Wood Roof Shingles

Another widely popular roofing style are wood roof shingles. Wood roofing shingles have been used for thousands of years and actually provide greater insulation than their asphalt counterparts. They also have a unique look that is hard to replicate with any other shingle. There are two different types of wood shingles, the traditional wood shingles and wood shake shingles. These two different types of shingles are often confused with each other. Wood shingles are typically sawn to provide a smooth tapered edge and wood shake shingles are often split to create a rougher more textured appearance. They are also usually thicker to avoid damaging the wood in the splitting process. The most common type of wood used in shake shingles are cedar which has been since colonial times here in the United States. Wood shakes also hold their color a little longer than wood shingles. Wood shakes and shingles have a very desirable look but are on the pricier side of material options. They are most expensive to produce and install.

What are shakes and shingles made out of?

Wood shakes and wood shingles are manufactured from western red cedar, cypress, pine and redwood trees. Shakes are split from logs and reshaped by manufacturers for commercial use. They are thicker at the butt end than shingles; generally one or both surfaces are split to obtain a textured effect. A split and resawn shake has a split face and sawn back. A taper sawn shake has a natural taper and is sawn on both sides. Wood shingles are sawn on both sides and have an even taper and uniform thickness. When applied to shingles, the industry terms “Perfection” and “Royal” mean 18 inch and 24 inch lengths, respectively.

Cedar shakes and cedar shingles are available pressure treated with fire retardants and chemical preservatives for increased fire resistance and to prevent premature rot and decay in some climates.

Pine shakes are made from southern yellow pine and are taper sawn. They also are available pressure treated with preservatives to protect against decay and insects. Interlayment felts are required for pine shakes.

Care & Maintenance

Care and maintenance of a wood shingle or shake roof is vital to getting the full lifespan from your beautiful roof. Since wood is an organic material it is more susceptible to the developments of moss and molds as well as other fungi. Properly caring for your roof will help you get the full lifespan of up 40 to 60 years from your roof.

If you see mold, fungus or moss developing on your roof don’t panic. At this point, many homeowners believe that a new roof is needed, when in reality, a good cleaning will often solve the problem. Once the wood roof is properly cleaned, the infestations and moisture are removed, allowing the shakes to breathe again and stay dry. On average, a good cleaning should last between six and eight years.

In regards to staining and sealing a cedar/redwood roof, staining is fine for curb appeal but adds no real value to preserving the roof itself. Sealing of cedar/redwood roofs should never be done as this will keep the shakes from getting the air they need to stay dry.

In addition to cleaning, you should make sure there is no debris left in the valleys and no over-hanging trees over the roof as this will cause moisture and shade. Also, it is a good idea to replace any missing shakes that will expose the felt, as UV light can cause felt deterioration.

When properly maintained, a cedar or redwood roof can last for generations.

Benefits of Wood Shake / Shingle Roof

Their exceptional beauty

Regular maintenance required

Resistant to severe storms

Energy efficiency

Wood Shingle Roof FAQs

A shingle is sawn on both sides and is thinner at the butt than a shake. A shake is usually thicker and is typically split on one or both sides. Shingles are more precisely milled than shakes and provide a more refined appearance. Shakes provide a more irregular, rustic appearance. Functionally, the most important difference between shakes and shingles is that shingles are milled more precisely than shakes allowing them to lay flat.

Shingles are sawn on both sides from a block of cedar. The cedar block is moved through the path of an upright saw creating angled cuts with each stroke. After being cut from cedar log the shingles are then trimmed to create the right kind of square corners. Shakes on the other hand are still manufactured by hand and are split straight from a single block of wood. The shakes are then sawn end to end at an angle creating a shake that is sawn on one side and split at the other giving it a much rougher look with lots more character.

There are so many factors that will determine the lifespan of any roof let alone wood. Some of the factors include age, quality of installation, care, maintenance and of course environment. The lifespan goal of a cedar roof is approximately 30-40 years. Climate, exposure and proximity to certain elements like salt water may also affect the lifespan of a cedar roof. Generally the lifespan of a shake roof is slightly longer because they are hand cut split from a log and thicker than a shingle.

The cost of a new cedar roof is a little pricier than some other options and will depend on factors such as size and shape of the roof and availability of the product you choose. Give us a call so we can discuss all of your options and help you to determine your cost. Our estimates are totally free!

Cedar roofs are naturally wind and weather resistant. Cedar shakes and shingles have long been tested, and approved, as being highly resistant to wind and weather damage. Cedar roofs are also very resistant to hail and ice damage.

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