Wood (Cedar) Shingles vs. Asphalt Shingles for Arizona Roofs

How do elegant cedar shingle roofs stack up to modern asphalt (composition) shingle roofs? Let’s compare the pros and cons of each roofing material so you can decide which one is best for your Arizona home.

Cedar Shingle Pros

  • Make you feel like royalty: Cedar shingles are as attractive as you are. Homeowners prefer smooth-sawn architecturally uniform cedar shingles for its natural and tailored appearance. They’re best installed on historic homes or homes located in new developments with high appearance-standards.
  • Durable and weather resistant: Cedar shingles aren’t babies; they’re tough, resistant to strong winds and are durable enough to survive severe storms, including Arizona haboobs. Thicker cedar shingles (cedar shakes) are even more durable and are less likely to fly off.
  • Can help lower cooling costs: Cedar shakes provide natural insulation, causing your AC to run less often.
  • Longer lifespan: Depending on the thickness, cedar shingles can last up to 30-50 years, depending on the thickness.
  • Environmentally friendly: Cedar shingles are cut from old-growth trees and are compost-friendly.

Cedar Shingle Cons

  • Costs more compared to asphalt: Compared to asphalt, cedar shingles costs more to buy and install (how much more depends on the material quality and who installs it.)
  • Requires more maintenance: Being made of wood, cedar shingles are under constant threat of rot, mold and mildew. However, this issue isn’t as common in Arizona due to our dry climate.

Asphalt Shingle Pros

  • Relatively inexpensive (for now): This has traditionally been your “roof on a budget” option. However, asphalt shingle pricing is tied to petroleum costs and they have been continuously increasing in price. So get a quote for both cedar and asphalt roofs for an accurate estimate.
  • Varied style choices: Asphalt shingles come in a wide-variety of styles, quality and colors.
  • Durable: Asphalt shingles, when properly installed, are less likely to break when someone walks on the roof.

Asphalt shingle cons

  • Lifespan varies: Shingle roofs last between 20-50 years depending on the quality of the shingles and the manner in which it was installed. Lack of maintenance decreases the lifespan of the shingles.
  • Makes it harder for your home to cool down: Shingles form a barrier against heat, but they also don’t “breathe” (aka promote airflow). So once your home does gain heat, it’s hard for it to escape. This makes it hard for your home to cool down. Say hello to higher energy bills! However if you are okay with a lighter colored shingle there are some Energy Star™ rated shingles to choose from.
  • Discolors over time: Shingles will discolor under Arizona’s hot sun. So replacing a few old shingles will give your room an ugly, mismatched look.

Need Cedar or Asphalt Installation Estimates?

We’re on top of it (literally). Contact Lyons Roofing for a free roofing installation estimate for your Phoenix or Tucson area home.