Cedar SHake Roofs vs Synthetic Shake Roofs

Pros & Cons and Introducing a Better Alternative


For many years real cedar wood shake shingles were a top tier choice that homeowners in the United States preferred. The beautiful rustic wood look is appealing, and real cedar wood shake shingles were widely available to home builders, distributors, and roofing contractors.

The Pros of Cedar Shake Roofs


Not only will cedar shake shingles add natural beauty to your home, but over time they will naturally age to beautiful grayish or brown tones depending on the type of wood you choose. Cedar shakes are also long lasting and last on average 10 years longer than your typical asphalt shingle roof.


Because of the high density and thickness of cedar shakes, they are very resistant to strong winds and durable in hurricanes, heavy rains, hail storms, snowstorms and other severe storms. Some of the more popular wood shake options are Western Red Cedar, Northern White Cedar, Redwood, and Cypress.

Energy Efficiency

Cedar wood roofs are energy efficient and provide natural insulation up to two times that of asphalt shingles. This allows you to save money on your energy bills by conserving your home’s heating and cooling costs. Cedar shake roofs are also recyclable and eco friendly.

The Cons of Cedar Shake Roofs

availability & Cost

Photo credit: Bedford Technology

In the late 1900’s cedar shake was affordable. There was an abundance of lumber and old growth trees in the Northern United States and Canada. However, over the last 20+ years, North America has seen a strong increase in population and economic growth. Nowadays there is less and less old growth cedar shake and more new growth cedar shake than ever before. Old-growth wood refers to wood from trees that belonged to forests that grew up over hundreds of years. A majority of today's lumber is new-growth wood harvested from trees that have been cultivated to grow rapidly, so the wood is not as dense or mature. Regarding cost, top of the line fire treated heavy hand split cedar shakes may run you well north of $1,000 per square total installation cost depending on your location and roofing contractor.

Difficult to Install

If you choose a roofing contractor that has experience installing cedar wood shakes, this may not be a concern for you. However many roofing contractors nowadays primarily focus on asphalt shingles and either metal, concrete, clay, or a synthetic roofing material. If you choose to install a new cedar shake roof it is highly recommended that you choose a contractor that has experience installing wood roofs. Real wood is a bit more heavy than some of the other roofing alternatives and requires precision cutting and laying by an expert to ensure proper water run off and prevent future roof leaking from occurring.

Fire Concern & Insurance Issues

Wood is naturally flammable and a wood roof adds significant fire concern to your home, especially if you live in a mountain community or an area that has a history of wild fires. Wood roofs are actually banned / illegal in many areas because of the danger they impose to your home and the surrounding homes around you. The older and more dry a wood roof gets, the easier it is to catch fire. In fire prone states like California for example, it is very difficult and almost impossible to get an insurance company to cover your roof.

Aging & Regular Maintenance


Because wood is a natural and organic material, it is prone to mold, mildew, algae, fungal growth, insects, rotting and curling. When exposed to cold weather, wood can crack from the inside out due to water damage and undergoing the freeze-thaw process. Real wood roofs are high maintenance and must be inspected regularly to ensure proper protection and cleanliness. Thanks to new technology, it has allowed us to find a better and safer alternative to wood shakes. 

Introducing a Better Alternative


Synthetic Roofing Materials

Synthetic roofing materials are able to take this classic cedar shake look to a modern level by incorporating the latest in design and technology.

Roofing materials like CeDUR are much more durable than wood, do not contain organic material which degrades quickly, require much less maintenance, and are much lighter in weight compared to real wood. By molding synthetic material into a shake, we provide you with the same original wood roof look you desire that lasts much longer and is much stronger. Synthetic roofs are also low maintenance and easy to clean if needed. A roofing material like CeDUR also has a Class A Fire Rating, Class 4 Impact Rating, high wind resistance, 50 year warranty, and is much easier to get insured.

CeDUR is the perfect alternative to cedar shakes

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