Wooden Shakes and Shingles: What Makes Them Worth It?

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Wood has always been a staple when it comes to building and construction. Since trees usually surround us, wood is considered to be one of the most widely available building material for thousands of years.

In terms of roofing materials, wooden shakes and shingles are not unheard of, but they’re not as common as your usual three-tab shingles and BUR for flat roofs. But surprisingly, in terms of overall performance, wooden shakes and shingles seem to have a longer lifespan and insulation than their more expensive counterparts.

What’s the Difference?

But first, we have to discern the difference between a shingle and a shake. Even though most will think these materials are the same thing since they serve the same purpose, there are some stark differences.

Aside from having similar traits and characteristics, the main difference between a wooden shake and shingle is how they are made. Wooden shingles tend to be more precise and are usually made with saws and other equipment through precision. Shakes have a rougher finish, and they’re not necessarily as exact in how they’re made. Usually, wooden shakes are made from being split by hand.

In terms of pricing, wooden shakes and shingles are slightly less pricey than your usual commonly used shingles. In terms of the standard retail price, shingles cost around $6.50 to $10.50 for every square foot and $650 to $1,050 for 100 square feet (or square, in roofing terms). Shakes, on the other hand, cost around $7.50 to $11.50, which makes them at least a dollar more expensive.  If you think that seems a lot, most homeowners will need to spend around $3,500 to $5,000 for more intricate forms of roofing materials.

wood planters

However, homeowners should keep in mind that these prices will depend on which state you’re in and what type of wood is used. Sturdier wood will be more expensive, so it’s best to ask a professional’s opinion on the matter first.

Even though shakes seem to be a bit more expensive, they are relatively thicker than shingles. Since they have more mass, it does a better job of insulating your home and will last a few years longer than your typical wooden shingle. Not a bad deal for something that’s only a dollar more expensive. 

Are They Worth It?

Compared to other intricate roofing materials that are made of clay, metal, and synthetic materials, wood is a pretty simple building material. Even though it is simple, its reliable durability and longevity make it an excellent staple for building materials. Usually, wooden roofing materials aren’t as expensive as any other roof material in the market, which makes them a great choice if you’re on a budget.

Surprisingly, wooden shingles have an even better lifespan than most materials in the industry. Being able to last 30 to 40 years means that it will last longer than the usual lifespan of 25 to 30 years of particular shingles.

It’s also worth noting that wood does have its downsides and isn’t a be-all-end-all material that people will use for roofs. Usually, buildings that are close to each other won’t use wooden shakes and shingles since they can easily catch on fire. The same can be said when it comes to pests. If a termite infestation isn’t detected during its early stages, this could lead to the deterioration of your wooden roof materials while also spreading to neighboring homes. If you do find signs of gnawing marks, mud tubes, or termite structures in wood surfaces, it’s always an excellent choice to get treatment. There are also some instances that too much moisture can rot away specific wooden structures.

While not necessarily being the best roofing material in the market, it’s quite cost-effective while lasting longer than some other building materials. If you’re living in colder regions of the country, wooden shakes and shingles are excellent in giving out a rustic and cozy vibe for a get-away home that’s snuggled away in thick boreal and temperate forests. Not to mention, it has a suitable amount of insulation, which means that you’ll be cozy.

No matter where we are, wood will always be a standard and readily available building material that makes it a go-to choice for any homeowner. Wooden shakes and shingles are worth it. Ultimately, it will all depend on your personal preference and the advantages of each material. If you like the finesse and symmetrical surface of wooden shingles, then they are an excellent choice for a ‘cleaner’ look to your home. Do you love the rugged and personal hand-made feel of wooden shakes? Then they’re great for homes designed to withstand cold winters. 

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