Wood Shakes & Shingles for Roof Applications

finishline_graphic_4webThis newly revised FinishLine includes tips to help ensure a long life for wood shakes and shingles. Although many wood shakes and shingles have been replaced by composition or asphalt-based shingles, they are still widely used on houses and commercial structures.

Shingles are sawn from wood blocks. They are tapered and generally have a relatively smooth surface. Shakes are split from wood blocks and are less uniform in thickness than shingles. They may be split and then sawn to provide taper as well as a relatively flat side, which is turned away from exposure during installation. Shakes tend to have a more rustic appearance.

Shingles and shakes can be used on sidewalls as well as roofs, but only roofs are addressed here. Extending the usable life of wood shakes and shingles includes:

  • Selecting durable and/or treated wood 
  • Applying an appropriate finish
  • Using proper installation methods
  • Performing routine maintenance

Protecting wood from decay is of primary importance. Performance failure from decay can occur in less than 10 years. Failure from weathering, though slower, is an accumulative process. Refinishing with semitransparent stains will reduce weather effects.