What Is Shake Roofing?

A Wood Shake Roof

What is shake roofing?

Wood shake roofing is one of the oldest types of roofing and predominated in the U.S. during the colonial period because of the abundance of trees available. Traditionally, a wood shake roof is made from wooden logs—often California redwood or western red cedar—that are hand-split and individually applied. Some modern versions of shake roofs are made from asphalt-and-fiberglass shingles designed to look like wood. While wood shake isn’t as popular as it once was, many homes still have these types of roofs and need to be repaired from time to time. When you need wood shake roof repair in Orange , CA, look to the experts at Weatherline Reroofing & Repairs Inc.. We provide a full range of roofing solutions. Find out how we can help you by calling (714) 731-3425.

Are wood shake roofs good?

Although wood shake roofs are not as prevalent as they once were, when people choose them for roofing, it’s often because of their aesthetic appeal. Attractiveness is just one positive of wood shake. But, like all roofing materials, shake roofing has its pros and cons.

Wood shake roof pros and cons


  • Aesthetic Appeal: Wood shake is some of the most attractive roofing available. Even as it ages, it changes colors that remain attractive.
  • Durability: Shakes are a dense and thick material and withstand high winds and heavy rains, as well as hail and snowstorms. They also last about 30 to 40 years.
  • Energy Efficiency: Shakes provide natural insulation and are twice as energy-efficient as asphalt shingles.


  • Cost and Limited Availability: There is less old-growth cedar shake available as old-growth forests diminish. Costs are also higher than most other roofing materials.
  • Difficult Installation: Wood shake requires skilled professionals like those at Weatherline Reroofing & Repairs Inc. to install. The wood has to be precision cut and requires precise installation.
  • Fire and Insurance Issues: Wood’s natural flammability increases your risk of fire. Because of the fire risk, it’s difficult to find insurers in California to cover the roof.
  • Aging and Maintenance Issues: As wood ages, without consistent maintenance, it becomes vulnerable to mold, fungal growth, algae, rot, and curling.

How long does a wood shake roof last?

If a wood shake roof is installed correctly and well maintained it can last about 30 to 40 years or more. Maintenance is required every two to four years, however, to prevent deterioration. Moisture is the primary cause of deterioration. Longevity is also affected by the home’s location. These roofs can age prematurely in areas of high humidity.

What is the difference between wood shakes and wood shingles?

Although you might hear wood shake or wood shingle used interchangeably, the two roofing materials are actually quite different. Both, of course, are made of wood—commonly cedar—but are manufactured in different ways. Wood shake is split from logs and no two shakes are exactly alike, while shingles are sawed smoothly from the log and uniform in shape. Shakes are also thicker, which makes them more durable than shingles, and they don’t lay flat on the roof. Most shakes, other than taper sawn shakes, which are smooth, are typically rugged and heavier than shingles.

Can you walk on a wood shake roof?

While a wood shake roof is very durable, if you need to make repairs or perform maintenance on the roof, you have to be careful when walking on it. That’s because they can be really slippery, especially if there have been recent rains or have growths like moss or algae on them. If you have to get on the roof, it’s preferable to use tools like roof brackets or ridge hooks.

Roof brackets are placed on the eaves and give you a spot to set down any tools or other materials and provide a foothold that allows you to walk on the roof. Ridge hooks are attached to your ladder and hooked over the ridge of your roof. This makes the ladder a platform from which you can work.

How to repair wood shake roof

Although it’s best to let professionals handle major repairs on a wood shake roof, a minor repair like replacing a damaged shake is a fairly simple task for a skilled do-it-yourselfer.

Follow these steps to replace a damaged shake:

  1. Take a hammer and sharp chisel and split the damaged shake. Remove the pieces. Instead of prying nails, you will need to cut the nail heads with a hacksaw.
  2. After measuring the gap from the old shake, you’ll use a hacksaw to cut a clearance that’s about 3/8-inch smaller to account for any swelling by the new shake after it rains.
  3. Slide the new shake into the gap, placing the top edge under overlapping shakes. Use two galvanized roofing nails to nail the shake down.
  4. Use a nail set to set the nails and a caulking compound to seal them.

When to replace wood shake roof

Wood shake roofs age well. In fact, part of their appeal is the rugged look they have as the shakes turn gray or brown with age. With age come signs of deterioration that might indicate it’s time to replace the roof. If you have several sections of the roof that have pieces missing, or that are warping, cracking, splitting, or leaking, replacement is often the best option as making patchy repairs is often more expensive.

The Ridge of a Wood Shake Roof

Wood shake roof repair near me

If your wood shake roof in Orange , CA is looking much more rugged than it should and you need expert repair services, look to the trusted local professionals at Weatherline Reroofing & Repairs Inc.. We offer a wide range of repair solutions for all roofing types. To schedule a time to get an estimate for a repair, all you need to do is call (714) 731-3425.