A Complete Guide to Wood Shakes

Wood shakes are completely timeless roof material known for their amazing natural beauty and traditional appeal. Unlike shingles were completely made from asphalt or fiberglass wood shakes are crafted from solid pieces of wood often cedar or Cypress

Characteristics of Wood Shakes

Wood shakes are known for their rustic appearance, texture and individuality. You must know that every shake is completely unique bearing the natural grain and knots of the wood from which it was crafted. The organic quality generally lends a sense of authenticity and charm to your home as compared to other roofing material. Wood shakes offer you amazing durability providing you perfect protection against elements. They also offer you perfect insulation properties helping to keep your homes cool in summer and warm in winter. Furthermore wood shakes have minimum environmental impact as they are made from renewable resources. They can be recycled or composted at the end of the lifespan.

Types of Wood Used for Shakes

There are different types of woods which are commonly used for crafting wood shakes.  

Cedar is one of the most prominent choices because of its natural resistance to decay and insect infestation. Redwood  is another favorite option that you can use for its amazing rich color and durability. Cyprus with its unique grain patterns and high resistance to decay is a prominent choice for wood shakes.

The choice of your wood species can greatly impact the longevity and performance of the shapes so you should always choose a high quality rot resistant wood for the best results

Benefits of Wood Shakes

Natural insulation

One of the best parts about wood shakes is the excellent insulation properties. You must know that wood is a natural insulator meaning it helps you regulate indoor temperatures by keeping heat in during the winter and out during the summer. The thermal barrier can help you minimize your energy expenses linked with heating and cooling making wood shakes an eco friendly option.

Aesthetic appeal

 Wood shakes are all about timeless beauty and warmth improving the curb appeal of your home. The natural grain patterns, rich colors and rustic texture can help you add character and charm to your rooftops creating a striking visual impact. Whether you install on a historic cottage or a modern farmhouse wood shakes can complement a variety of architectural styles and can help you add a touch of elegance


When perfectly installed and maintained wood shakes can last for several years outlasting several roofing materials. With routine care and periodic inspections they can truly withstand the rigors of the elements and age gracefully with time. Regular maintenance tasks like cleaning, sealing and repairing damaged shakes can prolong the lifespan of your roof and ensure its continued performance and beauty for several years to come.


Wood shakes are an environmentally friendly roofing option as they are made from renewable resources and have minimum environmental impact. Unlike petroleum based asphalt shingles that contribute towards landfill waste, wood shakes are completely biodegradable and they can be easily recycled or composted at the end of the lifespan. You must know that the production process of wood shakes consumes minimum energy and emits fewer greenhouse gasses further minimizing the ecological footprint.

Installation Process of Wood Shakes

Roof preparation

Before starting the installation of the wood shakes proper roof preparation is really important to ensure a solid foundation for


The experts need to thoroughly inspect the structure and signs of damage wrought or deterioration. It is vital for you to repair or replace any damage that deteriorated areas before proceeding with installation.


You must ensure that the roof deck is structurally sound and free of debris. You have to repair any damage decking and replace any deteriorated materials.


You have to verify that the roof has sufficient ventilation to prevent moisture buildup and prolong the lifespan of the wood shakes. It is vital for you to install or upgrade ventilation as needed.


You have to install flashing around roof penetrations like chimneys or skylights to prevent water intrusion and ensure water water-tight seal.

Underlayment installation

Once the roof has been perfectly prepared it is time for you to select a high-quality underlayment specifically designed for use with wood shakes. You can check out options like asphalt-saturated felt you need to now install the drip edge along the eaves and Rakes of the roof to channel water away from the fascia.

Shake application

Now you need to choose high quality wood shakes which are free from defects such as cracks, splits or knots. It is very important for you to ensure that shakes are perfectly seasoned and treated for durability and resistance to decay. You have to start installing at the bottom edge of the roof overlapping each course to ensure perfect water shedding. It’s vital for you to trim the ends of the shakes as needed to fit around the roof penetrations like vents or chimneys. Once the shakes are installed you have to inspect the roof for any loose or damaged shakes and secure or replace them as needed.

Maintenance Tips for Wood Shakes

Maintaining  Wood shakes  is really important for prolonging their lives and ensuring continued performance.

Regular inspection

You must know that regular inspections are really important for identifying any potential issues or damage to the wood shakes early in time. You can perform visual inspections of the roof at least twice a year and look for signs like crack or split shakes loose or missing shakes.


You need to regularly remove the leaves, branches and other debris from your roof surface using a soft bristled broom. You need to regularly remove the leaves branches and other tables from the roof surface using a soft bristled broom or leaf blower if the mold or mildew is present on the roof treated perfectly with the commercial mold and mildew remover

Repairing the damaged shakes

For minor damage like cracks or splits you need to apply wood filler or epoxy resin to fill the damaged area and restore the integrity of your shake. You can also sand the repaired area smooth and apply a protective finish to match the surrounding shakes. If the shake is severely damaged it is very important for you to remove it carefully using a pry bar Oregon hammer now you need to install a new shake in its place ensuring a tight fit and proper sealing to prevent water infiltration.

Replacing individual shakes

It’s time for you to  carefully remove the damaged shake using a hammer and take care not to damage the adjacent shakes. You have to prepare the area for installation by cleaning and inspecting the underlying roof deck and underlayment. It is very important for you to install a new shake in place of removing the shake and ensuring a tight fit.

Environmental Considerations

Wood shakes are often known for their amazing beauty and rustic charm but their environmental impact is also a major factor that you need to consider.

Sustainable forestry practices

One of the most important elements that you need to consider is the source of the wood itself. Sustainable forestry practices ensure that your food is harvested in a way that maintains the health and biodiversity of forests.

Certification programs

Certification programs like forest stewardship council and the sustainable forestry initiative provide you assurance that the wood products including shakes come from responsible forests.

Carbon sequestration

Wood shakes generally have the unique ability to sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere which helps you mitigate climate change. As trees end up growing they absorb a lot of carbon dioxide from the air and also store it in the biomass. When the wood products like shades are used in construction the carbon remains completely locked away for the products lifespan duration. It generally works like a carbon sink.

Fire Resistance and Code Compliance

One of the main concerns often raised about wood shakes is its fire resistance and compliance with local building regulations.

Fire resistance ratings

You must know that wood shakes are completely naturally combustible, which has led to concerns about the fire resistance in areas prone to wildfires or where building codes require fire resistant materials. But you need to know that modern wood shakes are subject to rigorous testing and certification standards.

Class ratings

Wood shakes are especially classified based on the fire resistance using a system of ratings which are established by organizations like American Society for testing and materials.

Testing and certifications

Wood shakes undergo a lot of testing for fire resistance, flame spread and smoke development to determine the classification certification which is accredited from testing laboratories and provides you assurance that the wood shakes meet or even go beyond the industry standards.

Cost Considerations

When it comes to considering the cost of the wood shakes you need to consider several factors.

Material cost

The cost of the wood shakes is likely to depend on the type of wood quality of the shakes and the regional availability. Generally when you choose cedar shakes you have to spend a lot of money as compared to other types of wood because of its durability and natural resistance to decay.

High quality versus economy shakes

High quality wood shakes which are properly seasoned and treated for durability will typically cost you way more than just economy shakes that might be more prone to splitting warping or even decay. So investing in high quality shakes can pay you off in the long run by minimizing the need for frequent maintenance or replacement

Installation labor

The cost of installing word shakes by laborers can vary depending on different factors like the size and complexity of your roof, the local labor rates and the experience of the roofing contractor. But you must know that installing good shakes requires a lot of skills and knowledge so it is very important for you to hire experienced contractors who are familiar with working with wood shakes.

Professional installation versus DIY

No doubt you might consider DIY installation to save money but installing wood shakes is a complex and labor-intensive process which requires specialized tools and equipment. You need to know that improper installation can result in leaks or damage to the roof structure so it is recommended for you to hire professional roofing contractors for the job.

Long term maintenance

 Put shakes require regular maintenance to ensure the longevity and performance with time maintenance tasks like cleaning, treating for mold and mildew and repairing damage shakes can also add to the overall cost of owning your wood shake roof.

Routine inspections

Regular inspections and cleaning Are really important to identify and address any issues before they escalate into major problems. Start budgeting for annual or biannual inspections and cleaning can help you prevent costly repairs down the line and even extend the lifespan of your roof.

Repair and replacement

With time wood shakes might become damaged or deteriorated and require repair or replacement so you have to budget for periodic repairs and replacements as this can help you  maintain the integrity of your roof and avoid more extensive damage to the structure.

Comparison with other materials

You need to know that wood shakes tend to have higher upfront expenses and their long term cost-effectiveness can be competitive with other roofing materials when considering factors like durability, longevity and energy efficiency. You must know that properly maintained word shakes can last for several decades reducing the need for frequent replacement.

So you must know that wood shakes offer a timeless charm and durability that make them a prominent choice for you if you’re seeking natural and environmentally friendly roofing solution fully from their rustic appearance and sustainable forestry practices to fire resistance and cost considerations these wood shakes provide a range of benefits that can be appealing to you and other homemakers like you.

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