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What Are Wood Shakes?

Close-up of cedar shakes on roof

You only purchase a new residential roof a few times throughout your life, knock on wood. So you want a beautiful, strong, and dependable roof that will last for many years to come. When it comes to aesthetics, many homeowners are drawn to the traditional appeal of wood. It’s especially appropriate for older homes and those based on historical architectural styles. The two primary types of wood roofing are wood shingles and wood shakes. Today we’re focusing on the latter. What are wood shakes? How do they differ from wood shingles? What are the pros and cons of a wood shake roof? And what alternative options should you consider?


What Are Wood Shakes?

A wood shake is a roofing material that retains a more rustic appeal, as it’s hand-split on one side. Shakes are primarily made of cedar, and they’re laid on a pattern. Wood shingles, on the other hand, are cut by machines and tapered, offering a neat, trim, and crisp appearance.

In general, wood roofing is more difficult to install when compared to some other common roofing types. It requires a lot of maintenance as well: periodic preservative and fungicide treatments help prevent the wood from drying out, warping, cracking, or becoming the victim of mildew or fungus. In addition, wood roofing is susceptible to discoloration, and obviously, it presents a fire hazard. In fact, in some areas, wood shake roofs are no longer allowed to be installed.

That said, wood roofing is also known to last about as long as asphalt (up to 30 years) and it’s quite eco-friendly, as it’s biodegradable and made from a renewable resource. Cedar is also rot- and insect-resistant. So although it lacks the practicality of some modern roofing materials, like asphalt shingles, it also provides some unique benefits.

Our Take on Wood Roofing

Although wood shakes are a good roofing system, they’re very difficult to get insured by insurance companies due to the fact that they can catch on fire very easily. Here at Taylor-Made Roofing, we prefer to install a fire-rated wood shake shingle. They still provide that warm, elegant, and beautiful look, but they also give you peace of mind, knowing that your home is less susceptible to fire damage.

We also encourage you to explore synthetic options that provide the same aesthetic appeal as wood shakes but are also durable and fire-resistant. They’re easier to install and require less maintenance. If you’ve always dreamt of a wood roof, this option might be perfect for you. Roofing technology has come a long way, and you might be surprised at how well synthetic roofing options mimic traditional roofing materials.


Are you planning to purchase a new roof? If you live in southwest Missouri, contact Taylor-Made Roofing for help. Our experts can help you sort through commercial roof systems, maintain an older roof, perform emergency repairs, complete tear-offs and recovers, and perform remodeling services. 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 regarding roofing materials, 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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