Differentiating Between Wood Shakes and Shingles

March 31, 2022

Many homeowners have a difficult time distinguishing between wood shakes and wood shingles. Wood shakes are generally made of natural wood and are very thick, so they're typically used for roofs with higher pitches. Wood shingles are usually made of cedar and are thinner, so they're generally used for roofs with lower pitches.

Most homeowners use wood shingles when building a new home because they offer a more contemporary and uniform look. Shake roofs can vary in appearance because the individual pieces are shaped and positioned but typically have a more textured and varied appearance. You can also choose between a regular or modified shake roof.

Here are three major differences between the two that you should know.


Wood shakes are made of wood that has been split into thin strips, which are then cut to a specific length. Most wood shake manufacturers will use cedar because it is a softwood resistant to rotting and insects.

Wood shingles are made out of wood pulp pressed into a shingle shape. These shingles can be either nailed or screwed to a roof. They are nailed to the roof as they are less expensive and harder to screw.

In most cases, both wood shakes and shingles use pine, cedar, redwood, and cypress as their core materials. High-quality lumber is crucial in manufacturing and processing these types of roofs for residential properties.


The main aesthetic of wood shakes is their natural appearance. The thin split strips cut to a specific length doesn't look processed or uniform, giving them a rustic look. The rustic appearance is achieved by the natural variations in color and texture of the wood, which result from how the lumber has been handled. Natural sunlight will also affect this natural variation in color, making it harder to achieve uniformity.

Wood shingles also have a natural appearance, but instead of wood strips, it has a uniform, asphalt shingle-like appearance that gives properties a classic look. With this aesthetic, it has a natural appearance and is usually dark in color. Stains are not as noticeable on wood shingles, making them a good choice for hues of red or black.


Wood shake roofs are durable and last for more than 20 years. To achieve this, the wood shake must have high-quality materials and excellent installation because these affect its durability and longevity. If a wood shake roof is poorly installed, it will not be as durable as a roof that has been installed properly.

Wood shingle roofs are decently durable and have good lifespans. Most homeowners replace them every 15-20 years. Extreme weather conditions, installations, and wood quality, like wood shake roofs, wood shingle roofs can be greatly affected by extreme weather conditions.


On average, wood shakes can cost between $600-$900 per square meter installed while wood shingles are installed at $400-$700 per square meter. Wood shakes are complex materials and require a specific way of installation that only experienced roofers can achieve.

If you have yet to find a reliable roofer, you can always count on us at Turbo Roofing for all your needs. We have been serving Guelph and its surrounding areas for over a decade, and we always guarantee our workmanship. Contact us today to learn more about what we can do.