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What You Need to Know About Wood Roofs

Wood is one of the oldest and most durable materials used for roofing surfaces. Wood was used to build the first homes in colonial America, and it is still a preferred roofing material for certain affluent residences that want a rustic look.

Cedar Is Usually the Best Wood Option

Few materials compare to cedar in terms of moisture and rot resistance, but if you live in a western area, redwood can be an option. Redwood has all of the wearability of cedar, and it may even have a little aesthetic benefit. However, because redwood grows exclusively near the Pacific coast, it is less common and more expensive than cedar. Yellow pine and cypress are two cost-effective options, but they both require particular treatment to be appropriate for roofing. No treatment can make them as durable and long-lasting as cedar.

The Advantages of a Wood Roof

Wooden shake is a true classic roofing material for residential homes, and it’s also one of the most aesthetically beautiful of all the other options available. While you may believe that superior new materials such as asphalt and steel are a more attractive roofing material than wood shake, you may be mistaken. A hardwood roof offers a variety of advantages over conventional roofing systems. Wooden roofs are not only attractive, but they are also durable, environmentally beneficial, and energy efficient.

The following are some of the benefits of a wooden roof:

Exceptional Insulation
Natural hardwood is used to make wood shake shingles, such as cedar. Because wood is a natural insulator, your wood shake will keep your home cooler during hot summer days and will automatically chill your home during the winter. Wood shake is a wonderful alternative for your home if you want to improve the energy efficiency of your property.

Roofing that is durable
High-quality wood shake shingles can also maintain their original shape and size even when exposed to increasingly humid circumstances. Natural wood shakes have an inert chemical composition that resists shrinking and provides them a level of durability comparable to asphalt.

Roofing System That Is Resistant
Choose wood shake shingles if you want a stylish and weather-resistant roof. Natural preservatives in cedar shield it from harmful UV radiation and dampness. Wood shake shingles are also pet-resistant and have a natural wind resistance that is equivalent to contemporary roofing materials.

Aesthetically pleasing and one-of-a-kind rooftop

Even asphalt shingles that simulate wood shakes can’t match the authentic appearance and texture of natural wood. As a result, wood shake shingles are the most attractive roofing option for your home. It’s an excellent opportunity to replace your wood shake roof. Unlike asphalt shingles, concrete, or even slate, wood roofs are an unusual choice of roofing material. Because of the unique grain and design of each wood shake or shingle, no two wooden roofs are ever the identical, making your home stand out from the crowd.

When you choose cedar shingles for your roofing, you are choosing a sustainable timber that has a smaller environmental impact than petroleum goods. To ensure that the wood you are using has been harvested safely and sustainably, consult with a skilled roofing contractor and use only FSC accredited shingles.

Repairing is simple.
When the roof is damaged, replacing wood shingles is simple as long as they are properly installed. Never endanger a roof’s structural integrity with do-it-yourself repairs; instead, use a professional roofing contractor. This method allows for a low-cost renovation as well as professional upkeep. If you want to install a wooden roof, talk to a local roofing business. They can provide you additional information about the advantages and disadvantages of a wooden roof.


One of the few disadvantages of wood roofs is that they require more care than other forms of roofing. In general, wood shakes and shingles are more prone to moss and algae growth than other types of roofing. To resist this, they are frequently treated with preventative chemicals, but few treatments are likely to last as long as the roof. Moss deteriorates the wood and collects debris on the roof, therefore it must be removed on a regular basis by power washing or scraping and sweeping. Individual shakes are also prone to splitting, becoming misplaced, or falling off. It’s usually simple to swap them out.


Although cedar roofing is a lovely material, it can be difficult to deal with. The rustic all-natural wood expands and contracts with the seasons, and if necessary precautions are not taken, it is prone to water damage. Avoid these blunders while planning the installation of your new cedar roof. It’s no surprise that different materials have tried to imitate the look of cedar roofing.

Failure to Allow the Wood to Acclimate

You might be tempted to put your new cedar roofing on as soon as you get it, but you should wait until the wood has had enough time to adjust to your home’s climate. Temperature and moisture levels may cause the wood to expand or contract. Outdoors, keep the shakes or shingles covered and off the ground. The amount of time you’ll need to acclimate depends on the wood you chose and your location.

Incorrect Nails

When dealing with cedar, use two-inch stainless steel, galvanized, or aluminum nails. Choose your stainless steel alloy based on your distance from the ocean if you’re using it. If you live fewer than 15 miles from saltwater, use a 316 alloy; otherwise, use a 304 alloy. When you use a nail with a ring shank, the nail will not pop out as your cedar roofing expands naturally.

Making Use of a Nail Gun

Nail guns have a tendency to drive the nail too far into the shingle, causing it to break and fall off. Furthermore, if you fire the nails too quickly, you may miss the skip sheathing beneath the shingle. Any missing nails will increase the likelihood of shingles cracking and curling. Hand-nail two nails into each shingle to avoid this. Place four inches from the top and one inch on each side of the nails.

Incorrect Shingle Positioning
Beginning with the bottom row, overhang each shingle at least an inch and a half over the edge of the roof, with the thick end at the top. Then, on top of that, add shingles, with the thickest area at the bottom. Allow roughly a quarter-inch between each shingle to allow for natural expansion.

Inadequately ventilated shingles
If a cedar roof has insufficient or no ventilation, it can result in catastrophic damage such as shingle warping or curling. Furthermore, airflow ensures that the shingles dry correctly and do not decay. You can use a cold roof system to ventilate your roof and keep it temperature balanced in order to accomplish optimal ventilation. Eave venting, ridge venting, and skip sheathing are the three most important components of a cold roof system.

Wood Shingles vs Shakes

Because of the rising cost of cedar and the growing popularity of metal, what was once a fairly typical roof type in the early twentieth century has become a boutique alternative. The way each one is made is what distinguishes them. Wood shingles were sawn from a block of wood 50 years ago, and wood shakes were split off with a sharp blade or mallet. Wood shingles are now machine-produced, while wood shakes are made by hand with the use of power equipment, thanks to technological improvements. Because shingles are tapered by sawing but shake is not, the finished effect of a wood shake roof is highly textured. Because they are sawn, shingles have some cross grain, whereas shakes are split and follow the grain more precisely. A wood shingle roof will have a much smoother and more consistent appearance. A roof made of wood shakes will appear more rustic and natural.

Which is better: shakes or shingles?

Most people think of shingles when they think of roofs, but that isn’t the case with cedar roofs. On the walls, cedar shingles are popular, while cedar shakes are more common on roofs. So, what’s the difference between the two? Shingles are thinner and sawn on both sides than shakes. Shakes are thicker and have one or both sides that are divided. Shakes are made from two types of wood: western red cedar and Alaskan yellow cedar. Alaskan yellow cedar is a cypress that is much harder than red cedar. Although popular on the West Coast, Alaskan yellow cedar is largely unknown in the eastern United States.