A wood shingle or shake roof installed by an experienced wood roof contractor is possibly one of the most classic, beautiful, and desired installations of all the different types of roofs there are.
Though they are very similar in some ways, the shingles and shakes installed by wood roofing services are also quite different in others.
Before choosing one over the other, wood roofing companies recommend that homeowners learn a little bit about both to determine which will be better for their roof and their home.
How Do Wood Shingles and Wood Shakes Differ?
While both are handmade from wood, the two main differences between the shingles and shakes installed by a wood roof contractor are their thickness and how they are made:
- Shingles - Smooth-sawed and precisely cut by machine or hand, shingles are made so they are uniform in length and width, straight, and with a thickness of ¼”, â ”, and ½” depending on the grade and style.
- Shakes - Available as either hand-split shakes that are rougher on the top or taper-sawed shakes that are sawed on both sides for a smoother look, shakes are also cut by hand and available in end thicknesses of â ” all the way up to 1-½” depending on the grade and the cut. Shakes are thicker on the bottom, exposed edge, thinner on the top, overlapped edge and can be cut to uniform or random widths.
Shingle and Shake Grades and Grains
Another important factor that wood roofing services will call to attention for homeowners looking for shingles or shakes is the quality and grain.
- Grade - Both shingles and shakes are available for installation by a wood roofing company in four different wood grades, with Grade 1 being the highest quality edge grain cuts made with clear, defect-free wood, and Grade 4 being the lowest quality made from imperfect wood and recommended only for use as an underlayer for house siding. Grades 2 and 3 are most popular for roofing and more affordable than top-grade shingles or shakes.
- Grain - Grain relates to the portion of the tree that the shake or shingle is cut from, and this can affect whether the wood is more or less likely to curl. Edge grain cuts made perpendicular to the tree grain are the highest quality and least likely to curl over time. Slash grain are angular cut through the wood grain and the lowest quality. Flat grain cuts, which are made parallel to the tree grain, are also less desirable as they are most likely to separate and curl.
Durability and Maintenance For Wood Shingles and Shakes
Because they are a natural and porous material, both wood shingles and shakes will eventually decompose in various ways, even with the best care provided by an experienced wood roof contractor.
They do dry out and crack over time, will frequently grow mold, algae, or moss in moister climates, and can be damaged by high winds when not securely affixed.
Because they are considerably thinner, shingles will usually need to be replaced sooner than shakes.
Maintenance including regular cleanings and periodic coats of wood sealant applied by a wood roofing service can prolong the life of shingles and shakes.
Choosing cedar and other species that are more resilient can also prolong the life of a shake or shingle installation.
Cost Comparison for Wood Shingles and Shakes
Wood shingles and shakes are both available in a variety of styles, thicknesses, shapes, cuts, and qualities.
The price range for these products can vary greatly in part due to the large variety of options available.
Generally speaking, a shingle roof installed by a wood roof company is usually less expensive than a shake roof since most shingles are machine cut today, shakes are still always hand-cut and sawed, and shakes are made from a larger piece of wood than shingles.
Talk To Wood Roof Contractors About Wood Roof Options
A shingle or shake roof installed by a skilled wood roof contractor is an amazing investment that can transform the look of any house.
Homeowners interested in this type of roof should contact a reputable wood roofing service to discuss which product is best for their needs and decide on other details.