Alaskan Yellow Cedar: A Welcome Addition to the Wood Roof Market

by Josh Jalbert,

From a dealer perspective, over the past several years we have been hearing more and more buzz around the use of Alaskan Yellow Cedar shingles in place of traditional Western Red Cedar for roofs, so the next time a home owner or architect asks you about it be prepared!

Alaskan Yellow Cedar, also known as Nootka Cypress, is the hardest known cedar in the world. It grows south from Alaska down to Oregon, with the largest areas of growth in British Columbia and Southeastern Alaska. These areas are known for their short growing seasons, which results in thin annual growth rings, making the species naturally denser than its Western Red Cedar counterpart. Furthermore, the natural tannins prevent decay and insects. The shingles will weather to a consistent light gray color over time, so all of these facts make it a desirable roof option for both homeowners and architects. Fun fact: if you ever hear someone mention that the shingle can have a pinkish or blue hew, that is correct! This is due to the naturally occurring oils that come to the surface when they are milled and will disappear after exposure to the sun.

When used in a roofing application, Alaskan Yellow Cedar can be milled into the standard 18” Perfections or Tapersawns popular to our market. The product is also available in a wide variety of shingle sizes, so please check with your Shepley Sales Rep if you would like to know about other options. Pricing on Alaskan Yellows is subject to availability, including challenges with weather conditions and forest fires, but over the past year or so has been at a more competitive price point than Western Red Cedar.

Because the product is so dense, installation techniques may vary from Western Red Cedar. For specific installation instructions and best practices for your region please refer to the Cedar Shake & Shingle Bureau website at and consult with your Shepley Sales Representative.

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