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Wood Shake Roofs vs Shingles: Understanding the Maintenance and Repair Costs

Posted on : April 26, 2023

Wood Shake Roofs vs Shingles: Understanding the Maintenance and Repair Costs

Do you want to install a wood shake or shingle roof on your home or business? If yes, this blog post can guide you through your decision-making process. 

In this article, we’ll explain the pros and cons of each, along with their maintenance requirements and repair costs. So, read on to make sure you select the best roofing option for your home!

What Are Wood Shakes and Shingles?

Wood Shakes

Wood shakes are a kind of roofing and siding material made from natural wood, having one side textured and the other smooth. They are usually made by splitting the wooden blocks into slabs and then tapering them to form wood shakes. Wood shakes are generally made of natural wood such as cedar, redwood, and pine. 

On historic homes, wood shakes were installed to protect roofs from water infiltration and harsh weather. However, in modern times, although various roofing materials are available on the market, wood shakes are still used to provide homes with a traditional, natural, and classic look.

Wood shakes enhance the curb appeal of both homes and businesses, giving them an elegant and rustic appearance. Since wood is naturally rust and corrosion-resistant, these shakes offer durability and protection against external elements. In addition to their use on roofs, wood shakes are also employed for various decorative and artistic purposes.

Wood Shakes
Wood Shakes

Wood Shingles

Although wood shingles and wood shakes are made from the same materials, they have distinct differences. Wood shingles are a type of shingle with a smooth appearance on both sides, as opposed to wood shakes, which have one smooth side and one textured side. Wood shingles give a roof a smooth and classic look while also providing durability and longevity. Additionally, their smooth surface and consistent size allow rainwater to easily shed off the roof.

Wood shingles are individually attached to the roofing deck using corrosion-resistant nails. While wood shakes and shingles may seem similar to some, they are indeed different from one another. The differences between wood shingles and wood shakes include the thickness of the slabs, the smooth and rough textures, and the range of application.

Wood Shingles
Wood Shingles

Pros and Cons of Wood Shakes 

Pros of Wood Shakes:

1. Aesthetics: Wood shakes have a rustic, natural, and traditional look that can enhance the beauty of a building.

2. Durability: Wood shakes can last for up to 30 years with proper maintenance.

3. Energy efficiency: Wood shakes offer good insulation and can help reduce energy costs.

4. Eco-friendly: Wood shakes are made from renewable resources and can be recycled at the end of their life.

Cons of Wood Shakes:

1. Cost: Wood shakes can be more expensive than other roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles.

2. Susceptibility to moisture: Wood shakes are susceptible to moisture damage and rot, especially in areas with high humidity or frequent rain.

3. Complicated installation: Due to their thickness and rough texture, wooden shakes are more challenging to install compared to wood shingles and may require additional expertise.

Pros and Cons of Wood Shingles 

Pros of Wood Shingles:

1. Aesthetics: Wood shingles have a natural, traditional look that can enhance the beauty of any building. Since they’re also cut by a machine instead of hand-cut, they also provide a cleaner appearance. 

2. Durability: Proper maintenance can help wood shingles last up to 25 years.

3. Energy efficiency: By offering good insulation to homes and commercial buildings, wood shingles reduce energy costs.

4. Eco-friendly: Wood shingles are an eco-friendly option for property owners, as they are made of renewable wood. They can be recycled after their life. 

Cons of Wood Shingles:

1. Cost: Wood shingles are more expensive than other roofing materials in the market.

2. Maintenance: Wood shingles require regular maintenance to prevent decay and damage from insects and weathering.

3. Susceptibility to pests: Wood shingles can attract pests, such as termites and carpenter ants, which can cause significant damage to the roof over time.

Maintenance Costs for Wood Shakes and Shingles

Wood shakes are more likely to catch debris, dust, mold, and mildew because of their textured surface. So, to ensure that mold and mildew don’t harm the wood shakes, you need to take proper care of them to keep them in good condition. 

On the other hand, wood shingle roofs are at high risk of losing shingles in response to high winds and strong storms. When shingles are moved from their position by storms, the roof becomes vulnerable to water infiltration and further roof damage. Therefore, if you want to keep your wood shingle roof intact, you need to repair or replace the missing sections on your roof in a timely manner. 

This maintenance process may require some time, effort, and, of course, expense. In many cases, professional inspection and maintenance may be necessary. The maintenance of wood shingle and wood shake roofs depends on various factors, including the roof size, the extent of maintenance needed, and the labor and material costs in the region.

Repair Costs for Wood Shakes and Shingles

Wood shakes and shingles are at a higher risk of deterioration due to rain or strong winds. They can split, crack, and break as a result of weather conditions, necessitating professional repairs that come with a cost. Sometimes, the repair or maintenance expenses can become unexpectedly high, depending on the extent of the damage.

On average, the cost of repairing wood shingles and shakes may range from a few hundred dollars to over $750, depending on the extent of the damage that requires repair. As wood shakes and shingles are often made from similar materials, such as cedar, redwood, or pine wood, the repair costs vary based on the size of the damage, the type of wood being used, and other factors like labor costs, regional pricing differences, and the complexity of the repair job. It's important to consult with a local roofing professional for a more accurate estimate tailored to your specific situation.

Factors Affecting Maintenance and Repair Costs

Repair and maintenance costs, as mentioned above, depend largely on several factors, including: 

The Climate In Your Area

The climate is a major factor affecting the repair and maintenance of your wood roof. Homeowners living in harsh weather conditions, with heavy rainfall, snowfall, and high humidity, may require more frequent roof repairs and maintenance to keep their shingles intact. For example, wood roofing in areas with high humidity levels will make the roof vulnerable to fungal growth, which will require regular cleaning and treatment to keep your roof in good condition. 

Similarly, wood shingles in areas with frequent snow require extra protection against ice dam formation and related damage. Extreme weather events, like storms, hurricanes, and hail, can also harm wood roofs, calling for professional repairs and maintenance.

The Slope Of Wood Roofs

Roof pitch or slope is another factor that can impact your roof repairs and maintenance costs. For instance, high-pitched wood shake roof repair requires more time and materials and, therefore, more labor, which ultimately adds up to your roof repair costs. In addition, sloped roofs require specialized equipment and safety measures. 

Low-sloped wood roofs or flat roofs, on the other hand, are easy to access and manage. Therefore, depending on the size of the damage, repairing low-pitched wood roofs may be less expensive. 

The Quality of Installation

The quality of a wood shake roof installation plays a crucial role in your roof repair and maintenance. A well-installed roof with high-quality materials may require less frequent repairs and maintenance compared to a poorly installed roof with lower-quality materials that may degrade faster. Proper installation techniques, such as adequate roof underlayment, flashing, and ventilation, can help prevent common issues that may arise in wood shake and shingle 

roofs, such as leaks, rot, or insect infestation. 

Tips for Reducing Maintenance and Repair Costs

Here are some tips to follow to help your roof last longer. 

Regular Inspections

In order to keep your roof healthy and durable, you must inspect your roof regularly. Regular inspection can help you detect persistent issues and damage you can’t spot from the ground, which will help you take preventative measures and handle repairs before they become too costly. 

Apply Protective Coatings

Applying a protective sealant or a moss and algae inhibitor can help prevent the growth of moss, algae, and other organisms that will damage the roof. Sealants or waterproof coatings can also provide an additional layer of protection against moisture and UV rays. 

Regular Cleaning and Maintenance

Clean your roof regularly and remove elements like dust and fungal spores from your roof.

Also, regularly clean your gutters and downspouts to ensure the water doesn’t back up onto your roof. The water backing up from clogged gutters can damage your gutters and roof, requiring gutters repair

Hire Professional Roofers for a Quality Roof Installation

Do you want to replace your roof at home or business? If so, you’re in the right place! Call McClellands Contracting and Roofing today at (412) 353-5660 for a consultation with our experts. We also cover exterior services, including the installation of gutters, siding, and windows.  So, you won’t have to worry about hiring multiple contractors for your home improvement and repair. 

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