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Roof Types: Cedar Shingles or Cedar Shakes. Advantages / Disadvantages

Advantages and Disadvantages of Cedar Shingles or Cedar Shake Roofs

For those that want the most authentic looking roofs for their restoration projects, often cedar shingles or cedar shakes are the way to go. These beautiful wooden roofs (wood shingles) are a good option for those that want a natural roofing material, as well. They have their advantages and disadvantages like any roofing material, so those considering them should take note.

Difference between Cedar Shingles and Cedar Shakes

Functionally, there is no difference between a cedar shingle and a cedar shake. Both will cover your roof, require the same amount of maintenance, and well taken care of can last about 60 years. The difference comes in their appearance and manufacturing. A cedar shingle is milled or sawed off of a block, which gives the shingle a very uniform and regular appearance. A cedar shake is chipped off with a hammer and chisel, giving it a more rustic appearance and your roof a more irregular look. Cedar shingles and cedar shakes are installed the same way and each can be found for around the same cost.

Advantages to Using Cedar Shake Roofs

In addition to the appearance of cedar shakes and authenticity, there are several reasons why you may want to consider getting a cedar roof. They are fairly easy to install, as well as to repair, so often installation and repair costs can be slightly lower depending on the area you live in and the contractor you use.

Cedar roofs can be fairly sustainable, with many shingles coming from sustainable forests. The old shakes or wooden shingles can be taken off your roof and are often recycled as mulch, or will biodegrade easily, rather than asphalt shingles which are only just beginning to be recycled.

The final advantage to a cedar roof is its longevity. While they do require a lot of maintenance, they can last as long as 60 years before needing to be replaced.

Disadvantages to Using Cedar Roofs

For many homeowners, the disadvantages of cedar roofs often far outweigh the advantages. Cedar roofs have the ability to last up to 60 years, but this is only with a lot of maintenance and repair.

These wood roofs are flammable, and while you can purchase shakes or shingles that have been treated with fire resistant chemicals, this is not a fail safe guarantee, and it does add to the expense of the roof. Additionally, while you can find shakes and wooden shingles that come from sustainable forests, you pay a premium for these; the less expensive cedar roofs may not be from sustainable sources.

Cedar shake roof needs to be cleaned regularly to remove moss and algae that can potentially damage them. In addition, they need to be restored about every 10 years. This does not equal getting a new roof in terms of cost, but you may need to replace wood shingles or make extensive repairs to keep the roof in good condition. New shingles may not match the patina and color of the existing shingles, and the regular maintenance and repairs need to be factored in to the overall cost of the roof.

A Personal Decision

For many homeowners that choose cedar shake roofs, it’s the beauty and authenticity of the product that wins out in the end. Be sure to factor in the regular and ongoing maintenance required when making your final decision to be sure you’re getting the best roof for your home.


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4/5

Although the time required to get my roof replacement started was longer than expected and with a few hiccups, in the end I am very satisfied with the work performed. I found the crew doing the work a friendly, hard working bunch of guys who kept me informed about what was going on throughout the project.

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