Wood Shingles and Shakes
Roofing shingles made from wood are typically sawn from woods such as red cedar, white cedar, and some hardwoods. Red cedar that has aged appropriately can last up to 30 years, so it’s important to know that the wood used in your shingles was not cut too early.
Shakes are wood shingles that are split from bolts of wood, so they have a rougher appearance. They can range in length from 18 inches to 48 inches, with 24 inches being the most common. These shingles weather over time to be a gray, soft silver color. They are meant to breathe, and so they should be installed over a material that allows air to circulate around them. Skip sheathing, plastic padding, and pressure-treated lattice are types of materials that allow the wood shingles to breathe.
The main disadvantage of this type is the cost. They are somewhat expensive to install and require regular maintenance. Periodic washing is required to remove mildew, and wood finish must be applied to protect them. However, if properly installed and maintained, you can enjoy wood roofing shingles for 25 to 50 years.
Asphalt shingles are the least expensive and easiest to install, which means lower labor costs. They are also easy to remove when it’s time for a new roof. They come in a variety of solid and blended colors. Most products are guaranteed for 20 or 30 years.
If you are looking for a unique style for your home, you may want to consider a thicker grade asphalt shingle, where the layers can be staggered. Some styles resemble slate or wood shakes.
This type is produced from 95 percent recycled materials, primarily tire rubber. They also include binders to hold the materials together, oils, ultraviolet light inhibitors and other anti-degrading agents, and can be found in a variety of colors. They are designed to last for a minimum of 50 years in many cases. Even when they can no longer be used for roofing, used shingles can be recycled.
They are typically resistant to some of the elements that can harm other types, such as mold, rotting, cracking, and discoloration. A disadvantage, however, is a strong odor. While the smell does go away with time, it can bother some people with particular sensitivity or allergies.
If neither of these types appeals to you, talk with your roofing professional about other options that may suit your home’s style, your budget, and your maintenance goals.