Cedar Shake Siding Cost Guide & Installation Prices

The average cost to install cedar shake siding ranges from $6.50 to $13.50 per square foot. You can expect to pay between $16,600 and $25,500 for a contractor to install new cedar shake siding on a typical house. This includes the cost of having a contractor remove the existing siding.

Example Cost to Install Cedar Shake Siding Per Sq. Ft.

In this example, we will use the average sized house in the U.S mentioned above. This means we will do calculations based on 1580 sq. ft. of exterior surfaces to be covered with cedar shakes. This is not an actual bid, but only an example of how to estimate costs.

Siding Price Per Sq. Ft.$4$8
Supplies & Accessories Per Sq Ft.$0.55$1
Total Materials Cost for 1580 Sq Ft.$7,189$14,220
Hours of Labour$90$105
Installer Hourly Rate$30$75
Total Labor Cost$2,700$7,875
Labor Cost Per Sq. Ft$1.7$5
Delivery Charge$50$125
Builder’s Permit$50$200
Siding Removal$1,000$3,000
Total Cost$10,989$25,420
Total Cost Per Sq. Ft.$7$16

Cost to Have Old Siding Removed

Typically, removal and disposal of old siding runs between $.50 and $1.00 per sq. ft. The more complex a house’s architecture is, the higher cost can be expected for removal.

High-end, 2-story homes will cost more. This places the cost of removal of old siding between $1000 and $3000. If this total is not included in the installer’s estimate, remember to add it yourself to keep your estimated total cost accurate.

How Many Exterior Sq. Ft. is a Typical Home?

According to data taken from the United States Census, the average house is a two-story, 25’ by 45’ (2,250 sq. ft. of floor area). Using our siding sq. ft. estimating method, it has 1580 square feet of exterior cladding. This can be calculated by measuring the length and width of the house, using 9’ per story, and calculating the area of each rectangle and triangle of siding space.

Factors That Affect the Cost

Material Grade

Grading of wood is based on blemishes and knots. Clear grades are free of blemishes, which means the manufacturing process will go more smoothly. Saws and woodworking tools will not hang up in knots, and installation will be easier because the installers will not have to work around weak spots in the shakes.

Most cedar shakes are made of clear grade wood. If your installer proposes a double layer of shakes, he may use a lower grade for the bottom layer, since it will not be exposed to the weather. Clear grades of wood are harder to come by, so they are more expensive.

Another factor concerning the material grade is the length of the board. They are available in 18”, called Perfection length, and 24”, called Royal length. Royal lengths are more expensive, but if you order Perfection length, you’ll need more boards.

Material Type & Style

Cedar shakes usually get their color from the type of cedar tree that they are made. White cedar trees will yield light colored shakes, while red cedar trees yield dark shakes.

One of the reasons people choose cedar for their siding is so they will not have to paint it. They prefer the natural wood look. However, the shakes can be stained to enhance the color, and should probably be sealed every few years.

The bottom edge of the shake helps to determine the style. The butt-end or bottom of the shake will establish the shadow line of the siding. The most commonly ordered cedar shake profile has flat lower edges. This gives a profile with well-defined horizontal shadow lines. In these cases, the cedar shakes are of uniform thickness and size.

Some people prefer the staggered patterns that stray from the more uniform horizontal lines. To produce this look, the cedar shakes may be of varying thicknesses, with sometimes irregular bottom edges. The lines do not line up, creating a more complicated series of shadows on the exterior wall.

You will also find that the shape of the bottom edge is variable. Square cut is the most common, especially when used for the type of installation that creates a well-defined horizontal shadow line. But, you can also order shakes that have rounded bottom edges.

Also available are:

  • Fish scale
  • Pointed
  • Diagonal
  • Octagonal
  • Arrow

Of course the fancier cuts cost more money, but you can usually get a discount by ordering large volumes of cedar shakes.


Every 1,000 sq. ft. of cedar shake siding will require roughly 65 hours to install. When you start looking for estimates, do so in the fall or early-on in winter. These are the contractors’ slow seasons and they may be more likely to provide a good discount in order to keep their crews busy. Labor costs will be affected by workload, your location and the ease of access, and seasonal rates.

Cedar shakes and shingles are the most costly to have installed. This is partly because the overall job is comprised of many little pieces which are individually attached, rather than longer planks or panels that are quickly hung. Another factor in the cost is the weight. Since cedar shakes are solid wood, they are usually heavier than vinyl or metal siding.

Exterior Complexity

Most homes have between 6 and 12 corners. More complex architectural footprints have 12 or more corners. Then, you figure in each of the openings for doors and windows, which each have to be flashed and trimmed properly, and the shakes cut to fit.

Rectangles are, of course, the easiest and cheapest to side. Each irregularity, such as multiple stories, bay windows, circular rooms, and other complex configurations will increase the expense of work done on the house. You need to have several estimates from a number of qualified siding installers. Compare their estimates to make sure they are bidding on the same services with the same additions.

Where You Live

Where you live can greatly affect the cost of cedar shake siding for your home, for several reasons. First, you may live in a part of the country that is very distant from the type of wood you want to be used for siding.

Cedar shakes are about 25% more expensive than vinyl, and if you select solid redwood or heartwood from the redwood trees, it is even more expensive. Also, the shakes may have to be seasoned to work in your part of the country.

If your home is in a more arid region than where the wood grew, it will have to be carefully dried to the same moisture levels. If your climate is more humid, the shakes will have to be slowly re-hydrated to yield the final results you want. All of this can add to the cost.

Second, access can affect the cost of your siding. If you live on a cul-de-sac, for example, there may not be as much access to your home. This could require special equipment such as lifts or cranes to accomplish the job, which naturally increases the cost.

Finally, it takes longer to install cedar shake siding. You will pay for either more workmen over fewer days or a few workmen for a longer period of time.

Finding the Right Cedar Shake Installer

A good cedar shake installer should make an onsite inspection. Most experts provide a free estimate, and you can usually expect a sales pitch with the estimate. Your best strategy is to get 3 or 4 estimates and compare them.

Learn about each installer and whether they are local and use local crews. Find out if they can give you references for work they have done in the area although many customers don’t like to have their private information given out.

Let the siding contractor know that you are comparing estimates and that he will be competing for the contract. Every company has its own unique overhead, so expect the estimates to vary. Cedar shake siding fluctuates in prices, too, so that can affect estimates.

When you receive your estimates, figure in an additional cushion for unexpected expenses. Most experts recommend 7 to 15% more than the estimate. This will help to cover any complexity that the siding contractor overlooked, such as access or configuration.

Find out if the contractor included removal of old siding in his estimate. You can really get stung if you go with the lowest estimate, only to find that the contractor left out products and services provided by other contractors.

If you elect to shop for cedar shake siding to supply to your contractor, negotiate for lower prices. Some people can save up to 20% on the overall cost of their siding job because of negotiations.

Before you decide on cedar shakes, take a look around your neighborhood. Do the houses around you have cedar shakes? Your home should blend in, so be careful not to over-improve – it could price your home out of the market if you try to sell and get your investment back. There may be more economical options for your home.

Environmental Impact of Cedar Siding

Cedar is considered a renewable resource and is therefore an environmentally friendly product. Cedar trees are a sustainable crop, and harvesting it produces low levels of pollution. In addition, this is a product that produces very little solid waste or greenhouse gas emissions. Western red cedar comes from the most sustainable crops in the U.S., and the siding will last over three decades, if you stain it regularly.

Here are some other environmentally friendly siding options.

Wood Shake R-Value (Insulation)

Wood shakes have a natural R-value of .9. This makes it little better at vinyl, stucco, brick veneer, stone veneer, or aluminum siding that has not been insulated. However, if you install a double thickness of cedar shakes, you create much higher R-values that rival other insulated siding options.

Cedar Shakes vs. Cedar Shingles

The terms “shake” and “shingle” are often used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. Cedar shingles are more uniform in size and shape, and tapered on the sides. They are also thinner than shakes at about 3/8 inch at the thickest side.

Cedar shakes are hand-made, being split from blocks of wood. Shakes made like this are thicker than shingles and will be between a ½ inch and ¾ inch at the bottom. In some cases, they will be even thicker. These factors make shakes more expensive than shingles.

Advantages & Disadvantages

One of the advantages of cedar shakes is that they are a beautiful product. However they are quite expensive and will require maintenance. This material is usually the choice of homeowners who are more concerned with the appearance of their home, rather than practical cost considerations.

Cedar shingles and shakes provide a rustic beauty for a home. While they are usually available in wood-tones, you can also get them in other colors such as yellow. In some cases they are stained with a yellow tone, or simply painted. If they are well maintained, cedar shingles can last for 100 years.


Without a layer of insulation, cedar shakes and shingles do provide more insulation capabilities than the other forms of siding. This can ease your utility bills. One of the reasons for this is that they are a low-density product that makes them a natural insulator.

If installed correctly, cedar shingles will be very durable, lasting over 25 years. In addition, they can withstand harsh climates such as salty air on the coast and hurricane-force winds. Most cedar shakes are rated for 175 mph winds.

Cedar also has a natural resistance to moisture and bugs. The tannin in the wood sheds water and discourages bugs such as termites and carpenter ants.

Many customers prefer to leave their cedar shingles in their natural state. The natural wood color is red, amber, or brown. It is beautiful and weathers out to a silvery gray. However, since cedar does not have any resin in it, it can be stained with great success. It even accepts paint, unlike yellow pine that stains through even the thickest paint.

Finally, cedar works well as soundproofing, absorbing street and traffic noise.


To maintain the integrity of cedar shingles and shakes they need to be cleaned and stained regularly. You can maintain the natural appearance this way and forgo the silver gray weathering. To keep the rich wood tones this maintenance needs to be performed as often as every 3 years. If you live in mild weather conditions, you may be able to go 6 years without maintenance.

While cedar is naturally resistant to rot and mold, you may need to have it treated if you live in a humid climate. If your home is in a humid area you may want fungicide applied when you have your maintenance done.

Professional installation is crucial for cedar shingles. If they are not installed right, they may warp, bow, cup, or split. They will also fade if they are not maintained.

Finally, some insurance providers charge more for policies on homes with cedar shakes and shingles. When not properly maintained, cedar can be a fire hazard. Check with your insurance agency before you take the plunge.

Staining and Painting

You can stain or paint cedar shakes. Clear stains will retain the natural tones of the wood while protecting it from weathering and UV rays. Treatment also helps to make the shakes fire resistant.

However, painting and staining shakes can be very labor intensive. This makes it a good idea to order pre-primed or pre-stained shakes. It’s not that much more expensive than the raw wood, and will save you on labor once the installation is complete. Staining and painting cost about $2 per sq. ft.

Alternatives to Cedar Shakes

You can purchase shakes made from composite materials. These are usually more durable than cedar, but do not have the beauty of real wood.

Grain Options

Wood grain in cedar shingles will affect the durability of the product.

Edge Grain: A perpendicular cut in relation to the tree rings will produce a more stable shake. It will be less likely to warp or split.

Flat Grain: When cut parallel to the tree rings a shake is more likely to split, making it less durable.

Slash grain: The most unstable cut at all, it is a perpendicular cut to the tree rings but angled. This shake or shingle will distort or split, eventually.

What to Read Next

Over to You

What do you think about cedar shake shingles? What quotes have you received? Let us know what you think about this siding option for your house.

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