Red Cedar shingles have gone through a specification change over the last 20 years and the jury is still out on the newer methods manufacturers have put together to combat the issues of the 50’s through the 90’s.
Before plywood, wood shingles were installed on skip sheathing, which can be done in many ways. The concept was simple, allow the wood shingles to breath. In other words, the wood shingles need to dry out as fast as they get wet. This benefits the life of the wood as well as the fastener.
Once new homes were being built with plywood, it was discovered in the late 70’s and 80’s that red cedar shingles were rotting out within 20 years, some sooner and the fasteners were also effected. Red Cedar produces a slight acid when wet, which causes the fastener to degrade. The plywood and felt paper, prevent the wood shingle from drying out.
The newer methods today create an air space under the wood shingles, while using a stainless nail decreases the degradation. We do not seem to have the same issue with vertical surfaces, but there are similar materials being used for new jobs today. Vertical cedar siding is lasting close to 50 years, providing ventilation may help it to last longer.
I would be happy to discuss the many different options available regarding red cedar or Alaskan yellow cedar. Today there are so many different materials available. Your goals will determine the direction you want to go.
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