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Choosing the right type of roof to use is one of the major decisions you’ll have to make as a homeowner. The roof acts as a guard over your building, so you’ll need something reliable and visually appealing.

People use different types of roofing today, and among these options are wood shake roofing systems. People have been using this roofing option for many years, proving it is effective and visually appealing.

However, the popularity of this type of roofing has reduced compared to what it used to be, and this is because of the growing emergence of other high-performing roofing materials. Despite that, many people prefer wood shakes mainly because of their many advantages. Let’s see what these are!

What Are Wood Shakes?

Wood shakes are also known as wood shingles, although they differ from asphalt shingles in terms of texture, depth, size, and other features. They are made from western red cedar, pine, redwood, and cypress trees.

The shakes are divided from natural logs and then reshaped to be used as a roofing system. As mentioned earlier, wood shakes are still in use today. Modern wood shake products are on the market today, most of which are treated with chemical preservatives and fire retardants.

This is to keep them from getting damaged by decay or fire. The level of resistance to moisture of treated wood shakes is higher than that of untreated shakes. Also, it’s important to note that wood shakes are considered eco-friendly because they are made from renewable resources.

Advantages of Natural Wood Shakes

Wood shakes have been in use for a long time now, and this is mainly for their advantages which include the following:

Natural insulator

Wood is an insulator, which is not the case with other roofing materials. This makes it an energy-efficient roofing option for your home and the environment. If this is a priority for you, consider these roofing components. One of the benefits of having a natural insulator as your roof is that it will help keep your room cool during summer and warm during winter.

Resistance to pests and winds

Wood shakes are cut such that they can withstand wind, irrespective of intensity and strength. This is not the same as every other roofing material. With wood shakes, the only thing needed is to fasten the roofs properly when installed. Another thing worth noting is that woods like cedar shakes are designed to be pest-resistant by nature.

Durability and stability of natural cedar

Apart from pest resistance, there are many other exciting things about cedar shakes that you should know. Cedar is made of natural preservatives, which allows it to offer protection against rot, moisture, and UV exposure.

They are designed to maintain their structure and form and are equally resistant to swelling and shrinking. These factors make them an excellent option for roof replacement, even in humid conditions.

Unmatched natural beauty

Another advantage of wood shake roofs is the unrivaled natural beauty they have. There are a lot of people that consider wood shake roofs to be the most visually appealing and attractive roofing materials available. Most of the modern roofing options try to mimic the aesthetics of wood shakes, but they can never be precisely the same.

Disadvantages of Natural Wood Shakes

While there are many advantages, as shown above, it’s important to note that there are also some disadvantages of wood shake roofing, and they include the following:

Fire risk

The first disadvantage is related to concerns about the potential for fire hazards. Even though we mentioned earlier that these roofing materials are treated with fire retardants, it’s important to note that they are flammable and highly prone to fire attacks.

Mildew and mold concerns

Mildew and mold tend to grow well under humid conditions. Interestingly, wood shake roofs retain moisture significantly more than other roofs, increasing their susceptibility to mildew and mold infestation. This can cause further damage and also cause the wood shakes to rot.

Cracks can cause leaks

With time, wood can crack and split, and when this happens, it increases its susceptibility to leakages. This can cause damage to other structural components and your home as a whole.


Another issue of concern among many is discoloration. Most people are indifferent about the possibility of the roof looking faded with time, but that’s an issue of concern for other people. If you like to maintain the original appearance of your roof, the wood shake roof may not be the best option for you.

Tips to Maintain a Wood Shake Roof

To help with your wood shake roof maintenance, here are some handy tips and recommendations to guide you:

Prevention is always better

This applies to every other type of roofing system. Prevention is always better, and to ensure that your wood shake roof lasts long, you need to take precautionary measures all the time. You can start by ensuring that nearby plants or overhanging branches are always trimmed.

Doing this will cause less debris to fall on your roof, and this will keep your gutters clean all the time. You can also consider getting a copper or zinc strip on your wood shake roof. This is a great way to prevent the growth of mildew, mold, and moss.

Proper wood shake washing

Some of the basic principles that apply to other roofing types can also be applicable to wood shake roofing systems. These include using a washer, and the general advice is to avoid using a pressure washer on your roofs.

Pressure washers will only cause damage to your roofing systems, and this can also force water onto your sheathing. The best thing to use is a brush, and a garden hose, instead of a pressure washer. You can also use a pump sprayer in place of the pressure washer.

Apply basic preservatives

There are many commercial treatment options available on the market today, and these options have all proven to be effective in restoring the decay-resistance properties of different materials, including wood shake roofs. You should consider applying these treatments to your roofing system every five years to guarantee that it lasts long.

Wood Shakes Vs. Wood Shingles

Are you wondering if there are any differences between wood shakes and wood shingles? The main difference is in how they are manufactured. Initially, wood shingles were sawn from wood blocks, while the shakes were split off with the aid of a sharp mallet or blade.

With technological advancements, the process of making wood shingles changed, and now they are mostly made using machines. Today, wood shingles are simply machine-made wood shakes. Another thing worth noting is that shingles have tapered sewing, which is not the case with shakes, as they are textured to a high level.

Because they are sewn, it gives them the ability to stay resistant to cutting, but with shakes, they are easily split. Another area where they differ is in their appearance. In general, the wood shingle roof has a uniform and smooth appearance, while the appearance of the wood shake roof is natural and rustic.

One of the common alternatives to wood shake shingles is synthetic roofing products. This roofing product features precious wood, which is made with a heavy hand-split cedar shake. However, this is only done using synthetic composite material to ensure that it doesn’t degrade quickly.

Get a Roofer for Your Wood Shake Roof Installation

Choosing the type of roof material to use on your property can be tricky, but you can do this easily with the right roof installer. If you’re choosing wood shakes, the main thing you should do is ensure that they are installed correctly. If you need roof repairs for your existing wood shake roof, a professional roofer is likely your best bet.

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