How to install cedar shingles on a hip roof

Updated April 17, 2017

Cedar shingles provide a rustic finish to any home or roofing project. Cedar is esthetically pleasing and resistant to weather and insect damage. You install cedar shingles much as you do traditional shingles. However, you must take care to align the shingles properly and maintain the optimal spacing. When trying a cedar shingling project, make sure you get any appropriate permits and begin work in good weather.

To prevent water leakage, caulk every roof seam and around any windows or chimneys in the roof.

Cover the entire roof deck with building paper. Check with your local building authority to make sure you are installing paper that complies with building codes.

Install a drip edge and valley flashing around the edges and corners of the roof. Secure with rust-resistant roofing nails.

Start by laying a starter course of cedar shingles, spacing them 1/8 inch apart to allow for expansion. To keep the shingles aligned and level, tie a string between both ends of the eaves. Start at the bottom of the roof and work your way to the top, laying one row of shingles at a time. When you reach a roof edge, trim the shingle at the roof seam with a utility knife.

Secure the shingles to the roof using rust-resistant roofing nails. For most roofing projects, the nails should penetrate into the roof at least an inch. But check local building codes for the required nail depth for your area.

If you are in a heavy snow region, install a second layer of starter course shingles, overlapping them at least 1 1/2 inches, making sure the joints do not line up directly.

Lay down the final course of shingles directly on top of the starter course. Once again, maintain a 1/8-inch gap between shingles and overlap them roughly 1 1/2 inches, making sure the joints do not line up. Secure them with roofing nails starting at the bottom and working your way to the top of the roof.

At the hips, install a prefabricated ridge unit. These pre-mitred shingle units make installation a lot faster. Secure in the same way as other shingles.

At the top of the roof, finish with a ridge unit nailed over the adjacent shingles.


Always check with your local building authority to secure the proper permits and make sure you build the roof to code.

Things You'll Need

  • Caulk
  • Building paper
  • Drip edge
  • Rust-resistant roofing nails
  • Cedar shingles
  • Chalk line
  • Utility knife
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author

Todd Campitelli has been a writer for over 11 years and has been writing on all topics from health care to education for websites all across the World Wide Web. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts in film and television production from New York University and is currently working on a master's degree in entertainment business.