Cedar Shingles for Coastal and High-Wind Areas: Durability and Performance

Cedar Shingles for Coastal and High-Wind Areas: Durability and Performance

Coastal and high-wind areas in New Jersey can be some of the most challenging environments for roofing materials. The combination of saltwater, high humidity, and strong winds can wreak havoc on even the most durable of roofs. 

As a homeowner or builder in this region, it’s essential to choose a roofing material that can withstand these harsh conditions and provide long-lasting protection for your home or building. That’s where cedar shingles come in. With their natural beauty, durability, and resistance to wind, saltwater, and UV radiation, cedar shingles are an excellent choice for roofs in coastal and high-wind areas.

Coastal and High-Wind Areas: A Unique Challenge for Roofs

Coastal areas in New Jersey present unique challenges to roofs due to the harsh weather conditions these areas are subjected to. Roofs in coastal areas are subjected to damage at a faster rate than roofs inland. Not only do high winds forcefully impact roofs in coastal areas, but the ocean’s saltwater combined with high winds is also responsible for the corrosion of a home’s exterior elements. Some of the challenges that coastal areas present to roofs include: 

Salt Water Spray

Salt water is a common concern among homeowners in coastal regions. The majority of the corrosion observed on roofing systems in coastal areas is caused by salt water. This is due to the high concentration of salt in the air that permeates the roofing materials and causes corrosion. 


Air in coastal regions tends to have a high amount of moisture, as it directly absorbs the water vapor from the sea. Humidity is the amount of moisture present in the air. The hotter the air is, the more it is likely to absorb water vapor in coastal areas. High humidity in these areas is a cause for concern among home and business owners since it promotes the growth of mold, mildew, and algae on roofing systems. High humidity also accelerates the deterioration of roofs and exterior materials exposed to salt water and air. 

Understanding Cedar Wood

Cedar wood is a type of wood known for its durability, distinctive aroma, and insect resistance. Cedar wood comes from the trees in the Cedrus genus. These trees are available throughout the world but are most commonly found in the Himalayas, Asia, and Africa. For its timeless properties, aesthetic appeal, pleasant smell, and rustic texture, cedar wood is used for various purposes, including outdoor projects such as decks, fences, and siding, and indoor projects such as flooring, paneling, and trim. Its warm color and natural grain pattern adds a decorative touch to any space. As a roofing material, cedar shingles have been used for centuries, and yet their demand is progressively increasing for the traditional look they offer to any home or property. 

What Are Cedar Shingles? 

Cedar Shingles Cedar Shingles, Cedar Shingle Roof

Though many types of roofing materials are available in the roofing industry, the love for wood shingles, especially cedar shingles, is timeless. 

Cedar shingles are one of the most chosen roofing and siding materials by homeowners, architects, builders, and business owners. Their timeless aesthetic appeal, rustic texture, and lightweight nature make them a perfect choice for homeowners looking for an elegant, classic, and traditional look for their roofs and sidings. 

Cedar shingles have heavily influenced residential and commercial property owners for their durability and wind resistance. This is also the reason cedar shingles have seen tremendous growth in coastal and high-wind areas. Their moisture and insect resistance also helps them last longer than many roofing materials. 

The Difference Between Cedar Shakes and Shingles

Cedar shakes, and shingles are sometimes misunderstood for being made of the same material, cedar wood; however, they do have some differences. Some of these differences are as follows: 

The Manufacturing Process 

While both the roofing materials are made of the same wood, the manufacturing process sets them apart from each other in terms of appearance, performance, and durability. Cedar shakes are typically made by hand using traditional techniques that have been used for centuries. The process involves splitting the wood along its natural grain using a mallet and a froe, which creates irregular shapes and textures. 

In contrast, cedar shingles are manufactured using modern machinery that saws the wood on both sides to create a smooth and uniform surface. It can also be made in a number of different shapes and styles, such as hexagonal and diamond. 

Wind Resistance and Durability

In terms of wind resistance and wind uplift, cedar shingles are the preferred option over cedar shakes. The reason for this popularity is their seamless texture, and a profile that is thinner and more uniform, which allows them to resist winds at high speeds. 

The Cost

Cedar shakes are typically more expensive than cedar shingles, largely due to the additional labor required in the manufacturing process. The hand-splitting process used to create cedar shakes is more time-consuming and labor-intensive than the sawing process used to create cedar shingles, which translates to a higher cost for the consumer.

Advantages of Cedar Shingles

1. Aesthetic Appeal 

In terms of aesthetic appeal, cedar shingles can do a lot for your home or office. Their timeless natural rustic texture gives homes a classic and traditional look, which can last long. Also, their variety of styles and colors allows property owners to choose shingles that suit them best. Since they can be easily customized to match the architectural integrity of any property, they hold up well against other roofing materials on the market. 

2. Energy Efficiency And Insulation

Wood is a natural insulator, which is a plus point for people installing cedar shingles. Cedar shingles are popular on the market not only for their aesthetic appearance and durability but also for their energy efficiency and insulation. In winter, the layer of cedar shingles installed on your roof maintains the warmth inside your home, while in the summer months, the insulation property of cedar shingles resists heat from traveling through them and entering your property, thus making it cooler. 

Since cedar shingle roofs maintain the temperature and humidity level inside a building, they reduce the amount of money you’ll have to spend on your energy bills. In winter, cedar shingles save you from having to use artificial heating, while in summer, it cuts short your need for air conditioning. 

3. Versatile and Lightweight

Being a relatively lightweight roofing material, cedar shingles do not add much of their weight to the decking structure. It is also difficult to believe that cedar shingles, lighter in weight than other popular roofing shingles, are wind resistant and durable. On the other hand, asphalt shingles, with their popular 3-tab design, don’t provide that much resistance to wind and other natural events. Since cedar roof shingles are also lightweight, don’t require any structural reinforcements to support their weight. 

Cedar shingles are highly versatile, presenting homeowners with an array of options. They are available in white, yellow, and red hues, all of which can seamlessly blend with any architectural style. White cedar shingles are particularly popular among homeowners for several reasons. Besides its aesthetic appeal, the cool, light nature of white effectively reflects a substantial amount of heat and light. This not only keeps the home cooler but also enhances its energy efficiency.

4. Pleasant Smell 

Cedar shingles are also known for their pleasant smell. Cedar shingles have a natural, pleasant aroma that is often associated with cedar wood. This unique scent is caused by the natural oils and resins that are present in cedar wood. The aroma is often described as fresh, clean, and invigorating and is highly sought after in many applications. You can enjoy the pleasant smell of cedar shingles inside and outside the home or building. When used as roofing or siding material, you can detect the aroma of cedar shingles when standing near the building or when the wind is blowing. 

5. Insect Resistant

Wood shingles, other than cedar shingles, have gained a bad reputation for the ease with which termites infest the shingles and eat away at them. This concern has also made property owners rethink installing wood shingles and siding. However, this isn’t the case with cedar shingles. Cedar shingles are naturally repellent to insects and termites. This natural defense mechanism comes from the oils that the wood naturally produces. Cedar wood, even after having been processed into shingles, retains this natural defense mechanism in an attempt to protect itself from invaders like termites. 

6. Timeless and Environment-Friendly

Cedar shingles aren’t only long-lasting, but their timeless appeal lasts even longer. You might have seen many roofing materials losing their aesthetic appeal and color with time. For example, asphalt shingles are prone to losing curb appeal as their color fades with age and wear and tear. However, cedar shingles offer homeowners timeless aesthetic appeal, durability, and protection. 

As cedar wood shingles age and crack in response to harsh weather conditions, their environmentally friendly qualities come in and prevent you from throwing them into landfills. Instead, they allow you to recycle and reuse them in many ways. 

Reasons Why You Should Install Cedar Shingles on Your Roof in Coastal and High Wind Areas

Cedar Shingles

1. Resistance to Salt Water Damage

Cedar shingles work exceptionally well on roofs in coastal areas for their natural resistance to salt water damage. Those who install cedar shingles on their coastal homes have peace of mind due to the wood’s naturally produced oils and resins. The oil generated by cedar wood works against salt water as a natural inhibitor. The quality of cedar shingles is also protected against infiltrating salt water. 

2. The Durability of Cedar Shingles

The durability and wind resistance of cedar shingles makes them a sturdier roofing material compared to others. While cedar shingle roofs perform the same functions as other roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles and metal sheets, their durability and longer lifespan set them apart. 

This type of wood has incredible strength, which helps the shingles survive any harsh weather conditions, whether it’s intense storms, hail, heavy rain, or high winds. Though cedar shingles can take on weather-related damage or impacts, they hold up well compared to asphalt shingles. 

3. Wind Resistance of Cedar Shingles

Cedar shingles have stood the test of time and have been proven to be one of the most wind-resistant roofing materials. The high-quality cedar shingles can survive wind speeds of around 140 mph, just slightly lagging behind one of their alternative roofing options, metal roofing. 

Metal roofing, the alternative to cedar shingle roofing in coastal properties, can handle a wind speed of up to 150 miles per hour, while clay tiles, which are also the preferred roofing type in coastal properties, can resist a wind speed of 125 mph without cracking. 

When properly installed and regularly maintained, cedar shingles can resist warping and cracking, which can occur when other roofing materials are subjected to high winds. 

4. Fire Resistance

The fire resistance of cedar shingles has long been a topic of debate. Some argue that cedar shingles, being a type of wood, inherently possess poor fire-resistant qualities. On the other hand, there are those who believe that cedar shingles naturally retard fire, with other factors contributing to their combustibility. This contentious discussion persisted until formal fire testing was conducted on cedar shingles and shakes.

Cedar shingles have a Class B fire rating, which means that they have a moderate degree of fire resistance. They are less likely to ignite and spread flames compared to other roofing materials like asphalt shingles. Additionally, cedar shingles have low heat conductivity, meaning that they will not transfer heat to the interior of the building in the event of a fire.

How to Know If Cedar Shingles Are of Good Quality

Cedar shingles, based on the quality of the wood they have been manufactured from, are divided into three main categories: Grade 1, Grade 2, and Grade 3. 

Grade 1 : 

This is the highest quality cedar shingle grade, with a uniform thickness, minimal defects, and no more than 20% edge grain. Grade 1 shingles are typically used for high-end residential or commercial applications.

Grade 2 : 

This grade has more knots and defects than Grade 1 but is still considered a good-quality shingle. Grade 2 shingles may have up to 40% edge grain and are commonly used for residential roofing.

Grade 3 : 

This is the lowest quality cedar shingle grade, with more knots, defects, and a less uniform thickness. Number 3 grade shingles may have up to 80% edge grain and are typically used for non-roofing applications, such as siding or decorative purposes. 

Note – A proper installation is key for taking complete advantage of all the properties cedar shingles may have on your roof. Improper cedar shingle installation and leaving them untreated throughout their lifespan will reduce their lifespan, causing you to pay more money on roof replacement and repair. If you’re going to install cedar shingles in coastal regions, where the weather can sometimes be uncertain, hiring unskilled and inexperienced roofers is never recommended.

Hire The Most Professional and Skilled Roofers In New Jersey

If you are willing to install cedar shingles on your roof, hire professional and skilled roofers only for the extended lifespan of your roof. 

Call Champion Exteriors at (609)-845-3576 for a professional consultation with one of our expert roofers. Our team is proficient at handling all roofing projects, including cedar shingle roof installation, replacement, and repair.