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The Difference Between Wood Shakes & Shingles

Wood shakes and singles are a long time roofing favorite, typically made of red cedar, pine, cypress, and teak treated with chemicals and flame retardants to help minimize the risk of fire. They are also usually treated with pressure and certain preservatives that help with mold, decay, and insect problems. They are likely cut thicker at one end than the other to assist layering and drainage. Standard sizes are perfection cut (18 inches) and royal cut (24 inches).

What’s the Difference between Shingles & Shakes?

While you may not notice a difference walking through your neighborhood, when you look closely at a wood shake or shingle, you will see a big difference. Wood shingles are typically smooth, with a more standardized and uniform look. More often than not, wood shingles will be sawed from the same piece of wood. Wood shakes are more unique as they are hand split instead of mechanically manufactured by machines. Since they are not manufactured, the size, thickness, and texture vary more from tile to tile. Some homeowners love this natural look that cannot be truly replicated by manufacturing.

Types of Grain

There are three common cuts when looking at wood shakes and shingles. Each of these cuts offer a different pattern and texture, and sometimes a different level of durability as well. Edge Grain: this shake or shingle cut is made with a 90 degree cut to the treeʼs rings. Edge grain is known for its durability and sustainability. It is the highest quality cut you can buy because it is less likely to warp over time. Slash Grain is cut at an angle to the treeʼs rings. This type of cut is the least stable. Aside from the durability, the angled cut also makes it less desirable due to the variations of lines in the wood. Flat Grain is cut parallel to the rings of the trees, and while it can create interesting patterns, it is less stable than edge grain and can warp over time.

Which is Better for My House?

Ultimately the choice is yours when choosing a wood shake roof or a wood shingle roof, as both have their advantages and disadvantages. As far as style goes, many choose wood shakes for more traditional homes & ranch-style homes to enhance a more natural, organic look to their home. Wood shingles are more common in cottage-style home. When choosing shake or shingle, take into account the environment and ecosystem in which you live. Humidity, big storms, and insects can do a number on your wood shakes and shingles regardless of which you choose. Make sure you have treated the wood to prevent these issues.

What’s the Price Difference?

Cost is sometimes the biggest thing to consider when choosing your roof shakes and shingles. As previously mentioned, shingles are manufactured while shakes are man-made. That being said, shakes will be sometimes cost double the price of shingles due to material costs and installation fees. The type of wood you choose will also determine the price of your roof. Cedar is the most common & budget-friendly option; however, a teak roof will cost more but typically outlive a cedar roof. Still not sure if you want a wood shake or wood shingle roof? Reach out to us at CMR Roofing & Construction so we can help you make an informed choice on whatʼs best for your home!

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