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Wood Shake
Eco Friendly
Rustic Appeal
20+ yrs
$3–$4 per sq ft
Hail Snow Rain Wind

Wood Shakes

Wood shingles and wood shakes are a stunning addition to the exterior of your home that provide reliable protection from the elements at a moderate price point. There are two types of wood roofing: wood shingles and shakes. Often referred to interchangeably, there is a difference. Shingles are machine-cut and tapered for a trim, crisp appearance.

Shakes are hand-split, giving them a more rustic appeal. If you have a traditional or historical style-home, a wooden roof will increase its aesthetic appeal, creating a more natural look that weathers to a beautiful silver-gray. Due to fire risks, wood roofing has declined in popularity, but new shingles and shakes are now treated with fire retardant, making them a safer option.

The lifespan of your wood shakes are highly variable depending on the weather in your region, the type of wood used, and the thickness of the cut. Generally, the thicker the shake or shingle, the longer lasting. Commonly made of cedar shingles, wood shingles and shakes can be made of any rot resistant wood. Wood roof shingles come in a variety of grades, largely based on where the wood is cut from–the center of the tree is the strongest. If you are considering a wood roof, you’ll want to to pay a premium for a quality cut of wood.

Wood shakes are relatively low weight compared to other roofing materials, yet it still offers adequate strength and moisture protection. This light weight allows shingles or shakes to be installed on standard roof framing without needed extra strength and support added to the structure.

Cost of Wood Shingles and Shakes

Installation for a typical wood shingle roof is approximately $2-$3 a square foot, while wood shakes, which are hand cut, are slightly more expensive at $3-$4 a square foot. It’s important to note though that this estimate doesn’t include the cost of demolishing and removing an existing roof.

Close-up of wood shakes shingles

Eco-Friendly and Energy Efficient

Wood roofing is made from natural, renewable materials that are biodegradable. Wood offers some energy benefits, too. It helps to insulate the attic, and it allows the house to breathe, circulating air through the small openings under the felt rows on which wooden shingles are laid.

Maintenance of Wood Shingles and Shakes

Wood shingles and shakes require periodic treatments with preservatives and fungicides in order to keep from drying out, warping, cracking and being attacked by mildew, insects, and fungus. Additionally, spray-on fire retardants don’t last more than a few years, so anticipate regularly recoating your roof to prevent your risk of fire.

Common Concerns with Wood Shake Shingles

While the traditional look of wood is very popular, wood roofs do require regular maintenance, can be vulnerable to fire, and even with proper maintenance only last about 20 years. If you’re worried about the lifecycle of a wooden roof, you may want to explore synthetic shingles that resemble wood but require less maintenance, and are more weather-resistant, longer-lasting and fire resistant.If you live in California, Colorado, or Texas wood roofing may be banned in your municipality due to fire concerns. There may be exceptions if they are made out of pressure treated lumber which is more fire resistant. Check with your local town or state agency.

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