The Benefits and Concerns of Wood Shake Roofing Everything You Need to Know

Skywalker Roofing Company
The Benefits and Concerns of Wood Shake Roofing Everything You Need to Know
August 25
By Luke Wilson | Roofing, Roofing Contractors

Respect the Classics: Wood Shake Roofing

Choosing which type of roof to put over your head is no small decision. Your roof stands guard over your home or business 24/7, so you obviously want something which will provide reliable protection, while still being visually appealing. To that end, perhaps no roofing material has stood the test of time better than wood shakes. People have been covering their roofs with natural wood shakes not just for hundreds of years, but for thousands of years!

Wood shakes have become less popular in recent years, thanks in large part to the emergence of many high-performing roofing materials on the market. Even so, some property owners are still choosing the earthy, rustic look of real wood roofing, and all the visual advantages that come along with it.


What Are Wood Shakes, Anyway?

Wood shakes are also commonly referred to as wood shingles, even though they’re quite different from asphalt shingles in terms of size, depth, texture, and other properties. Wood shakes are commonly manufactured from western red cedar, cypress, pine, and redwood trees. The shakes are actually split from real logs, and are then shaped and finished by manufacturers for residential and commercial roofing usage. Wood shakes are still used all over the world today. Modern wood shake and wood shingle products are treated with fire retardant and other chemical preservatives to help make them less susceptible to fire or decay. Treated wood shakes deliver higher levels of moisture resistance than untreated shakes, and wood shakes are typically classified as an eco-friendly roofing option since they come from a renewable resource – trees!

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Advantages of Natural Wood Shakes

As we mentioned before, wood shakes have been a commonly-used roofing material as long as buildings have HAD roofs. But what makes wood shakes something worth considering for your roof? Here are a few benefits of choosing to install wood shake roofing:

1. Natural insulator

Wood is a natural insulator, and that’s something which simply can’t be said for every roofing material. If energy efficiency is a priority for you and your home environment, then wood shake shingles are certainly worth a look. The insulating properties of a natural wood roof can help keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.

2. Natural resistance to winds & pests

Wood shakes are cut to a depth and weight that makes them more wind-resistant than some other roofing materials, as long as the shakes are fastened properly during the installation process. Woods like cedar also deter many pests, and are naturally pest-resistant.

3. Durability & stability of natural cedar

There are other things to like about cedar shakes in particular. Cedar includes natural preservatives which offer protection from UV exposure, moisture, and rot. Cedar maintains its form and structure well, resisting both shrinking and swelling – even in the face of humid conditions.

4. Unmatchable natural beauty

Last but not least, there’s the natural beauty factor. Many still regard natural wood shakes to be the most attractive roofing material there is. While some modern roofing materials seek to mimic the aesthetics of wood shakes, nothing else is as authentic as the look of real wood.

wood shake

Disadvantages of Natural Wood Shakes

While there really is a lot to like about wood shakes, there are also a few cons to keep in mind, too. Here are some of the potential disadvantages that go along with choosing wood shake roofing:

• Fire concerns

We mentioned above that modern wood shake products are treated with fire-retardant. Even so, wood is still a very flammable material by definition, so fire threats are still a concern with wood shakes.

• Mold & mildew concerns

Mold & mildew grow best in moist environments, and many types of wood shake products are known to retain moisture more than other roofing materials. And once mold or mildew set in, even more moisture is retained, which can potentially lead to water damage and rot.

• Cracks can lead to leaks

Over time, wood can start to split and crack. While this look can give your roof more visual character, the reality of cracked shakes is that they’re more of a leak risk than other comparable roofing materials.

• Discoloration over time

Some folks really don’t mind the faded look of weathered wood shakes, and some find weathered shakes to be even more endearing. But if you’re someone who wants your roof to maintain its original color, then wood shakes probably aren’t the best choice for you.

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What It Takes to Maintain a Wood Shake Roof

If you’re ready to make a wood shake roof investment, then it will be helpful for you to also have a better understanding of what wood shake roof maintenance involves. Here are a few best tips and recommendations:

1. Prevention is the best medicine

As is true for pretty much any other type of roof, prevention is the best medicine for wood shake roofs. Start by making sure any overhanging branches or nearby vegetation stays trimmed. The less debris there is to fall on your roof, the better. Be sure to keep your gutters clean, too. And here’s another pro tip for wood shake roofs: install some strips of zinc or copper. Runoff from these strips helps to inhibit the growth of moss, mold, and mildew.

2. Proper wood shake washing

What’s true for other roof types is true for wood shake roofs, too – avoid using a pressure washer. Pressure washers can actually do damage to your roof, and can force water into the roof sheathing as well. Use a normal garden hose and a brush or pump sprayer instead.

3. Apply regular preservative treatments

Some commercial treatments are known to help restore decay-resistance properties to a wood roof that’s accumulated some years of service. It’s a good idea to apply these treatments every five years or so, in order to prolong the longevity of your wood shakes.


Looking for the Best Local Wood Shake Roofing Provider in NC or VA? Choose Skywalker!

Choosing your preferred roofing material is important, but it’s perhaps more important to choose the right installer to make sure your wood shakes are put down correctly. Skywalker Roofing has installed hundreds of wood shake and cedar shake roofs for local customers, and we know how to make your home roof stand out from those around you. In addition, Skywalker is a preferred installer of all types of popular roofing materials, from wood shakes, to asphalt shingles, to metal, to slate, tile, and high-performing synthetic materials.

Skywalker is the premier roofing contractor serving both North Carolina and Virginia. Don’t just take our word for it, though; take some time to check out our reviews on Google, Facebook, and Guild Quality. Our satisfied customers will testify as to why we’re the local roofing provider you really can trust to take care of your roof – and take care of you – the right way!

We’re proud to serve the NC Piedmont Triad, NC Piedmont Triangle, Lake Norman area, and southwestern VA region, and we’d be honored to serve your particular roofing and home exterior needs, too. Just give us a call at +1 (336) 627-5596, and let us show you the Skywalker difference!

Luke Wilson

Luke Wilson

Owner - Skywalker Roofing

Luke Wilson started working on roofs with his dad when he was a teenager, and eventually launched Skywalker Roofing in 2003. Skywalker operates in 5 locations across NC & VA, and now includes windows, siding, and other exterior services. Luke also hosts the popular Roofing Mythbusters series on YouTube.

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