long-lasting wood that can be painted, stained, or left untreated. The main reason people pick cedar shake, is for the style and the durability.



Fiber cement siding is a man-made product created from a mixture of sand, cement, and cellulose fibers pressed into planks or shingles. It is primed and painted before installation, but it can also be painted after.

Fiber cement, like cedar, can be used to create a shaking effect. It also comes in a variety of wood grain-imitating finishes, ranging from a modern smooth finish to a more rustic, rough-hewn appearance. 

Fiber cement does an excellent job of imitating the appearance of painted wood. You’ll have to look closely to see that the grain appears to be a touch too even and precise to be genuine wood.



CertainTeed has a cedar shake style made of polymer siding called Cedar Impressions®. The polymer shake has a very lifelike appearance due to the company’s trademarked method called TrueTexture. Using real cedar shake boards to replicate the texture gives the polymer product its realistic look. 

The finished product is imbued with a highly detailed appearance and comes in six classic styles, including rough-split textures. The company offers a range of designer color options as well. 

Synthetic Cedar


CeDUR is a company that designs and manufactures artificial imitation cedar shakes that, while mainly used for roofing, can be used as an excellent siding option. Their synthetic shakes are molded from real wood shakes utilizing a proprietary polyurethane manufacturing method. 

CeDUR shingles have an amazingly realistic real-wood look thanks to the use of lightweight and durable material as well as unique coatings.

Another synthetic choice that has the look and feel of natural cedar shake siding is Brava. Brava shake shingles have obtained the industry’s highest hail performance certification, known as a Class 4 impact rating

The composite product is also strong enough to withstand breaking during shipping and installation. The shingles come with a Class A and Class C fire rating for enhanced safety and a UV-protective composition to keep the sun’s rays at bay.

Is Cedar Shake Siding Expensive?

Over the last couple of years, demand for siding has increased. As a result, manufacturers are raising the cost of materials. In 2021, prices rose by 5% to 10%, and many sections of the country are suffering lengthy delivery waits.

Cedar siding costs $1.50 to $5.50 per square foot on average, depending on the cedar style. Most U.S. locations carry it due to its popularity and regional availability. It’s usually sold by the square foot, but it’s also available by the board foot (bf), in 100 square foot bundles, or by the linear foot (lf), though this is less common.

The variety of tree will also affect the overall cost of the shake. Northern White cedar tends to be the cheapest variety, followed by Eastern Red. Western Red Cedar, Yellow (Alaskan), and Spanish cedar are the more expensive options.

Installation Costs 

Installing cedar shake siding can cost anywhere from $8.50 to $14.50 per square foot, depending on the job’s intricacy and location.

On a typical house, with roughly 2,000 square feet of siding, you will likely pay a contractor between $17,000 and $29,000 to install new cedar shake siding. If you need your old siding removed and disposed of, add $1,000 to $3,000 to your budget.

The range for installation can fluctuate due to the size of the boards, the style of the siding, and regional pricing.

Cedar Shake Siding Maintenance Costs

Painting, staining, or treating your cedar shakes will cost between $2,500 and $4,000 or more, or roughly $1 to $4.50 per square foot. The cost of refinishing cedar siding depends on the size of your home, the amount of labor involved, and the materials utilized.

Keep in mind that this is only for treatment; if the wood siding or panels need to be fixed or replaced, you’ll pay more. 

Cedar Shake Siding Guarantee

Most siding companies will offer some sort of guarantee on their installations of cedar shake. Due to the longevity of the cedar, the warranties can be quite lengthy in some cases. 

Regular maintenance will most likely be required of any homeowner to maintain the terms of the guarantee.

Cedar Shake Siding Alternatives

If you now find yourself wondering if cedar shake siding is for you, you may want to take a look at the alternatives before you make any hard decisions. 


Fiber Cement Siding

Siding constructed of sand, cement, and cellulose fibers is known as fiber cement siding. It’s made to resemble genuine wood siding boards in appearance. Available in planks, shingles, and flat boards for vertical applications, fiber cement is a flexible option.

Not as environmentally friendly as vinyl, fiber cement and it offers minimal energy savings over other options. However, it is a durable option that is easy to customize as it can be painted after installation.

Vinyl Siding 

Vinyl has surpassed wood as the most common siding material, and it now accounts for more than a third of all siding on new and existing residences. Most manufacturers offer good-looking corresponding trim pieces and realistic-looking grain patterns on the vinyl.

Vinyl is a more budget-friendly option with lots of variety, but you will pay more for a higher-quality product. Proper vinyl installation is also very important, so a top-notch contractor will also need to be factored into overall cost. Poorly installed vinyl can cause water issues to your home. Vinyl siding is not always as durable as other siding options either.

Cedar Shingles

Similar to cedar shake, shingles are also made of cedar wood. However, shingles are sawn instead of split giving them a more precise look. Cedar shingles that are well maintained are highly durable and add to a home’s curb appeal. 

Cedar shingles that are treated and maintained can last for decades making it an excellent option. Plus, cedar naturally repels insects. It is often an eco-friendly option as it lowers overall energy costs on most homes.

LP SmartSide

LP SmartSide is engineered hardwood that is so durable it comes with a 50-year warranty. SmartSide can be painted to update the look of the home if desired, but it does come with a pretty hefty pricetag.

While the cost of LP SmartSide makes it a prohibitive option for some homeowners, the durability is often a big selling point. The ability to paint the siding is also a big draw for many of those wishing for customability.


Using metal siding has been gaining popularity in recent years due to its durability and resistance to fires, insects, and mold. Metal can also be made to mimic other siding appearances.

Homeowners love that metal is a low maintenance option that is highly durable. However, wetter climates can cause rusting to metal siding. 

Editorial Contributors
Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield

Matt Greenfield is an experienced writer specializing in home improvement topics. He has a passion for educating and empowering homeowners to make informed decisions about their properties. Matt's writing focuses on a range of topics, including windows, flooring, HVAC, and construction materials. With a background in construction and home renovation, Matt is well-versed in the latest trends and techniques in the industry. His articles offer practical advice and expert insights that help readers tackle their home improvement projects with confidence. Whether you're a DIY enthusiast or a seasoned professional, Matt's writing is sure to provide valuable guidance and inspiration.

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