18 Pros & Cons | Wood Shingles

Wood roofs and wood shakes have a good unique look. This is one of the many reasons why people chose to purchase a wood roof. If you are thinking about wood shingles or wood shakes as your next roof system there are several advantages and disadvantages you must consider before making the final decision.

What are wood shingles?

Wood shingles or wood shakes have been around since the early 18th century. Wood shakes are typically made by splitting logs into pieces about 3/8 inch thick (10 mm).

Wood shingles are made by cutting wood into specific sized pieces. Wood shingles can range anywhere from 1/4-inch thick (6.35mm) to 1-ich thick (25.4 mm).

After the wood is cut, kiln and pressure treatments are used to help remove moisture from the wood pieces. The pressure treatments often make use of some elements like copper, chromium, and arsenic. This helps increase the lifespan of the roof and reduce the chance of mold, insects, rotting, and fungus growth.

Some common types of wood used to make shingles are:

  • Western Red Cedar
  • Atlantic White Cedar
  • Pine
  • Spruces
  • Cypress
  • Redwood

Worried About Doing the Work Yourself?

I recommend finding a professional roofing contractor through our trusted partner Home Advisor because they allow you to get up to 4 quotes for free. This allows you to compare and choose the best roofing professional for your needs. Check them out by clicking this link.


Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel 


Wood shingles and shakes have a very unique look making them the number one choice for many. They start out has a light brown wood color but as time passes it ages into a dark brown or silver-gray color. The wood shake is created by splitting wood giving it a unique textured which forms a rustic authentic look. While the wood shingles are cut smooth for a more modern straight style.

2.Wind Resistance:

Wood shingles and shakes have pretty good wind resistance. They are commonly rated to withstand wind speeds anywhere from 173 mph to 245 mph. It varies depending on how it was cut and the size of the wood pieces.


The price for wood shingles/shakes is comparable to other roofing materials. The price for wood shingles can land anywhere from $175 – $300 per square (1 square = 100 square feet). This price does not include the costs for labor. You can click on this article to see how the price of wood shingles compare to 16 other different types of roofing materials.

4.Impact Resistance:

Wood is a pretty durable material when it comes to impact resistance. Obviously the thicker the wood shingle is, the more durable it will be against impacts. Wood shingles can be made to meet the highest impact resistance rating which is a class 4 rating. The class 4 rating means it withstood impacts from a 2-inch sized piece of ice during testing.


Wood roofs will have different lifespans depending on the style of the wood shingle, the thickness, the edge grain, the cut type, and how it was maintained. But generally speaking, you can expect a wood roof to last about 20 – 30 years. You can check out this article to see how the life span compares to other roofing materials like synthetic slate, asphalt shingles, and more.


Installing wood shingles is fairly easy and is not any more difficult than installing regular shingles. The only downside is that it may take more time because the wood pieces are smaller than the typical shingle size.


Repairs are also fairly easy to do. It can be a simple as removing the damaged piece and sliding in a new piece to take its place. However, I always recommend you hire a professional if you don’t have any experience working on roofs. They have special gear and harnesses that will keep them safe in the event of an accidental slip.

8.UV Resistance:

Woodroof systems are UV resistance meaning it protects your home from harmful UV rays. The sun and rain do have an effect on your wood roof but in my opinion, it adds to the authenticity and aesthetic appeal to your roof. As the wood ages, it develops from a light brown color to a dark brown or silver-gray color. This really helps to give your home a unique authentic look.

9.Energy Savings:

Wood roofs naturally add insulation to your home. You also have an option to add additional insulation to your home before installing the wood shingles. The insulation helps to keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter, saving you money.


Wood roofs are an organic natural material which means that once removed it can be easily recycled or disposed of without harming the environment. Manufacturers also make the effort to plant new trees to replace the trees that are used to make wood roofs.

11.Light Weight

Wood roofs are a lightweight roof system. They weight about 200 lbs per square. Which is less than asphalt shingles which can weight up to 400 lbs per square. This makes it easier to transport the wood shingles from the manufacturer all the way to the top of the roof.

12.Many Style Options

Wood roofs have many different style options. You can specify the size length of the shingles, the thickness, the cut shape, the color, the grain, and more. All of these options make it possible for you to have your own unique roof.


Wood shingles are not as brittle as clay tiles, or slate. You can walk on a wood roof and feel more comfortable than you would from walking on a tiled roof which is fairly brittle.


Wood shakes and wood shingles are versatile because they can be used for any type of pitched roof as long as the building codes permit it (see fire resistance). It looks great on both commercial and residential roof systems. It can also be used to restore older antique buildings that originally used wood shingles.


1.Fire Resistance:

Wood shingles are not very fire resistant. They are more likely to catch fire than other types of roofing materials. Due to this reason, wood roofs may be banned in certain fire-prone areas. Even some home insurance companies may increase rates for wood roofs or may not cover them at all. However, modern Spray-on-fire retardants and pressure treatments can help make the wood more resistant to fire and meet certain fire codes as long as it’s maintained regularly.

2. Insects:

Depending on the type of wood used to make the shingles. Wood shingles and shakes make great homes for wood loving insects. Wasps are a common type of insect that likes to build nests in wood roofs. They are known for chewing up wood into a pulp and making paper-like nests. This creates an extra hassle, especially when it comes to tearing off this roof system. If you ever need to tear off this type of roof system you are going to want to stock up on wasp spray.


Wood roofs require more maintenance than an asphalt shingled roof. If you have a sprayed-on-fire retardant, you will need to regularly maintain it to keep the fire resistance up to code. This usually involves re-applying the chemicals about every 2 years. Additionally, it is best to keep the insect levels down. This means you will likely have to remove nests or spray for wasps. I like using the raid wasp and hornet killer spray. Which you can click here to see the price on Amazon.


Wood roofs absorb water when it gets wet. The water causes the wood shingles to expand and get really tight. This is what keeps the water from leaking into your home. One problem that comes from this is when the sun dries out the wood shingles on the outer surface but moisture remains on the underside of the shingles. This moisture can lead to rotting and warping. One thing that can be done to help prevent this to add a mesh material to the underside of the wood shingles. This helps air to get into the underside of the wood shingles and dry out any remaining moisture after a storm.

Are Wood Shingles the best for you?

Wood shingles/shake are perfect for those who love the unique look of a wood roof and want something that is biodegradable. I would not recommend this roof is you live in an area that is prone to fires.

Alternative Options:

If you aren’t sure if wood shingles or shakes are a good choice for you, you can check out the other options.

There are plenty of other roofing materials that you can choose from. Over the course of several months, I made a 10,000+ word article that lists 17 different types of roofing materials that are used today. I wrote it to help you get an overview of what materials are available and to get a sense as to which material is best for you. You can view the article by clicking this link.

If you are interested in learning about other roofing materials that try and mimic the look of wood shake. You can click any of the links below to see the other Pros & Cons lists for each of those materials.

Here are some other related materials:

Related Questions:

Are wood shingles good? Wood shingles are a good type of roof system because they are a durable roof that adds value to your home giving it a nice curb appeal. They are good for those who want a natural-looking roof that is biodegradable and storm-resistant.

What were the advantages of using wooden shingles? There are many advantages to using wood shingles. For starters, they have a unique look and give your home a nice sense of character. They are biodegradable, recyclable, and excel in the areas of weather resistance and durability.

What is the difference between wood shingles and wood shakes? The difference between wood shingles and wood shakes are that wood shingles are machine-cut pieces of wood. While wood shakes are hand-split pieces of wood. Wood shakes tend to be thicker than wood shingles. Additionally, wood shakes have a rough texture while wood shingles have a smooth texture. Wood shakes are great for rustic styles while wood shingles are perfect for more modern styles.

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