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6 Types Of Wood Roofs You Should Know

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There are many different types of materials that can be used to build a roof. Whether you are building a new home, looking to replace your roof, or are just curious about roofing, you should look into the many different types of wooden roofs that are offered. We've pulled together our research to make it easy for you to find the best one for your home.

Wood roofs are most popularly constructed with the following types of wood:

  1. Cedar shingles
  2. Teak shingles
  3. Wallaba shingles
  4. Composite shingles
  5. Cedar shakes
  6. Pine shakes

Choosing the best type of wood to complete your home roofing project can be difficult and even a bit overwhelming, but this guide should help you sort through all the information. We'll also cover helpful questions regarding the lifespan of wood roofs, their waterproof capabilities, and even whether or not you can install the new roof over an old one. So be sure to keep reading. 

Worker with hard hat and hammer installing wood shingles, 6 Types Of Wood Roofs You Should Know

Types Of Wood Roofs

1. Cedar Shingles

Cedar wood is naturally one of the most beautiful types of wood. It comes in an array of colors spanning from amber, red, gold, and brown. Cedar shingles are incredibly stable and have minimal shrinkage, even in very humid climates. Cedar is also incredibly strong and will hold up in all elements.

It is a natural insulator and will help keep your home cool in the summer and warm in the winter, which is a major bonus. You will routinely need to chemically treat your cedar shingles, depending on the wear. These shingles cost about $2-$3 per square foot.

If you choose to put cedar shingles on your roof, you will need to decide what texture of wood you would like. You can choose between sawn and sanded cedar shingles. Sanded shingles will be entirely smooth, showing more of the grain patterns, although it may not be very noticeable as it will be on your roof. Sawn shingles have much more texture and give a rougher and more rustic look to your home. 

2. Teak Shingles

Another option of wood to use for your roof would be teak shingles. Teak is incredibly durable, more so than any other type of wood, as it was even once used to build hefty ships. It is easy to maintain and because it lasts so long, you will save money by not having to replace it for many years.

Old teak wooden roof tile

Teak is very wind and energy-efficient as well, acting as a natural insulator just like cedar does. Teak does not offer as many color options as cedar, as it only comes in medium-to-dark brown. 

As with cedar, you can choose to have a sanded or sawn texture on your teak shingles. Teak is a bit more complicated to sand, so this will be pricier, but the finished look is quite attractive. As mentioned above, the sawn texture is a bit more coarse but also displays a beautiful finished product. The textured finish is up to your liking.

3. Wallaba Shingles

Wallaba is a bit rarer than teak or cedar, but it is also a fantastic option for roofing. This type of wood is a tropical wood grown in Guyana, Suriname, and Brazil and it comes in a beautiful red-to-brown range of colors.

While wallaba and cedar are very similar, wallaba does not need to be chemically treated as cedar does, making it a bit more manageable for busy people. If you live in a coastal region where tropical storms occur, wallaba is one of the best materials for you, as it is incredibly moisture-resistant and wind-proof. 

When it comes to the finished texture process, wallaba is very similar to cedar. You can choose to sand it if you prefer the look of it, but it is not necessary. Sanding will always be a bit more expensive as it includes a service charge. Sawn is also a great choice and a bit cheaper of an option with some additional character from the coarse texture. 

4. Composite Shingles

Composite, also known as synthetic wood, is another great option for you to use for your roof. It is made out of fiberglass, recycled paper products, and asphalt. Composite shingles offer a synthetic option that looks identical to wood but is even more resistant to things such as fire, rot, moisture, and certain insects.

Composite shingles have nearly double the lifespan of authentic wood shingles and require no maintenance whatsoever. Since they are synthetic, composite shingles also come in a larger variety of colors. 

As with all of the other materials previously mentioned, you can choose a sawn or sanded texture for your composite shingles. Composite generally duplicates the look of shingles, so the sanded and sawn texture will look similar on this product. Sanded will be a bit pricier than sawn is due to the additional service needed to sand this material. Sawn composite shingles look beautiful as well and add a touch of texture to your finished roof that sanded shingles would not have. 

5. Cedar Shakes

Shakes are basically shingles, but the more rustic version. They look as though they have been cut by an axe and because of this, shakes require more work to complete. Cedar shakes and shingles have the same characteristics, as they are made out of the same type of wood, just shaped differently. Because of this, cedar shakes are just as stable and durable as cedar shingles. Cedar shakes cost about $1.75-$3 per square foot.

When you decide to use cedar shakes, you have two options for your finish: hand-split and tapersawn. Hand-split shakes are cut by hand with an axe, giving an imperfect, but highly characterized appearance to your roof.

Tapersawn shakes are less common and are often referred to as a hybrid between shakes and shingles. They are thicker and shorter than shingles and have a uniform appearance much like shingles do.

6. Pine Shakes

Pine shakes are another fantastic option of roofing that you can utilize. They are made from Southern Yellow Pine Trees and due to this, they can have a unique, lighter color. Pine shakes do require chemical treatments so that bugs do not aid in their decay. If you choose to use pine shakes, you will not have a say in the finish or the texture, as they always come tapersawn, or as a hybrid between shakes and shingles. 

How Long Do Wooden Shingles And Shakes Last?

The lifespan of wooden shingles and shakes always depends on the type of wood that they are made out of. Cedar shingles and shakes typically last 30-40 years. Teak shingles typically last 50-80 years. Wallaba shingles typically last 30 years. Composite shingles typically last 50+ years on average. Pine shakes typically last 30-40 years. 

As you can see, wood roofs are practically guaranteed to last a long time. Just keep them well maintained and treated. For more information on this topic, check out this post: How Long Does A Wood Roof Last?

Are Wooden Shingles Waterproof?

Wooden shingles are not waterproof. They are, however, water-resistant. This means that with time, water will leak into your wooden roof and you will have to replace it, but due to modern water-resistant technology, this lifespan has increased. Different types of wood, such as wallaba and composite, are better if you live in an extremely wet climate. 

Is It Okay To Put Wooden Shingles Over Old Shingles?

Unfortunately, you cannot put wooden shingles on top of your old shingles. If you have old shingles that you do not wish to remove entirely and you are set on laying new shingles on top of them, you should consider a material such as asphalt. If you choose to remove your old shingles, you will have to pay roughly $1,000, depending on the size of your roof for tear-off before you can place new, wooden shingles onto your roof.

In Closing

We hope that this article helped you to narrow down what kind of wooden roof you would like to put on your home. No matter which type of wood you choose, we are sure that your home is going to look absolutely fantastic. As always, please remember to be safe when completing home projects and contact professionals for help whenever it is needed! 

Before you go, be sure to check out some of these posts that may be of interest to you:

How Big Are Wood Shingles?

Can Wood Shingles Be Painted?