Frequently Asked Questions

Here are just a few of the frequently asked questions that we've recieved from customers. You can click on any of the questions below to view answers.

1) Why should I use shingles or shakes from Dow’s and not my local lumber yard?

Dow’s Eastern White Shingles & Shakes manufactures the highest quality shingles and shakes that are available in the world today. The quality control that the Dow mill has is the highest in the industry. Each shingle is handled and inspected twice, before manually being put into the bundle. The high quality has kept the Dow family sawing shingles for 5 generations and over 80 years. Made right here in the state of Maine with native timber.

2) Is there any insulation factor in shingles and shakes?

Shingles and shakes do have a very high insulation factor. A standard 3/8" × 16" shingles put on a building with a 5" exposure has an R-7 insulation factor. A standard shake that is 5/8" × 18" put on a building with a 6" exposure has an R-12 insulation factor.

3) How much insulation factor does vinyl siding have?

Vinyl siding has no insulation factor. Vinyl siding is just for looks, that’s all.

4) What does the term R-R mean?

The term R-R is a Canadian term that means re-squared and re-butted. Re-squared and re-butted is what is done to the shingles in Canada. The shingles are sawn first in a shingle mill, bundled up, and then taken to an R-R mill to be made square. First the butt of the shingle is trimmed and then the sides are made square to the butt. This method in theory should work, but most of the time it does not. A big drawback is you take a square of shingles and run all them threw an R-R mill and bundle them up again you don’t have a square when you are all done. That is why when you buy a square of shingles at your local lumber yard you have to buy a few extra bundles to cover the area that you want to cover.

5) Does Dow’s Eastern White Shingles & Shakes R-R their shingles and shakes?

No, we do not R-R our shingles and shakes. All our shingles and shakes are sawn square the first time. Our shingles and Shakes are all sawn square by the use of lasers. Our raw logs are sawn off with a high speed cut off saw that gives a very smooth butt. That smooth butt is were the quality process starts. You take that smooth butt and make the shingles and shakes square from that.

6) I am restoring a historical building, can Dow’s Eastern White Shingles & Shakes manufacture a special sizes of shingle for me?

Yes we can. We can saw any size up to 24" long and any thickness you would like. All you have to do is call or write us and give us the measurements of the size you want. Tell us the thickness of the butt, the length of shingle you want, and how much exposure you want. We will saw you some samples and send them for you to look at.

7) What is a shake?

A shake is just an extra thick shingle. It is sawn the same way as a shingle. shakes are typically longer, have a thicker butt, and have a more exposure to the weather.

8) How long will shingles or shakes last on a wall or roof?

Shingles and shakes will last a very long time providing they are applied correctly. Shingles will typically last around 50 to 60 years on roof. That is with a pitch of around 8". Shingles on a wall can last about the same time frame. Cedar shingles will not rot they will wear out. All the years of the wind, rain, ice, snow coming off the roof, or hitting the wall is what takes its toll. Shakes on the other hand, on a roof they will last 100 years no problem. On a wall shakes will last longer than that. Shakes will lay down so much better because of the thickness, and having the shingles or shakes stay down is key to a long lasting roof or wall.

9) Does Dow’s Eastern White Shingles & Shakes deliver?

Yes. Dow’s Eastern White shingles & Shakes deliver most all the shingles and shakes that they manufacture on their own truck and trailer. They offer to do this for a few reasons. First they know if they put them on the truck and deliver them in person the product will not be damaged. Second it gives Jeff Sr and Jeff Jr. a chance to meet and talk to their customers in person, establishing a very good business relationship. Both Jeff Sr and Jeff Jr. like the idea of repeat customers, so customer satisfaction is a must.

10) Why should I use White Cedar from Maine and not Western Red Cedar?

You would want to use White other then Red for a number of reasons:

  1. White Cedar is a renewable resource. A forest of White Cedar can be harvested every 25 to 30 years. A Red Cedar forest can only be harvested every 300 years.
  2. White Cedar will last around 100 years (if put on right) because White Cedar has a natural resistance to rot and insects. Red Cedar at best will only last 25 to 30 years, because the growth rings in red cedar are very far apart and makes the wood brittle allowing it to split and decay faster.
  3. White Cedar will turn a light gray if left natural, allowing for very easy maintenance over the years. Red cedar will turn black over time, and needs to be kept very clean of leaves and pine needles as red cedar will allow moss to grow very fast.
  4. White Cedar can be stained to any color you would want. Red cedar can not be stained at all, as any stain put on Red cedar will peel off almost right away.
11) I see so many different sizes of shakes on other internet sites. Some shakes are 18" long some 24" long. Some have a 7-1/2" or a 8" or even 10" to 12" exposure. The price per square is sometimes less then Dow’s. How do I compare what I see on the internet to what you have at Dow’s Eastern White Shingles & Shakes?

First thing is all shingles and shakes should have triple coverage when they are put on. For example, a 18" shakes should only lay at a maximum 6" exposure, because 6 × 3 is 18. (That is 6" exposure times triple coverage “3" equals a 18" long shake)

That is why all our 18" shakes are figured at 6" exposure to make a square (10’ x10’ area) It takes 5 bunches to make a square of 5/8" × 18" shakes. You will see others on the web that lay 8". (Red cedar or Mid-Western White cedar sell their 5/8" × 18" shakes with a 8" exposure.) That should alarm you right off quick. If the exposure is too high, the shakes will curl up on you. Also, if the shakes are priced per square at 8" and you lay them at the correct 6" exposure you are going to need more squares to do the job, making the prices at Dow’s lower then the others.

Also a 24" shakes should only lay 8" exposure (8" × 3 is 24") All our 24" shakes have a 8" exposure and it takes 4 bunches t make a square (10’ × 10’ area) Most all Red cedar and Mid-Western White sell a 24" shake with a 10" or 12" exposure. Again that is wrong at 10" or 12" you can’t get triple coverage.

Dow’s Eastern White Shingles & Shakes is here to help educate people so they can make the best choice for them when purchasing shingles and shakes.

12) I see some shingle and shake manufactures offer Kiln Dry cedar shingles and shakes, why doesn’t Dow’s Eastern White Shingles & Shakes?

Dow’s Eastern White Shingles & Shakes does not kiln dry any of its cedar shingles and shakes because when you kiln dry white cedar it takes the natural oils out of the cedar. The natural oil in cedar is what gives the cedar its ability to stand up to the weather and insects for many years. When you kiln dry you take the life expectancy of the shingle or shake and cut it in half. Kiln drying is why white cedar gets a bad reputation for being brittle and braking easy. When you just let the cedar air dry you can expect to get many years out of your shingles and shakes. We here at Dow’s eastern White Shingles & Shakes start with letting our logs season for up to a year before we saw then shingles or shakes out. Then after they are sawn out the shingles and shakes go into a drying shed never to go outside until they go to the owner’s job site. Quality is the first priority here at Dow’s Eastern White Shingles & Shakes, and that is why we offer the best products in the industry.

13) Do you offer a fire retardant?

Yes, we offer a fire retardant from a company called Flame Control. This is a Class B fire coating that is covered by most insurance companies. To apply it, once all your shingles and shakes are installed you lightly spray it from top to bottom.

14) Do cedar shingles and shakes add strength?

Yes. Cedar shingles and shakes are the only form of roofing material that actually add strength to a structure. All other forms of roofing materials are surfacing material only and impose a dead load on the roof. The bridging effect of shingles and shakes on a roof produce a gain in absolute strength. Shakes even add seven pounds per square foot and shingles can add four pounds per square foot.