Is A Natural Wood Roof Right For You?
Wood roofing has a rustic, natural look and ages beautifully. Rugged and invoking the feel of a cottage, natural shake roofing has both pros and cons, but a cedar roof can make a huge contribution to the look and character of your home.
All natural wood roofing is made from cedar because it is light, yet durable. Cedar will weather to a gray color in several months if not pressure washed. This graying is natural and often desired aesthetically. If properly maintained in the Ozarks climate, heavy hand-split shakes will generally last 25 to 30 years, whereas medium hand-split shakes usually last 18 to 22 years and wood shingles last around 15-20 years.
The Two Main Types of Natural Wood Roofing: Shingles and Shakes
Wood Shingles are smooth, flat and have cleaner lines. Courses are straight. Wood Shakes are thicker than wood shingles and the surface is grooved from the splitting process and has a more rustic, random look. Wood roofing is not the least expensive option, however, the visual appeal and natural protection from the weather has made this a very popular choice. We are happy to discuss the various options for using natural wood shakes or shingles on your building.
Advantages of Natural Wood Roofs
There is an environmental benefit to natural wood roofing. Whenever your roof is eventually replaced something has to be done with the old roofing material. Recycling methods for asphalt and other materials have improved, but the only way to be certain your old roof doesn’t end up in a landfill for years to come is by using bio-degradable material. Made of renewable, organic cedar, wooden roofs are environmentally friendly.
From an insulation standpoint, wood roofs are superior to metal or asphalt shingle roofing materials. You still need the other components of a good insulating system, but a wood shake roof has the potential to decrease your home’s energy consumption.
Wood roofs are also naturally more resistant to hail than most shingles. Also, wood roofs won’t wrinkle like asphalt shingles if the felt underlayment gets wet, because the roofing material is simply too stiff.
Limitations of Natural Wood Roofs
Unfortunately, despite their visual appeal, natural wood roofs suffer from a variety of weathering, durability, and safety issues that affect all wood over time. Since they are made out of wood, shakes and wood shingles are more flammable than other types of roofing. This hazard can be reduced with the addition of a flame-retardant coating, but a wood roof will never be as fire-safe as asphalt shingles or metal.
Since a wood roof is made from organic materials, it also tends to attract bugs, usually pests such as silverfish and spiders. This may be easily eliminated with proper pest control, but it’s worth considering that you may have to deal with some additional insect issues with a natural wood roof.
So with all their virtues, wood roofs can be higher maintenance than other types of roofing systems. Working on them without causing further damage requires special skill and a lot of experience, so make sure you hire an experienced roofing company to work on your natural wood roof.
Because of these limitations, most of our customers choose to have us perform a Wood Shake Conversion and use synthetic wood roof materials instead of natural wood shakes and shingles.