Learn More About Wood Shakes

There are a number of different roofing materials to choose from. As a homeowner you may decide to break away from the majority of the country and choose a material other than asphalt shingles. One roofing material that has endured for centuries is the wood shake or shingle. Let’s profile the wood shake as a roofing material including its advantages and disadvantages.

Qualities of the Wood Shake

Wood shakes have been used for centuries as a roofing material. Many homeowners love the material for its aesthetic appeal and staggered pattern. The wood shake also matches many rustic styled homes, or homes found in a forested of mountain setting. Most wood shakes are manufactured from cedar.

Advantages of the Wood Shake

Very aesthetically pleasing, some homeowners couldn’t imagine their cabin or country cottage with anything but the wood shake. Modern wooden shakes are more durable than you would believe. Many manufacturers now coat or impregnate their wood shakes with preservatives to prolong the material against weather, mold, mildew or insects. These preservatives mixed with the wood’s naturally occurring compounds give a good average lifetime for the wood shake.

Wood shakes are also fairly good against severe weather like high winds and hail. The wood shake seems to have a good “bend but not break” quality that lets it weather any adverse conditions.

Disadvantages of Wood Shakes

While many manufacturers coat their wood shakes with flame retardants this material is still known as a fire hazard. In some states and jurisdictions probe to wildfire wooden roofing materials are being disallowed altogether and in some cases homeowners are being told they have to change their roofing material.

It is the same way with insurance policies covering wooden shake roofs. Many insurers are raising premiums or cancelling policies altogether for wood shake roofs, especially in areas that are susceptible to wildfire. Your policy will depend on where you live and who the insurer of your home is.

Overall wood shakes are a great fit for many homes but you need to make sure they don’t put you at any risk. Talk to your local roofing contractor to find out if wood shakes are right for your home.

Best Roofing Materials for Severe Weather

If you live in an area that is prone to severe weather such as driving precipitation, snow, or hail you’ll need to make sure you get a roofing material that can endure the storm. With so many choices it’s difficult to know where to start. That’s why we’ve written out this helpful guide to some of the best roofing material choices for areas prone to bad weather.

Best Roofing Materials for Severe Weather

Impact-Resistant Materials

Impact-resistant materials are popular because they have the classic look of an asphalt shingle but with the endurance ability of much stronger materials. The shingles have an added fiberglass insert that makes them thicker, stronger and better able to resist impact from hail and winds. Because this material is so popular there are many style and color options including wood shake and slate imitations.


Slate, to put it simply, are nothing more than stone slabs. This weight and rock hard structure makes it excellent against protecting from severe weather. The weight of the slate means that it can endure the strongest of winds. There are softer and harder slates so their endurance against hail can vary. Most seem to endure hail fairly well and slate’s slick surface doesn’t tend to hold onto snow and ice like other materials. Slate damaged by hail can be tricky to fix. Slate is also non-combustible so it can stand up against wildfires.

Clay or Concrete Tiles

Clay and concrete tiles have many of the same qualities as slate shingles. Their weight lets them endure tough winds and their rigidity is known to stand up against tough impacts. Like slate, clay or concrete tiles can also be pretty tricky to repair, you will need a professional. Like slate, clay and concrete tiles are also very good against any potential wildfires.

Wood Shakes

Wood shakes are also rigid but have more give than slate or concrete tiles which makes them a very good choice against hail. Wood shakes can also take a lot of wind, though not as much as slate or concrete. The downside of wood shakes is that many hail prone areas are often prone to wildfires and wood shakes don’t do too well against fire.

This is just a quick guide to storm resistant materials. The best way to find the right material for your roof is to talk with your local roofing contractor. You two can work together to make sure your roof will weather the next storm.

Matching the Style of Your Home

Finding the right roofing material for your home can be a daunting task. A homeowner will just ask for shingles but then find out there is a variety of those as well. Don’t fear! Roofcorp is here with a quick introduction of the more common roofing materials and which style homes they tend to match up with.

Matching Your Roof to Your Home

Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt shingles are now available in an extremely wide variety of colors. They can come in a uniform cut or an “architectural” style where they are cut in different sizes and shapes to add more character. It is tough to not find a shingle style that can match the style of your home unless you have already decided that asphalt shingles won’t work for you.

Clay and Concrete Tiles

One of the oldest forms of roofing known to man, clay and concrete tiles are still popular today. They still have roots in the style of homes from which they have long been covering. Tiles are an excellent choice for Mission, Spanish and Mediterranean style homes. They are also very popular in the American Southwest on adobe and stucco homes as they match the character very well. You will need to check with your contractor to see if your roofing structure meets the load bearing requirements for clay and concrete tiles.

Wood Shakes and Shingles

A popular style in the Pacific Northwest and here in Colorado, wood shakes are renowned for their rustic character and natural appeal. They flow very well in homes that are mostly constructed of wood or reside in a forest or mountain setting.

Slate Roofing

The style to choose for the most ostentatious of homes. Slate roofing has a striking beauty that is difficult to rival in the roofing world. Slate roofing caps off the look of regal homes and high value property. However slate is the most expensive of the more common roofing materials. Like tiles, the structure will need to meet certain load bearing requirements for slate.

Of course different homes call for different circumstances. If you just can’t figure out what you want, take a look at our products page or contact one of our roofing experts.

Wood Shakes Insurance Policies

Wooden roofing is a very popular choice for Colorado homes, the rustic character and color does well to fit the mountain air surrounding them. Many homeowners can’t imagine their cabin or rustic home with anything but a wooden type of shingle but lately residents are receiving phone calls from their home insurance providers requesting that the homeowner change their roofing material or risk being dropped from coverage.

Insurance companies, especially in Colorado, view wooden roofs as a large liability. Many wooden roofs are installed properly with great materials and are able to stand up against wind and snow very well. However when wooden roofs are past their prime many issues begin to rise. Mold, rot, cracked shingles and the risk of fire covers these roofs.

Wood Shakes Insurance Changes

Wood Shakes as a Maintenance Hazard

As stated above, some wooden roofing materials can be a nightmare for maintenance and repair work. Wooden shingles are an organic material and they behave as such. A wood such as cedar does have naturally occurring preservatives that will resist moisture, insects and rot, but these will break down over time. Wooden shingles have been known to experience the following problems:

  • Mold, mildew and rot
  • Insect damage
  • Swelling and shrinking
  • Cracking

Wood Shakes as a Fire Hazard

Wildfire is an ever present danger in the state of Colorado and wooden homes and roofs are a prime fuel source for wildfire. Wooden roofing is usually classified with a Class B or C fire resistance. This classification comes from the American Society of Testing and Materials, a third party testing organization.

The material is exposed to a test flame at one end and then the amount of flame spread is measured across the material during a set period of time. Class B means that the flame spread covered 26 to 75% of the material, while Class C equals a coverage of 75% or greater of the material. Obviously the lower the flame spread, the more likely the material will be able to stand up against fire damage.

This Class B and C rating means the materials are a risk for you and your insurance provider.

What You Can do About It

If your home has a wooden roof it is best to be proactive before your home becomes uninsured. Contact your insurance company and a qualified Denver roofer to find the steps you can take to avoid having to pay out of pocket for damage.

The Wide World of Wooden Roofing

It is not uncommon to see a wide array of wooden roofing in the Denver Metro area. Wood shakes and shingles are one of the oldest roofing materials that exist today. Their rustic character gives a charm to the home that no other material can match and many homeowners can’t imagine their house with anything but a wooden roof. But many new residents are hesitant on installing a wooden roof. In this article Roofcorp takes a look at cedar shakes and shingles, their advantages and why they are not seen as often anymore on the Front Range.

Advantages of Wooden Roofing

The primary advantage of wooden roofing is its rustic appeal. They help the home blend in to surrounding trees and areas. They are a great match for cabins, vacation homes in the mountains and forest hideaways. There are not many color choices because the natural wood beauty holds the appeal for most people that choose cedar.

When properly maintained wood shakes and shingles have a long lifespan. A well built and maintained wooden roof can last anywhere from forty to sixty years, this is much longer than many types of asphalt shingles.

Natural preservatives in cedar make it resistant to rot and insect infestation. They are also very lightweight and stand up well against wind, driving rain and hail.

They are easy to repair, often you only need to replace a few cracked or broken shingles at a time by inserting a new shingle where the old one went.

Drawbacks of Wooden Roofing on the Front Range

Without proper maintenance wooden roofing is very susceptible to different forms of degradation. They are an organic material after all. They are likely to receive damage from the sun and are susceptible to mold and mildew if they are not coated in a protective barrier.

This biggest drawback of cedar shingles, especially on the Front Range is their poor fire resistance. Most wooden materials are classified as “Class C Fire-Resistant.” This is the lowest grade a material can receive from the American Society for Testing and Materials.  Many Colorado districts have began outlawing wooden roofing in their new buildings and homes due to this high risk of fire.

In the end the choice of materials comes down to the homeowner, you need to weigh the benefits and drawbacks to decide if wooden roofing is right for you.