People are attracted to wood shake roofs for many reasons, in particular, their classic or rustic look. It’s also a well-known fact that wood shake roofs are much more expensive than asphalt ones, but that is not the only reason homeowners choose traditional shingles over wood shake. The engineering of typical asphalt shingles from manufacturers such as GAF and Owens Corning  offer durability, protection and lower maintenance than even the best quality shake roof.

In fact, there are many downsides to wood shakes that you should know about that are not a concern when you choose a typical, asphalt roof. Here are some of those important considerations:

  • Wood shake roofs have hidden maintenance costs.  Besides the upfront higher cost of a wood shake roof, which is considerably more than the average roof, they also need costly repairs and maintenance. Wood shake roof owners must be very vigilant about debris, and regularly inspect the roof for shingles that look worn out or cracked. It is recommended that an expert inspect the roof every year for signs of aging, pest seepage, rot, or other problems.
  • Fungi, algae, and moss love cedar roofs! Every four years, the roof must be gently and carefully power washed to clean away any growth. Moss can eventually lead to a leak in the roof.
  • Wood shakes do not fare well with heavy snow. It is recommended that a ridge venting system and snow guards should be installed to protect the shakes from premature aging, and from developing leaks in winter.
  • The installation of a wood roof must include a substrate, which will allow the wood to breathe. This extra step contributes to the increased price.
  • Wood shakes are dangerous to climb on. If you are a big DIY’er, be careful. Wood shakes do not have nearly as much traction as asphalt, and can be slippery when wet.
  • They may not be quite as eco-friendly as you think. Cedar trees don’t grow as quickly as others, and as the demand for cedar wood increases, it could mean trouble for cedar forests. Right now, there are many certified sustainable sources for cedar, but there are limits for how much sustainable cedar can be bought and used as roofing.

In contrast, today’s asphalt shingles are engineered for solid durability, low maintenance and weatherproof performance. For many of Pro-Home Services’ customers living here in the Chicago area where the cold, snowy winters give roofs a beating every year, these factors are especially important.

Another advantage of asphalt over wood shake roofs is the variety of roofing colors and styles that are available in traditional shingles that can add a dimension, color and style to any home.  Every year, innovations are made in the manufacture of shingles, much to the delight of homeowners everywhere!

Putting on a new roof comes with a number of decisions to be made and choosing from the many different options for roof materials is your first step. If you would like an in-home consultation about your next roof, feel free to call Pro-Home Services at 630-790-0800.

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