When choosing the type of siding you want to have for a new home (or replacement siding for an existing home), there are many factors to consider. It should be durable. Installing siding is a large and expensive operation, so the kind you choose should be built to last. It should function well. There's no point installing siding that doesn't properly protect what is underneath it. Finally, for obvious reasons, you want it to look good.
How well your siding performs these tasks will depend a lot on where you live. In an environment like that of Pittsburgh, cedar siding is a viable choice for those who want both function and good looks for their home's exterior.
What's a Cedar Shake?
A piece of shake siding is an awful lot like a shingle, only it is cut thicker and has a more rustic look. Both shingles and shakes come in varying degrees of quality that are determined by what part of the tree the wood is cut from and the kinds of defects (knots in the wood) that are allowed in it.
Benefits of Cedar Shake Siding in Pittsburgh
Though more expensive and difficult to maintain than other siding materials, cedar siding has many attributes that make it a good fit for a home in Pittsburgh. Cedar siding contains a naturally occurring chemical that makes it perform well in moist environments (and Pittsburgh is certainly a moist environment). This same chemical also makes it an undesirable place for bugs to hang out (and though it would be difficult to say if Pittsburgh has more or less insect activity than other cities, it would be fair to say that there is no shortage of bugs that call Iron City home).
Cedar shake siding is also, more than many other siding materials, a good insulator. Due to the cell structure of the cedar tree, the shakes and shingles made from its wood make it a good inhibitor of heat transfer. This means that they will help keep hot air in during the winter and keep it out during the summer. Though it probably won't pay for itself from the reduction in heating and cooling bills, cedar cladding will still make a difference in how comfortable your home is to be in.
Aside from the practical reasons to opt for cedar, the most glaring benefit these shakes provide is a unique and distinguished look. In Pittsburgh, cedar shake siding is the premium cladding material for those who want a natural and attractive appearance for their home's exterior. It can be stained and painted, or it can be left as is to weather naturally, creating a very distinctive effect.
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Drawbacks of Pittsburgh Cedar Siding
Though it is resistant to many of the climate conditions found in Pittsburgh, cedar siding is still wood, and wood will always be a relatively high maintenance material. It cracks, swells, warps, and decomposes. If it's painted, the paint will have its own issues. Choosing to side your home with natural wood is not perfect for everyone, but for some, it's the only way to go. If you're one of those, cedar is probably the best wood you can use for your purposes.
Pittsburgh Cedar Shake Siding Prices
To install cedar siding, Pittsburgh residents can expect a bill in the mid to upper four figure range. A particularly large job might even go over $10,000. This price is quite comparable to other forms of siding. The real difference in cost between cedar siding and a material like vinyl comes in the upkeep or longevity. You have to spend money keeping your wood siding very well maintained, or you have to spend money replacing it. Other siding materials tend to last a bit longer with less attention to maintenance. Those other materials, however, can rarely match cedar siding in appearance or added value to the home.