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ROOFING INSPECTION & REPAIR
AMERICAN CEMWOOD ROOFING
BEST ROOFING PRACTICES
BUILT UP ROOFS
CATHEDRAL CEILING VENTILATION
CERTIFICATIONS for ROOFING CONTRACTORS
CHIMNEY FLASHING Mistakes & Leaks
COLD WEATHER ROOF TROUBLE
DECKS, ROOFTOP CONSTRUCTION
EPDM, RUBBER, PVC ROOFING
EXTRACTIVE BLEEDING on SHINGLES
FIRE RETARDANT PLYWOOD
FLASHING on BUILDINGS
FLAT ROOF MOISTURE & CONDENSATION
Green House or Solarium Roof Leaks
HEAT TAPES & CABLES on Roofs for Ice Dams
ICE DAM PREVENTION
MASONITE WOODRUF FIBERBOARD ROOFING
NOISE CONTROL for ROOFS
PLASTIC ROOFING TYPES
PVC, EPDM, RUBBER ROOFING
ROOF ARCHITECTURAL STYLES - PHOTO GUIDE
ROOF CLEANING RECOMMENDATIONS
ROOF COLOR RECOMMENDATIONS
ROOF INSPECTION SAFETY & LIMITS
ROOF LEAK DIAGNOSIS & REPAIR
ROOF NOISE TRANSMISSION
ROOF REPLACEMENT SNAFUs
ROOFING FELT UNDERLAYMENT REQUIREMENTS
ROOFING MATERIALS, Age, Types
SADDLE CONSTRUCTION at CHIMNEYS
SNOW GUARDS & SNOW BRAKES
STANDARDS for ROOFING
STRESS SKIN INSULATED PANELS
TEST LABS - ROOF SHINGLE
TREES & SHRUBS, TRIM OFF BUILDING
TRUSSES, Floor & Roof
UNDERLAYMENT REQUIREMENTS on ROOFS
VENTILATION in BUILDINGS
WALK-ON ROOF SURFACES
WARRANTIES for ROOF SHINGLES
WORKMANSHIP & ROOF DAMAGE
Wood shingle or shake roofing summary guide: Beginning here in this wood shingle & shake roof article series, we illustrate and discuss the installation, inspection, diagnosis, & repair of wood shingle & wood shake roofing in historic and contemporary use, we describe proper wood shingle or wood shake roof installation details, and we provide a wood roof inspection checklist. Our page top photo shows a lichens and moss covered roof located in Key West, Florida, viewed from the Key West lighthouse. If you are not sure of the difference between a wood shingle and a wood shake, wood shingles are saw-cut and have smooth flat surfaces, while wood shakes are split (by hand or by machine) to produce a thicker and more irregular product. As Carson Dunlop point out in their Home Reference Book, most wood shingles are white cyprus (most durable), cedar (western red cedar or white cedar) but in some locales redwood shingles are also used, and white pine shingles, yellow pine,and spruce have been used. Also see WOOD ROOF INSTALLATION SPECS and see WOOD ROOF SHAKES INSTALLATION.
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According to the US NPS "Roofing for Historic buildings":
As we introduced at ROOFING INSPECTION & REPAIR,
Wood roofing shingles and shakes material cost $150-200 per square, with an installed cost of $130 - $160 / square. Wood shingle roofs have a typical life expectancy of 10-40 years, and weigh 300-400 pounds per square. The life of a wood shingle roof can vary widely depending on the wood species of shingles used and the treatment of wood roof shingles with preservative.
Carson Dunlop's sketch (left) illustrates a source of variation in the quality of wood shingles that depends on how the shingles are cut from the log. The Carson Dunlop sketch at right illustrates the different qualities of wood shingles and wood shakes used on roofs.
Details about wood shingle and wood roof shake quality, types, warranties, & treatments are found at WOOD ROOF SHINGLE PROPERTIES.
Wood roof preservatives can make a significant difference in the life expectancy (and in some cases fire resistance) of wood shingle or wood shake roofs, depending on the wood species of the shingles or shakes (see above) and the preservative used.
Traditionally wood shingle and shakes were treated with copper or copper arsenate compounds to resist insects and rot; some shingle and shake treatments include chemicals that help the roof resist oxidation from sun exposure as well.
Traditional CCA wood treatments turned the roof shingles or shakes green, a color that bleached out to a more natural color after a few months. Contemporary wood roof treatments may not turn the roof green, but they may include pigments that assist in resistance to sunlight and oxidation.
Other wood roof preservatives used tin compounds instead of copper, a less long-lasting treatment, and current treatments may use borate salts. Common current wood shingle and shake preservative treatments use products that combine a water repellant, pigment, and a preservative chemical. Pre-treated wood shingles and shakes are provided by some wood roof manufacturers: these products should not require additional coatings.
Watch out: we do not recommend using paints (such as alkyd or latex paint) on wood shingles, especially on wood roofs. Painting one side of wood roof shingles or shakes may accelerate their wear (shorten the roof life) by interfering with shingle or shake drying when the roof becomes wet. Painted roof shingles may split prematurely.
Chemical treatments for wood roofs are required (if wood shingle or shake roofs are permitted at all) in certain dry areas or areas prone to wildfires such as California. If you live in a high fire-risk zone and want the appearance of a wood shingle or shake roof, investigate roof shingles made of recycled materials and sold in products that look like wood shakes or slate.
Details about wood roof coatins and wood roof fire ratings are found at WOOD ROOF COATINGS & FIRE RATINGS
Side-lap Wood Shingle Roofs
See "Fabricating and Installing Side-Lap Roof Shingles
in Eastern Pennsylvania", James Houston & John N. Fugelso.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about wood roofs: wood shingle or wood shake roof installation, inspection, leak diagnosis, repair, standards, fire ratings &c.
Questions & answers or comments about wood shingle roofing.
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Technical Reviewers & References
Related Topics, found near the top of this page suggest articles closely related to this one.