Who better to compare synthetic cedar shake products than a genuine cedar roofing contractor? The experts at Shake Guys re-roof a good deal of homes that switch from real to synthetic products. Homeowners in northern Chicagoland are seeing the added benefit of faux shakes which do not require preservation treatments, saving thousands of dollars over time!
With so many styles, colors, and other unique attributes to the various products now available, homeowners are becoming overwhelmed with their options. We think our deeper look at the top products will help direct your decision-making process.
Specs, Opinions, & Gradings of the Top Synthetic Cedar Shake Products
These faux shakes are made from 95% recycled materials and come with a fully transferable warranty. They claim to be UV protected and able to withstand winds up to 180 MPH. They come in two colors, silver cedar and darker aged cedar (grays), or you can get a mix of the two. They come in straight or staggered lengths with nine different grain textures. The upfront cost is slightly higher than traditional cedar, and installation is almost relative.
Overall, we think this product is one of the better options if you want a synthetic take on a naturally-aged shake roof. The ridge caps are certainly better than most! The 95% recycled material composition is seen as a big plus to some, but it is also a bit of a red flag, as UV damage isn’t the only concern. Heat and temperature stress will also break down composites over time. They come in eight distinct colors, allowing you to blend your own mix.
Natural Look: B
Trust Factor: B
Brava synthetic shakes come in 5”, 7”, and 12” widths with varied thicknesses. They also boast their intricate hand-split texture and they need no special tools to install (which is common). Brava shakes come in eight distinct colors and blending your own mix of them works in most combinations. Their shake roofing system accessories includes a solid tile accessory to assist in the installation at gables and valleys plus starter pieces, and hip/ridge trim complete the line. They come with a 50-year product warranty.
They don’t talk too much about their polymer compositions, so it’s hard to know what they’re made of or have been made of in the past. Our general opinion of their products is based on their look. While they use fantastic hyper-realistic grain molds, it is heavy handed for some. It’s also good to note that synthetic roofing products typically have some level of polymer sheen that just says “fake”. These faux shakes are not as plastic looking as some out there, even if their color is perhaps the best. Speaking of color, you’ll see colors, plural, on each shake. Pretty cool stuff!
Natural Look: B+
Trust Factor: B+
CeDur boast their “State-of-the-Art Polyurethane Technology” which ensures long-term durability and is developed to withstand nature’s harsh fire, hail, wind, and UV conditions. They withstand winds up to 115 MPH due to having a lightweight composition. They are molded from real shakes with 5, 7 and 12-inch widths. Three colors are made that don’t really work when combined; Chocolate brown, Gray, and Live Oak (Caramel brown).
These may seem a little clunky but they do give great definition. CeDUR may have the worst color choices out there but they are not totally bad. They just look a hair more unnatural and cheap. There’s nothing else nice to say, so we’ll stop there.
Natural Look: B
Trust Factor: B-
DaVinci hand-split composite shake roofing tiles are carefully crafted using only virgin resins to guarantee a sustainable product. They come in 9″, 8″, 7″, 6″ and 4″ widths and a virtually limitless color palette. Unlike competitors you can get straight and/or wavy grains. They come with a lifetime warranty and are 100% recyclable.
We like this product for a host of reasons:
- The new polymer point makes a lot of sense in terms of lifespan prospects.
- It has the colors and styles to match any desire.
- Each shake looks to be the correct match to the real thing in terms of thickness and hard edges.
- Unlike most faux products, DaVinci has relatively low sheen associated with polymers.
The only drawback is that there is a bit of a fake look to the butts that other products do better with. Their variable/staggered lengths also look too perfect.
Natural Look: B
Trust Factor: A
Arcella come in five “authentic” colors and subtle shade variations. Each piece of their composite cedar shakes is injection molded for optimal control and performance. “Standard” widths of 5″, 7.5″, or 10″, are available in mixes. Arcella composite cedar shake roofing can be installed at 9.25″ exposure or 10.25″ exposure. Unlike other products they only come in staggered lengths. The standard 50-Year Limited Lifetime Warranty that is provided with this product.
These guys look too perfect and have too much sheen. The colors are too limited and don’t look good mixed. These are one of the best choices if you like the look of fresh cedar shakes however.
Natural Look: B
Trust Factor: C+
There are few other products on the market but these tend to be the big five synthetic cedar shake products people inquire about, or that we’ve installer or removed. Shake Guys also advises homeowners looking for an alternative to cedar shakes review GAF designer composite shingles in their Glenwood series. These ultra-thick asphalt shingles have remarkable colors and cuts to mimic cedar shake.