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cedar shake roof

Wood Shakes vs Shingles: What’s the Difference?

So, you’ve decided to give your home a rustic, natural look with a wooden roof?

Great choice! Wood roofs can bring warmth and character to your home while adding a touch of timeless elegance. However, before you embark on your roofing project, it’s essential to understand the difference between wood shakes and shingles.

In this homeowner’s guide, we’ll break down the distinctions between these two wooden roofing options to help you make the right choice for your home. Let’s explore the world of wood shakes and shingles!

Inside this blog:

  • A brief overview of the features + benefits of wood shakes
  • A brief overview of of the features + benefits of wood shingles
  • The 3 key factors to consider when choosing between wood shakes and shingles:

Keep reading to discover everything you need to know about wood shakes vs shingles and figure out which type of roofing material could upgrade your home and benefit you the most!

Wood Shakes: Rustic Charm and Texture

Wood cedar shakes have been used as a roofing material for centuries, and they’re known for their rustic, textured appearance. Here’s what you need to know about wood shakes:

Hand-Crafted Look


Wood shakes are typically hand-crafted from cedar, redwood, or other types of hardwood, showcasing the artisanal touch in every piece. This craftsmanship adds to their distinctive, rugged appearance, and the variations in handcrafted shakes can create a unique, one-of-a-kind aesthetic for your home.

Thickness and Texture

Shakes are thicker than cedar shingles, which gives them a more pronounced texture and a natural, irregular look. This extra thickness not only adds to their visual appeal but also contributes to their durability and ability to withstand various weather conditions.


When properly maintained, a cedar shake roof can have a long lifespan, often lasting 30 to 40 years or more. Their durability makes them an excellent investment, and regular maintenance can ensure they reach their full potential in terms of longevity, offering lasting protection to your home.


Over time, wood shakes weather to a beautiful silver-gray color, adding to their charm and character. This natural weathering process not only enhances their aesthetic appeal but also reflects their resilience in the face of changing seasons, creating a timeless and inviting look for your home.

Wood Shingles: Uniform Elegance and Durability

Wood shingles, on the other hand, offer a more uniform and refined look. Here’s what you should know about wood shingles:


Wood shingles are machine-cut to ensure uniform thickness and shape, giving them a sleek, elegant appearance that can enhance the architectural appeal of your home.


Shingles are generally more durable than shakes and can last up to 25 to 30 years with proper maintenance, offering long-term protection for your property.

Minimal Maintenance

They require less maintenance compared to shakes because of their smoother surface, which discourages the growth of moss and algae, saving you time and effort in preserving their pristine appearance.

Color Variation

While wood shingles start with a uniform color, they may develop some color variation over time as they weather, adding a natural patina that can enhance the visual appeal of your roof, giving it character and depth.

Comparing Wood Shakes and Shingles: A Closer Look 🔍


Let’s delve deeper into the 3 key factors to consider when choosing between wood shakes and shingles:

1. Appearance and Texture

Wood Shakes Pros ✅

  • Rustic and textured look with natural variations.
  • Adds character and charm to your home’s exterior.

Wood Shakes Cons ❎

  • The irregular surface may trap more debris, moss, or algae.

Wood Shingles Pros ✅

  • Uniform and sleek appearance for a classic and elegant aesthetic.
  • Less likely to trap debris, moss, or algae due to the smoother surface.

Wood Shingles Cons ❎

  • May lose some of the rustic character found in wood shakes.

2. Durability and Longevity

Wood Shakes Pros ✅

  • Longer lifespan, often 30 to 40 years or more.
  • Excellent resistance to strong winds and hail.

Wood Shakes Cons ❎

  • Require more maintenance to reach their full potential lifespan.

Wood Shingles Pros ✅

  • Decent longevity of 25 to 30 years.
  • Lower maintenance requirements.

Wood Shingles Cons ❎

  • May not withstand severe weather conditions as well as shakes.

3. Maintenance and Repair

Wood Shakes Pros ✅

  • Can be repaired individually, making maintenance more straightforward.
  • Regular maintenance can extend their lifespan.

Wood Shakes Cons ❎

  • Require more frequent maintenance to prevent moss and algae growth.

Wood Shingles Pros ✅

  • Easier to maintain due to the smoother surface.
  • Less susceptible to moss and algae growth.

Wood Shingles Cons ❎

  • Individual shingles may be more challenging to replace if damaged.

Making The Decision: What’s Right for You? 🤔

Choosing between wood shakes and shingles depends on your preferences, budget, and how you envision your home’s aesthetic. Here are some considerations:

  • Choose Wood Shakes IF:
    • You desire a rustic, textured appearance with natural variations.
    • Longevity and resistance to extreme weather are top priorities.
    • You are willing to invest more in maintenance for an authentic, hand-crafted look.
  • Choose Wood Shingles IF:
    • You prefer a sleek, uniform appearance for a classic and elegant aesthetic.
    • Lower maintenance requirements and longevity are your key concerns.
    • You appreciate the ease of maintenance and replacement for a smoother surface.

Enhance Your Home’s Charm with a Wood Roof

Both wood shakes and shingles have their unique charm and benefits. The choice between them should align with your vision for your home’s appearance, maintenance preferences, and budget. Whether you opt for the rugged texture of wood shakes or the refined elegance of wood shingles, a wooden roof can significantly enhance the beauty of your home while providing durability and character for years to come. So, choose wisely, and enjoy the timeless appeal of a wooden roof! 

Contact our roofing pros at Shake Guys today and we’ll make sure your next roof project goes off without a hitch. Let’s go!

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