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Wood Shake Vs. Composite Roofing: Information and Installation Tips Everyone Can Use

Whether you are installing for the first time or replacing your current roof, it is wise to educate yourself regarding two of the most popular roofing options: wood shake roofing and composite roofing. This article will provide you with a run-down of each of these types of roofing, as well as practical tips regarding how to install or replace them.

Composite roofing is durable, and is usually warranted for 30 to 50 years. Some are even warranted for life.  

Wood Shake Roofing Overview

A wooden shingle made from split logs is called a shake. Wood shakes can be used to construct a roof. In the United States, wood shakes are usually made of Western Red Cedar. Wood shakes can also be made from pine. Wood shakes differ from wood shingles in that shakes are more rugged and rough, because they are hand-split or roughly sawn, whereas shingles are smoother, because they are more carefully sawn. Both wood shakes and wood shingles are usually environmentally friendly options because they are made from discarded dead trees or salvage logs. Wood shakes are inexpensive usually last up to 50 years.

If you life in an area that is prone to fire, your wood shakes might need to be pressure treated with fire retardant, or you might not be allowed to use them at all. As with all home renovation projects, consult your local and regional building codes and requirements to ensure your structure is safe and compliant. If you live in a humid area, you should treat your wood shake roof with a fungicide after the first year to fend off fungus and mildew. Pretreated wood shake roofing is also available.

Wood Shake Roofing Installation

To install wood shake roofing, allow the first row of wood shakes to extend beyond the roof at least one inch. This will allow rain and snow to slide off of the roof. The next roof of shakes should overlap the first, and so on, to prevent water penetration. The thickest end of the shake should always face the ground. Wood shakes should be spaced a quarter of an inch apart to accommodate contraction and expansion. Use galvanized roofing nails and space them so that the next layer of wood shakes will cover the nails.

Composite Roofing Overview

Composite roofing shingles are comprised of a mixture of common roofing materials, which can include shake, slate, laminate, and wood. Combining these popular materials can result in high-quality performance, which is perhaps why composite roofing is one the most popular home-covering choices today. Composite roofing is durable, and is usually warranted for 30 to 50 years. Some are even warranted for life. Composite shingles are specially manufactured with features like resisting moss and algae growth and blocking UV rays. They do not split, crack, peel, blister, or warp, and they are made in part from materials that are recycled. Composite roofing is available in a variety of colors, sizes, and shapes, and it is in line with the prices of most other roof shingle types.

Composite Roofing Installation

To install or replace composite roofing, follow the common roofing process of first stapling the tar paper and installing drip edges on eaves. Next comes placing the starter row of shingles and installing the second and subsequent rows of shingles, utilizing the same method outlined in the Wood Shake Roofing Installation. After working your way to the top of the roof, you will install ridge shingles and the side drip edge if applicable.

Wood Shake Vs. Composite Roofing Information And Installation Tips Everyone Can Use,
part of our article series in the Roofing & Gutters category.
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