Cedar Shake Roof

Wood Shakes vs. Shingles – What is the Difference?

If you haven’t given much thought to the subject of wood shakes vs. shingles, well, you’re not alone. Unless you have experience with roofing materials, it can be hard to tell the two apart, but there are substantial differences.

These differences are pretty important if you’re replacing your existing roof or building a new home from scratch. Let’s take a look at these two materials and compare their differences and similarities. Once you know a little bit more about them, you’ll be able to make a more informed decision as to what type of roof or siding is best for your home.

The Manufacturing Process

When comparing wood shakes vs. shingles, the biggest difference is in the way they’re made. Shakes are split on one side and cut on the other. Shingles are thinner and cut on each side. Shingles have more of an “against the grain” appearance, while shakes are more with the grain.

Cedar Shingles
Cedar Shingles
Cedar Shakes
Cedar Shakes

Shakes are more rugged looking, while shingles look smoother. That boils down to the way they’re made. No two shakes look exactly alike. Shingles, on the other hand, have a much more uniform appearance.


As you would expect, shakes cost more because they’re thicker, so it takes more material to make them. Many contractors will also charge more to install shakes because it takes longer. In most cases, shakes cost about 50 percent more than shingles – there are some instances where they’ll cost twice as much.


Shakes are more durable because they’re thicker. They stand up very well to the elements, particularly UV exposure and wind. The main factor when it comes to durability will be the way shakes and shingles are cut relative to the grain.

  • A “flat grain” shake or shingle is cut in parallel to the rings of the tree. The problem with flat grain pieces is that they’re not as stable, so they’re more prone to splitting.
  • “Edge grain” shakes and shingles are cut perpendicular to the rings. They’re stronger and more durable, but they’re also more expensive.
  • “Slash grain” shakes and shingles are cut at an angle to the rings. This option is rarely used. They don’t look as good as the flat grain and edge grain products, and they’re also not as durable.

How to Choose Between Wood Shakes Vs. Shingles

There’s no right or wrong answer when choosing between wood shakes and shingles. It comes down to a matter of style.

If you like a more rustic look, then shakes would probably be the way to go. If you’re more concerned with cost, then shingles might be the better choice. Shingles may also be worth considering if you have a cabin or a cottage. Since you can stack shingles on top of each other, they provide better insulation, which can lower heating and cooling costs.

Brava Shake Roof

However, there is one option that is better than both wood shake and shingles – Brava Roof Tile. Brava cedar shakes look just like natural wood, and it’s just as tough without all the drawbacks. It offers extreme impact resistance (in fact, Brava tiles have the highest impact rating in the industry – Class 4), is fire resistant, and is made of environmentally friendly materials. And when it comes to coastal winds and storms, Brava is Miami-Dade Approved with the highest wind rating in the industry.

Contact Elite Remodeling Services

Elite Remodeling Services is a preferred installer of Brava Roof Tile in Minnesota. One of our friendly professionals will be happy to work with you to help you decide what type of roofing material is best for your needs and budget.

Give us a call at (952) 800-9515 or contact us online to learn more about wood shakes vs. shingles and why Brava Roof Tiles may be the perfect alternative to both.

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