In the assessment of cedar shake roofing, it’s imperative to meticulously weigh its advantages and disadvantages. This roofing material offers a distinct, traditional aesthetic and presents a unique set of positive attributes and challenges. This guide navigates through the various facets of cedar shake roofing, aiming to facilitate your decision-making by providing an all-encompassing overview.

Pros of Cedar Shake Roofing:

— Aesthetic Allure

Cedar shake roofs deliver a timeless, classic beauty to homes, with their warm and distinct aesthetic, arising from variations in wood grain and colour, being versatile across numerous architectural designs.

— Environmentally Sound

Cedar shakes are a stand-out choice for eco-conscious individuals. Contrasting with asphalt shingles, which can increase landfill waste, cedar is both sustainable and biodegradable, thereby minimizing environmental impact.

— Thermal Qualities

With its natural insulating properties, cedar helps maintain a stable indoor climate, ensuring homes stay cooler in summer and warmer in winter. For example, cedar can provide insulation up to two times that of asphalt shingles.

— Strength and Lifespan

Through diligent maintenance, cedar shake roofs can showcase impressive durability and longevity. They resist various weather conditions and, due to their intrinsic resistance to decay and insects, remain robust. In fact, with proper care, cedar shake roofs can last up to 30–40 years.

— Enhanced Energy Efficiency

Cedar shake roofs support a home’s energy efficiency by minimizing the need for intensive heating or cooling. This results in maintaining a balanced indoor climate, easing the stress on heating and cooling systems, and potentially enabling energy savings. Energy savings could be up to 15% of previous total costs when switching to cedar shake roofing.

— Acoustic Insulation

The sound-absorbing qualities of cedar shakes offer a serene indoor environment by reducing external sounds like rain and hail, diminishing sound transmission by up to 75%.

— Augmented Property Value

Incorporating cedar shake roofs can notably boost a property’s overall value, making aesthetic and durable attributes a striking feature for potential buyers, often resulting in a return on investment of up to 77%.

— Aging with Character

As cedar shakes age, they acquire a unique silvery-grey patina, enhancing a property’s exterior with a charming, weathered appearance.

— Ecological Mindfulness

Given that wood is a renewable resource, cedar shake roofs typically exhibit a decreased environmental impact. Their production typically employs sustainable harvesting practices, and the material itself is recyclable.

Cons of Cedar Shake Roofing:

— Risk of Fire

Cedar shakes carry an elevated fire risk compared to other roofing materials due to the flammable nature of wood. While fire-resistant coatings are available to alleviate this risk, it remains a pertinent consideration for potential users.

— Cost

One noticeable drawback of cedar shake roofing is the high initial cost. In contrast with widespread roofing materials, such as asphalt shingles, cedar roofing shingles require a larger initial outlay for both purchase and installation. Nonetheless, the enduring nature of cedar wood roofing can deliver a superior return on investment over time.

— Uniformity and Aesthetic

Owing to their often hand-crafted nature, wood shakes may exhibit a lack of uniformity. They typically present a slightly more rustic appearance, which could be perceived as either a positive or negative attribute, contingent upon individual aesthetic predilections.

— Regular Maintenance Required

Cedar roofs demand consistent maintenance to ward off moss, mould, and mildew growth. However, the application of cedar treatment preservatives during the manufacturing process can inhibit fungal growth and conserve the wood’s quality.

Calculating Cedar Shake Roofing Costs

For homeowners pondering the adoption of cedar shake roofing, understanding the accompanying costs is crucial. Below is a succinct breakdown of cedar shake roofing costs, offering a clear analysis of the factors contributing to the overarching budget.

Material Quality:

Different grades of cedar shakes are available, each with its own price. Selecting high-quality shakes, like those with 100% straight grain, can be more expensive initially but offer greater longevity and visual appeal. Wood used in cedar shakes is renewable, offering an eco-friendly material option.


Prices for cedar shake roofing can vary depending on your location. Factors such as local demand, availability of materials, and labour costs will influence the final price.

Additional Costs:

Beyond materials and labour, other expenses like underlayment, flashing, and ventilation systems are pivotal. These elements are essential for ensuring overall roof performance and durability.


Consistent professional maintenance is necessary for cedar shake roofing to preserve its look and lifespan. Factoring maintenance costs into your long-term budget is vital.

Roof Size and Complexity:

Accurate roof square footage measurement is crucial for budgeting. The design complexity of the roof also affects costs, with simpler designs being less costly.

Professional Installation:

Engaging a trustworthy roofing contractor is crucial for correct installation. While involving a cost, it crucially influences the roof’s lifespan and performance.

Final Thoughts

Prior to selecting cedar shake roofing, it’s vital to meticulously weigh its pros and cons. This should include considerations related to your climate, location, budget, and willingness to commit to maintenance. While cedar shake roofing provides notable beauty and durability, a thorough assessment is key to determining its suitability for each individual homeowner.


Are cedar shake roofs environmentally friendly?

Certainly, cedar shake roofing is recognized for its eco-friendly attributes. Cedar, being a renewable resource, offers natural oils that act as preservatives, increasing its resistance to decay and insect damage. Moreover, cedar roofing provides excellent insulation, potentially reducing energy use by up to 15% in some homes due to its natural thermal resistance.

What is the lifespan of a cedar shake roof?

With careful and attentive maintenance, cedar shake roofs can typically last between 30 and 50 years, though this can stretch up to 60 years in optimal conditions and with high-quality materials. Factors such as climate, maintenance diligence, and the quality of materials used will have a significant influence on this lifespan.

Is cedar shake roofing suitable for all climates?

Cedar shake roofing showcases adaptability across a variety of climates, albeit with specific maintenance required in areas with extreme dryness or humidity. Ensuring proper ventilation and conducting regular inspections are pivotal to maximizing the longevity of cedar shake roofs in any climate, with particular importance in regions experiencing temperatures of -20 °C to 38 °C.


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