Material Comparison: Wood Shakes vs. Shingles

Material Comparison: Wood Shakes vs. Shingles

Wood is one of the most beloved roofing materials of all time. It may no longer be as popular as it used to be due to the introduction of other choices, but many homeowners still prefer it over newer options. Thanks to its ability to lend rustic charm to any home, improve energy efficiency and age beautifully, wood will never lose its appeal.

Material Comparison: Wood Shakes vs. Shingles

If you’re in the market for wood roofing, you must understand the differences between shakes and shingles to achieve your home improvement goals. Here are the biggest distinctions between the two:


The visual difference between wood shakes and shingles is obvious to a discerning eye. Each shake is rugged and looks unique from the next piece. Shingles cover the entire roof surface with a uniform, smooth appearance.

The manufacturing techniques used to make roofing materials like wood shakes and shingles are responsible for their shapes. Traditionally, shakes were split with a sharp blade while shingles were evenly sawn from a block of wood. Today, workers still hand-split shakes, but with power equipment, while machines mass-produce shingles.


Generally, shakes are costlier than shingles because they’re usually thicker and more challenging to install. This is why the industry considers it the premium option.


Shakes will usually outlast shingles due to their thickness. However, the product’s durability still depends on the wood species used. Of course, proper installation and maintenance are a factor to reduce the need for roof repair over the life span of the material.

Pitch Appropriateness

You can use wood shakes and shingles on low- and high-slope roofs, but shingles are more suitable for those with less pitch. The recommended minimum steepness requirement for shingles is 3:12 while it’s 4:12 for shakes.

Blow-Off Resistance

As shingles lay completely flat on the roof surface, they deliver better wind-uplift resistance than shakes. However, hiring a specialist roofer matters in ensuring flawless fastening and bringing your home up to code.

Turn to Orion Home Improvements to make the right choice between wood shakes and shingles. To talk about your roof replacement project and get a free estimate in Burke, Fairfax or Alexandria, VA, call us at (571) 364-6399 now.