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Guide to Wood Shingle Roofing & Installation

Wood shingles present a warm, inviting look that enhances many home styles. Older and historic homes are especially enhanced by the use of wood roofing. The shingles can be artistically designed to provide an individual look for each home if desired. Each shingle can be trimmed to create a unique and intricate design. See what it will cost below.

The Costs 

  • Low cost per 2,000 square feet: $7,574

  • High cost per 2,000 square feet: $9,581

  • Average cost per 2,000 square feet: $8,500 

The estimated cost represents materials only and is based on a common low-slope roof layout. Additional costs will include labor and installation materials and special considerations, according to each individual project. 

Other Costs Associated with Wood Shingle Roofs

In addition to material costs, be prepared to pay for labor and additional supplies that are necessary to complete a proper roof installation. The design and size of the roof will help to determine the actual cost of the job.

An estimate will take the slope of the roof into consideration. A low-slope roof will be less expensive than a steeply-sloped roof. Low slope means a 4 inches or less incline for 12 inches of roof run. A high slope means more than 4 inches of incline per 12 inches. Shape will be calculated by the number of planes and whether or not there are obstacles that complicate the installation.

Labor costs will be determined by the contractor hired to do the job. A roof replacement can be performed by a certified, licensed and bonded roofing company or by a handyman familiar with roofing techniques. The general handyman will usually charge less than a roofing contractor. The consumer must decide whether saving on the cost of labor is more important than hiring an expert that offers a warranty and is insured. Ask more than one contractor for a complete estimate. Some homeowners prefer to do their own work, which would reduce the cost significantly. A roofing contractor can be hired to do the actual roof work while the homeowner either does part of the job or hires someone less expensive to do the cleanup and other related tasks. Material acquisition can also be handled by the homeowner or a handyman as long as the proper materials and other related items are clearly understood.

The estimates should include several aspects of the job including materials and delivery costs, flashing, underlayment, vents for soffits and ridges, stack covers, and fasteners that are recommended by the shingle manufacturer. Estimates should also include additional work related to the completion of the replacement roof:

  • Ice dam protection

  • Tear-off and disposal of old roof

  • Dry rot and framing repairs

  • Deck repair or replacement

  • Gutter and drain replacement 

Types of Wood Shingles

Wood roof shingles are made from several different tree woods including redwood, pine, cypress and red cedar. The trees are cut into logs, split into thin sections and typically shaped into shingles with one end thicker than the other. Perfection type shakes are 18-inches long while the royal type is 24-inches long and all are tapered at one end. Both cedar and pine shingles and shakes can be pressure treated with preservatives and fire-resistant chemicals. This helps to lengthen the life of the shingles and protects them against decay, insects and fire. Pine roofing must have interlayment felt for proper installation.

Flashings & Fasteners

Flashing is made of metal and creates an edge where shingles meet vertical surfaces, plumbing stacks and exhaust vents, edges, and other places where moisture could enter the underside of the roofing. Fasteners can be staples or nails. They should be made of non-corrosive metal and must be long enough to penetrate through the shingle and all underlayment at least .75-inches into the supporting planks or roof deck. A minimum of two nails is needed per shingle.

Warranty Information

A new roof is a considerable investment. Therefore, the warranty portion of a contractor’s bid should guard against both manufacturer defects and installation defects. The contractor should give the consumer the paperwork and proof of purchase for the materials. Installation warranties are written by the contractor and should address issues related to the installation. It should also specify any actions by the homeowner that would void the warranty. A typical contractor’s warranty is for one to two years.

Advantages of Wood Shingle Roofing

Wood shingles are lighter in weight than other types of roofing. Wood shingles do not rust as metal roofing tends to do when installed in moisture-prone climates. In case of damage or other need for repairs, shingles can be cut out and replaced one by one. There’s no need to replace an entire section if just one shingle is damaged. Wood roofs tend to hold up quite well and can last for up to 50 years, depending on their treatment and care.

Air circulation and insulation is increased with the use of wood shingles. While the attic is well insulated, the house can breathe through the wood and rows of felt.

Disadvantages of Wood Shingle Roofing

Living in a high-fire danger area of the country would present a definite disadvantage to using wood shingles that can easily be ignited by flying embers. They can also become fuel for the fire. For this reason, some counties and cities will no longer permit wood shingle roofs as they are poorly rated for fire damage. Before choosing real wood roofing materials check with the city or county building codes.

Wood shingles are more expensive than using other materials. They are susceptible to the collection of bacteria, mold and mildew and can be damaged by insects. Treatment helps to slow the damage or can even eliminate it altogether, but that depends on the particular climate of the area and what is used in the treatment process. Moisture and lack thereof causes wood shingles to expand and contract, which puts stress on the fasteners and can deteriorate the fibers of the wood. Sunlight also tends to cause deterioration.

Last updated on Jun 17, 2014

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