Cedar Shingles & Shakes Roofing Costs, Plus Pros & Cons

Between $10,500 and $12,500 is the low end price range for a small, 16 squares cedar shingles or shakes roof, fully installed. Which of course depends on a number of factors, so let’s get right into that.

via Inspirational Village

By the square, which equals 100 sq. ft., the price for wood shingles installed is between $700 to $1,000 or $7.00 to $10.00 per sq. ft. This includes materials and permits, professional installation, and warranty, but doesn’t include the cost of removing and disposing of the old roof, which would be between $1.00 and $2.00 extra per square foot, depending on the number of existing layers of shingles and ease (or difficulty) of removal and disposal.

If going with cedar shakes instead, the price increases up to $800 to $1,250 per square or $8.00 to $12.50 per sq. ft. installed.

If going with bargain priced materials, the costs can come significantly down, but the value or how long it lasts will also go down.

Home Depot sells bundles at about $50, where 4 bundles are enough to cover a square, thus $200. — This doesn’t take into account the other materials that go into a roofing job, such as fasteners, underlayment, flashing, tools and and supplies, etc., but it does let you know that if you go the DIY route (not something we would recommend), your total upfront cost could be reduced significantly.

What A Cedar Shake and Shingle Roofing Entails

First, let’s differentiate between the two similar products. Shake means split with an axe, shingle means cut with a saw. It’s that simple.

Obviously shake came first, historically. Both are used today, while shake is generally considered the premium product between the two.

Cedar shakes tend to be thicker (up to 3/4th on an inch in thickness) than wood shingles (up to 1/2 inch thick), and hence also more expensive. With the advent of shingle mills in the early 19th century, came the ability to mass produce the wood material, along with possibility to access it in several locations.

Besides thickness, there is also variation in shape, width, texture and eventually treatment and color. Royalty and Perfection. These terms refer to length, with Perfection referencing an 18 inch wide shingle and Royalty attributed to 24 inch wide shingles. Shape tends to be rectangular, especially as it relates to material for roofing.

As cedar shakes are also used for siding, the shape may vary, with how the butt-end (lower side of the shake) appears, as in whether it is rounded, straight, or even a bit wavy.

Did you know? Wood shake material of higher quality is often used for roofing, whereas cedar siding projects tend to use lower quality shakes.

Being that these wood shakes are on the upper portion of the house, the need or even purpose for anything uniquely shaped is not necessary.

Wood shake is the material that is routinely synonymous with cedar, but that’s not the only grain of wood used in shakes. There’s white and red cedar, along with California redwood, which are the primary wood choices in North America. Outside the US, pine may be the primary choice for shakes.

Color options are essentially without limit as any paint or stain can be applied, but typically a clear stain is used due to the natural beauty associated with the material. What is more common is how the wood is treated.

Chemically treated wood will last longer than if it is not treated. Often it is laced with fire retardants to overcome an inherent, albeit, natural design flaw. Or treated to prevent algae and insect infestation. Such treatments can have the material last a good 30 years, or longer.

Value and Cost Further Explored

The rustic charm of wood shake is arguably its most alluring value. While there are metallic, and stone tile products that can come close in matching it’s appearance, none really compare to the authentic beauty of natural wood.

Added thickness in the material means better insulation of the home’s uppermost layer. But the real value is in how it holds up to wind. Asphalt shingles top out at 130 mph for wind uplift resistance, whereas cedar shakes can withstand speeds up to 245 mph. It is also impact resistant, or more so than most other materials with exception of stone.

While the product isn’t requiring special tools or skills to install, it can be quite labor intensive due to the multi-layering, general thickness and moderate heaviness of the material. For a 1,600 sq. ft. roof (which is equal to a small home), the total installation cost averages between 10,500 and $12,500 on the low end of the pricing spectrum.

If using premium materials, or a licensed and insured contractor, or having a complex roof with multiple slope angles, then the price goes up. Unless the home is unusually large, you can expect to not exceed $20,000 for a cedar shake roof, but a fair average is $10,500 to $14,500.

via ASCH Roofing

A roof in general will see a recouped value of 70%, although that is based on the most popular sloped roofing product, asphalt shingle. It goes up from there, and given that cedar shake has allure and better than average durability, it is likely closer to 75% or even 80% ROI.

This assumes the shakes or shingles are in good condition, and that they are well maintained. Which brings us to a significant drawback.

If not paying for premium, read as properly treated material, then the product will probably last 20 years, or less, if you are located in the area with heavy precipitation or much moisture, such Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. If properly cared for, and inspected annually, a cedar shake roof could last as long as 30 or even 40 years.

Advantages of Cedar Shake and Shingle Roof

  • unmatched beauty
  • with treated wood comes sufficient durability and a roof that can last a half a century
  • great wind resistance
  • moderately easy installation
  • decent ROI
  • natural material, very eco-friendly

Disadvantages of Cedar Shake and Shingle Roof

  • more expensive than asphalt shingles
  • untreated or less maintained material will last maybe a couple decades
  • within a decade it requires annual maintenance of some sort

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