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Maintaining Cedar Shingle Integrity: Key Installation Tips

November 27th 2020

From one season to another, wood expands and contracts. As a result, it is common for some cedar shingles to slightly move. After all, that is part of its charm!

However, it’s unusual for cedar shingles to cup and curl extensively across the surface. When this occurs, it’s typically due to installation issues.

Here are three basic principles for best results:

1- Spacing between each cedar shingle

Prior to installation, always check the shingles’ relative humidity level. This will enable you to accurately determine the correct spacing required for your cedar shingles to expand without constraint.

Wood has a dynamic nature influenced by environmental conditions. Cedar shingles, for instance, undergo fluctuations in moisture content in response to temperature changes. During installation, it’s essential to consider these dynamics. Freshly-cut (green) shingles typically have a humidity level of 25% to 35%, contracting in sunlight and expanding when exposed to rain. Conversely, kiln-dried or factory-stained shingles, with humidity levels between 10% to 14%, are “pre-shrunk” and will expand in moist conditions.

For pre-stained or kiln-dry shingles, always leave a minimum 1/8″ to 1/4″ gap between each piece depending on the humidity level recorded. If your shingles are large or very dry, it is best to go with 1/4″.

For “green” shingles, leave 1/16″ to 1/8″. Refer to this article to learn more about installing green shingles: How to store natural “green” shingles?

2- Exposure

The exposure is the exposed surface of the shingle once installed. It is important to keep it at a maximum of 5″ to help maintain the pressure that shingles exert on each other to avoid cupping and curling.

3- Fasteners

As for the fasteners, make sure they are placed 3/4″ on each side and 1″ above the butt-line of the preceding course. To help you, each shingle has an embossed nailing line on one side (at 6 1/8″) to guide the installer in aligning the fasteners.

If you are using air tools, don’t forget to adjust the air pressure so that the fasteners are flush with the shingle.

By respecting each of these principles, your shingles siding will retain all its charm for many years to come. In doubt, refer to our Installation Guide that can be found in the SBC Library.

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We are currently in the process of putting together a document that will contain a lot of useful information. As it is not quite finished, you can ask your questions directly to a member of our team. – Contact us