Wood Shake vs. Wood Shingles: Which is Better?

Wood Shake vs. Wood Shingles: Which is Better?

Wood Shake vs. Wood Shingles: Which is Better?

If your heart is set on using wood as a roofing material, you will inevitably come across the following dilemma – wood shake vs. wood shingles: which is better? The answer ultimately comes down to your preference. The way we can help you decide, however, is by allowing you to understand the traits of both!



The first thing most people try to learn about roofing options is the cost of installing them. In the case of wood shake vs. wood shingles, shingles always cost less than their shake equivalent. This is because shakes are thicker and therefore require more wood to manufacture. At the same time, the processing of a shingle is actually simpler, too. Especially since some manufacturers still insist on producing shakes by hand. Of course, shakes produced using such methods are also typically of higher quality than the mass-produced ones. However, know that you would be paying a premium to obtain them. Finally, whether you opt for a wood shake or wood shingles, know that your roof will not be cheap. Wood is a prized roofing material for its quality and traits, which boosts its price, especially in areas where wood is not easily accessible.



The basic appearance of both wood shingles and wood shakes still depends primarily on the wood they are made of. However, there is still a noticeable difference between the two, even if an untrained eye might miss it at first. Namely, shingles are smooth and perfectly cut. Shingles, in turn, are much ‘rougher’ looking and tend to preserve the original grain of the wood the shake is made of. This makes for a much nicer aesthetic if you are trying to go for a rural home look. Shakes can also seem like they are not perfectly uniform in appearance due to what we have already discussed. Due to their treatment, it is actually possible to manipulate the color of shingles a little. Which does offer them a wider range of different colors to pick from.

Wood shingles
Wood shingles can also give off ‘rough’ and ‘rural’ impressions.

Ease of installation

If all you want is a roof that is easy and quick to install, then you definitely want to go for wood shingles rather than shakes. There is not really much to be said about installing shingles. They are typically installed in three overlapping layers, with no special care given to which side of the shingle is facing up or down. On the other hand, shakes are much more difficult to put in. First, a shake has two sides: the rough, natural-looking side and a smoother side that has been treated more carefully. Even with this, however, they may not fit against your roof perfectly. Which, if left alone, would allow elements to seep between shakes. This necessitates having a breathable underlayment laid between rows of shakes. Of course, since that’ll take longer, experts from recommend relying on storage to protect your items in exposed rooms.

Wood shingles
The shape of wood shingles also makes them trickier to handle during installation.


It has to be said that when discussing wood shake vs. wood shingles, the former beat the letter in pretty much every category. They will keep water and moisture out of your home more effectively because of the more complex and tighter installation method. Because shakes are thicker, they will also do a much better job at functioning as insulation material. This means you will need much less power to keep your home warm or cool. Of course, even shingles can, in most cases, match if not outmatch the benefits of concrete tile roofs or roofs made of most other materials. So, while the shakes are tempting due to their quality, shingles do not perform poorly, either.



Naturally, one of the most important traits of roofing materials is their durability. Both wood shingles and wood shake are actually quite resistant to most types of damage. Yes, wood can start rotting from too much moisture in the air or rainfall. And it’s possible for wood to warp, expand or contract due to weather conditions. Compared to most types of roofing materials, wood is reliable and doesn’t require much maintenance. Having said that, the former once again wins when discussing the durability of wood shake vs. wood shingles. There’s no helping this since wood shake is much thicker than wood shingles. Among situations in which you might need portable storage after a storm, renovating is one of them, especially after suffering roof damage from a storm. And this is primarily due to damage caused by winds, either directly or through hurled debris. Wood shake can minimize the chances of this.

Rotting wood shingles
No matter what you settle on between wood shake vs. wood shingles, rot is always your worst enemy.


The final thing to consider between wood shake vs. wood shingles is they can last longer without needing a replacement or renovation. Typically, wood shingles can last up to thirty years without suffering much in terms of their effectiveness. On the other hand, wood shake can last up to forty or fifty years, depending on its quality and the effectiveness of your maintenance. Now, this may not seem ideal considering that one of the advantages of metal roof materials is being able to last for around seventy years. Or the fact that an asphalt shingles roof can last around thirty years and is actually cheaper and easier to install. However, both of these types of roofs require a lot more effort to keep in top condition. The expected lifespan of a roof is assigned based on the assumption that it will be well-cared for. Wood takes much less effort.


Final Word

Now that you are more familiar with the question of ‘wood shake vs. wood shingles: which is better?’, the only thing left for you to do make a personal choice. If you like their rough aesthetic and want superior performance, then you will likely decide to go with the wood shake. However, if you want to make a more financially sound choice, then wood shingles are definitely the way to go. Every roof eventually suffers damage or needs to be somewhat touched up. And it is definitely nice to know that you won’t have to pay too much for such repairs, which is a piece of mind shingles can afford you.


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