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How Long Does a Wood Shake Roof Last?

Wood shake roof

If you’re looking for a roofing material with a lot of aesthetic appeal, a wood shake roof might be a good option. But is that roof going to stick around long enough to make the investment worthwhile? How long does a wood shake roof last?

How Long Does a Wood Shake Roof Last?

Wood shakes are a popular roofing material for those looking to add some unique curb appeal to their home. Unlike wood shingles, which are typically machine-made to look as uniform as possible, wood shakes are often made by hand. They are similar to shingles, but each one is purposefully distinct. They are also thicker than shingles, and their appearance features more texture and variation. No two wood shake roofs are alike, which can be a real plus if you want your home to stand out on the block.

However, they’re a little more effort than some other roofing options. They are thicker, which means they require more material, and they are also slightly more challenging to install. Since you’ll be investing more, you want to make sure it’s worth it. How long does a wood shake roof last?

Wood Shake Roofs: the Good, the Bad, and the Fire Risk

The good news? Wood shake roofs are likely to last about as long as those made from other standard roofing materials. A well-installed wood shake roof can last between 20 and 40 years. While this does not beat sturdier roofing materials like slate, it’s on par with common materials like asphalt shingles. If you’re prepared to do the upkeep, they could be a good option for your home.

Not so fast, though. There are some downsides to wood shake roofs that can affect their longevity. A wood shake roof is made of organic material, and it requires more cleaning and upkeep than artificial materials. Wood shakes are also more vulnerable to some roof issues, like moisture damage and infestation. Wood shake roofs require more of a maintenance commitment than some other materials. Things like the slope of the roof, the amount of sun and moisture it experiences, and even the skill of your roofer can add or subtract significantly from a wood shake roof’s lifespan. 

Wood shakes also have an issue that some other roofing materials do not: flammability. This can create a fire hazard on top of your home that may not be worth it, especially if you live in an area that is already at risk for fires. Some homeowners associations have even banned wood shake roofs entirely because of the risk involved. 

None of these drawbacks mean that a wood shake roof is always a bad idea, or that you can’t get a full 40 years out of it if you commit to careful maintenance. However, a wood shake roof may be more work than you bargained for. What if you want the look of a wood shake roof, but aren’t able to commit to the work required to extend its lifespan?

Consider the Alternatives to Wood Shakes

If you love the look of wood shake roofs but want to consider a lower-hassle option, it’s time to consult with the professionals. Wood shake roofs can be successfully maintained by licensed and experienced roofers. They can also be replaced with synthetic options that offer the same aesthetic but have the bonus of being more durable and fire resistant. Don’t give up on your dream roof. Ask an expert how you can make it a reality!


How long does a wood shake roof last? If it’s well maintained and nothing goes wrong, it will last as long as most other roofs do. However, the risks involved are trickier than you might think. Talk to a roofing professional to see if a wood shake roof is right for your house.

If you live in southwest Missouri, contact Taylor-Made Roofing for help with your roofing needs. With over 20 years of experience in residential and commercial roofing, Taylor-Made Roofing is a company that you can trust with all of your roofing needs. Our family-owned business offers quality services, a reassuring warranty, and free estimates. For more information, please give us a call at 417-326-8778 or contact us online. We look forward to hearing from you!

Fully licensed and insured, Taylor-Made Roofing is ready to take care of your roof.
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