The Pros and Cons of a Wood Shake Roof
Have you been daydreaming about what your home would look like with a wooden roof? As Bob Vila explains, there are two types of wooden roofing. Both types are crafted from cedar, spruce, redwood, cypress, or treated pine. It’s the way that they’re produced that sets them apart. Wood shingles are machine cut to a specific size and tapered for a neater, more regulated appearance. Wood shakes are split for a unique texture and distinctively rustic look. Exploring the pros and cons of a wood shake roof can help you decide whether you should make your vision of a wood roof a reality.
Pro: Curb Appeal
In a place where asphalt shingles are everywhere, installing a wood shake roof is an attractive way to stand out. These roofs begin as light brown, but they shift to silver-gray or dark brown as they age. Whatever their hue, their timeless natural beauty has real curb appeal.
Con: Fire Resistance
Anyone who has gathered around a campfire or fireplace can guess that a wood shake roof’s natural resistance to fire will be rather limited. However, there are spray-on fire retardants and pressure treatments that can be applied to the shakes to improve a wood roof’s ability to withstand fire.
Pro: Energy Savings
Wood is a poor conductor of heat, so it’s a fantastic insulator. While you can choose to add more insulation, a wood shake roof will keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter with less effort. It’s an easy way to save money on your energy bills.
Con: Vulnerability to Water
Wood is notoriously vulnerable to water. When it gets wet, it can swell, rot, warp, crack, and harbor mold. Some believe that the tendency of wood shakes to swell when wet is a benefit because this tightens your roof in wet weather, reducing the risk of a leak. Others point out that this doesn’t prevent the shakes from harboring moisture, especially on their underside. That hidden moisture can trigger warping and rot.
Pro: Resistance to Wind and Impacts
While it depends on the quality and size of the shakes, most wood roofs offer solid durability. As Roof Hippie reports, they’re generally rated to withstand winds ranging from 173 mph to 245 mph. Plus, wood’s durability means that wood shakes can shake off a lot of impacts without damage. Some shakes even come with a class 4 impact resistance rating, which promises that they’re able to withstand a knock from a 2-inch chunk of ice.
Con: Susceptibility to Pests
Many insects love organic materials, and wood is certainly organic. Termites, wasps, carpenter bees, and other pests may be attracted to wood shakes, so owners will need to be vigilant.
Wood shakes are available in an almost endless array of options, and they can be installed in countless ways. That makes creating a unique look for your roof easy with wood shakes. It’s also worth noting that wood shakes can be used on virtually any type of roof that rules and regulations will allow. Whether it’s historic or modern, large or small, residential or commercial, shallow or steep, wood shakes are often a possibility.