Home » Blog » Wood Shake vs. Wood Shingle

Wood Shake vs. Wood Shingle

New cedar shakes installed on a roof

Wood shingles have been a beloved roofing choice for decades, with roots in Scandinavia and central Europe. The popularity of wood shingles isn’t surprising – properly maintained wood roofing can last up to 50 years, and the shingles are easy to recycle at the end of their life. If you’re interested in wood roofing, you might find yourself weighing the pros and cons of two different kinds of wood roofing materials: wood shake vs. wood shingle. Both are attractive options, but they have some key differences.

Wood Shake vs. Wood Shingle


Wood shakes and wood shingles are both wedge-shaped, allowing roofers to affix them individually to a roof’s underdeck. The manufacturing similarities end there, however. While traditional wood shingles are sawn on both sides, wood shakes are typically sawn on one side and hand split on the other side. This makes wood shakes noticeably thicker than wood shingles. Wood shingles are also typically machine-made, whereas wood shakes are hand-made with handheld power equipment. These manufacturing differences give wood shake roofing a more textured appearance.

Aesthetic Appeal

Wood shakes’ unique hand-split manufacturing gives them a thick, highly textured appearance with striking depth and dimension. This rugged appearance makes wood shakes a popular choice for homes with a more rustic, less uniform look. On the other hand, wood shingles are smoother and more uniform, making them a popular choice for classic homes or homes with bolder color palettes.


Wood roofing goes far beyond aesthetic appeal, providing total protection against weather and moisture. Wood roofing is famously durable, lasting up to 50 years with proper maintenance. However, if you live in an area with volatile weather, heavy cedar shakes may be your best option. When comparing wood shake vs. wood shingle, heavy cedar shakes are the more durable roofing option. These heavy cedar shakes are the thickest wood roofing material on today’s market, offering maximum protection against UV rays, hail, heavy rain, and destructive winds. Keep in mind that wood roofing does pose a fire risk. For that reason, wood shake and wood shingles may not be the best fit for your home if you live in an area prone to drought or wildfire.


Wood shakes are a thicker, more durable option than traditional wood shingles – which means they are generally more expensive than wood shingles as well. Heavy wood shakes are also more challenging for roofing contractors to install due to their weight and unique layered appearance. While wood roofing may be more costly than other types of roofing materials, it’s also the longest-lasting option. Keep that in mind when considering your roofing options.


Wood roofing remains one of the most popular roof covering options due to its classic beauty and unparalleled durability. Additionally, both wood shingles and wood shakes are easy to install and repair. No matter which wood roofing material you choose, you can look forward to an attractive, functional roof that lasts up to 50 years. However, be sure to work with an experienced roofing contractor to ensure you get the most bang for your buck.

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.
Get My Roof Fixed