Cedar shingles are a traditional building material used for both roofing and siding. Individual cedar shingles are fastened to the roof or exterior of the home in an overlapping pattern that directs water away from the house. When installing cedar shingles, it is important that the shingles are spaced appropriately, and that each course of shingles overlaps the course beneath by the proper distance. Where a shingle extends beyond the end of the rooftop or house, it can be trimmed to fit.
Fasten your first course of shingles, starting at the base of the roof or the house. If you are using the shingles as siding for a house, snap a chalk line marking the point where the siding begins. Align the base of the shingles with the chalk line. Shingles are generally tapered, with one end being thicker than the other. Point the thick end down. Fasten each shingle with two corrosion-resistant nails and a hammer. Drive the nails ¾ inch from each shingle edge, and 1 inch above the portion of the shingle that will be covered by the course above.
Space the shingles 1/8 inch apart to allow for expansion. When you reach the end of the rooftop or exterior wall, trim the shingle with a utility knife. For angled cuts, mark the shingle with a pencil and cut it to size on a mitre box saw.
Fasten two layers of shingles on the first course. Stagger the seams between the layers to increase water resistance. This double layer of shingles provides greater water resistance at the vulnerable base of the roof or siding. On the roof, extend the base of the shingles 1½ inch over the fascia, and position the first shingle edge 1 inch beyond the roof rake or gable.
Mark the proper exposure between one shingle course and the next, using a chalk line and tape measure and following the shingle manufacturer's instructions. The amount of shingle to overlap will vary depending on the size of shingle you are using.
Fasten the second course of shingles. Line the base of the shingles up with your chalk guide line. Stagger the seams between one shingle course and the next.
Work your way up the walls or roof until you reach the top. Perform the same procedure on the remaining portions of the house to be shingled.
Take great care whenever you are working on a ladder or rooftop. Falls can result in serious injury or death. On steep-pitched roofs, wear a harness to prevent falls.