Wood shingles hold a special place in many homeowners’ hearts. Their simple, natural beauty captivates and displays a stunning, traditional aesthetic. Wood, however, isn’t an exterior roofing material that is regularly used anymore. Instead, most homeowners use modern materials such as asphalt shingles, tiling, or metal. The durability of modern roofing types is readily available. Wood shingle durability is a little more varied. That leaves wood shingle roof owners wondering, “What is a wood shingle roof’s lifespan?”

Owning a property with wood shingles is something of a long-term investment. There’s a lot more to consider than just the aesthetical beauty of it. The shingles have a stunning appearance and many ecological benefits. Their durability and lifespan can be more of a point of concern.

In this article, we share the factors that affect wood shingles and what the average lifespan of a wood shingle roof is. Plus, we’ll show how you can effectively maintain the roof to maximize longevity.

What are Wood Shingles?

Similar to tiles or other types of shingles, wood shingles are thin pieces of engineered wood that are used to cover the roofs of buildings. Some choose to use them to cover the walls of buildings, too. Wood shingles are not to be confused with wood shakes. Shakes are split from logs and take on a more rustic, unfinished style. Shingles are sawn from timber or larger blocks so that they are more uniform in appearance.

Shingles can come in all sorts of wood, but the most commonly used trees are cedar, redwood, and pine. Redwood and Cedar have similar characteristics. They’re both naturally resistant to insect infestation and rot. Both are key features of a durable roof. Pine is less durable than these two but has a welcoming rustic appeal.

Shingles are installed by overlapping the previously laid shingle. The same way that you would use asphalt shingles or tiles. This creates a watertight barrier and looks neat and uniform. Thanks to their adaptability, shingles are often used where roofs are more complex and have many angles and slopes.

Factors Affecting Wood Shingle Roof Lifespan

Wood shingle roofs are affected by a number of different factors that have an influence on their lifespan. Some of them can be mitigated, others cannot be.

Climate and Weather Conditions: Here we have a factor that you can’t do a great deal about. The climate and weather where your property is situated are out of your control. It is arguably the biggest factor in wood shingle roof lifespan. Moisture, prolonged exposure to UV from the sun, and temperature fluctuations. These all cause faster deterioration of the material. If you live in an area where these conditions happen regularly, make sure you speak to a specialist to see if a wood shingle roof is the right move.

Type of Wood: Each type of wood deteriorates at a different rate. Plus, some are more durable than others. Cedar and redwood will fare better than softer varieties such as pine.

Installation Quality: When shingles are installed properly, they last considerably longer. Wood shingle roofs require adequate ventilation and a proper drainage system. Without both, the roof is at a far higher risk of moisture retention and, subsequently, rot.

Maintenance: Wood shingle roofs require regular maintenance to maximize their lifespan. There are simple tasks, such as cleaning and removing moss and algae buildup, that can easily be completed by property owners. Then, there are more skilled maintenance tasks. These include replacing missing, split, or damaged shingles and applying protective coatings.

Environmental Factors: Overhanging trees can drop debris and cause a buildup of leaves. These can damage or help to retain water on the roof. If your property is close to the ocean, the increased salt in the air can increase degradation speed.

Average Wood Shingle Roof Lifespan

It is difficult to settle on an average lifespan because of all of the variable factors mentioned above. That said, we can give a general benchmark so that homeowners can plan the future for their home and their roof.

Most wood shingle roofs have a lifespan between 20 to 30 years.

When we compare this to other roofing materials, this falls into the mid-range for lifespan. Asphalt shingles, for example, tend to last between 15 to 30 years. At the other end of the scale, metal roofs can last upwards of 50 years. Sometimes, slate roofs can survive beyond 100 years with the right care and attention.

That said, with proper maintenance conducted regularly, many wood shingle roofs can exceed the 30-year mark. However, for that to happen, it would require an incredibly diligent property owner. It would also need the best climate and environmental conditions.

Replacement and Repair Considerations

There will come a point where you need to consider repairs to your roof. You may even have to look at a full roof replacement. If faced with either scenario, remember these considerations:

Damage Extent: Assess how much damage there is. Is the damage superficial or is the underlying structure of the roof damaged too? Check to see if the waterproof membrane is intact or if the roof decking has been damaged. If the damage is minimal and only affects a few shingles, you might be able to replace them yourself.

Roof Age: Older roofs may require more and more repairs and maintenance. There may come a point where it is more cost-efficient to replace the entire roof.

Cost-Benefit Analysis: If your roof is relatively young and you’re regularly spending money on repairs, a replacement might be attractive. You might simply be in the wrong location for a roof of this type.

Professional Assessment: Always seek professional help whenever you’re undertaking repairs or looking for a full replacement.

If you’d like to speak with an expert on all things roofing, then contact Trenton Roofing. We can share our wealth of experience and offer a no-obligation quote for any work required.

Alex Valentino

Alex Valentino – Vice President

Leading the way for the company’s second generation of family and employee ownership, Alex’s mission is to create lasting relationships built on trust and respect by providing uncompromising workmanship and unparalleled customer service. With a focus on safety and consumer education, Trenton Roofing strives to set the bar for the advancement of the roofing industry and the betterment of our local communities. When he is not working, Alex can be found traveling with his fiancée, watching football or playing a relaxing round of golf with his friends.