Historical Wood Roof Preservation

historical wood roof preservation

The history of wood shingles in the United States dates back to colonial times, and early wood-shingled roofs would often differ from region to region, depending on the types of wood most readily available. In the Northeast, for example, white pine was typically employed. Down south, shingles made of oak and cypress were more common. As the west was settled, redwood and cedar came into use.

From the early days of the roofing, shingle surfaces were coated with oils to protect the wood against rain, sun and the passage of time. By the 18th century, pine pitch coating, linseed oil and brick dust minerals were widely in use. For decorative purposes, shingles were also treated with an assortment of colors, including slate gray and Venetian red. Starting in the 1800s, colors like green also became common on roof shingles. Untreated shingles, by contrast, tend to assume a silvery gray or light brown surface over time, which adds to their raw natural charm.

With the rise of metal roofing on urban architecture during the 19th century, shingles ebbed in popularity. Nonetheless, wood shingles have never truly gone out of style because countless homeowners of each passing generation have continued to favor the quaint appeal that only wood can offer. From the country houses of the Victorian era to the colonial revival in the century that followed, one movement after another has reaffirmed the staying power of wood shingles as a unique, timeless and durable roofing option.

Qualities to Note When Restoring Historic Wood Roofs

Throughout the history of roofing, some of the most distinguished and valued homes have retained their charm and luster by holding true to their original design. As one of the most ageless roofing options, wood shingles are featured on some of the longest standing homes throughout the U.S.

For the sake of historic roof preservation, it's important for replacement shingles to match the originals. To get the right match, the following information needs to be collected:

●      Original wood. A new set of shingles can be cut to replicate an older set on a classic home, but it's hard to achieve the same look and feel without matching the wood type. Therefore, it's best to know which kind of wood was used for the first set of shingles — be it red cedar, cypress or white oak — so that the wood can be matched when you buy replacement wood shingles.

●      Shingle size. The size of each shingle can determine the look and longevity of a given rooftop set. To replicate the look of preexisting shingles, you must take note of the length and width of the shingles, in addition to the thickness.

●      Exposure length. When it comes to the placement of shingles on rooftops, a small portion of each shingle gets covered by the one above it, and the rest is what is exposed to the sun and rain. The length of this exposed portion is important to note before you order wood shingle replacements.

●      Nail pattern. Not all shingles are applied identically from rooftop to rooftop, as some shingle sets are applied with thicker nails than others. The type of nail is also an important factor, since certain types of nails are more likely to offer sufficient fastening strength on select wood types in certain climates.

●      Fabrication method. The look and overall feel of a shingle set is also largely determined by the method used in the fabrication of the wood in question. Were the shingles sawn or split? If the shingles were made by hand, for instance, the overall look will be rougher than if the shingles were made with tools or machines. If roughness was the look of the original shingles, that's the look you want to replicate.

●      Unique features. Surface impressions are crucial to the naked eye, and wood shingles are most often noticed for their distinctive details. Do the shingles have hips or dormers? Valleys or ridges? For obvious reasons, the cut and shape of a given set of shingles must be noted and replicated to get accurate replacements.

●      Decorations. Even though this isn't true for all homes with shingle rooftops, shingles sometimes feature decorative elements. Therefore, you need to make note of any patterns or color-coating that exist on shingles. Alternately, old shingles might be laid out in a unique manner that leaves the nails exposed.

●      Substrate type. The integrity of a shingle set is mostly down to the wood type, design and fabrication method used, but the overall application also depends on the shingle bedrock. As such, an old set of shingles is best replicated when you identify the substrate, be it sheathing or an open lathe.

Any historic wood roof restoration must be done in compliance with local codes, which could dictate the use of fire-inhibiting chemicals. This is generally a good thing. While the chemicals don't impact the appearance of wood, they can often help lengthen the wood shingle roof’s life expectancy.

Important Elements to Retain During the Historic Wood Roof Restoration Process

With some wood shingle roof replacements, it's difficult to make a historically accurate match because information is elusive. Perhaps the house has had more than one roof since it was originally built. Or maybe you don't want the exact same shingle scheme, but do want to retain the classic vibe and the value it carries on the resale market. In either case, the following characteristics should be retained from the original roofing at all cost:

●      Quality. Chances are, the original wood type was chosen for a reason, such as for its texture or strength. Sometimes these choices are merely for aesthetic reasons, but often times a wood will be chosen for its durability within specific environmental conditions. In other words, a suitable wood for southern homes might not be sufficient for homes in regions with harsher winter weather.

●      Dimensions. The size and shape of wood shingles are not merely aesthetic. In many cases, shingle size is selected to fit specific roofing dimensions. Therefore, qualities such as length, width and thickness actually matter when it comes to replacing the shingles on an old home, regardless of whether you wish to replicate the old roofing.

Size & Shape of historical wood roofing

●      Pattern. As with the surface quality and dimension of a shingle set, installation patterns are often chosen for a reason. Based on the slope of the roof, a specific pattern might best facilitate the drying of wood and the drainage of rain. That is why special note should be taken of characteristics such as ridges, hips, valleys and overlaps in the pre-existing roofing pattern.

●      Features. If you're going for an exact replication of the shingle roofing on an old home, decorative features such as color or unique nail patterns should be duplicated to the letter. Even if you don't love the style, the unique roofing features of an old house can contribute substantially to its resale value. This is something to especially keep in mind if you plan to sell the home at some point in the future.

Areas Where New Shingle Roofing Materials Can Differ

While it's necessary to match certain aspects of old shingle roofing as closely as possible, other areas do allow for more leeway. The characteristics that can differ between old and replacement roof shingles include the following:

●      Wood species. Some old homes with wood shingles were built long before the availability of stronger, more durable options. As such, if you wish to take liberties with your new roofing selection, consider a different wood type if the wood currently in place could indeed be of a higher quality.

●      Fabrication. If you'd prefer sawn wood shingles over hand cut, or vice versa, go with your preference, especially if there's no noticeable difference to the naked eye.

●      Flashing. If your house was built before the advent of modern flashing, it could be wise to have this added to the roof during the process of shingle replacement. As long as the flashing is sensitively applied, it should greatly enhance the quality of the new roof.

●      Sleepers. When you consider that newer and newly renovated homes have more difficulty ventilating naturally, you might consider sleepers for the roof. If the interior attic has been re-walled and insulated, the addition of sleepers could make it easier for the roof as a whole to breathe. This, in turn, could help prevent moisture buildup in the shingle wood.

●      Nailing. If a different method of nailing would make things more secure for the new shingles, go with that method, especially if it makes no difference to the visual pattern.

Preserving Your New Wood Shingle Roof

When it comes to wood shingles, successful preservation of a new or historic wood roof is best achieved with proper care and prevention of harmful buildups on the rooftop. The longevity of shingles can largely be determined by factors like exposure, maintenance and various attributes of the wood itself, as well as the following:

●      Thinness. The thinner the set of shingles, the less strength they will have to withstand the elements and remain in single pieces as year-by-year impacts pile on. Therefore, thin shingles should be inspected twice annually for signs of wear or damage.

●      Durability. Some types of wood are more durable than others. Shingles made of cedar wood are among the strongest options on the market, and they are most likely to last the full life expectancy of a given set of wood roof shingles.

●      Exposure. The impacts of wet winters and hot summers can take their toll on a set of shingles. Rain water, for example, can wear away at shingle wood, especially if the draining fails and water accumulates along the roof edges. Ultraviolet rays can also compromise the integrity of shingle wood.

Successful wood roof preservation

●      Slope. The steepness of a roof can greatly affect the lifespan of wooden shingles. If the slope is sharp, rain is likelier to slide right off the roof and out through the drains. Likewise, sharp slopes limit the amount of direct contact a roof has with the sun.

●      Moss. The growth of moss or the formation of lichens can slowly eat away at wood roof shingles. Moss forms from a combination of airborne spores and moving water. Wherever moss forms, such as on wood, it's an indicator that something is wrong with the underlying surface.

●      Ventilation. Wood roofs need sufficient ventilation to dry after each downpour. Before the 20th century, this was relatively easy, because homes in those days weren't equipped with ventilation inhibitors such as insulation. If an older home has undergone interior renovation work, the wood shingles might be left with a reduced capacity for ventilation.

●      Overhang. Encroaching branches can be the biggest enemies of rooftops. An adjacent tree, for example, could get struck by lightning and send a heavy branch crashing down on the shingles. Even if the overhanging branch remains intact, the falling of leaves and pinecones onto a rooftop is not healthy for shingles.

●      Pollution. Elements in the environment can slowly eat away at wood roof shingles. Pollutants from nearby factories, for instance, can send airborne toxins to the exteriors of houses in any given area. As these particulates settle into the wood, shingles can lose their compositional integrity.

●      Maintenance. In many cases, the aforementioned problems can be stopped before they spread with regular rooftop maintenance. If a roof is checked once or twice per year — preferably before each summer and winter — issues such as poor drainage, moss growth and debris pileup can be halted before they spiral out of hand and lead to costly issues.

●      Installation. Sometimes, the worst problem with a set of shingles is the way they were installed. If a prior installation was handled by unskilled roofers, all the maintenance, drainage and overhang prevention will do little to stop the early demise of unfortunately laid shingles.

As one of the most reliable yet element-sensitive of historic roofing materials, wooden shingles should be replaced every 30 to 60 years, depending on the type of wood used. However, shingles comprised of heartwood straight grain can sometimes last twice as long.

Replace wooden shingles every 30-60 years


Get New Wood Shingles or Shakes From Custom Shingles

Wood shingles are widely loved for their timeless appeal, but what are wood shingles without the unique designs that make them the most flexible of roofing options? At Custom Shingles, we create shingles to match virtually any design concept imaginable. Homes of all ages with wood shingles and siding can be revitalized with any given number of styles on offer, from Thai to Tudor and from Seawave to Storybook.

If you're after a bold and striking design for the roof of your home, consider one of the pointed options such as sawtooth, chisel or diamond shingles. If a rounded look is more befitting to your tastes, consider octagonal or fishscale shingles.

With over 40 years of extensive experience with restoration projects, we can help you find the roof of your dreams. If you're grappling with the wood shake roof vs. shingles dilemma, we have an array of both hand-cut and machine-cut styles that are sure to bring you to a confident decision. To learn more about the range of roofing options we offer at Custom Shingles or to get a quote for your roofing project, contact us today.

Custom Shingles to Match Historical Wood Roofs

How to Make Your Home More Eco-Friendly With Wood Shingles

how to make your home more energy efficient

Let's face it — installing a new roof can be a challenging process. Homeowners first need to consider what type of roofing materials they will need, but choosing reliable, cost-effective and versatile roofing materials may prove to be overwhelming. Thankfully, eco-friendly wood shingles deliver an unprecedented mix of function and style and make it easier than ever for homeowners to enjoy sustainable roofing materials.

Now, let's take a closer look at wood shingles — energy-efficient roofing shingles that deliver exceptional insulation and are constructed to last.

Wood Shingles vs. Asphalt Shingles – Which Are More Eco-Friendly?

Asphalt is one of the most common roofing materials for home builders. However, sustainable roof materials may surpass asphalt as a top choice for residential roof construction in the near future due to the increased push for sustainable roof design.

According to home remodeling website Fixr, asphalt shingles cost around $80 to $100 per square foot. These shingles are typically easy to install and repair, come in a variety of designs and colors and offer superior fire resistance compared to many other types of roofing materials.

On the other hand, asphalt shingles are commonly susceptible to weather-related damage due such as hail, snow and sleet, and may need to be replaced more frequently than other roofing materials. Home inspection company McGarry and Madsen notes asphalt shingles have an average lifespan of 15 to 18 years — the shortest average lifespan of all roofing materials.

Asphalt shingles also are non-recyclable. Thus, if builders need to get rid of asphalt shingles, they’ll likely need to use landfill disposal.

Comparatively, sustainable wood roof shingles provide homeowners with energy-efficient residential roofing. Eco-friendly roofing materials such as wood shingles are readily available and deliver proven results for homeowners.

Some of the benefits of energy-efficient roofing shingles include:

  • Cost-Effectiveness: Energy-efficient roof shingles usually have a longer average lifespan than asphalt. As a result, homeowners may be able to receive a better return on investment (ROI) from wood shingles than they would from asphalt shingles.
  • Energy Efficiency: Wood shingles are also insulating, which brings down the overall cost of heating and cooling your home and reduces your energy reliance. Green Home Guide indicates sustainable roofing materials may help homeowners lower their energy costs by up to 30 percent. This shows wood shingles may deliver significant home energy savings, making them an ideal choice for many homeowners nationwide.
  • Weather- and Pest-Resistance: Sustainable roof shingles have been shown to be less susceptible to hail, high winds and insects than other types of roofing materials.
  • Visual Appeal: Homeowners can choose from a broad array of sustainable roofing material designs and styles and find wood shingles that match their personalities.
decrease energy costs

Why Are Wood Shingles an Eco-Friendly Alternative?

Wood shingles consist of all-natural materials, making them an eco-friendly alternative to asphalt varieties. The shingles won't harm or deplete the planet and they offer a terrific choice for homeowners who want to embrace sustainable roof design.

Homeowners who select wood shingles can reap the benefits of eco-friendly roofing materials that are:

  • Sustainable: Wood shingles feature natural materials that are harvested and replanted as part of a cycle of sustainability. For example, the majority of a cedar tree may be harvested to produce cedar shingles and other useful products, while the remaining portion of the tree biodegrades into compost for future trees.
  • Biodegradable: Wood shingles are completely recyclable and can even be chipped into garden mulch. Asphalt shingles, however, usually wind up in landfills. And when rainfall occurs, asphalt shingles in landfills risk leaking harmful chemicals into local water supplies.
  • Fighting Pollution: Wood shingles offer a safe and dependable choice for homeowners who want to reduce their carbon footprint. Alternative roofing materials like asphalt frequently require fossil fuels to transform the materials into final products. But with wood shingles, you can use natural products as part of a high-quality residential roof.
  • Naturally Energy-Saving: Cedar acts as a proven natural insulator, and a cedar roof will enable you to insulate your attic effectively. In this way, cedar shingles can help you keep your home cool in the summer and warm in winter, as well as lower your cooling and heating costs.

Should You Install an Energy-Efficient Residential Roof?

Installing a new roof is a major decision for any homeowner. Therefore, you'll want to consider various factors when you weigh the pros and cons of an energy-efficient roof, including:

  • Cost of the Roof: Do you have the finances to afford a new roof? You should consider how much it will cost to install an energy-efficient roof and plan accordingly. Also, don't forget to consider how long an energy-efficient roof will last, as well as how a new roof may help you boost the value of your home.
  • Energy Savings: How much will you save with an energy-efficient roof? The answer varies depending on the homeowner and home. Eco-friendly roofing materials act as a natural insulator and may help you cut down on your energy expenses. Meanwhile, asphalt shingles are unlikely to deliver the same energy savings as energy-efficient residential roofing materials.
  • Climate: Consider your climate before you install an energy-efficient roof. For instance, many homeowners in warm climates prefer energy-efficient roofing materials to asphalt shingles. In fact, these homeowners can often maximize their cooling savings with sustainable roof shingles.
  • Your Current Roof: If you’re building a new house, you can start from scratch with sustainable roofing materials. Or, if you want to convert your existing roof into an energy-efficient one, you may need to complete additional steps to upgrade to an eco-friendly roof.
  • Your Home's Heating and Cooling System: Wood shingles may help you optimize the performance of your house's heating and cooling system. The shingles provide excellent insulation year-round. This means you won't need to run your heating and cooling system as frequently as you did in the past to maintain comfortable indoor temperatures.
pros and cons to replacing your roof

Remember — a diligent homeowner will be equipped with the knowledge and insights needed to make an informed decision about sustainable roof materials. If you allocate the necessary time and resources to learn about eco-friendly roof materials, you'll be better equipped than others to make the best choice for your home.

Energy Efficiency of Dark vs. Light Colored Roof Shingles

Choosing the right residential roofing requires an individual to consider several questions, including:

  • How long do you want your roof to last?
  • How can you improve your home's efficiency?
  • How can you maintain a comfortable indoor temperature at all times?

Homeowners may consider both dark and light roof shingles as they evaluate all of the roofing materials at their disposal. Ultimately, light roof shingles may prove to be the better option for a number of reasons, including:

  • Serve as "Cool Roofs": Light roof shingles can reflect more sunlight and absorb less heat than dark roof shingles, which may help homeowners reduce their air conditioning needs and energy costs in warm temperatures.
  • Improved Indoor Comfort: With light roof shingles, homeowners can improve indoor comfort in garages, covered patios and other indoor spaces that are not air-conditioned.
  • Reduced Roof Temperature: Because light roof shingles are cooler than their dark counterparts, they usually last longer than dark roof shingles, extending the lifespan of a homeowner's roof.
light roof vs dark roof shingles

In addition, light roof shingles may deliver numerous environmental benefits, including:

  • Reduced Local Air Temperatures: Light roof shingles can reduce the "urban heat island effect.” This is a problem that causes an urban or metropolitan area to become significantly warmer than its surrounding areas.
  • Lower Peak Electricity Demand: Thanks to light roof shingles, homeowners can run their air conditioners less often, reducing the risk of power outages.
  • Reduced Power Plant Emissions: Light roof shingles may lead to decreased electricity use, lowering power plant emissions such as carbon dioxide and mercury by reducing the amount of cooling energy used in buildings.

Clearly, light roof shingles provide many advantages over dark roof shingles. Homeowners who are searching for ways to transform an ordinary residence into an eco-friendly home may consider light roof shingles to make the most of their energy-efficient home improvements.

There are Many Types of Energy-Efficient Wood Shingles

Wood shingles represent one of the top choices for improved energy efficiency, and for good reason. Conversely, many wood shingle options are available, and choosing the right energy-efficient roof shingles in the right color may prove to be difficult.

Here’s a closer look at some of the most popular wood shingles, all of which have been shown to help homeowners create eco-friendly residences:

  • Cedar Shingles: With cedar shingles, homeowners can express their unique personalities without having to worry about breaking their budgets. Cedar shingles are cost-effective and available in pre-shaped, custom steam-bent and curved varieties, providing homeowners with a vast assortment of design possibilities.
  • Cedar Shakes: For homeowners who want to give their residences a more rustic appearance, there may be no better choice than cedar shakes. Cedar shakes are usually split on one or both sides, while cedar shingles are sawn on both sides and are thinner at the butt than shakes. Homeowners who are searching for an alternative to cedar shingles may consider cedar shakes, which are often used on cottages, ranch houses and vacation homes.
  • Wallaba Shingles: Wallaba shingles may prove to be more of an investment than cedar shingles, but they feature amazing construction. The shingles boast a coarse grain and rich red color, along with natural resins that safeguard the shingles against mold, mildew, insects and fire. Plus, Wallaba shingles are customizable and can be shaped and bent to conform to any roof.
  • Teak Shingles: Teak shingles are luxury products. They consist of exotic hardwood that delivers superb moisture tolerance and resistance. The shingles also feature unparalleled strength and resistance to rain, wind and other extreme weather conditions and outstanding fire resistance.

If you're uncertain about what types of sustainable roof materials will work best for your home, don't hesitate to consult with an eco-friendly roofing materials expert. By doing so, you'll be able to select stylish, practical and energy-efficient roofing shingles that can serve you well for years to come.

Energy-Efficient Roofing Tax Credit: What You Need to Know

The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) offers an energy-efficient roofing tax credit, which means you may be able to get money back after you install an energy-efficient residential roof.

Homeowners may qualify for a tax credit worth 10 percent of the cost of an energy-efficient roof. There is a $500 lifetime limit for all energy-efficient roofing improvements, and the installation of your roof is not covered by the credit.

ENERGY STAR offers full details to homeowners about eligible roofing materials and how they can apply for the credit. Review the ENERGY STAR guidelines and you can find out more about how you can take advantage of this tax credit.

energy efficient roofing tax credit

More Reasons to Consider Eco-Friendly Wood Roofing

Eco-friendly roof materials represent a great choice for homeowners. Some of the advantages of choosing sustainable roofing materials for your home include:

  • Stability: Wood shingles will maintain their original dimensions in humid conditions. Also, wood offers a low-density material that won't shrink. This means wood shingles lie flat, stay straight and can be fastened tightly, ensuring the shingles will maintain their quality and appearance for an extended period of time.
  • Durability: Wood shingles are resistant to insect damage, moisture, wind damage and UV rays. They are less susceptible to moss growth, in contrast to other types of roofing materials. Furthermore, wood shingles are sometimes factory-treated for fire and fungus resistance and can be supplemented for added moss and insect resistance.
  • Convenience: Eco-friendly wood roofing offers long, lightweight lengths of timber with straight graining patterns. They feature a uniform texture that makes it easy to cut, saw and nail these materials. Wood shingles are even provided in many finishes, so you should have no trouble finding sustainable roofing materials that suit you perfectly.
  • Strength: Wood shingles are some of the strongest roofing materials on the market today. The shingles serve as a smart investment for any homeowner, as they will look great and bolster the structural strength of your roof at the same time.
  • Curb Appeal: Wood shingles deliver a timeless and natural appearance that other roofing materials cannot match. Wood shingles are attractive and versatile and can help you boost your house's curb appeal.

When it comes to deciding which wood shingles are right for your home, it’s important to consult with an expert. With a professional at your side, you can explore eco-friendly roofing materials that complement your personal style and budget.

An expert will learn about your sustainable roofing needs. As a result, this professional will eliminate the guesswork that’s commonly associated with shopping for roofing materials and ensure you can benefit from a top-notch, eco-friendly roof.

Choose Custom Shingles for Eco-Friendly Roofing Materials

Custom Shingles is a leading provider of custom wood shingles. We possess more than 40 years of experience and specialize in helping architects, builders and homeowners achieve their sustainable roof design goals.

Our collection of wood shingles includes first-rate individual shingles, pre-assembled fascia boards and gable sections. We also provide design and installation assistance and will send our team directly to your location or work with local architects, contractors and engineers.

Choose Custom Shingles for eco-friendly roofing materials — you'll be glad you did! Please contact us today to find out more about our decorative, energy-efficient shingles.

What You Get for the Price of Custom Wood Shingles

the price of wood shingles

As the crowning touch of a home, roofing is the barrier that protects the inside from harsh outer elements. As such, a roof must be strong and durable enough to withstand the wear and tear that often accompanies hot summers, cold winters and freak weather occurrences.

With all these things considered, one of the best roofing options for homeowners today is wood, which has proven itself to be one of the most durable roofing options on residential properties for decades. All wood shingles and shakes — and particularly cedar, teak and wallaba roofing products — are well worth the price to anyone who understands the benefits of these roofing options.

Increase in Your Home’s Value

One of the primary benefits of custom wood shingles is the value they add to residential properties. This is due to factors such as visual appeal and durability. From an aesthetic standpoint, cedar shingles have a timeless charm that has spanned the last century of home building in the U.S. As homeowners generally agree, wood shingles look better and add more style to a home than other types of roofing.

The price associated with wood roofing is also advantageous, since the cost of wood shingles per square — defined as 100 square feet — pays off in the form of low maintenance costs and long life. While wood roofing can easily withstand year after year of rough weather and wintery storms, asphalt roofing can require repairs that exceed the cost of, for example, cedar shingles.

Longevity of the Product

When you make any sort of investment in the structure of your home, longevity should be your foremost concern. While wood shingles might cost more to install than asphalt, the wood shingles are far stronger. In fact, wood shingle roof life expectancy is among the longest in all of roofing.

In neutral climates, wood shingles on well-maintained homes can last up to 30 years for cedar shingles, and anywhere from 50 to 80 years for teak and wallaba shingles. Even in more hostile climates, wood shingles will generally last for at least three decades.

So, instead of thinking in terms of cedar shake roof cost per square, wood roofing should instead be perceived as a long-term investment that pays off within the time you occupy a property, and beyond.

Of course, wood shingles do require maintenance from time to time. In most cases, wood shingle maintenance doesn't amount to much more than gutter cleaning and tree trimming. The gutters should be cleaned periodically to prevent buildup along the edges of the roof. To keep the wood breathing, shingles should also be free of leaves and branches as much as possible. Therefore, branches from nearby trees should never be allowed to hang over a roof with cedar shakes or shingles, to eliminate falling debris.

wood shingle maintenance

During the time you own a house with wood roofing, some of the shingles or shakes might need to be replaced. The reason for this could be an external factor, such as a savage storm. Then again, it could be due to premature wear along a certain portion of the roof, which might be brought on by rot or neglect. In any case, you might need a partial roof replacement at some point.

Thankfully, wood shingles can be replaced in select areas, and new shingles or shakes blend in seamlessly with the old ones. Furthermore, the cost to replace wood roof shingles is inexpensive compared to other roofing types.


All of this is because wood shingles are a natural insulator. During the winter, wood shingles and shakes keep houses warmer than average. In the summertime, shingles made of wood seal off humidity from the outdoors and therefore allow your house to remain cooler when things get unbearably hot outside.

As a result, homes with cedar roofing require less investment in heating and cooling, and can save you money on your electric bill — plus reduce the time you have to spend constantly balancing your thermostat.

When thought of in terms of annual energy savings, the cost of wood shingles per square is a relative bargain. Compared to cheaper types of roofing with shorter life spans, cedar shingles and shakes are lasting investments that can help you save money on various other fronts.

Historical Accuracy for Older Homes

Wood shingles have been a popular form of residential roofing for more than a century. Thanks to their classic appearance, wood roofs have spanned numerous eras and changes in popular taste. From the more rustic-looking homes of the first few decades of the 20th century to the modern designs of the past 50 years, wood shingles and shakes have proven themselves to be adaptable options that never go out of style.

Originating from trees that are unique to the Pacific Northwest, cedar was a popular building material long before the area was settled by European Americans. Natives in the region had used the wood for centuries to build everything from totem poles to canoes. Due to its straight grains, cedar is an easy wood to cut into any shape, yet strong and reliable enough for even the most demanding applications. As such, cedar was soon found to be a perfect material for residential roofing.

Due to the fact that wood shingles come from the exact same sources that they did 100 years ago, it's easy to retain the historical integrity of older homes with new cedar. As long as the shape and cut of the shingles or shakes match the original style of roofing on a particular home, new wood roofing can be applied that would look identical to the old shingles in side-by-side photographs.

The ease with which the wood can be cut into shingles has made cedar roofing easy to produce in vast quantities. Today, when people ask if wood shingle roof work is worth the price, the answer lies in the tremendous history that backs up the style. Older homes that have had cedar shingles since the beginning have proven to be some of the most prized properties on the real estate market.

Unique Style

One of the greatest benefits of wood shingles is the unique style they provide. Custom wood shingles can be bent, shaped, and cut to fit exacting specifications – something that’s difficult to find with asphalt shingles. Homeowners and architects are able to express their unique design taste, and add interesting flares of detail to their home that draw the eyes of passers-by. From fish-tail cuts to colorful stains, wood shingles are the most versatile in their style and character.

Wood shingles can also be a great option for unique roof shapes. For owners of a home with a mushroom shaped roof, a geometric dome shape or other unique curve, wood shingles are the best way to find the roofing that best fits and protects your unique roof while holding onto its historical or stylistic authenticity.

shingle specifications

Shingles vs. Shakes

One of the neat things about wood roofing is the difference in style between shingles and shakes. Cedar shingles are the result of machine cuts, and are thus smooth, flat and uniform in shape. Cedar shakes are cut by hand instead, and as a result have a rougher, more grooved surface and an individualized appearance. Shingles and shakes appeal to slightly different aesthetic tastes:

While cedar shake roof cost totals are slightly higher, many homeowners agree that the detail and uniqueness of shakes make such roofing well worth the price for residential properties.

Deciding between shingles and shakes can depend on your preferences between vintage and modern exterior styles. If you want your home to look modern, cedar shingles could be the most congruent option. On the other hand, if you'd rather your home evoke more of a vintage, rustic look, shakes might be the better choice.

Stylistically, wood shingles and shakes can be selected in a variety of shapes, such as round, octagonal, arrow, horizontal and diamond, in addition to square. For years after its initial application, this roofing material maintains the look of freshly cut wood. As they age, cedar shingles and shakes assume a silvery gray tone, which adds to the vintage appeal of this type of roofing.

Other Types of Custom Wood Shingles: Teak and Wallaba

When examining the cost to replace wood roof shingles, it's important to understand all of the natural roofing options. In addition to cedar, the most popular types of wood roofing are teak shingles and wallaba shingles.

Teak shingles are a water-resistant, mold-proof roofing option that originate from the wood of an Asian mint tree. For the homeowner with more exotic tastes, teak shingles are an ideal choice for the following qualities:

  • Classy appearance that comes in a range of shapes (tapered, ridge) and colors (gold, gray).
  • Durable surface that requires little maintenance over the years to remain in top condition.
  • Weather-resistant quality that won't deteriorate or shrink through seasonal hot, cold and wet spells.
  • Natural origin and long life makes for an eco-friendly and cost-effective roofing option.

Wallaba shingles are a non-corrosive, mite-resistant roofing option that originated in South America, but has since spread throughout the South Pacific, the Middle East and the U.S. This reddish wood has become popular with American homeowners for the following reasons:

  • Long-lasting quality that has made wallaba the preferred roofing option of many world-class architects.
  • Ageless appeal that endures for many decades, even as the wood changes from reddish-brown to gray.
  • Environmentally sound, due to the wood's natural resins, which allow for a chemical-free production process.
  • Storm-resistance, which makes wallaba shingles a smart roofing choice for people in areas that are prone to hurricanes and rain/snow storms.

For the reasonable cost of cedar shingles, teak shingles or wallaba shingles, you could have a roof that will pay itself back many times over though the years, thanks to its durability, strength and warmth.

teak vs wallaba shingles

Use of an All-Natural Product

Wood shingles and shakes are completely natural products, and are therefore among the purest of all roofing types available to homeowners. Sourced from woods originally native to the Pacific Northwest, cedar roofing is derived from one of the world's most widely available resources. The same applies to teak and wallaba shingles, the trees for which are now cultivated in other parts of the world. As such, shakes and shingles made of this wood are among the most eco-friendly of roofing options.

The process through which cedar, teak and wallaba shingles and shakes are produced, for instance, is none too complicated. In fact, it can be broken down to the following two stages:

  • Trees are chopped from the woodlands.
  • Shingles and shakes are cut from the timber.

The whole process is that simple. There are no chemicals or high-pollutant machinery involved. Wood roofing is an environmentally sound option from beginning to end. Years down the line, when a given set of shakes or shingles is removed, the discarding process is just as easy and eco-friendly. Since wood is a natural product, the wood can be left to decompose naturally at any compost site.

When factoring wood shake roof cost into the estimated total of a roofing project, consider the environmental benefits. The production, installation and disposition of wood shakes and shingles make few contributions to greenhouse gas emissions, and therefore presents no harm to the environment.

Hurricane & Wind Resistance

As homes built in rough climates have shown, cedar and other wood shakes and shingles are among the strongest of all roofing materials. For example:

In regions that have been recurrently subjected to hurricane activity, homes with wood roofing remain intact.

In fact, wood shingles can endure wind speeds of at least 245 miles per hour.

The same cannot be said for asphalt roofing, which typically requires heavy maintenance in the aftermath of such weather.

Wood roofing is also largely impervious to assorted factors that can damage asphalt and other roofing types. Falling branches, for one, will rarely damage a wood roof — barring the unlikely event of a far-falling heavy branch. Cedar shingles and shakes are also largely resistant to moss and algae, both of which are big maintenance concerns for homeowners with asphalt roofing.

Whether you live in an area that's prone to extreme temperature cycles or natural disasters, wood roofing is more likely to come out unscathed than any other kind of roofing. Throughout the harshest of times, wood shakes and shingles will likely keep you comforted when outdoor temperatures become unbearable, and safe whenever wind cycles and downpours get frighteningly heavy.

wood shingle strength

Therefore, when you consider the cost of wood shingles, think of the safety and protection your home will have when you choose this roofing option.

Re-Roof Your Home With Wood Roofing From Custom Shingles

On most homes throughout the U.S., shingle replacement is needed every three to five decades. When the time comes to get new roofing, Custom Shingles offers some of the most unique and original custom wood roofing available. To learn more about our products, browse through our site or contact us today.

Different Types of Wood Shingles & Their Uses

types of wood shingles and their uses

When it comes to the comfort of a home and the protection of all its contents, roofing is one of the most vital components. For homes in all different regions and climates, wood shingles provide a naturally beautiful, durable and secure form of protection from wind, rain and other elements. We offer different kinds of wood shingles that are made for today's homes, from high-quality grade Cedar shingles and Wallaba shingles, to the extreme durability of Teak shingles.

Depending on the style or location of a given property, a homeowner might prefer one type of wood roofing shingle for any given number of reasons. Some people like the all-American aesthetic of cedar shingles, while others prefer the more exotic flavor that wallaba shingles can add to a home. Whether a homeowner prefers octagonal, diamond-shaped or curved shingles, there's no denying the quality wood shingles bring to a home. In fact, properties equipped with wood shingles generally have high market value because wood roofing lasts for many decades with little maintenance, regardless of the weather in a given region.

redesign your roof

When it comes to the comfort of a home and the protection of all its contents, roofing is one of the most vital components. For homes in all different regions and climates, wood shingles provide a naturally beautiful, durable and secure form of protection from wind, rain and other elements. We offer different kinds of wood shingles that are made for today's homes, from high-quality grade Cedar shingles and Wallaba shingles, to the extreme durability of Teak shingles. 

Depending on the style or location of a given property, a homeowner might prefer one type of wood roofing shingle for any given number of reasons. Some people like the all-American aesthetic of cedar shingles, while others prefer the more exotic flavor that wallaba shingles can add to a home. Whether a homeowner prefers octagonal, diamond-shaped or curved shingles, there's no denying the quality wood shingles bring to a home. In fact, properties equipped with wood shingles generally have high market value because wood roofing lasts for many decades with little maintenance, regardless of the weather in a given region.

Cedar Shingles

Derived from a tree native to the U.S. Pacific Northwest, cedar is known for its strength, flexibility, fine scent and weather resistance — qualities that make cedar perfect for wood roofing. On average, cedar trees grow up to 50 meters tall, which helps explain the robust nature of the wood. Tellingly, cedar is a preferred wood among manufacturers of acoustic guitars, due to its durability. Likewise, cedar makes for one of the most popular types of wood shingles thanks to the following features and benefits:

  • Is the most budget-friendly wood to use for roofing
  • Has a fine grain and uniform texture that is great for working with and steam bending — we can shape the shingles however you want
  • Is resistant to humidity and size changes due to temperature fluctuations
  • Lasts a long time — good-quality cedar lasts a minimum of 30 years up to 50 and beyond
  • Provides insulation
  • Has a beautiful wood finish and pleasant aroma

Strong Form

As a straight and consistent timber, cedar holds its shape through extreme changes in weather. Thanks to the wood's low density, cedar shingles are not prone to shrinkage or warping, even after years of exposure to rain, wind and sun.

Temperature Resistant

With its resistance to moisture, sun rays and insects, cedar is one of the most element-proof of all woods. Cedar can also withstand a vast range of weather conditions, including blizzards and wind storms. Compared to most other types of roofing, cedar shingles are largely resistant to moss growth. Moreover, cedar can be enhanced to resist fungus growth and fire.

Fine Texture

Due to the straight grains and uniform texture of the timber, cedar is easy to cut into shape for wood shingles. With its incredibly fine surface, cedar can be coated with a vast range of finishes, such as oils and coatings. Cedar is also a very construction-friendly wood that can easily be sawed, nailed and used in a variety of projects. Therefore, cedar shingles are easy to apply on most houses.

Long Lasting

Thanks to the strength and toughness of cedar, the wood is one of the world's strongest natural materials for roofing. As such, cedar shingles can enhance the longevity and market value of your home. Cedar shingles last for at least 30 years on most homes, but can last much longer on homes that are well-maintained or situated in more hospitable environments.

Insulates Homes

Cedar is one of the warmest woods for home construction. The insulating qualities of cedar make it one of the most ideal materials for homes in climates that produce hot summers and cold winters. During summer months, cedar keeps outdoor humidity from creeping indoors. Likewise, the insulation of cedar keeps families warm when it's cold outside. As such, cedar allows homeowners to save on heating and cooling costs.

Timeless Beauty 

Cedar is a visually appealing timber that has lasted the ages — from pre-settlement times when cedar was used to make canoes, to the modern cedar-based architecture of the past 50 years. Thanks to the versatility of cedar, the wood can be used in rustic as well as futuristic homes. As the wood ages, it takes on a silvery–gray tone, which enhances its charm and appeal.

Environmentally Sound

In addition to its strength, beauty and insulation qualities, cedar is an eco-friendly product. The manufacturing of cedar is an easy process that involves little energy consumption, because the trees from which the wood is sourced are grown in natural woodlands. Consisting solely of an organic material, cedar shingles naturally decompose once left out to pasture. As such, there's no hazardous chemicals involved in the production or scrapping of cedar.

Teak Shingles

Derived From The Mint Tree Family Of Lamiaceae, Teak Wood Is Native To Southeast Asia, Where It's Used In Everything From Furnishings To Turnings. Boasting Natural Oils And A High Silica Content, Teak Is Water Resistant, And Is Therefore Commonly Used For Boat Decks. Likewise, Teak Is Also A Popular Material For Wood Shingles Due To The Following Qualities:

  • Maintains strength in even in extreme conditions
  • Lasts longest and is most resistant to the elements among other wood shingles
  • Is unique in appearance
  • Repels water and withstands the elements
  • Has a strong structure and is also beautiful
  • Resists rot, fungi and mildew
  • High Class

Teak shingles are used in some of the most ageless buildings in the world. In terms of style, many varieties of wood shingles are composed of teak. On houses in the U.S. and abroad, teak shingles are made with tapered, hip and ridge designs. As far as color, teak shingles are produced in everything from gold and copper to silvery-gray tones.

Unsurpassed Durability

Teak is both strong and flexible, which makes it a reliable wood for roofing as well as an easy material to apply to a variety of housing designs. Thanks to its durability, teak requires little maintenance. Therefore, once teak shingles are installed on a roof, all they need is periodic dusting to stay in immaculate condition for the duration of a residential occupancy – and up to 80 years and beyond, especially if well maintained.


Thanks to the wood's water-resistant qualities, teak shingles are ideal for homes that are located in regions where heavy downpour is a common occurrence. Even after years of exposure to rain and snow, teak never saturates and largely remains impervious to shrinkage. Moreover, teak shingles are generally rot–proof and resistant to formations of mildew or fungi.

Cost Effective

Of the different kinds of wood shingles on the market, teak shingles aren't the cheapest, but their durability makes them a cost-effective investment over the long run. Thanks to the sleekness and simplicity of teak shingles, they're among the easiest types of wood shingles to install on rooftops.

Naturally Sourced

Originating from some of Asia's most breathtaking woodlands, teak is a natural product that has been used for beautiful wood roofing on homes with traditional as well as modern designs. Because of the oil content and natural resilience of teak, no chemicals are used in manufacturing the wood. As such, teak shingles are completely natural and friendly to the environment.

lifespan of custom shingles

Wallaba Shingles

Derived from the tropical forests of South America, wallaba is a reddish-brown wood that has been used for shingles on homes throughout the Caribbean for more than a century. With the wood's unique properties that include oily resin and gum exudates, wallaba shingles are valued worldwide for their resistance to mites, corrosion and environmental elements. As such, varieties of wood shingles made of wallaba are used everywhere from Oceania to the United Arab Emirates for roofing on public buildings, residential properties and private estates. In the U.S. as well as abroad, wallaba shingles are preferred by many homeowners for the following qualities:

  • Costs less than teak
  • Resist insects such as termites and decay
  • Used in situations where humidity is a factor and high-durability wood is needed
  • Resist hurricane conditions
  • Industry Preferred

Due in part to the wood's high-level resistance to corrosive factors, wallaba shingles are preferred by many architects both domestically and internationally for buildings large and small. Different kinds of wood shingles made of wallaba are used for roofing on everything from homes to hotels from the Middle East to the South Pacific, as well as in North America.

Aesthetically Pleasing

From an aesthetic standpoint, wallaba shingles are an eye-pleasing choice for roofs of varying heights and designs. Over the course of its long life, wallaba wood matures from reddish-brown to silvery-gray, but maintains its weather-resistant qualities. As the wood ages, it becomes even more reflective and thus keeps homes cool in the tropical heat. Even as housing designs change with each era, wallaba retains a timeless appeal that keeps homes from various periods valuable on the real estate market.

Environmentally Responsible

Wallaba shingles are a treatment-free product. Thanks to the natural properties of the wood, no chemicals are needed to make wallaba suitable and effective for wood roofing in equatorial or colder climates. The resins and exudates of wallaba make the wood naturally resistant to bugs, mold, corrosion and even fire. Furthermore, wallaba decomposes back into the environment once discarded, and therefore presents no future burden to landfills.

Long Lasting

Of the different kinds of wood shingles used worldwide, wallaba shingles are among the most long lasting. In tropical as well as colder climates, wallaba shingles usually last more than 50 years. Entire generations can live out their time at a given property without ever needing to re-roof thanks to the strength and durability of wallaba wood roofing. Unlike certain synthetic wood shingles, wallaba can even withstand hurricanes.

cost of wood shingles

Composite Wood Shingles

Composite Wood Shingles Contain Properties Of All Included Woods Along Each Grain, But They Often Weigh Less Than Each Respective Wood Type. Produced In Factories, Composite Woods Are Made Through Artificial Means, And Therefore, They Lack The Natural Qualities Of Cedar, Teak Or Wallaba Shingles. However, The Various Benefits Of Other Shingle Types — Fire And Rain Resistance, Durability, Insulation, Simulated Aesthetic Appeal — Are Formulated Into Most Composite Types Of Wood Shingles.

  • Alternately referred to as synthetic wood shingles, composites provide homeowners the following benefits:
  • Work in places where building codes don’t allow wood siding
  • Withstand intense freeze-thaw conditions
  • Have the look of real wood but are sometimes considered more environmentally friendly
  • Hold their color — wood shingles fade to silvery-gray, but composite shingles don’t change color

Reliable Alternative

In states where building codes prohibit certain organic types of wood roofing, composite wood shingles are a reliable alternative. The varieties of wood shingles that consist of two or more materials are generally as strong, if not stronger, than each of the individual materials. Synthetic shingles are also lighter than certain wood roofing types and are therefore easy to install and replace if needed.

Weather Resilience

Synthetic wood shingles can be made to withstand year after year of harsh wind storms and heavy downpours. Therefore, composite shingles keep homes equally protected throughout the U.S., from the freezing winters in Maine to the scorching summers in New Mexico.

Natural Looking

Though produced in factories, composite wood shingles are made to resemble real wood. As such, you get the look of natural wood but from a less foreign, more abundant source. Since there's less logging needed to produce synthetic shingles, composites can be viewed as friendlier to the environment.

Lasting Color

Composite shingles are made with artificial colors that never fade. Therefore, a house equipped with synthetic wood roofing can retain a fresh top exterior for many decades. This stands in contrast to wallaba, teak and cedar shingles, which fade to a beautiful silvery-gray tone over the years. If you wish to retain a newly built look to your home for many decades to come, synthetic wood shingles could be your best roofing choice.

custom shingles overview

Redesign Your Wood Roofing With The Help Of Custom Shingles

Every Half-Century Or More, An Old House Needs New Shingles. Just As With Homes That Are Currently Under Construction, There Are Different Kinds Of Wood Shingles From Which Homeowners Can Choose. If You Want Something Evocative Of The Cozy Northwest, You Might Opt For Cedar Shingles. Then Again, You Might Prefer The Tropical Flavor Of Wallaba Shingles Or The Exotic Look Of Teak Shingles. If You Want A Roof That Won't Change Colors, You Might Opt Instead For Synthetic Wood Shingles.

Whichever type of wood roofing you ultimately prefer, there are various options available from Custom Shingles. To learn more about the varieties of wood shingles that we offer, click on over to our products and styles pages.

5-Color Masterpiece

This spectacular roof is truly a masterpiece, with vibrant colors that complement each other well, and are the crowning touch on this English Tudor home. We pre-stained the shingles in 5 different colors, for a variegated finish. All of the roof edges are steam-bent, imitating the look of English thatch, and created using durable, naturally beautiful, Cedar shingles. This roof effect was first introduced by the English immigrants, which not only reproduced this style of roof, but which we have now perfected over the last several decades, and escalated to an art form. **Be sure to click on the image above to see more pictures of this project! **

New England Charm


The BeetleCat Restaurant in Atlanta's Inman Park, gracefully showcases the New England charm of our Fancy-Cutt™ Diamond shingles. They are featured over the main bar, as well as highlighting some of the exterior walls. The fusion of retro and oceanside elements seem to be the perfect combination in this upscale, yet easy-going seafood eatery.

Bryce Canyon Lodge

The historic landmark, Bryce Canyon Lodge, offers sweeping views of Bryce Canyon just beyond the pines, and being nestled in the trees, Cedar is the perfect choice for its undulating, wave coursed roof. The fire-treated Cedar shingles offer natural beauty and excellent fire protection. These photos were taken just after we completed the installation, and before we stained the roof in an Old Hunter green, to even better complement its stunning surroundings. The work was done while the Lodge is closed, during the cold, snowy winter months, and into early spring. The original 1920’s wave coursing was very closely matched from its historical photos, and promptly approved by the National Park and general contracting team, for accuracy and execution. Click on the photo above for more pictures of the place!

Fantastic Plastic

Because of the strict codes in this area of Lake Arrowhead, we selected a synthetic wood shingle product, which we steam-bent by hand, and installed in a sea wave pattern. This spectacular roof showcases the beautiful Tudor style home, overlooking the lake and mountains. The advantage of synthetic offers lasting color and a Class 'A' fire rating. Click on the image above for more photos!