A Homeowner’s Guide to Wood Shake Roofs in 2024

Posted on March 27, 2024

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A Homeowner’s Guide to Wood Shake Roofs in 2024

When it comes to roofing materials, there’s a wide variety to choose from. Options such as asphalt shingles and metal roofs are highly popular. But there are other alternatives too, and if you’re seeking a different approach to your roof, then wood shakes could be the perfect option. 

Wood shakes have been around for a long time, dating back centuries. They have a rich history often associated with traditional building practices. But over the years, they are still an attractive option for a variety of home styles. 

Today in this blog post, we will discuss all about wood shakes, including their types, limitations, maintenance tips, and much more. 

What Are Wood Shakes?

Wood Shakes

Wood shakes are roofing materials crafted from split wooden logs or blocks. They are made from a variety of trees like cedar, redwood, or pine. Unlike wood shingles, which are machine-cut, shakes are hand-split, giving them a rough, textured appearance. 

This natural aesthetic adds character and an old-world charm to buildings. Wood shakes are well known for their durability and ability to withstand harsh weather conditions, including wind, rain, and snow. 

Differences Between Wood Shakes and Shingles

Wood shakes and wood shingles are often used interchangeably, but they do have some distinct differences in terms of manufacturing, appearance, and performance. In this section, we will talk about these disparities. 

Manufacturing Process

  • Wood shake roofs are typically hand-split from logs using a mallet and froe, resulting in a thicker, more textured appearance. They are hand-split on one side and usually sawn on the other. 
  • Wood shingles, on the other hand, are machine cut for a smoother and more uniform look, meaning they are sawn on both sides. 

Thickness and Texture

  • Wood shakes have a rougher texture due to the splitting process. They often have a more rustic and natural appearance. Apart from the texture, they are thicker too. 
  • Wood shingles have a smoother surface, offering a more refined and uniform look.

Durability and Longevity

  • Wood shakes tend to be more durable, as they are thicker and can withstand weathering better.
  • Wood shingles may require more maintenance and have a shorter lifespan due to their thinner shape.

Types of Wood Used for Wood Shakes

Common types of wood used for wood shakes include cedar, cypress, and pine. 

Cedar: It offers natural durability and resistance to decay and insects, and has a distinctive rustic appearance. However, it’s more expensive and requires occasional maintenance. 

Cypress: It shares similar benefits to cedar but is less readily available, affecting cost and project timelines.

Pine: It is more affordable but requires chemical treatments for durability and is susceptible to decay and insects. It may not last as long as cedar or cypress shakes.

Although a lot of options are available, cedar is still considered one of the most trusted and reliable options for roofs.

Benefits of Using Wood Shakes

Wood shakes offer a multitude of benefits for homeowners seeking an aesthetic upgrade for their roof. Their rough appearance can enhance the overall curb appeal of a home and complements various architectural styles.

Aesthetics and Natural Beauty

Appearance is one of the prominent advantages of a wood shake roofing system. This is what makes them different from other roofing materials. Wood shakes provide a rustic appearance that enhances the traditional charm of a home’s exterior, perfect for emphasizing the architectural features of Victorian-era homes or adding character to any property.

Insulation Properties

Wood shakes provide excellent insulation, acting as a natural barrier to regulate indoor temperatures and reduce energy costs. This insulation not only helps in maintaining a comfortable living environment throughout the year but also contributes to a more peaceful and energy-efficient home.


Wood shakes are environmentally friendly as they are made from renewable resources. The cedar shake roofs have a long lifespan and can also be reused for another purpose after they are removed from the roof. 

Choosing wood shakes over synthetic materials can help to reduce your carbon footprint and promote sustainability.

Durability and Longevity

When you research this roofing material, you will likely wonder: how long does a wood shake roof last? A wood shake roof can last for around 30 to 35 years. They can easily withstand various weather conditions and provide reliable protection for many years, making it a wise investment.

Overall, when properly installed and maintained, wood shakes can be a very attractive option. 

Also Read: How Long Do Wood Shake Roofs Last (2024 Guide)

Limitations of Wood Shakes and How To Address Them

Common issues with wood shakes include susceptibility to rot, insect infestation, and splitting or warping. Let’s look at them in a bit more detail: 

Rot and Decay

Since these shakes are natural wood, there are concerns of rot and decay. These can occur due to presence of moisture and weathering over time. To address rot, regular inspection and maintenance are essential, including ensuring proper ventilation and drainage to prevent moisture buildup.

Insect Infestations

Insect infestation is another issue with a wood shake roof, particularly with untreated wood shakes. Applying appropriate insecticides or opting for naturally insect-repellent wood like cedar can help mitigate this issue.

Warping and Splitting

Another concern is warping and splitting, which can occur as a result of fluctuations in temperature and humidity. Proper installation techniques and periodic maintenance, such as sealing or staining, can help minimize these issues and prolong the lifespan of wood shakes.

Maintenance Tips To Help Your Wood Shake Roof Last Longer

Maintaining wood shakes is essential for prolonging their lifespan and ensuring the integrity of your roof. Here are some maintenance tips:

Regular Inspections

Regular inspections of your wood shakes are important to look for signs of damage, such as cracks, splits, or loose pieces. Inspect the roof at least once a year and after storms or severe weather events.

Cleaning and Treating

A wood shake roof is one of the most aesthetically pleasing roofs out there, but to keep it this way it does require proper attention. You should clean your shake roof regularly. Treating is also another important tip that should be taken into consideration. Periodically clean the shakes with a gentle solution and treat them with a wood preservative to protect against decay and insect infestations.

Repairing Damaged Shakes

Another recommendation is to repair or replace any damaged or missing shakes to prevent water infiltration and further deterioration. Secure loose shakes with nails or screws and fill cracks or gaps with wood filler.

How Much Does A Wood Shake Roof Cost?

The average cost of a wood shake roof is $13,000 to $28,000, which is significantly more than traditional roofing materials like asphalt shingles. When considering the cost of wood shakes, several factors come into play. For example: 

  • Type and quality of wood that you consider 
  • The size and complexity of the roof 
  • Local labor and material costs

Additionally, factors like geographical location and any necessary permits or regulations may add to the overall expense. So, it’s important to weigh these factors carefully and obtain quotes from multiple contractors to ensure an understanding of the costs involved in installing wood shakes.

Contact Capital Roofing For Wood Shake Roof Installations

When it comes to wood shake installations, homeowners should always opt for reliable and experienced roofing contractors. In Clarence, OK, you can trust the expertise of Capital Roofing, your GAF Certified™ roofing contractor. 

Contact our team to discuss your roofing requirements and get top-notch wood shake roof installation services. Don’t leave the condition of your roof to chance, reach out to us today. Your satisfaction and the longevity of your roof are our top priorities! Give us a call at (918) 260-4075 and consult with one of our experts.

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