People throughout much of the world have relied on wooden shingle roofing for centuries. Made from species ranging from cedar to oak, wooden shingles create a distinct look that complements a variety of architectural styles. Installed in overlapping rows, these shingles also provide natural insulation and protection from rain and other elements. In addition to their attractive appearance, both smooth wooden shingles and rough-cut wooden shakes offer a number of additional advantages in terms of installation and environmental factors.
One of the primary benefits to using wooden shingles to finish a roof is their relatively low weight compared to other roofing materials. Compared to clay tiles or slate, wooden shingles weigh very little, yet still offer adequate strength and moisture protection. This light weight allows the shingles to be installed on standard roof framing, with no need to add extra strength and support to the structure.
The light weight of wooden shingles also makes them easy to install, unlike many other styles of roofing. They are also simple to repair, making maintenance quick and easy. Unlike interlocking roof tiles, wooden shingles can simply be cut away and replaced one at a time if they are damaged.
While asphalt roofing remains the most popular roof covering in the United States (US) and throughout much of the world, it poses serious environmental risks during installation and disposal. Wooden shingles, on the other hand, pose no risks in terms of off-gassing or pollution upon disposal. Because they are made of natural materials, they contain no pollutants that could eventually reach the air or water supplies. Wood shingles are also easily recyclable when they reach the end of their usable life.
With proper care and maintenance, wooden shingles can last as long as 50 years. To maximize the life of these roofs, homeowners should wash the surface regularly to remove mold and mildew. It is also helpful to seal the shingles each year to enhance moisture protection. Finally, buyers should ensure that the roof is installed correctly from the beginning, with corrosion-resistant fasteners rather than standard steel nails.
Of course, many people who choose wooden shingles base their decision primarily on their appearance. Depending on the species they are made from, these shingles often start off in attractive, natural colors ranging from red to brown. Over time, the wood transforms and takes on a natural gray or silver patina. Wooden shingles can benefit almost any style or home, but are particularly valuable in historic preservation projects.