7 Key Issues with Cedar Shake Siding and a Better Alternative

  • Product Knowledge

To maintain the original appearance of cedar shake siding, homeowners will need to commit to a lot of targeted maintenance. The hard work can pay off in some cases, but there are many challenges that come with wood shake siding upkeep. The more familiar that homeowners are with the common problems of real wood siding, the more likely they’ll be ready to put in the work that needs to be done in order to keep their cedar shake siding looking its best.

7 Key Issues with Cedar Shake Siding and a Better Alternative

Here are seven of the most common issues that occur with wood shake siding. If you’re not up to the challenge of dealing with these frequent problems, it may be time to consider a smart alternative to wood shake siding.

1. Rotting

Natural wood and excess moisture can be a recipe for disaster. Whether it’s a pileup of snow that lingers all winter long, heavy spring storms, or simply a geographical location that experiences higher humidity (like coastal towns or humid southern states), prolonged moisture can wreck wood shake siding by causing it to rot. Rotten shake siding is very weak, causing it to compromise the exterior and sometimes create dangerous gaps in certain areas, like near the home’s edges, soffit, or foundation.

Warping Issue With Cedar Shake Siding

2. Warping

Warped paneling can be another sign of water damage that commonly occurs when cedar shake siding retains moisture after a storm or humid season. Warped shake siding tends to cause the corners of individual panels to curl and flare upwards, turning a smooth, regulated layout of shake siding into a sloppy mess of crooked shake.

3. Color Fading

Wood shake siding is particularly vulnerable to sun exposure, too, which can cause the color to fade significantly. Uniform fading is unlikely, and when the exterior of the home has certain spots that experience more sun exposure than others, color fading can become extremely noticeable, creating splotchy areas that are quite unsightly.

High Flammability Issue of Cedar Shake Siding

4. High Flammability

Many of the common threats to shake siding result in aesthetic problems, but the spread of fire also poses a significant threat to wood siding that can compromise the overall safety of the home. Fire can spread extremely quickly with shake siding that is made from real wood. Since real wood shake siding is highly flammable, it is a serious concern to consider — especially in remote areas where local fire departments are miles away, and areas out west where uncontrolled wildfires are on the rise.

5. Insect Damage

The natural quality of authentic wood shake siding also tends to attract a variety of insects. Termites, carpenter ants, and other insects can essentially turn wood shake siding into dust when building a nest. Not only does this add up to a lot of damage on the shake siding, but infestations can also be very tricky to eliminate, and they often require the assistance of a professional exterminator — which can come with a high price tag, depending on the extent of the insect problem.

6. Limited Selection of Styles

Another common problem that homeowners run into when installing cedar shake siding is a limitation in available styles. Unlike other materials that can be produced in bulk with identical qualities, the cut, color, and grain patterns of natural wood shake siding really depend on what the wood mill turns out each year. This limits the entire design process for homeowners, who may have to modify exterior design plans based on what shake siding is currently available.

7. Staining

Cedar shake siding can create a beautiful appearance, however, it requires a lot of hard work to keep the exterior looking good. In addition to painting or staining the shake siding every five or six years, homeowners will need to apply an additional clear-coat every other year if they want to experience full protection from the elements. It isn’t always necessary, but it’s usually recommended for homeowners who want to maintain the pristine look of their shake siding.

A Smart Alternative: Fiber Cement Shake Siding

Some homeowners don’t mind all the hassle that comes with repairing and maintaining wood shake siding, but for those who prefer a smart alternative, fiber cement shake siding is the way to go. Impenetrable to insects and unaffected by moisture and UV rays, fiber cement eliminates the need for intensive siding maintenance. Unlike real wood, fiber cement is fire-resistant, too, providing peace of mind for homeowners.


Fiber cement outperforms real wood since it is a much more durable material for shake siding. In addition to all of the practical advantages of fiber cement shake siding, it delivers on the aesthetics, too. Innovative companies like Allura have developed a wide range of fiber cement shake siding designs so that homeowners aren’t constrained by the color and pattern limitations common with real-wood shake siding. Many of the fiber cement siding options look identical to real wood, giving homeowners the ability to design their home’s exterior without compromising on the aesthetics.

Fiber cement shake siding is available in a vast selection of styles and has a stronger composition that avoids the common issues facing wood shake siding. Opting for fiber cement shake siding can be a low-maintenance solution for homeowners who value long-term style and performance.

Contact the fiber cement experts at Allura today for more information on smart shake siding.

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