Fire Treating Western Red Cedar Shingles and Shakes

Man has been using natural materials, such as Western Red Cedar, for siding and roofing since the beginning of time, especially in areas where it grows naturally.  And while Cedar is somewhat fire-resistant naturally, when it will be used in areas where fire danger is high, adding a permanent fire retardant can be extremely helpful.

Class A Fire Retardant Western Red Shingles

There are three classes of fire treating available for Western Red Cedar Shingles and Shakes.  Class “A” is effective against severe fire exposures, Class “B” is most effective against moderate fire exposures, while Class “C” would be effective against light fire exposures.

Where required, optional fire retardant treatments that have passed the California State Fire Marshall & ICC 10 year real-time weathering test are available.  Be sure to check with your local building officials to determine which class of fire treatment is best for your particular area.  All of our Classes of fire treating meet all local and state wildland-urban interface requirements.

We routinely work with the Nation Park Service to provide them with Fire Treated Western Red Cedar Shingles and Shakes for fire lookouts in Washington state, especially those that are in high-risk areas.  The Western Red Cedar Shingles blend beautifully with the surrounding area, and because they are treated with fire retardant, are less likely to catch fire.

Fire lookout with fire treated western red cedar shingles

In order to begin fire treating the Western Red Cedar shingles or shakes, all the air and moisture must be removed from the wood.  This is done in a large pressure autoclave cylinder.  Next, the cylinder is filled with the fire retardant.  As the chemicals fill the cylinder, the vacuum that was previously created by pulling the moisture and air out pulls the fire retardant into the wood.  The pressure is then increased in the container, and the fire treatment is pushed even deeper into the Cedar.  Once the required amount of treatment is retained in the Cedar, any remaining fire treatment is drained, and the Cedar shingles and/or shakes are transferred to a kiln for drying.  The Cedar is dried over the course of several days very slowly to ensure the chemicals are completely bonded with the wood.

After Western Red Cedar is treated with fire retardant, the color of the wood may be slightly darker, but no other difference is generally noticed.  Over time, they will grey just as natural Cedar would, but the treatment does not diminish.

A limited Lifetime Warranty is provided on the fire retardant treatment when the Western Red Cedar Shingles and/or Shakes are installed properly and used for intended purposes.  For information on installation, please click HERE.

Our team would be happy to discuss your fire treating options with you.  Please give us a call today!  We ship nationwide!

Before your next project, be sure to visit us!

Toll-Free 866.757.6343

Western Red Cedar Shakes – Grades and Definitions

Used for many centuries in the Pacific Northwest due to the abundance of material, Western Red Cedar Shakes have stood the test of time.  Prized for their proven reliability, resistance to rot and decay, and rustic beauty that no human-made product can duplicate, Western Red Cedar Shakes are an extremely popular choice for today’s construction projects all over the world, including those built using Green Building techniques.

Western Red Cedar Being Harvested for Cedar Shakes

Building products made from natural wood have been proven to provide the highest insulation value (thus saving the consumer money on electricity), use less energy to produce, and are manufactured from totally renewable resources. In addition, when the life cycle of wood building materials are complete, they can be easily and safely disposed of. Read More  HERE

Shakes are made from splitting blocks, rather than sawing, and are used on roofs as well as sidewalls. At Cedar Country Lumber, we offer two main types Western Red Cedar Shakes in either 18” or 24” lengths from mills that meet Certi-Label quality control standards

  • Hand split & Resawn
  • TapersawnWestern Red Cedar Shakes

Hand-split & Re-sawn Western Red Cedar Shakes have a split face with a sawn back and are available in ½” (“mediums”) or ¾” (“heavy”) thickness with a naturally rustic appearance.

Taper-sawn Western Red Cedar Shakes are sawn on both sides for a semi-textured look, though not as precise as what is commonly found on shingles. Taper-sawn shakes are thicker than common shingles, which produces a thicker shadow line.   Our taper-sawn shakes are available in 5/8”, 3/4”, and 7/8” thicknesses.

If desired, our Western Red Cedar Shakes are available with pressure-impregnated fire retardant or preservative treatment, as well as custom cuts and finishes. Complementing hip and ridge cap is also available for your Western Red Cedar roofing project.

Western Red Cedar Roofing Shakes by Teal Cedar

For care and maintenance information for your Western Red Cedar Shakes and Shingles, please click HERE

Before your next project, be sure to visit us ~ We ship nationwide!

ph  360.757.6343

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington, WA  98233

Cedar Shingle Grades and Definitions

Old Growth Western Red Cedar being harvested to be made into Shingles

In North America, shingles and shakes are typically made from California redwood (Sequoia sempervirens), Western Red Cedar (Thuja plicata), and in some cases, Alaskan Yellow Cedar (Cupressus nootkatensis); while in Scandinavia and Central Europe, they are more commonly made from Pine (Pinus sylvestris).  Shingles are made from blocks that have been edge cut using a circular saw, whereas shakes are split. Shingles can be used on roofs, as well as sidewalls.

Shingles are manufactured by clamping blocks of wood into a carriage that slides back and forth across a blade, tilting and moving the block closer to the blade with each pass to automatically form a tapered cut that is thin on one end and thicker on the other. The thickness at the“butt” (the thicker end of the shingle) is generally about 3/8” but does vary. The final correct thickness for shingles is based using a stack of shingles rather than a single piece.

Western Red Cedar Shingles
At Cedar Country Lumber, we offer a wide selection of shingles made from Western Red Cedar, as well as Alaskan Yellow Cedar, that will help you achieve the look you desire in a wide range of price points; from custom-cut, dried, and colored shingles to utility-grade shingles that are much easier on the pocketbook, but perform admirably in any climate.

In today’s market place, Western Red and Alaskan Yellow Cedar Shingles are available in 3 common lengths

  • 16” ~ Also known as “Fivex”
  • 18” ~ Also known as “Perfection”
  • 24” ~ Also known as “Royals”

After the shingles are cut, they are graded into three main categories when using the Cedar Shake & Shingle Bureau’s Certi-label grading system.

  • Number 1 ~ Also known as “Blue Label”
  • Number 2 ~ Also known as “Red Label”
  • Number 3 ~ Also known as “Black Label”

Number 1 ~ the highest grade of shingles are 100% heartwood, 100% clear, and 100% edge grain. Western Red Cedar Shingles in this grade are sometimes referred to as “Blue Label”, which is a Registered Certi-label trademark. These are available in 16”, 18”, and 24” lengths in either Western Red Cedar or Alaskan Yellow Cedar. Our No. 1 Shingles are also available with a pressure-impregnated fire retardant or preservative treatment.

Number 2 ~ a perfectly acceptable grade for many applications. Some flat grain and limited sapwood are permitted. However, there is not less than 10” clear on 16” shingles, 11” on 18’ shingles, and 16” on 24” shingles. Western Red Cedar Shingles within this grade are sometimes referred to as “Red Label”.

Number 3 ~ a utility-grade for economy applications; commonly used on sheds and utilitarian buildings or for starter courses for higher grades. Within this grade, there is not less than 6” clear on 16” and 18” shingles, 10” clear on 24” shingles. This grade of Western Red Cedar Shingles are sometimes referred to as “Black Label” due to the grading system put into place by the Cedar Shake & Shingle Bureau.

Sidewall Cedar Shingles

Rebutted & Rejoined Cedar Shingles ~ Shingles that are sawn and re-manufactured on all four sides to ensure square butts and parallel edges for a superior appearance on sidewall applications. Rebutted and Rejoined Shingles are available in Number 1 and Number 2 grades and are available in all three lengths (16”, 18”, and 24”). These Shingles are commonly referred to as “R&R’s” and are predominately provided Kiln Dried and packaged in cartons rather than bundles.

#1 R&R Western Red Cedar Sidewall Shingles

craftsmanship by Ravenhill Construction

Pre-stained Western Red Cedar Shingles

If desired, Western Red Cedar R&R Shingles can be provided with a sanded or machine grooved face, as well as pre-primed or pre-stained in nearly every color and hue imaginable.  There are also 6 “off the shelf” colors of pre-stained shingles that you can choose from.

Pre-stained Western Red Cedar Shingles

craftsmanship by Impel Construction

Fancy Cut Western Red Cedar Shingles ~ manufactured from #1 Western Red Cedar shingles into a variety of shapes that are 3” & 5” widths cut from 18” & 24” lengths; offered in 8 different shapes, with an endless variety of custom cuts and finishes available. These shingles add unique charm and character to gable ends, balconies, fences, entryways, interior, and exterior walls. To find out more, please click HERE.

Western Red Cedar Fancy Cut Shingles

Because Western Red Cedar and Alaskan Yellow Cedar is only grown in the Pacific Northwest, where Cedar Country is located, we are YOUR premium source for Cedar Shingles and Shakes. We ship nationwide from one bundle or carton to full truckloads and extremely competitive pricing ~ even with freight.

Before your next project, be sure to visit us!

Toll-Free 866.757.6343

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington, WA

Fire Treating Western Red Cedar and Doug Fir Building Materials

To help with your peace of mind, we are happy to offer custom fire treating to our Western Red Cedar or Douglas Fir products through our partner, CHEMCO. CHEMCO was one of the early pioneers in fire retardant technologies and became the only producer of fire-resistant wood roofing allowed for sale in California. CHEMCO uses Thermex-FR, a safe and environmentally friendly fire treatment formula that renders wood resistant to fire.

Products treated using CHEMCO’s proprietary fire retardant system have passed strict fire and weathering tests and comply with all building codes. However, we recommend checking with your building department to ensure compliance with your local regulations. The effectiveness of this fire retardant is proven by an independent laboratory and quality-control testing and verified by real-world stories in which it was subjected to both structural and wild fire scenarios.

Fire Treated clear, vertical Western Red Cedar Siding

The clear Western Red Cedar was fire treated prior to installation on this stunning Malibu, CA home

The process of fire retarding is done by using a vacuum-pressure impregnation to remove moisture and air from the wood cells and replace it with Thermex-FR. Next, the wood is cured in a kiln to lock the fire retardant into the cells. This process significantly increases fire protection for residential and commercial buildings without sacrificing the natural beauty of the wood.

To sustain fire, you need three main ingredients ~ Fuel, Heat, and Oxygen.  THERMEX-FR suppresses all three elements

1) Fuel: An intumescing foam is produced to protect the surface of the wood.

2) Heat: Intumescing foam insulates the wood, absorbing heat endothermically and surface
temperature drops below what is required for combustion.

3) Oxygen: A non-combustible gas is generated to dilute the amount of oxygen in the air around the flame.

Q: What is the difference between “fire-resistant” and “fireproof”?

A: All materials are vulnerable to fire damage, so the term “fireproof” is technically incorrect for any product. Nevertheless, engineers and fire technicians have developed tests to compare the fire-resistant properties of different materials. Products treated with Thermex-FR have proven themselves consistently on all such tests.

Q: What makes fire-resistant wood treatment last?

A: The patented fire-resistant formula bonds to the interior structure of the wood during a vacuum-impregnated treatment process. The result is fire protection that lasts for the useful life of the wood product itself.

Q: Are fire-resistant products hazardous to the environment?

A: No. Fire-treated wood products are composed of all-natural elements, and they are not toxic to the environment.

Q: Will my fire retardant-treated wood products have to be re-treated?

A: No. Fire retardant products never need to be re-treated. The unique formula that is used during processing at the facility is thermally cured in dry kilns. Upon reaching the right temperature, the treatment is bonded to the wood and is no longer water-soluble.

Q: What are the typical applications for fire retardant treated lumber and plywood products?

A: Lumber and plywood that have been treated with fire retardant are intended for above-ground exterior use. These include exterior decks and balconies, stairways, covered walkways, siding, molding and trim, soffits and fascia, open-air roof systems, stables, scaffolding, and construction staging.

Q: What wood species and sizes are available to have fire treated?

A: Douglas Fir, Southern Yellow Pine, and Western Red Cedar. All common sizes and most
construction species of lumber and plywood can be treated by Thermex-FR, including Shingles and Shakes, Exterior Siding, Soffit, Fascia, Decking, Timbers and Beams, Trim, and Interior Paneling.

Q: Does the fire treatment meet building codes?

A: Yes. These products meet the performance requirements of most local building codes. However, we suggest checking with your local agency to ensure compliance.

Q: Is there any reduction in strength compared to untreated wood?

A: Yes. The treating and drying processes may cause a slight reduction in strength that varies according to treatment, wood species, specific properties, and applications.

Q: Can these fire retardant products be used in ground contact?

A: Fire retardant treated Western Red Cedar and/or Douglas Fir is intended for exterior, above-ground uses only.

Q: Is it okay to cut wood that has been treated with fire retardant?

A: Yes. Cutting lengths, drilling holes, and light sanding are all permissible. It is not necessary to field-treat cut ends in order to maintain the flame spread rating.

Q: What types of fasteners should be used with fire-treated products?

A: Hot-dipped galvanized or stainless steel hardware is recommended, as the FRX wood treatment could increase the corrosion of bare steel.

Q: Why should I put fire-resistant shakes on my roof when I live in a relatively wet

A: No matter where you live, there always exists the danger of an errant firework or a flying ember from the burn pile of a neighboring home. When it comes to protecting your home, there is no such thing as playing too safe.

Care & Maintenance of Building Materials that have been Fire Treated

Fire-retardant lumber and plywood can be coated with a paint or stain, but caution should be taken in choosing the right product, as not all products will adhere to the unique finish. Shakes and shingles that have been treated with fire retardants should not have any additional coatings applied.

For warranty and other important information, including MSDS Sheets, please visit the Chemco website by clicking HERE

Before your next project, be sure to visit us!

We Ship Nationwide!

950 B Fountain Street, Burlington, WA