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What is the best replacement for wood shake roofs?

November 28, 2018

I often get asked if metal roofing is a good option for replacing a wood shake roof. My first question is always “Why do you want to change?” I get some really interesting answers, and thought it would be a good idea to put some of the most common concerns and follow them with the answers. Before you read any furthers let me say this, “I think wood shake roofs are beautiful”, and I give this advice as even handed as possible so you the consumer can make an informed decision.

I want to replace my wood shake roof because….

  • These wood shakes are only 15 years old and already need replaced.
    • Answer: the typical wood shake shingle that is mass produced is not of the same quality is once was. Engineered growth trees are used for their fast growth, but tend to be soft and prone to cracking, curling and early fading. The highest quality wood shakes that do last longer are thicker, longer, and most importantly, rather expensive.
  • My homeowners insurance rate is going up if I don’t replace it
    • Answer: Insurance companies are shying away from wood shake roofs, because of their fire risk. A small burning ember floating onto a wood shake roof is enough to turn into a full blaze. And that’s something no homeowner wants to be a part of. Wood shakes can come with a fire resistant spray, but this is at a higher cost, and more importantly that spray can loose some of it’s effectiveness after long periods of sun exposure.
  • It didn’t do well during the last hail storm. 
    • Answer: As wood shakes age, they dry out and become more brittle. Bring on a hail storm with hailstones of any appreciable size, and damage will occur.  Cracking and splitting from the hail strikes can lead to leaks and even shingle tab loss, not to mention, how bad the damage will look.
  • The wood looks so faded and stained.
    • Answer: Because wood shake shingles are a natural product, they do fade faster than something designed specifically for high sun exposure. Two factors come into play here. One, as the wood dries out from daily exposure to the sun, the natural color changes from that desired cedar color to a pale dull gray. But, the second factor of staining is the biggest concern. As just mentioned above, shakes are a natural and porous material and makes is very susceptible for molds and lichens to grow on their surface. This can be green like moss or black like a mold. Because of its green color and nice texture, moss may be desirable, giving your roof a woodsy look. On the other hand, mold on wood is obviously not good.  Not only does it look bad with it’s black streaks, but is also a risk to the quality of your roof long term.

So if wood shake is not the best answer, what is your best option?

Alternatives that don’t give you good solutions to all the issues listed above are useless, and you might as well stick with a roofing style that you already like. What if you could maintain the look and feel of the wood shake, but didn’t have any of the shortcomings? The answer is yes, when you consider the right type of metal roof. The Country Manor Shake roof you see in the picture above, is a metal shingle made to replicate that highly desirable hand split shake look. I see whole neighborhoods of roofs that I know were wood shake originally and now have been converted over time to lesser quality asphalt roofs. Better alternatives were never given to those homeowners and now they have lost home value and stuck with replacing their roof every 12 to 15 years.

So how does metal resolve all those concerns we covered earlier??

Permanent Roofing: Metal roofs with ceramic based paints like County Manor Shake, are a permanent roofing solution. Meaning they are engineered and manufactured to last as long as you live in your home. Check the written warranty for any metal shingle you might consider, and make sure its truly lifetime.

Fire Resistance: Country Manor Shake shingle is a Class A fired rated roof. That is the highest rating for fire resistance. It basically means that any floating embers that settle on your roof won’t be sparking a fire. With forest fires a growing concern, the class A rating for fires resistance will bring peace of mind to it’s owner. There are a few municipalities that already require higher fires resistance ratings for homes, with more to join them. In some areas, insurance may give a discount for having a Class A fire rated shingle. (Please note that fire ratings and standards vary by area, but, the shingle mentioned here, does qualify for Class A, when installed by approved methods.)

Hail Resistance: Hail has always been an Achilles Heel for wood shakes. Country Manor Shake metal shingles carry a Class IV (4) Impact Resistance rating. This is the highest rating you can get in a government test. The shingle even carries a “No leak due to hail” warranty, with no restriction to hail size.

Staining and Fading: The benefits for using a ceramic based paint on metal is that it is harder than standard water based products. This allows the paint to bond well with the base metal and resist cracking or peeling. Country Manor Shake is warrantied to not peel, crack or delaminate, for as long as you live in your home. The surface of the paint does not host or aid the growth of mold, like that of wood. Because of the paints reflective technology, it is excellent at resisting fade, and warrantied not to fade for 30 years.

I hope you find this helpful, and I encourage you to contact us at AL-CO Metal Roofing with any questions you may have about your wood shake roof. We can provide you with answers, or even a free quote for a metal roofing your home.

Sincerely Chuck Roberts

San Antonio: 210-605-5671

Corpus Christi: 361-289-9000