Wood Shakes vs Wood Shingles

Wood shake refers to wood roofing material that is created by splitting thin rectangles from a wooden log. There are two types of wood roofing materials – wood shake and wood shingles.  Wood shingles are sawn on both sides and are thinner at the butt end when compared to a shake. Wood shakes are typically sawn on one side and hand split on the other side, making them thicker than wood shingles. Both are wedge shaped and are affixed individually to an underdeck.

What is the difference?

The difference is the way in which each one is manufactured. 50 plus years ago wood roof shingles were sawn from a block of wood, while wood shakes were split off using a sharp blade or mallet. With advancements in technology wood shingles are now machine made and wood shakes are made by hand with the aid of power equipment. Shingles are tapered by sawing, whereas shake is not, so the end result of a wood shake roof is highly textured by comparison. Being sawn, shingles exhibit some cross grain due to cutting, whereas shakes, being split, follow the grain more closely.


In terms of appearance, wood shake provides a thick textured appearance and gives a roof beautiful depth and dimension. This is due to the varying grain patterns, ridges, and grooves that occur during the splitting process. Wood shakes have a rugged appearance, with each piece looking a bit different than the rest. Wood shingles are much more uniform in appearance, they have a smooth, flat appearance.


The most durable type of wood roofing material is heavy hand split cedar shakes, often referred to as heavy 3/4” inch cedar shakes. The 3/4” inch refers to the butt end of the shake being 3/4” inches thick. Heavy hand split cedar shakes are the most durable type of wood roofing because they offer the thickest amount of protection to protect against hail, UV sunlight, heavy rain, and wind.


In terms of price, shakes are generally more expensive than shingles. That is because they are thicker so more material is used, and they are more challenging to install for a roofing contractor. CeDUR provides a home with the treasured wood look of 3/4” heavy hand split cedar shake but in a synthetic composite material that does not degrade over time. Wood is an extreme fire risk and wood shake shingles are banned for use in many communities throughout the United States. A fire-safe roofing material like CeDUR roofing shakes are in high demand in mountain communities and homeowners looking for the beautiful rustic wood look.

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