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Guide to Wood Shake and Shingle Roofs

Guide to Wood Shake and Shingle Roofs

An Ideal Roof for Canadian Winters

Guide to Wood Shake and Shingle Roofs

You may be wondering, what exactly are wood shakes and shingles?

Simply put, shakes are tapered pieces of wooden roof material which are split from logs of pine, red cedar, California redwood, cypress, spruce, or other trees. Shingles, on the other hand, resulted from the invention of commercial sawmills which allowed workers to produce a more uniform, streamlined product of identical thickness.

Choosing a Wood Shake or Shingle Roof for your Toronto Home

Wood shakes and shingles have a beautiful aesthetic and blend well with different building designs.

Over time they turn a soft, pretty, silvery-grey patina, adding to their visual appeal. Their rough, weathered, natural look makes them blend well with houses in mountain or forest areas, or homes which are made of wood. The Pacific Northwest and Colorado are prime locations for this roof style – indeed red cedar roofs are often considered a classic roof for this area. They also go well with cottages and beach houses. Architectural types which work best with wood shakes include:

  • Rustic style
  • Georgian style
  • Classic bungalow style
  • Shingle style

Additionally, much like asphalt shingles and metal roofs, wood shakes are available in different patterns, sizes, cuts, and colours. Stains, finishes and paints can be used to enhance the natural tone of the wood or have it changed to virtually any other transparent or opaque colour.

Wood Roofs are Ideal for Canadian Weather


Wooden roofs are a fine alternative to metal or asphalt roofs, if you are looking for a roof which can withstand cold temperatures, ice and snow. They act as natural insulators, providing high thermal resistance and thus lowering both heating and cooling costs. This makes them a great match for the strong weather variations experienced in Toronto. Wood roofs can withstand hurricanes, hailstorms, snowstorms, earthquakes and most other meteorological conditions.


Pros and Cons of Wood Shake and Shingle Roofs – At a Glance


Advantages of Wood Roofs Disadvantages of Wood Roofs
Aesthetic appearance Expense
Insect-resistant Vulnerable to some weather – such as intense snowfall
Wind-resistant Prone to rotting
Impact-resistant Flammable
Energy-efficient High-maintenance
Long-lasting – anywhere from 30 to 60 years Susceptible to moss, mildew and mould
Increased re-sale value Difficult to Install
Reflects UV rays Insurance companies may be reluctant to ensure
Eco-friendly – can be recycled Weight


Tips for Installing Wood Shingle/Shake Roofs

Due to the installation challenges they present, it’s always best to look for an experienced, reliable roofing contractor to set up your shingles or shakes. However, some important pointers for laying down this type of roof are:

  • Always use rust-resistant nails
  • Have shingles or shakes nailed to sheathing to ensure proper ventilation
  • Start the first layer at the eaves of the roof
  • Be sure to cover the roof deck with two layers of felt or some other waterproof medium when installing shakes
  • Keep subsequent layers aligned properly and straight


More About Roof Replacement/Repair

Wood shakes or shingles are one of the best options for homeowners hoping to achieve a rustic aesthetic appeal as well as being great for withstanding Canada’s diverse and rapidly fluctuating climate conditions.

Looking for a reliable roofing contractor? Look no further! Call us now for a free no obligation estimate at 1.855.582.7263 or fill in the form at the top of the page and we’ll get back to you soon!

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