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Wood shingles (also known as “shake roofing”, depending on what option you choose) carry a vast amount of unique curb appeal vs. other options, giving homes a unique rustic look. Wood shingles go beyond their attractive appearance and offer a variety of functional amenities as well. A question homeowners should be asking themselves as they prepare to replace their roof is “Are wood shingles worth the additional cost vs. asphalt?”.

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The Pros of Wood Shingles:

  • APPEARANCE: As mentioned, a wood-shingled roof can be a stunning visual upgrade to any house. From smooth cedar tones to bright wallaba and teak options, a wood-shingled roof is hard to ignore. Our advice? Do your research on wood shingles, as there are countless options to choose from.
  • DURABILITY: Overall, the durability of wood shingles is on-par/slightly above what asphalt offers, lasting upwards of 20 years with minimal maintenance. Wood shingles require a treatment option such as varnish or stain to ensure that the wood is protected against weather and inevitable expansion and contraction. Unfortunately, wood treatment adds to the overall aggregate cost for homeowners.
  • BETTER INSULATION: Wood shingles help houses retain heat in the winter and cool in the hot summer months while featuring a stronger overall build and seal. Home heating and air conditioning savings are an absolute plus when going with a wood-shingle roof.

The Cons of Wood Shingles:

  • COST: While wood shingles stand out as a top option to protect your home, that additional value is going to cost you. Industry experts state that you could pay right around $200 more per 100 square feet installing wood over asphalt. While the benefits of wood shingles are clear, homeowners have to weigh if the attractive aesthetic of wood shingles is worth the extra cost.
  • MAINTENANCE: Unfortunately, insect damage is more prone to happen with wood shingles. Termites and other pests can damage wood shingles over time. Treatment of wood shingles (again, with varnish, stain or paint) helps against insect damage and overall wear and tear from Mother Nature. Maintenance to prevent against warping and expansion of wood shingles will always be something that homeowners will have to keep an eye on.

What’s the difference between wood shingles vs. shakes?

  • HEAVY SPLIT AND RESAWN SHAKES: Heavy split shakes tend to be thicker and heavier than typical shakes and shingles. The look and feel of these resawn shakes is rustic and classic, particularly when using cedar. The typical thickness of heavy split shakes range from 3/4″, 7/8″, 1″ and 1 1/4″.
  • MEDIUM SPLIT AND RESAWN SHAKES: If you’re looking for a textured wood visual on your roof that looks close to heavy split shakes, medium shakes can be a wise choice. While a little thinner than heavy split, medium split shakes range between 1/2″ and 5/8″ and are slightly more affordable than heavy split.
  • TAPERSAWN SHAKES: In the instance of tapersawn shakes, the wood is sawn on both sides, giving it the appearance of a thick shingle vs. a true shake. Tapershawn shakes, visually, look like a hybrid between shake and shingle. This is by far the most popular choice for wood shakes. Thickness runs between 5/8″ and 1″.
  • CEDAR SHINGLES: Cedar is a popular choice for homeowners whether choosing a shake or a shingle. Cedar lends itself well to an elegant looking roof where the textured surface of cedar gives a rustic and natural appearance. Cedar is also a much more affordable wood option than teak or wallaba.

Maintenance of Asphalt Shingles:

This is a question that pops up often in regards to the two options for wood roofs. The cut of the wood, the thickness and the overall appearance of a shake sets it apart from a typical shingle. A wood shake is identified by its thick butt end and almost “natural” cut, sometimes featuring a rough exterior. The overall appearance of shakes is often more “textured” than shingles. Due to the thickness (and extra protection) of a shake, they are more expensive than typical wood shingles.






Looking for additional information and articles on the roofing industry and beyond? Keep tabs on our Industry News & Notes section to get valuable insight, original content and useful resources from around the web on all of your exterior construction inquiries and questions. It’s just another way Roofing Wayland is keeping our current and future customers engaged not only with our company, but with growth and advances within the home remodeling industry.