Wood Shake Roof vs Shingles 

12 minutes

When it comes to roofing materials, homeowners are faced with a myriad of options, each with its own set of advantages and considerations. Two popular choices that often find themselves in the spotlight are wood shake and asphalt shingles. While both offer durability and protection for your home, they differ significantly in terms of aesthetics, maintenance requirements, and longevity. In this blog post, we will delve into the characteristics of wood shake and asphalt shingles, exploring their unique qualities and helping you make an informed decision about which material is best suited for your roofing needs. Whether you are drawn to the timeless charm of wood or the practicality of asphalt, understanding the pros and cons of each will ensure you choose the perfect roofing material that combines functionality with style. So, let us dive in and compare wood shake and asphalt shingles to help you make the right choice for your home.  

Wood Shake Shingles 

Wood shake has long been cherished for its rustic and natural beauty. Crafted from cedar, redwood, or pine, wood shake shingles exude a timeless charm that can enhance the aesthetic appeal of any home. The irregular edges and varying thickness of wood shake shingles create a visually appealing roof with a unique character that sets it apart from other roofing materials. Moreover, the warm and earthy tones of wood can create a cozy and inviting atmosphere, perfect for homeowners seeking a traditional or rustic look for their homes.  

In addition to their aesthetic appeal, wood shake shingles also offer excellent insulation properties. The natural wood fibers provide thermal resistance, helping to keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter. This can lead to energy savings and a more comfortable living environment. However, it is important to note that wood shake shingles require regular maintenance to ensure their longevity. They are susceptible to rot, insect infestations, and weathering, so periodic inspections, treatments, and repairs are necessary to keep them in optimal condition. 

Asphalt Shingles 

On the other hand, asphalt shingles have gained immense popularity due to their affordability, versatility, and limited maintenance requirements. Made from a fiberglass mat coated with asphalt and mineral granules, asphalt shingles offer a wide range of colors, styles, and textures to suit various architectural designs and personal preferences. Whether you prefer a traditional, modern, or even a slate-like appearance, asphalt shingles can mimic the look of more expensive materials at a fraction of the cost.  

One of the notable advantages of asphalt shingles is their durability. They are resistant to fire, wind, and impact, making them a reliable choice for homeowners living in areas prone to extreme weather conditions. Moreover, asphalt shingles are relatively easy to install and require minimal upkeep. They typically have a longer lifespan compared to wood shake shingles and can withstand the test of time with proper installation and occasional inspections. Also, if a repair was ever necessary, asphalt shingles can be easily removed and repaired without having to replace the entire roof.  

What is the Difference? Shakes vs Shingles 

Here are a few differences to consider when choosing between asphalt shingles and wood shake roofs. This will include their cost, durability, colors and styles, average warranty, installation difficulty and how this may affect price, maintenance, and fire resistance. 


Wood shake shingles have a distinct rustic appeal but tend to have a shorter lifespan compared to asphalt shingles. On average, wood shake shingles can last around 20 to 30 years, depending on factors such as the quality of the wood, climate conditions, and proper maintenance. However, with regular inspections, treatments, and repairs, their lifespan can be extended. 

One of the main concerns with wood shake shingles is their susceptibility to rot, mold, and insect infestations. The natural wood fibers can absorb moisture, leading to decay and compromising the integrity of the shingles. 

To mitigate these risks, homeowners need to be proactive in maintaining their wood shake roofs. Regular inspections for signs of damage or decay, proper ventilation, and treatments such as applying preservatives or fungicides can help prolong the lifespan of wood shake shingles. 

Asphalt shingles, on the other hand, are known for their durability and longevity. They are designed to withstand various weather conditions, including high winds, heavy rain, and hail. Asphalt shingles are engineered to be resistant to fire and have a Class A fire rating, providing an added layer of protection for your home. They also have excellent resistance to UV rays, which can cause premature deterioration and color fading in other roofing materials.  

Styles & Colors 

Wood shake shingles, on the other hand, have their own unique charm and style. The irregular edges and varying thickness of wood shake shingles create a visually appealing roof with a distinct rustic character. The warm and earthy tones of wood, such as shades of brown, honey, or gray, add a natural and timeless beauty to a home’s exterior. Over time, wood shake shingles weather and develops a silver-gray patina, further enhancing their rustic appeal. 

Asphalt shingles provide a wide variety of colors, styles, and textures, making them highly versatile in achieving different aesthetic effects. Manufacturers often produce asphalt shingles that mimic the appearance of more expensive materials such as slate, wood shake, or tile. This means you can choose from an extensive palette of colors, including shades of gray, brown, black, green, blue, and even vibrant colors like red or orange. Whether you prefer a traditional, contemporary, or bold look, there is an asphalt shingle option to match your desired style. Additionally, asphalt shingles come in different shapes and designs. The most common type is the three-tab shingle, which has a flat, uniform appearance. There are also architectural or dimensional shingles, which have a multi-dimensional profile that adds depth and texture to the roof. Some premium asphalt shingles can even replicate the natural irregularities and variations found in wood shake or slate roofs, providing a more realistic look. 

Installation Differences 

When it comes to placing the wood shake shingles, it is a meticulous process. Each individual wood shake shingle is carefully hand-nailed to the roof deck using corrosion-resistant nails. The shakes are typically installed in overlapping rows, with each subsequent row covering the nails of the previous row to create a water-resistant barrier. 

During the installation, special attention is given to ensure proper spacing between the shakes to allow for expansion and contraction with changes in temperature and humidity. This helps prevent warping or cupping of the wood over time. Installing a wood shake roof requires a significant amount of attention to detail and does mean that it takes longer to install a wood shake roof and in turn makes this type of roofing more expensive. 

As for asphalt shingle installation, it follows a more straightforward and quicker process compared to wood shake. After preparing the underlayment and ensuring the deck’s cleanliness and dryness, starter shingles are installed along the eaves of the roof to create a solid base for the subsequent rows of shingles. These starter shingles are typically installed using nails or adhesive. 

Next, asphalt shingles are installed in overlapping rows, starting from the bottom edge of the roof, and working upwards. Each shingle is nailed or fastened according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. The specific nailing pattern may vary depending on the shingle type and local building codes. 

Maintenance Differences 

Wood shake roofs require regular inspections to check for signs of damage, such as cracked or split shakes, loose or missing shingles, and signs of moisture or decay. These inspections should be conducted at least once a year, preferably in the spring and fall, to address any issues before they worsen. 

Cleaning and debris removal are crucial for wood shake roofs. Leaves, branches, and other debris can accumulate on the roof and in the valleys, trapping moisture and promoting the growth of mold, moss, or algae. Regular cleaning helps prevent water retention and the potential for decay. Soft-bristle brushes or low-pressure power washers can be used for cleaning, but caution should be exercised to avoid damaging the shingles. 

Wood shake roofs also require occasional treatments to preserve their integrity and protect against rot, insects, and UV damage. These treatments may include applying preservatives, fungicides, or wood treatments recommended by the manufacturer or a roofing professional. This helps prolong the lifespan of the shakes and maintains their overall condition. 

Compared to wood shake, asphalt shingle roofs have lower maintenance requirements. However, some general maintenance practices should still be followed. Regular inspections are necessary to check for damaged or missing shingles, particularly after severe weather events. Damaged shingles should be promptly replaced to maintain the roof’s integrity and prevent water penetration.

Cleaning the roof from debris, such as leaves and twigs, helps prevent clogging of gutters and promotes proper water drainage. While asphalt shingles are resistant to algae and moss growth, periodic cleaning can still be beneficial in maintaining their appearance.

It is important to clear gutters and downspouts regularly to ensure proper water flow and prevent water backup, which can potentially lead to water damage and leaks. Maintaining proper attic ventilation is crucial for asphalt shingle roofs. Adequate ventilation helps regulate temperature and humidity levels, reducing the risk of moisture buildup and extending the lifespan of the shingles. 

Fire Resistance 

Wood shake shingles are considered lower fire resistance than asphalt shingles. Being made of combustible material, wood shake shingles are more prone to catching fire and contributing to the spread of flames. 

However, it is important to note that some wood shake shingles are treated with fire-retardant chemicals to improve their fire resistance. These treatments can help reduce the risk of ignition and slow down the spread of fire.  

On the other hand, asphalt shingles are known for their higher fire resistance. Most asphalt shingles have a Class A fire rating including GAF roofing materials, indicating an elevated level of protection against the spread of fire.  

The combination of materials used in asphalt shingles, including the base material and the mineral granule surface, provides an effective barrier against flames and helps dissipate heat.  

Cost Differences 

Asphalt shingles are known for their cost-effectiveness. They are widely available and have a lower price point compared to wood shake. The exact cost of asphalt shingles can vary depending on factors such as the quality of the shingles, the manufacturer, and the region. 

Wood shake shingles, on the other hand, are typically more expensive than asphalt shingles. Wood shake is considered a premium roofing material, and its price reflects the higher cost associated with the production and installation of these shingles. The price of wood shake shingles can vary depending on factors such as the type of wood, quality, thickness, and region. 

Which is the Best Roofing Material for Your Home? Cedar Shake Roof vs Asphalt Shingles 

In terms of overall popularity and practicality, asphalt shingles are considered the better roofing material option for many homeowners. There are several reasons for this preference. Firstly, asphalt shingles offer cost-effectiveness, making them a more affordable choice compared to wood shake shingles. Despite their affordability, asphalt shingles do not compromise on durability and performance. With a lifespan of 20 to 30 years or more, depending on quality and maintenance, they provide a long-lasting roofing solution.

Another advantage of architectural asphalt shingles is their versatility. They come in a wide range of colors, styles, and textures, allowing homeowners to choose a look that suits their aesthetic preferences and complements the architectural style of their home. This versatility ensures that asphalt shingles can be adapted to various design preferences and add curb appeal to any property.

Furthermore, the installation process for asphalt shingles is easy and straightforward. Roofing professionals can install them efficiently, which helps reduce installation time and costs. This convenience and little maintenance requirements make asphalt shingles a practical choice for homeowners looking for a hassle-free roofing option. 

Secure Your Home’s Future: Choose DaBella for a Masterful Roof Replacement! 

Are you a homeowner in need of a roof replacement? Look no further than DaBella, your trusted roofing partner. As a GAF Master Elite roofer, we are committed to delivering exceptional quality and craftsmanship. Our factory-trained installers are experts in their field, ensuring that your roof replacement is handled with utmost precision and care.

With DaBella, you can have peace of mind knowing that your roofing project is in the hands of professionals who prioritize excellence. We use top-of-the-line GAF asphalt shingles, known for their durability and performance, ensuring that your new roof will stand the test of time.

Do not wait for roofing issues to escalate and compromise the safety and value of your home. Take action now and choose DaBella as your roofing partner. We offer personalized solutions tailored to your needs and budget. Our team will guide you through the entire process, from selecting the right materials to completing the installation seamlessly. 

Investing in a roof replacement with DaBella is a decision that guarantees long-term protection and enhances the beauty of your home. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and experience the expertise of a GAF Master Elite roofer. Your satisfaction is our priority, and we are ready to transform your home with a new, quality roof. 

Steven Shortridge

District Manager

Portland, OR

Learn more about Steven