Shingles & Shakes  -  Walls and Roofs 

A general overview and highlights for Australian Codes & Conditions.

Western Red Cedar is the species most commonly used for shingles and shakes and either may be used for roofing or wall cladding with the choice dependent upon the appearance preferred by the consumer.


Shingles are sawn on both surfaces
and present a rather smooth and more precise appearance.

Width is generally random
and shingles taper in thickness.




Shakes are hand or machine split

on at least one surface and have a more rugged,
irregular texture than shingles.

Width is generally random and thickness varies.



Both products have long established reputations in North America and Europe as an attractive and practical form of roofing and wall cladding. They are also excellent for internal wall panelling.


Cedar Shake Roofing

Shingle or Shake Cladding

Shingle Internal Panelling


Sizes and Grades

North American producers have set standard sizes for western red cedar shingles and shakes – these are detailed in the manuals accompanying this data. However, while there is an extensive range of sizes and grades produced, a far lesser range of options is commercially available in Australia from local stock holdings.


Timbeck stocks the following Western Red Cedar Shingles & Shakes :

Shingles Roofing - 1/3 Exposure Walling - 1/2 Exposure
Blue Label Shingles - 450 mm 2.2 sq metres per bundle 3.3 sq metres per bundle
Red Label Shingles - 450 mm NOT recommended 3.3 sq metres per bundle
Shakes Roofing - 1/3 Exposure Walling - 1/2 Exposure
Number 1 Perfections - 600 mm  1.4 sq metres per bundle 2.1 sq metres per bundle

With shipping lead times of around 12 to 14 weeks,
Timbeck as a Shingle & Shake importer generally carries a stockholding
which will comfortably service the needs of most small to medium jobs.
Larger projects requiring multi-pallet quantities are generally sourced against project requirements.


Preservative Treatment

Although the timber species generally chosen for shingles are well known for their natural resistance to decay, vacuum / pressure impregnation with CCA preservative in accordance with AS 1604, and the requirements of statutory authorities in NSW and QLD will significantly increase the service life of timber exposed to extreme conditions.

Such treatment will be effective in resisting decay and discouraging the growth of fungi, moulds, and other surface vegetation. Australian experience has shown that under certain circumstances the treatment of all types of timber shingles with a long lasting water repellent preservative prior to installation will improve their overall performance and increase life expectancy.

Preservative pre-treated products may be available against specific orders – please enquire.


Australian Building Regulations

Australian Local Government regulations may restrict the use of shingles and shakes on the roofs and walls of commercial buildings even when treated with fire retardant chemical. Intending users should check building codes and any local building authority requirements before specifying.

Specifiers requiring pre-treatment with preservative or fire retardant chemical should check these aspects with Timbeck before specifying. The use of such treatments may also affect the suitability of "roof water" for drinking.



The manuals accompanying this data give full details of the fixing procedures for roof and wall applications. It is essential that these procedures be carefully followed.
Shingles & shakes should be stored on-site prior to fixing under cover clear of the ground.

If outside storage is unavoidable, shingles and shakes should be covered with waterproof materials to prevent staining.



One of the most common use of cedar shakes and shingles is as a roof cladding.

Although they are usually applied in straight single courses, their application may be varied to achieve other design effects.

Whatever the style chosen, the basic installation details must be followed to achieve a weatherproof and durable result.


External Walls

On walls, shingles and shakes are generally fixed over solid sheathing or timber battens. Solid sheathing is preferred and 9 mm or thicker exterior grade plywood provides a smooth, even base for fixing. Plywood also offers the added benefit of giving increased structural rigidity to the building. Battens are usually 50 x 25 mm or 75 x 25 mm softwood spaced at centres appropriate to shingle or shake size.

If plywood sheathing is chosen to back shingles, it should be designed to gain the structural and economic advantages of bracing and roof hold-down.

Before fixing either plywood or battens, flashing material should be fixed to the frame in accordance with good building practice at all vertical joins, window sills, heads and other openings.

After the sheathing is fixed, a vapour permeable fire retardant building paper must be fixed over the sheathing directly under the shingles or shakes. Shingles are fixed over the sheathing by either the single coursing or double coursing method as described in the accompanying manual.



Shingles and shakes should be fixed with either hot dipped galvanised, or silicon bronze nails. Mild steel, brass or copper fixings should NEVER be used with western red cedar. For general use a 30 x 2.0 mm hot dipped galvanised flat head nail is satisfactory but some applications may require heavier nails.


Finishing and Maintenance

Shingles and shakes can be dipped in a water repellent preservative before installation. On roofs they are often given no further treatment and weather to a soft silver-grey tone.

On walls, where access for maintenance may be easier, pigmented stains may be used to retain a natural looking timber colour.

Timbeck’s recommendation for
external wall cladding
is the application and regular maintenance of a penetrating oil coating.


Can we be of further assistance?   Contact our experienced staff