Shakes on roof

Shingles vs. Shakes: What's the Difference?

Many people love the look of wood shingles or wood shakes. Both have been incredibly popular for decades, largely because they are both attractive and durable. They also provide good insulation from both heat and cold, and you can get both in fire-retardant options. With recent improvements in roofing technology, wood shingles and shakes are likely to continue being popular for years to come.

However, how do you choose between the two? What is the difference? Many people conflate the two terms and assume that they are the same thing. This is not the case. Keep reading to learn the difference between shingles and shakes.

How Are Shingles & Shakes Different

When it comes to wood roofing, there are two types: shingles and shakes. Both shingles and shakes are most commonly made from cedar. However, they can also be made from spruce, redwood, and even treated pine. Though wood roofing tends to be more expensive than asphalt shingles, it continues to be popular for its long lifespan and aesthetic appeal.

Wood shingles are machine-made and have a clean, uniform appearance. Shingles tend to be thinner than shakes and are tapered. Additionally, wood shingles are smooth on both sides. Conversely, wood shakes are split by hand and have more texture. When placed next to each other, the difference in appearance is very clear, with shakes having a rougher, heavier look. Additionally, because they are hand-split, each wood shake has a unique appearance.

Which Is Better?

When someone asks us which is better, shakes or shingles, the answer is complicated. Both types of wood roofing are very durable, though heavy shakes have a bit more durability due to how thick they are compared to shingles. Though wood is prone to discoloration, shingles and shakes tend to maintain a pleasing appearance throughout their lifespan. With proper care and maintenance, both shakes and shingles can last anywhere from 30-50 years.

Another concern people have when it comes to wood shingles is whether they offer fire protection. Both wood shakes and shingles come in permanent fire-retardant options. Fire protection is achieved through pressure impregnating shingles and shakes with fire-retardant polymers.

When it comes to picking between wood shakes or shingles, it often comes down to price and your aesthetic preferences. Wood shingles are generally less expensive than wood shakes. This is because of the labor involved in producing wood shakes.

How to Take Care of Wood Roofing

To get the most out of your wood roofing, you should make roof maintenance a priority. Each year, you should schedule an inspection and roof maintenance with a professional roofer like ours at Lyons Roofing. During this inspection, your roofer will inspect your entire roof, identify any potential issues, and provide you with your repair options.

In between maintenance visits, you should occasionally inspect your roof for damage yourself. This is particularly important after bad weather, such as heavy rains or a hailstorm.

With wood roofing, you also want to make sure that your shingles or shakes are kept clean and that any moss, algae, or other plant growth are promptly removed. However, you must be careful how you go about washing your wood roofing. You should avoid pressure washing as this can damage the wood. Wood shakes and shingles are also more susceptible to rotting and cracking. If you notice dark discoloration or damaged shingles, reach out to our professional roofers for guidance.

Are Wood Roofs Susceptible to Termites?

Termites are indeed attracted to wood. However, if your roof is made from cedar, you do not have to worry nearly as much. Though cedar is not entirely termite-repellant, they do tend to avoid this type of wood. Besides keeping your roof well-maintained and free of debris, it is a good idea to have your home inspected for pests and termites yearly.