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    Home | Our Blog | Everything You Need to Know About Cedar Shake (And Shingle) Roofs

    Everything You Need to Know About Cedar Shake (And Shingle) Roofs

    Reviewed by Tomas Kalkys. President.
    Qualifications: More than 20 years of experience in residential and commercial exterior remodeling.
    Founding farther of Legacy Service.
    Written by LegacyUSA Team

    posted on Sep 05, 2019

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    Cedar Shakes & Shingles: Pros, Cons and Cost

    Cedar Shake Roofing

    If you’re considering replacing your roof, you’re probably looking at your options. You may be asking, “Why do some homeowners choose wood or cedar shake roofs rather than asphalt shingles?” Cedar and wood shakes may not be the most popular types of roofing, but it’s certainly not due to lack of quality. From aesthetics to durability, there are plenty of different reasons to choose to cedar shakes over shingles roofing, which we’re going to explain more about in this article. So without further ado, here’s everything you need to know. If you’re in need of a roof replacement, you can contact our team at Legacy Service by giving us a call at 215-798-9790.

    How Long Should a Cedar Shake Roof Last?

    This type tends to last longer than your typical roof. The roofing materials can last for up to 50 years depending on how well it’s taken care of. If you don’t invest in maintenance, it may begin to deteriorate around the 20-year mark. Wood shingle roofs, on the other hand, usually last about 30-40 years, which is still longer than the 15-25 years that asphalt shingles are supposed to last for. Factors that affect the life expectancy of a wood shake or shingle roof include installation quality, quality of materials, maintenance, and weather conditions.

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    Cedar Shake Roof: Pros and Cons

    Like all types of roofs, cedar shake has its pros and cons. Let’s take a look at some of the most significant ones:


    • Longer lifespan – If they’re maintained properly, cedar shake roofs can last for up to 50 years. This is longer than the lifespan of both cedar and asphalt shingles.
    • Energy efficiency – Wood shakes can be an incredible investment in the long run because they can help increase a home’s energy efficiency. As excellent insulators, they help retain warmth in the home during the winter and reflect heat during the summer.
    • Environmental friendliness – If you’re conscious of the environment, you’ll be pleased to know that wood shakes outperform almost every other type of roof when it comes to sustainability, recyclability, and energy savings.
    • Appearance – All some homeowners need to do is look at a cedar shake roof to be hooked. Their rustic, weathered appearance (especially in a sea of asphalt-shingled roofs) is unrivaled when it comes to contributing to your home’s aesthetic.
    • Home value boost – Along with increasing your home’s resale value, wood shakes offer a nice first impression when home buyers arrive at your house. And as we all know, first impressions are everything.


    • Overall cost – Have you wondered why asphalt shingles are so popular compared to cedar shakes (and shingles)? The reason for most homeowners is the price; asphalt shingles are much cheaper than cedar shakes and shingles. However, the increased cost can be worth it when it comes to energy efficiency and increased home value.
    • Requires expert installation – For a cedar roof to be installed correctly, you’ll need to find a roofing contractor who is not only qualified but also experienced. Finding one with the right qualifications and experience to install a cedar roof can help prevent problems down the line.
    • Needs additional maintenance – To make sure it reaches its projected lifespan, homeowners need to remain proactive in their roof’s maintenance. Excessive branches and leaves must be cleaned from the roof to let the cedar breathe. Ice can also further damage the roof unless repairs are taken care of right away.

    How Much Does it Cost to Replace a Cedar Shake Roof?

    The cost of replacing a cedar shake roof depends on a variety of factors, but it will most likely cost more if you choose shakes over shingles because the manufacturing and installation process is typically more extensive. Cedar is a popular choice of material because it’s both cost-effective and nice to look at.

    Wood Shakes Vs. Shingles: What Are the Differences?

    Wood shakes and shingles may seem like the same thing at first glance, however, there’s a variety of reasons why some homeowners choose one instead of the other. Here are the differences between cedar shingles and shakes to help you select which one is best for your home:

    Wood Shakes Vs Shingles


    Although they’re both stunning in their own way, if you look at wood shakes and shingles closely, you’ll notice that wood shakes take on a more rugged appearance than shingles due to their uneven edges and surfaces. They look like this because of the way they’re produced, which involves hand splitting. For this reason, many people consider the shakes look to be both timeless and elegant. Shakes are also thicker than shingles, which are cut more evenly using a machine. There are various types of cedar shingles though, and they’re also beautiful in their own ways.

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    Shakes tend to be more durable than shingles thanks to their thickness, which plays an important role in helping a roof withstand day-to-day weather conditions, especially harsh ones. Because shingles are thinner, it’s recommended for roofing contractors to install them in three layers, overlapping each other.


    Because of their thickness and complexity of installation, cedar shakes are usually more expensive than shingles. However, they may be the better choice depending on how much you’re willing to spend because they tend to have a longer lifespan with superior durability.

    Wind Resistance

    If you’re comparing wood shakes to wood shingles, the shingles will usually perform better in situations with high winds because they lay flat. The closer connection to the roof will help prevent them from getting blown off as easily. However, wood shakes are a great choice as well.

    Do Cedar Shingles Need to be Treated?

    Cedar does tend to darken with age, which is why it’s a good idea to keep it colorful and protected with treatment. Cedar shingles should be treated about every 5-7 years. If they’re left untreated, they will begin to soften and discolor after a certain number of years depending on the climate of where you live.

    Is It Better to Paint or Stain Cedar Siding?

    Deciding whether to paint or stain your cedar siding is entirely up to you depending on your preferences. Choosing a solid-color paint or stain will give it a more formal appearance, and choosing a transparent stain will provide it with a more rustic look. However, siding experts have claimed that stain is more effective when it comes to protecting cedar, and it tends to last longer than paint. Let us know if you need our help picking out a good stain for yours.

    Does Cedar Wood Rot?

    Fortunately, leaving the wood untreated will not cause it to rot, but it will lose its golden-brown color. You can prevent this with regular treatment, depending on how often your contractor tells you is best for your specific type.

    How Do You Seal Cedar?

    The best way is to apply stain or sealant to dry, clean cedar. It might not work as well if the wood is wet or dirty. Hand wash the wood first (power washing may cause damage), and let it fully dry before you begin. Then, apply the sealant with a roller or brush, and pay special attention to edges and joints.

    Are Wood Shake Roofs Safe?

    Wood shake and shingle roofs are more resilient than many people may realize. Since shakes are thicker than the average asphalt shingle (or even metal) roof, they have superior impact resistance, and they’re well-equipped to face extreme weather conditions.

    Wood Shake Roofs

    What Do You Think?

    No matter what type of roof you choose for your home, we’ll stand by your decision here at Legacy Service. Our team of roofing experts only wants to provide you with the best consultation and quality of work, and we’ll do whatever it takes to make sure you’re fully satisfied with your new roof. Let us know if you want to give your home an upgrade by contacting us here or calling us at 215-798-9790 today.

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    Posted on Sep 05, 2019 in Roof

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