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Davis Roofing: Article About Wood Shakes Versus Wood Shingles

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Davis roofing customers who opt for a wood roof have a choice of roofing material: wood shake and wood shingle. Much of the difference between shakes and shingles is a matter of aesthetics. Both shakes and shingles are available in common woods, including cedar, redwood and pine, and homeowners must decide which texture, edge grain and flat grain best complements the other aspects of their homes. There are practical differences, however, and these can be important factors in the decision as well.

A wood shake is created by hand splitting it from a log. Traditionally, this process was entirely done by hand, and this continues to be the case today. This manual labor can cause shakes to be more expensive than similar shingles. Although there are mechanical processes that can emulate the look, it is difficult for a machine process to achieve the shake uniqueness that is achieved by hand. The texture on the face and edge of a board that hand splitting creates gives a home a natural look.

A wood shingle serves the same function as a wood shake. The main difference is that the manufacturer cuts it from the log and further refines it using machines. This process allows all shingles to have uniform characteristics, and that allows for a wood roof that is very modern in appearance.

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Keep in mind that shingles can have texture and spectacular end grain but not in the individual manner that shakes do.

Perhaps the biggest practical difference is in the installation of a wood roof. Shakes are thicker, and therefore, shakes are heavier than shingles of the same wood. A roofer will have to determine if the structure can handle the added weight and may have to install additional support.

Another difference in installation is that wood shingles require thin wooden strips and some roofing felt to be installed beneath their lower ends. Wood shakes, on the other hand, require overlapping sections of roofing felt to be installed between all shake layers. This means that both the cost of labor and materials is often higher when installing shakes.

It is worth noting that some manufacturers sell a compromise, often called a resawn shake. Some roofers prefer resawn shakes depending on the roof, and it is worthwhile for homeowners to discuss this option with their roofing companies. However, additional manufacturing costs, which are passed on to the consumer, will likely offset any savings derived from the easier installation process.

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