Composite vs. Natural Wood Shakes: An Overview

June 10, 2022

Natural wood shakes offer a timeless aesthetic for properties with their banded-together wood strips. Treated wood shakes lower fire hazards and have better performance, but they cannot match the lifespan and durability of composite shakes. Still, composite shingles have their respective shortcomings that we'll learn more about in this short post comparing composite and natural wood shakes.

Wood Shakes

Wood shakes have a thick and dense appearance. It might have a rugged appearance but look uniform when viewed from the curb. Its signature appeal is its banded-together texture, giving roofs a grainy depth and dimension with ridges, grooves, and other random but desirable patterns during the wood splitting and banding process.


Wood shakes have adequate durability that can withstand wind and hailstorms. It works well in repelling rainstorms, especially with waterproof finishes. Hand-split cedar is the most expensive, durable, and dependable roofing material that can reflect UV rays and withstand hurricanes and tornadoes. Wood 


Due to their manufacturing and finishing process, wood shakes are relatively the most affordable roofing material versus asphalt shingles and clay tiles. They cost less, but it comes with a few caveats, such as having no standard regulation and manufacturer consensus, meaning the material quality fluctuates depending on the brand you buy it from.


On average, a wood shake roof can last for 10-25 years with regular inspections and maintenance. However, wood shake roofs are highly flammable because of their wooden texture. If you live in low fire risk zones, you can use wood shingles with complete peace of mind.

Composite Shakes

Composite or synthetic roofs use fiberglass, talc, asphalt, and wood fibers to create a wood shake roof with exceptional durability and dependability. They cost much more than wood shakes, but they can provide your home with top-notch hail and rain protection and a remarkable defense against tornadoes and hurricanes. Many modern homes use composite shakes more than their real counterparts because of these properties.


Composite shingles are notably durable because of their fiberglass, asphalt shingle, and wood fiber combination. The strengthened and thoroughly-tested material can withstand hail and rainstorms, hurricanes and tornadoes, and extremely low temperatures during winters. Long-term warranties from renowned composite roofing manufacturers signify the product's excellence and dependability.


Composite wood shakes are about two times more expensive than natural wood shakes. 


Composite shingles have a longer lifespan and durability at 20-30 years with proper installation. They can imitate the texture of wood shakes, slate tiles, and various asphalt shingle colors that won't fade as they age and face any arduous weather conditions for decades.

Which One to Use On Your Roof?

Unfortunately, there's no straight answer to this question. The perfect roofing material is always relative to the local weather, budget, and aesthetic preference you may have. Composite shakes may closely imitate natural wood shakes, but they aren't natural and will lack certain aesthetic properties but offer you better durability and performance.

You can always count on us at Turbo Roofing to provide you with the best wood shake and general roofing material installations, repair, and replacement. Contact us today to learn more about our services.