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Adding Coastal Charm with Cedar Shingles | 2020 Idea House: Cottage on the Cape

We’ve put together a few of our favorite looks featuring this quintessential coastal building material. Get inspired, here!

Cottage on the Cape, 2020 Idea House, Exterior, clopay Jared Kuzia

Here at This Old House, you’ll see iconic cedar-shingle siding on several Idea Houses and TV projects—including our most recent 2020 Idea House, the Cottage on the Cape. Here’s a peek at some of our favorite looks, and why you might want to seek out cedar for your own home.

The Scoop on White Cedar Shingles

Westerly House, Exterior Anthony Tieuli

Eastern white cedar is a prevalent species in the Northeast, and a popular choice for wood-shingled homes in large part thanks to naturally occurring oils that make it insect and rot resistant.

Cedar is also more dimensionally stable than some other woods; it won’t expand, contract, and warp like pine, for example, and can be easily nailed without cracking. And because it is grown specifically for the housing industry, it’s considered a renewable resource.

Shown: SBC Factory-Finished White Cedar Shingles in Buzzards Bay Gray, as featured in the TOH TV Westerly Project House

Letting Shingles Age Gracefully

SBC Cedar House, Exterior Courtesy SBC Cedar House

Left unfinished, cedar shingles will change color, gradually turning into that familiar weathered gray. The color of naturally weathered shingles can vary greatly based on exposure to moisture, sunlight, and salt water. Those with greater exposure will lose their original fresh-sawn color faster than ones that are less exposed.

Shown: SBC naturally weathered White Cedar Shingles

Speeding Up the Cedar-Shingle Aging Process

Allowing your shingles to weather naturally can result in uneven colorations. For a more uniform, silvery-gray appearance, SBC Cedar offers three types of weathering agents that accelerate the aging process, enhance the cedar’s unique weathering properties, and offer protection for the wood. Let’s take a look:

Courtesy Eastward Companies and Courtesy Eastward Companies

1. Enviro-Bleach replicates the look and performance of comparable oil-based stains, in an environmentally friendly, water-based solution formulated according to the highest standards governing volatile organic compounds (VOCs).*

Shown: SBC Factory-Finished White Cedar Shingles with Enviro-Bleach; At left, image taken upon installation; at right, image taken one year after install

*Note: Coating warranties do not apply to weathering agents.

SBC Cedar Shingles Exterior Home Courtesy SBC Cedar

2. Bleaching oil is an oil-based weathering agent that provides a delicate gray tone on application, turning into a soft, driftwood-gray finish after just a few months’ exposure.

Shown: SBC Factory-Finished White Cedar Shingles with Bleaching Oil

*Note: Coating warranties do not apply to weathering agents.

Exterior of Shingle Home Courtesy Sweenor Builders

3. Weathering stain is also oil-based and accelerates weathering in a similar fashion to bleaching oil, but contains pigments for a more intense gray color.

Shown: SBC Factory-Finished White Cedar Shingles with Weathering Stain

*Note: Coating warranties do not apply to weathering agents.

Factory-Applied Color Finishes

Rhode Island Idea House, Exterior Nat Rea

Not into au naturel? SBC offers factory-applied semi-transparent or solid colors, too. First, each shingle is kiln-dried through dehumidification for maximum adherence and optimal wood stability.

Then the shingles are dipped in a 100% acrylic coating from PPG/Olympic® that is formulated to repel moisture and resist extreme weather and mildew. This protective coating allows SBC to offer warranties of up to 25 years against cracking and peeling.

Shown: SBC Eastern White Cedar Shingles Factory-Finished in Olympic Seashell Stain, as featured in the TOH 2017 Idea House at East Matunuck, RI

Solid Colors Make a Statement

Cottage on the Cape, 2020 Idea House, Exterior Jared Kuzia

A rich, solid color, as shown here on the TOH 2020 Idea House on the Cape, will help any house stand out in a sea of neutral neighbors, without losing its cottage charm.

Shown: SBC Factory-Finished White Cedar Shingles in Atlantic Blue, as featured on the TOH 2020 Idea House on the Cape

Backed by the Peace-of-Mind warranty program, SBC Shingles come in a wide range of grades, shapes, colors, and finishes, with each step of the process performed at SBC in a controlled environment. To learn more about SBC Cedar, visit