Yellow Cedar Roofing Shingles

Although we had thought we would have a metal roof for Bunny Vista, Kelley always believed that a cedar shingle roof would look best on the house and would complement the stone, log, bark, and cedar siding. After lots of research, he found an incredible price on yellow cedar shingles; a couple of weeks ago, a truck arrived from British Columbia filled with our shingles. Since then, Robert Wilfong and his crew of roofers have been working steadily, hand-nailing the shingles with stainless steel nails. The roof over the log section is finished, complete with roof caps. The roof over the timber frame is about two thirds done, so we expect the most of the roof to be finished mid-week. The roofers will return once the chimney is done and the porches are on to finish the job.

Here is what I learned about the cedar shingles:

Yellow cedar is actually not cedar–it is cypress. It grows only in the mountains of Alaska, British Columbia and Washington. Because of the short growing season it has very tight growth rings, making ie exceptionally strong, heavy, and dense. Its concentration of natural oils make it resistant to decay, and it weathers naturally to a silver gray. Right now it is, well, yellow, but when it has weathered, the color should be wonderful with the logs, stone, and bark.

The botanical name for yellow cedar is callitropsis nootkatensis. It is also often called Nootka cypress. Its name is derived from Nuu-chah-nulth, one of the indigenous peoples of Vancouver Island, Canada, on whose land the tree was first discovered. The Nootka people often used the wood for totem poles, canoes, and utensils. It is often used for boat building and for siding, shingles, and decking.

Roofers start nailing cedar shingles to the front of the log section.

Roofers start nailing cedar shingles to the front of the log section.

The roofers placed the shingles on the shed addition closer together because of the lower roof pitch.

The roofers placed the shingles on the shed addition closer together because of the lower roof pitch.

Nailing the roof caps at the peak of the log section.

Nailing the roof caps at the peak of the log section.

Bunny Vista with its crowning glory. The roofers will finish the back of the timber frame this week. At the right of the timber frame section, they have left a section unshingled--this is where the chimney will be. They will complete this part after the chimney is done.

Bunny Vista with its crowning glory. The roofers will finish the back of the timber frame this week. At the right of the timber frame section, they have left a section unshingled--this is where the chimney will be. They will complete this part after the chimney is done.

I am really excited to see the color of the shingles when they have been on the roof for a while. Kelley expects them to change in six months or so.

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4 Responses to “Yellow Cedar Roofing Shingles”

  1. Daniel Drumheller Says:

    I really like the information about the scientific name of the wood, the reason that it’s good, and the details about the tight growth rings. Very nice post!

    The house looks great!

  2. skowroneck Says:

    Great post! What are those vertical blocks of wood for that we can see on the finished-roof pictures?

  3. Susan Says:

    Tilman, there were a lot of those blocks. The roofers used them to support the planks that they knelt or stood on while they hammered in the shingles.

  4. Muray Says:

    PLace looks great, love the shingled roof. Where did you end up sourcing the product?
    Cheers Murray

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