What are the Advantages of a Cedar Shake Roof?

Mary McMahon

A cedar shake roof has a distinctive appearance which people often find appealing, but using cedar shakes for roofing has a number of advantages beyond basic aesthetics. When considering roofing options, cedar shakes are certainly something to think about. Although a roof made with cedar shakes can be more expensive to install than some roofing materials, the cost may be outweighed by the numerous benefits, including long term durability.

Man with a drill
Man with a drill

Cedar shakes are made by carefully cutting down and splitting pieces of cedar, a softwood which grows in many regions of the world. In some areas, cedar is a very traditional roofing material, due to the natural abundance of cedar trees, and many roofs with wooden shingles are made from cedar. A shake roof tends to have a more rustic look, and it can mesh well with a wide variety of architectural styles. It can also be environmentally friendly, if the cedar is harvested and processed in a sustainable way, in contrast with roofing materials made from nonrenewable resources like petroleum products.

One big advantage to a cedar shake roof is durability. Cedar resists insects and UV damage naturally, and it also withstands hail and heavy storms. The shakes should remain flat, with minimal shrinkage and splitting over their lifetime, and if the roof is installed properly, minimal loss of shakes should be experienced in heavy weather. Several manufacturers also treat their cedar shakes with fire-resistant chemicals to make them safer for roofing than ordinary shakes.

As a softwood, cedar is also an excellent insulator. The wood is filled with numerous large cells which fill with air, an ideal insulation material. A cedar shake roof can help to keep a home warm in the winter and cool in the summer as a result. The roof can also last for 30 to 40 years, unlike some other roofing materials, which can have much shorter lifespans.

Finally, having a cedar shake roof will add to a home's resale value. Although this should not be a deciding factor when considering the installation of a shake roof, it is certainly something to consider. The investment in cedar shakes may be costly at the beginning, but the result will be a durable, long-lasting roof which can be used as a selling point if the home is ever brought to the market. Having a cedar shake roof may make a home more appealing to prospective buyers, and it will increase the amount that people are willing to pay for a home.

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Discussion Comments


You know, my parents have always kept their heirloom quilts in a cedar lined chest, and they are huge fans of cedar lined closets as well.

Their reasoning? They say that cedar repels pests that could eat at the material and destroy over time; for instance, moths.

Which leads me to wonder if using cedar shake shingles and cedar shake siding might do the same for other pests like ants, bugs, and mosquitoes.

I live in a very humid area where it gets quite sticky in the summer, and if I thought that cedar would help with bugs, you better believe I‘d be making some home renovations!


I have always loved the look of a cedar roof, but have always wondered about its effect on the environment.

I know that using a petroleum based roofing option can’t be good for the environment either, and I believe there is even some evidence that it can contribute to global warming. However, I hate the idea of cutting down yet more trees to go into the building or renovation of a home.

I suppose, though, that if a person is thinking responsibly about the environment when replacing their roof that using cedar shingles may be the way to go. As long as the trees are replanted once they are harvested, it may indeed be the lesser of two evils. And, it’s gorgeous, too!

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