There may be no roofing material that is more timeless than wood shakes. Wood shakes have been in use for millennia, providing a unique, natural appeal as well as protection for homes. As a tried and true roofing material, there are some obvious benefits to wood shingle roofing. However, as more modern materials have been implemented, wood shakes have fallen by the wayside in terms of popularity, due to a few drawbacks that go hand in hand with this material. So, if you’re considering a wood shake roof for your upcoming installation, we’ve taken the time to lay out the pros and cons, so you can better weigh your options. Here are the benefits and drawbacks of wood shake roofing:

The Benefits of Wood Shake Roofing

Folks usually opt to install wood shake roofs because they love how they look, and their relative affordability.

Natural Aesthetic

Wood simply looks great. Tacking cedar shingles onto your roof will give your home a warm, welcoming appeal. Plus, over time, the shingles will naturally fade to give your home a rustic, high-character look. Folks often opt for wood shingles if they have a home with wood siding, if they have a brick home, or if they have a home with a stone exterior, since wood complements these natural materials. Wood shakes truly look good, regardless of the material of your home’s exterior.

Relatively Low Cost

Wood shakes cost between $250 and $600 per roofing square (i.e. 100 square feet), which is a mid-range roofing material price. On the other hand, asphalt shingles are less expensive (often $100 per square), while slate tile roofs can be far more expensive (often $1,000 per square or more). If you’re looking for a fairly affordable roof with an excellent aesthetic, then wood shakes may be the best option.

The Drawbacks of Wood Shake Roofing

While folks cherish the look of wood atop their abodes, this roofing material certainly has its drawbacks. Wood shingle roofs have poor longevity, they’re vulnerable to pests, mold, and fire, they discolor quickly, and they are more vulnerable to leak than other materials, especially at their end of life.


If you’re looking for a roofing material that lasts and lasts, look elsewhere — wood shingles tend to last between 15 and 30 years. That’s about the same durability as medium-grade asphalt shingles. Other materials on the market (like metal and slate) can last several decades longer, so be prepared to replace your roof more often if you’re opting to install wood shakes.

Vulnerable to Pests, Mold, and Fire

Unlike metal, composites, slate, and asphalt shingles, wood shakes are vulnerable to damage caused by pests and mold. Pests and mold can infiltrate your roof, which can decrease the lifespan of the material. Moreover, wood shingles aren’t fireproof (they are wood, after all), which is a liability for your home. You may even have to pay more on your homeowner’s insurance, since your wood shake roof is more hazardous than other roofing material options.


While some folks don’t mind the eventual fade of the coloration of wood shakes, others don’t like the brown-grey color which wood shingles eventually turn. If you’re installing wood shakes, you should be wary that the color will change over time, so plan ahead and think about how your home will look in five to 10 years.


Cracked shakes are more liable to cause leaks than other roofing materials. Since shakes crack and deteriorate over time, leaks can begin to pop up more easily, which can be a serious hazard if you don’t tend to your roof quickly. Have your roof inspected every year as your shingles approach the end of their life.

Red Dog’s Provides All Roofing Material Installations

Regardless of whether or not you choose to go with wood shakes for your roof, we’re here to provide your installation. We work with all sorts of roofing materials, from shingles to shakes and from tile to metal. Reach out to us to learn more about our options and to schedule an appointment to get your roofing project off the ground! Red Dog’s Roofing provides roofing services for folks throughout Fitchburg, Leominster, Gardner, and the surrounding area.