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  • Writer's pictureRamon Roofing

Synthetic Vs. Cedar Wood Shake and Shingles Roofing

Updated: Mar 23, 2023

A Comparison of the Benefits, Drawbacks, and More

Wood shake & shingles roofing is a premium choice with practical benefits, bringing a historical look to any home.

Cedar wood shake & shingle roofs started being used in the 18th century in America.

As colonists arrived in America, they noticed that the indigenous tribes of the area were using cedar to build their canoes.

Noticing how well the canoes lasted, colonists started using cedar as a roofing material; the rest is history.

Today, cedar is still used, but scientists have also developed synthetic materials that mimic the look of cedar at a lower price with improved durability.

Firstly, we will explore what makes wood shake & shingle roofing an excellent choice for homeowners.

Secondly, we will cover synthetic shake & shingle roofing and how it might be the perfect choice for a homeowner on a budget.

Now let’s get started!

Unbeatable Beauty

Beyond any practical benefits, the #1 reason homeowners choose cedar shake & shingle roofing is for its beauty!

Compared with asphalt shingles, wood roofs bring a historic, classic look to American homes that is nearly impossible to replicate artificially.

Because of its natural material, cedar roofing brings a cozy look to a home and perfectly complements other natural building materials like stone, brick, or wood paneling.

Excellent Insulation

Due to the natural insulation properties of wood, cedar roofing makes an excellent insulator for a roof.

By choosing cedar, homeowners save money on their energy bills in two ways.

In the winter, wood shake & shingle roofing traps warmth, lowering your heating costs.

In the summer, it helps trap the cool air, saving money on cooling costs!

Weather Resistant

While not the #1 most durable residential roofing material, cedar is impressively resistant to severe weather, especially compared to asphalt roofing.

Wood shake & shingle roofs are resistant to hail, heavy rain, snowstorms, and other forms of severe weather.

They also perform exceptionally well in high-wind, making them an excellent choice for homeowners in areas prone to inclement weather.

Synthetic Wood Shake & Shingle Roofing

Synthetic shake & shingle roofing, AKA composite roofing, is a new technology that aims to replicate the look of cedar at a lower price point.

Now, let’s compare the two to help you better understand which material might be a better choice for your home.

Synthetic Roofs Are Cheaper

While cedar roofing is excellent, it has one major drawback: it is quite expensive!

As we mentioned, nothing beats the look of a natural cedar roof, but if the high price is making you apprehensive, synthetic roofing might be an excellent choice.

Equally, scientists have made major strides in synthetic roofing’s appearance since it first hit the market, so the gap between the two’s appearance is narrowing daily!

Less Maintenance

When compared to cedar roofing, synthetic roofs require significantly less maintenance.

Because cedar is a natural material, insufficient maintenance can lead to mold, mildew, algae, and even rotting.

With synthetic roofing, these problems are nonexistent, although your roof will still need to be maintained, just not with the same diligence.

Fire Resitant

It will probably come as no surprise that cedar wood is less fire-resistant than a synthetic roof, even when treated.

Depending on where you live, this drawback to natural cedar roofing could play a large decision in which material is better for your home.

Wood roofing is often banned in areas prone to wildfires, such as in California.

Less Visible Aging

This point is controversial and actually is a negative factor for certain people, depending on who you ask.

As cedar roofing ages, it discolors, which is a desirable look for many homeowners!

In fact, one of our suppliers, DaVinci Woodscapes, offers a synthetic shake & shingle roof that mimics this look called “Aged Cedar!”

So, while this one is up to the homeowner, just know that a synthetic roof won't naturally change its appearance over time.

Longer Lifespan

On average, a homeowner can expect a natural cedar roof to last about 30 years, and that is with excellent, diligent maintenance.

With a synthetic roof, a homeowner can expect a lifespan of around 50 years, making synthetic roofing the best choice for homeowners concerned with their roof’s longevity.

Natural Vs. Synthetic: Which is Better for Me?

Whether natural cedar or synthetic is best for you is determined by your situation and priorities.

If price is not an issue, and the incomparable looks of a genuine wood roof attract you, then cedar is your best option.

If regular maintenance is bothersome, synthetic roofing might be a better option.

Following the last point, a synthetic roof is probably a better choice if the 30-year lifespan of natural cedar is too short for you.

If you live in a region prone to wildfires, synthetic roofs are your best choice!

If you are attracted to the aged look of cedar, then you have two options: choose a natural wood, and wait for it to age.

Choose a synthetic roof that mimics aged cedar, and have your dream finish instantly!

To summarize this section, the most straightforward answer is this: if you are enamored with natural cedar roofing and willing to sacrifice a bit of functionality for beauty, then there is no other option!

We Install Both Synthetic & Natural Cedar Shake & Shingle Roofing!

At Ramon Roofing, we have years of experience installing both cedar and synthetic roofing.

We work with two of the top cedar suppliers, Weekes Forest Products & Waldun Forest Products , to bring our customers the best wood on the market.

As for synthetic roofing, we proudly use Davinci Roofscapes to offer our customer’s the best, most convincing options available on the market.

We are always here to consult with our clients to help them decide which system best suits their budget, needs, and design preferences.

For your next wood shake & shingle roof, reach out to one of our experts: www.ramonroofing.com/contact-us


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