Battling the Elements, Keeping the Look: CeDUR Shakes Offer The Best Of Both Worlds


By: Ken Covins and Randy Wellman, Huntsman Polyurethanes


Cedar shake roofs are a hallmark of home design in the United States, lending a classic look to new construction. However, many municipalities have banned cedar wood roofing due to the harsh natural conditions those areas face. CeDUR offers a solution, ensuring greater durability and fire resistance without sacrificing the enduring beauty of natural cedar shakes.

In 1981, a U.S. Department of Agriculture study concluded that wood shake roofs were the single most influential factor in whether a house in a wildfire would be destroyed. Fast-forward eight years to 1989, when the Los Angeles City Council voted to ban new wood-shingled roofs and became the first major city to veto the popular roofing material. 

As wildfires continued to wreak havoc in the dry climates of the United States through 2017, additional cities and counties undertook similar measures in an attempt to protect homeowners. Currently, many municipalities reject the installation of new wood shakes, including cedar. All the while, residential building codes have continued to become more restrictive, especially in regard to fire. 

In response, roofing companies around the U.S. have worked to develop products within the confines of these restrictions, while attempting to maintain the aesthetic beauty that natural cedar provides. CeDUR, based outside Denver, Colorado worked with Huntsman Corporation to develop synthetic CeDUR Roofing Shakes that can stand up to wind, hail, sun, and of course, fire. 

CeDUR Shakes are created by combining natural cedar shake molds with a state-of-the-art polyurethane system. CeDUR Shakes look like natural cedar, but are much more durable. So much so, in fact, that CeDUR offers a 50-year warranty on its roofing products. CeDUR has earned a Class A fire rating from Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. (UL) and does not require a special fire-resistant underlayment. The Class A rating is the highest fire resistance rating that Underwriters Laboratories offers. In California for example, the Wildland Urban Interface (WUI) refers to the zone of transition between unoccupied land and human development land. Because CeDUR has a Class A Fire Rating and is one of the few products that is endorsed by Cal Fire for use in Wildland Urban Interface zones.

“Wood shingles are not allowed in many counties because they are susceptible to fire damage,” says Mike Anderson, Business Development Manager, Huntsman Polyurethanes. “The product that CeDUR is producing provides the look of cedar shakes that people love, without the potential for fire damage.”

CeDUR also offer a solution for the hail concerns that trouble homeowners. Significant hail events can cause less durable roofing materials to crack and fail, representing a significant safety and cost risk. Underwriters Laboratories has given CeDUR a Class 4 Impact resistance rating, able to stand up to tough storms and extreme weather.

“To achieve a Class 4 impact rating, the test requires minimal damage after a two-inch steel ball is dropped from 20 feet on multiple surface points of the shake,” Anderson said. “Class 4 is the highest rating that a product can receive from UL.”  

According to the Storm Prediction Center, Colorado saw 359 reports of large hail during 2014. Colorado also ranks among the top five states with the most insurance claims due to hail damage, with a whopping 42,365 claims in 2014 alone.

CeDUR is certified to resist wind speeds up to 115 mph and absorb a minimal amount of water compared to other roofing materials. These factors give CeDUR superior freeze/thaw cycle performance. 

“These shakes are built to stand up to the elements,” Anderson said. “No one is sacrificing durability so that their roof can look like it’s made out of cedar. These shakes have some of the highest durability ratings in the industry.”

CeDUR has numerous projects ongoing throughout the United States, including the Historic Restoration of the Day Log Home in Parkville, Missouri, the Yellowstone Club, and the personal residence of animal extraordinaire and entrepreneur Jack Hanna’s personal cabin. “We have made great strides in advancing the synthetic roofing materials market while meeting the needs of clients looking for a safe wood shake alternative” says Dave Dalton, V.P. of Sales & Marketing at CeDUR. “Ourselves as well as Huntsman Corporation understand that what we are doing is bigger than selling a high performance roofing product, we are providing a reliable, long term roofing solution that helps ensure safety and combats nature’s harsh elements.”

Thanks to this polyurethane-based alternative, homeowners are not forced to abandon the natural look of cedar roofs that were once an icon. Instead, homebuilders, contractors, and homeowners in all 50 states can choose a roofing alternative designed specifically to withstand their harsh climate.