Wood shingles are made out of thin pieces of cedar or other hard woods. While these shingles often come in rectangular shapes, they also come in a wide variety of patterns and colors. Shakes are usually made from split logs and may be installed as roofing or even siding. After they are shaped, the shingles are treated with a preservative and fire retardants. As with most other roofing materials, there are some benefits and disadvantages to having a wooden roof installed. Cedar shingles are a noble material, which come from a renewable resource, and it has been used for centuries.
They are also lightweight, meaning they will not overburden the structure even if snowfall is particularly heavy. When it is time to replace the roof, wood shingles are biodegradable, meaning that they will not sit in a landfill. Finally, wooden roofs generally have increased circulation as the air can rise through the felt and the wood.
If a wood roof has proper maintenance, the shingles can last about 50 years. If the wood is routinely treated with preservatives and any infestations are taken care of, there is a chance that the roof could last for 100 years.
Disadvantages: While wood shingles are undeniably unique and bolster a home's curb appeal, wood shingles do need a large amount of maintenance compared to other types of roofing materials. Wood shingles are much more likely to have an insect infestation or may have mold and mildew growth. Wood roofs are also more susceptible to ultraviolet sun damage. Further, climates that experience major changes in humidity levels throughout the year are not recommended for wood roofs as the constant contracting and expanding could damage the wood and the fasteners.
Maintenance that is required: Homeowners should remove any leaf litter and debris from the shingles or shakes regularly. Any overhanging branches that keep the shingles from drying out should be trimmed back. Chemical treatments, also called wood preservatives, should be added to reduce the amount of mold, fungi and moss growth. Homeowners can apply a roof oil treatment if they prefer, but it is not known if this oil actually has any benefits.