Types of Wood Shingles and Their Pros and Cons

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Wood shingles are a durable roofing choice that gives natural beautification to your home and keeps it secured from elements that may cause your property harm. There are different types of wood shingles, and the location or preferred style of the owner mainly influences a homeowner’s choice. Regardless of the choice, wood shingles generally improve a home’s quality and increase a property’s sale value.

What Is a Wood Shingle?

Many people have a bit of trouble distinguishing a wood shingle from a wood shake. So, how do you identify one? A wood shingle is one that has logs sawn on both top and bottom surfaces, creating a smooth, flat surface. A wood shingle usually has a uniform look because it is made with machines. However, the wood offers color options sufficient to give your home a unique appearance.

Different Types of Wood Shingles

Cedar Shingles

cedar wood

Cedar shingle got its name from a tree found on the West and East coasts of the US. It is a strong, sturdy, and flexible wood with an interesting scent, making it an ideal roofing material. Cedar trees usually have an average height of 50m, hence their strong nature. Among the different wood options available to manufacturers of acoustic guitars, cedar wood is a popular choice because of its durability—likewise, in the roofing industry. 

Cedar wood is a top choice in the roofing industry as a roofing material because:

  • It is the most affordable wood option for roofing
  • It is resistant to changes in size from constant changes in temperature
  • The grains are fine and it has uniform texture, making it easy to work with and steam bend. You can shape it into any shape you desire
  • It is humidity-resistant
  • It is durable and has a lifespan of about 30–50 years
  • The scent is lovely and the wood finish is attractive
  • It is a good insulator

Cedar shingles are available in different styles and colors. The type or style of cedar influences the original color and what it will fade into in years to come. The styles include western red, eastern white, and Alaska yellow cedar.

Types of Cedar Shingle

  1. Western red cedar: The color of this cedar wood can vary from a deep reddish brown to yellow/gold. Over time, this style transforms to gray or brown.
  2. Eastern white cedar: Eastern white cedar shingle is available in pale yellow and brown. After a while, it starts to turn gray. 
  3. Alaskan yellow cedar: This cedar is usually a pale yellow, but over the years, the color fades into gray or silver.

Teak Wood Shingles

Teak wood shingle

Teak wood is a lush type of hardwood that is tight-grained and originates from the southeast and south of Asia. This wood type is golden, smooth, and has fine grains. Teak is abundant in rubber and natural oils. This property makes it durable, strong, and resistant to rotting and inclement weather conditions like strong winds and storms, even without treatment.

Teak wood grows up to 50m and has a lifespan of about 100 years. Many manufacturers adopt teak for its alluring color, durability, fineness, and resistance to water,  weathering, termites, and other degrading factors.

When you look at most of the timeless structures across the world, you will discover that they were constructed with teak wood shingles. In the US, many houses with this type of wood shingle have hip and ridge or tapered designs. You will find them in colors varying from copper and gold to shades of gray or silver.

Manufacturers of wood shingles adopt teak wood for the following reasons:

  • It has a long lifespan and is highly resistant to many degrading elements
  • The color and overall appearance are alluring due to its smooth grains and texture
  • Even in harsh conditions, it is very sturdy
  • It is resistant to fungi, rot, and mildew

Wallaba Shingles

Wallaba wood

Wallaba wood is another popular type of wood roofing shingle. This hardwood originates from the forests of Guyana where the trees are abundant. It is known for its characteristic reddish-brown to light-red color. Wallaba wood is highly dense and has a straight-grained and rough texture. Additionally, it is high in resin, gums, and oil content, making it highly resistant to decay and attacks from insects.

Primarily, wallaba is adopted in the production of transmission poles and shingles. However, it is also used for industrial flooring, fence posts, railroad ties, and decking. What manufacturers typically do is cut wallaba shingles into rectangular shapes. The cuts usually have a tipped thickness, and they install them in rows that are overlapping, creating a long-lasting and waterproof roof.

One of the selling points of this type of wood shingle is its attractive reddish-brown or light red color, which fades after a while to greyish-brown, which is still attractive.

Because of their high resistance to insect damage and rotting, wallaba wood shingles are ideal and usually adopted in tropical regions with high humidity. When properly cared for, they can last for as long as 50 years after installation.

Many architects prefer to use wallaba shingles for their building projects, domestic or international, because of their high resistance to factors that could lead to corrosion. Some of the reasons why wallaba shingles stand out for some homeowners are:

  • Their resistance to decay and insects
  • Harsh weather conditions have nothing on them
  • They are cheaper than teak
  • They are suitable for areas where there is high humidity

Composite Wood Shingles

composite wood shingle

Composite wood shingles are synthetic shingles that combine the characteristics of the different types of wood shingles along individual grains. However, they are lighter in weight. Manufacturers of composite wood shingles produce them by artificial means. Hence, they lack the natural traits you will find in woods like teak, cedar, or wallaba. 

Regardless of this shortcoming, most composite wood shingles incorporate several advantages of the other types of shingle, including insulation, fire and water resistance, durability, and visual appeal.  

Why do people opt for the synthetic versions of wood shingles? Well, some homeowners prefer composite wood shingles for the following reasons:

  • They can tolerate intensely cold weather conditions
  • In areas with building codes that do not permit wood siding, they are efficient
  • They mimic the appearance of actual wood perfectly
  • Their colors do not fade over time
  • They are more friendly to the environment

Pros and Cons of the Different Types Wood Shingles

Pros

  • Have uniform dimensions, giving your roof a consistent appearance
  • Shapes and sizes are uniform
  • Cost less than wood shakes
  • Can be recycled
  • They are durable and can withstand heavy rain, wind, and other harsh conditions
  • Easy to install and fix in case of damage

Cons

  • In comparison to wood shakes, they are less durable
  • Requires regular upkeep 
  • It has a higher risk of catching fire than materials like composite ones
  • Some building codes do not approve of them

Conclusion

At least every 50 years, old buildings might need a change of protection for their roofs. Every now and then, new homes are constructed, and homeowners (old and new) are faced with the dilemma of making the best choice from the available types of wood shingles for their roofs. Should they go for cedar, teak, composite, or wallaba shingles? 

Well, well! Here’s our advice if you are confused: If you want a homey feel to your building, go for cedar shingles. But if you want something a bit different and sophisticated, teak shingles are what you should pick. Suppose you want something tropical or something that won’t change color over time. In that case, wallaba and composite shingles are the ideal options.

Now that you know all this, will you say we’ve made your decision-making process easier? 

Frequently Asked Questions

How much do wood shingles cost?

The type of wood shingle would determine its cost. Generally, a square foot of wood shingles averagely costs about $3.5–$5, with cedar shingles being the most expensive. A regular wood shingle costs less than a cedar shingle by a wide margin. A square foot of cedar shingle can cost as much as $15.

What are the advantages of wood shingles?

Unlike asphalt shingles, wood shingles have resistance to high winds. Additionally, wood is a poor heat conductor and is an excellent insulating material. It is, in fact, one of the best. This property helps keep your home cool in summer and hot in winter.

How long do wood shingles last?

It varies for the different kinds of wood shingles. In the right conditions, cedar wood shingles may last between 30–50 years, wallaba shingles 35–60 years, and teak shingles 50–80 years. They could even last longer.

Are wood shingles waterproof?

Yes, they are resistant to water. Because of the makeup of wood, it is resistant to water, insects, and ultraviolet ray damage. However, further treatments can improve wood’s resistance to fungus and fire.

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