Cedar shake nailing pattern (C) Carson Dunlop Associates Wood Shingle or Shake Roof Inspection Checklist

  • WOOD ROOF INSPECTION GUIDE - CONTENTS: Wood shingle or wood shake roof inspection checklist & wood roof inspection guidelines. Factors that determine the life expectancy of wood shingle or wood shake roofs. Wood shingle or wood shake roof life expectancy. Roof inspection, leak detection, roof diagnosis, roof repair. Key design details & references for wood shingle roofs
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Wood shingle or shake roof checklist:

Here we outline key inspection points for wood or cedar shake roofs, addressing shingle type, felt underlayment, shingle exposures, wood shingle keyways or gaps, wood shingle joints, and proper wood roofing shingle fasteners, installation details and good practices.

Our page top photo shows a worn-out wood shingle roof.

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Wood Roof Inspection Checklist

Leaky wood roof (C) Daniel FriedmanThe wood shingle roof inspection details outlined below are paraphrased from information provided by the Cedar Shake & Shingle Bureau, the recognized wood roofing authority since 1915 and from information provided by Carson Dunlop a Toronto company offering home inspections, home inspection publications, and home inspection education.

[Click to enlarge any image]

Roof Slope or Pitch
Maximum Wood Shingle Exposure on Roofs
Grade No. 1 Blue Label Shingles
Grade No. 2 Red Label Shingles
Grade No. 3 Black Label Shingles
Shingle Length
Shingle Length
Shingle Length
16" 18" 24" 16" 18" 24" 16" 18" 24"
3/12 - 4/12 3 3/4" 4 1/4" 5 3/4" 3 1/2" 4" 5 1/2" 3" 3 1/2" 5"
4/12 & steeper 5" 5 1/2" 7 1/2" 4" 4 1/2" 6 1/2" 3 1/2" 4" 5 1/2"


Roof Slope or Pitch Maximum Wood Shake Exposure on Roofs
Wood Shake Length
18" 24"
4/12 & steeper roofs 7 1/2" 10" (Note)
Note: 24" x 3/8" hand split wood shakes are limited to 7 1/2" weather exposure, or 5" exposure where the Uniform Building Code is in application.

Wood shingle roof (C) Daniel Friedman

Wood shakes (C) Carson Dunlop Associates Cedar shake nailing pattern (C) Carson Dunlop Associates

Carson Dunlop's sketch at above left shows the typical cedar shake application pattern and spacing.

At above right Carson Dunlop's sketch shows typical cedar shake nailing details & pattern and exposures. Notice that for this example cedar shake roof a felt interlay is installed between every course of shakes.


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