Roofers on site installing roof one holding ladder

Posted On: January 3, 2018

Cedar Shake vs. Cedar Shingle Roofing Material – Pros & Cons To Help You Decide

No matter which type of roof you choose, there are pros and cons to using each material. Cedar roofing is no different. However, as one of the more high-quality choices for roofing material, cedar offers plenty of advantages over disadvantages — depending on your individual situation, of course. Once you have decided on a cedar roof, you need to pick a side on the cedar shake vs cedar shingle debate, which we hope to answer in this post.

Before installing a cedar roof, take into account your climate, location, surroundings, shade/exposure, commitment to maintenance and, obviously, your budget. So, if you’re wondering what the pros and cons are of cedar shake roofs, here’s a resource that will help.

Let’s begin by exploring the different types of cedar roofs there are.

house with cedar shake roof

What’s the Difference Between Cedar Shake and Cedar Shingle roofs?

When used in installation or repairs, cedar roofs can come in the form of either a shake or shingle. Shakes offer a more traditional, rough-hewn style, as they’ve been around for centuries, whereas shingles can be identified by their uniformity and even taper.

According to non-profit advocate, Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau,  there are a few more differences between the two roof materials. In general, a shingle is sawn on both sides and is thinner at the butt than a shake. A shake is typically split on one or both sides. There are important exceptions to this, (for example, tapersawn shakes are shakes with both sides sawn) depending on the specific manufacturing method and the dimensions of a specific product.

So what are the advantages and disadvantages of the two different roofing materials? Let’s continue.

Cedar Shakes: Pros and Cons


  • Cedar shakes provide a luxurious look and are perfect for up-scale neighborhoods or historical homes. It’s difficult to beat the style of a new, natural cedar roof. If you are re-doing a traditional, older house, cedar roofing is probably the most historically appropriate choice.
  • Cedar shakes offer more energy efficiency and lowered monthly bills. Because they are an incredible insulator they retain warmth during the winter while reflecting heat during the summer. This will ensure that your heating and air conditioning (along with your monthly bills) aren’t going through the roof.
  • Cedar shakes are known to be highly resistant to storm damage as well as extreme wind speeds. If you live in a climate that sees a lot of heavy storms, this material may be right for you.


  • Cedar shakes in a damp environment are susceptible to mold and mildew and rot. Something such as sap from dripping down from an overhanging tree can trigger mildew growth. If rot ends up setting in, it will most likely affect more than just one shake and spread to the rest of the roof.
  • Those homeowners that choose to install a cedar roof must be ready for the maintenance requirements that come along with it. A cedar roof needs to be cleaned and cleared of debris (including ice) on a regular basis. If it isn’t, the wood can rot and cause damage.

Cedar Shingles: Pros and Cons


  • Cedar shingles are a more environmentally friendly option, unlike other materials, even cedar shakes, which require large amounts of energy to manufacture, cedar shingles are produced in a highly energy-efficient manner. This reduces the output of carbon from the very start.
  • Cedar shingles are less expensive than cedar shakes, giving you a similarly great look at a more affordable price.
  • Cedar shingles are also known to be highly resistant to storm damage as well as extreme wind speeds.


  • Cedar shingles are resistant to insects but not large amounts of rain. If you live in a wet climate, cedar shingles may not be the best choice.
  • Cedar shingles technically are three-dimensional, but their look is undeniably flat. Whereas shakes bring a textured appearance to a roof that goes with almost any type of home style.
  • Homeowners should also know that the same maintenance requirements for cedar shakes accompany cedar shingles, as well.


Ready to Get Started On Your Cedar Roof?

Contact Northface Construction today! We’re the number-one provider of cedar roofing services in the greater Twin Cities area. With a strong commitment to providing personalized experiences, quality craftsmanship and reasonable prices on our roofing services, you’ll find a partner in Northface Construction. Get in touch with one of our dedicated service representatives now to see how we can help you.


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