What’s the proper term … shakes? Anyway, looking at houses, and a couple have the wooden shingles. They make me a little nervous with regard to fire hazard, and I have no knowledge of their durability. Can someone educate me with reagrd to the pros and cons of a wood shingle roof?
“When asked if you can do something, tell’em “Why certainly I can”, then get busy and find a way to do it.” T. Roosevelt
Pros- ther're pretty and they are appropriate on certain vintage homes.
Con's : they are expensive, untreated they can be a fire hazard, they get mossy in the shade and I know of a few people who re-shingle every ten years.
Having said all that if I had the money I would use them.
There is a difference between "shakes" and "shingles", though I don't remember the specifics enough to hazard explaining it.
They are a fire hazard from the standpoint of being liable to ignite due to a nearby forest/brush fire, and as a result are generally prohibited in areas at risk of this. Not a serious fire hazard for normal suburban use.
They can last anywhere from 10 years to 90 years, depending on the quality of the shingle, the climate, the slope of the roof, the quality of the installation, etc.
There are composite (fiber-cement, et al) alternatives that look about as good, are more fire-resistant, and are more predictable in terms of lifetime. Don't know how they work out in terms of price.
Advantage; Wood shakes are lightweight, especially in Earthquake country. Strong, can be walked on, it still will crack but not as bad as cement tiles.
Disadvantage; they will burn, but not as flammable when newly treated. They now do not burn as fast because it take time to burn thru plywood sheathing. Old time skip or space sheathing makes wood roofs burn really quick. Look up in the attic or under the garage roof, if you see wood shakes, not plywood, it will burn more easily. Wood Hakes cost more than cement tiles in Los Angeles county.
Edited 8/17/2006 3:53 pm ET by Sungod