One of the best ways to make sure that your roof is going to last is to invest in quality materials to begin with. When it comes to roofing materials, some of the most popular include wood shakes and shingles.

While both of these provide protection for your home, family and personal belongings, there are some key differences between the two materials. Understanding what these differences are is the best way to know which option – shakes or shingles – is right for your home.

How Long will a Roof Last?

In most cases, a roof will last for about two decades. However, the timeframe varies based on a number of factors, such as:

  • The climate
  • Weather conditions, including snow, heat, rain and wind
  • If the roof is installed properly
  • The materials used

These factors impact the longevity of your roof, so if you don’t know how they may affect the material you choose, the best thing you can do is speak with the roofer you plan to hire, who can provide more insight.

Maximizing Your Roof’s Lifespan

Every roof is going to experience wear and tear during its life; however, the damage caused by the factors above may compromise the overall longevity of the surface. If you want to ensure you get the maximum life expectancy from your roof, you need to check it on a regular basis and have it repaired when necessary.

Wood Shakes or Shingles?

Wood shakes, made of cedar, are thought to be one of the highest quality roofing materials available today. In most cases, a roof constructed with wood shakes will last for 15 to 20 years, but this is dependent on the grade of the material’s purchased. The thicker shake you purchase, the higher grade and the longer that it will last. Keep in mind though, the higher quality material you purchase, the higher the price will be.

When you install wood shakes, they are designed to grow moss on them and they will swell when moisture is in the air, or rail. However, they don’t do well in extreme heat or dryness – if the climate is like this for an extended period of time, it can cause the shakes to dry out and eventually split in half. Due to this issue, you may want to consider shingles for your home.

Asphalt shingles are the most affordable option. When installed properly, they can last between 20 and 40 years. While these shingles are somewhat thinner than the shakes, they aren’t as durable. If you decide on a shingle roof, be sure that you schedule regular maintenance and professional inspections. This will help ensure you find issues early and can have them repaired in a timely manner.

The Verdict

Making the decision between wood shakes and asphalt shingles is one that’s extremely important. It is also one that’s dependent on your home, your budget and the recommendations of the roofer you hire for repairs or replacement.