Category Archives: Roof Types

Roofing Shingles Vs. Cedar Shakes Costs, Plus Pros & Cons in 2019

In this guide, we present a side-by-side comparison of cedar shingles and shakes vs. asphalt roofing, with focus on on material composition, installation costs, plus pros and cons and ROI of each option. Let’s get started!

The Difference Between Wood Shingles & Shakes

When used in roof covering, wood can be either shakes or shingles. Wood shakes have been used for centuries. They are split from logs and often left as split to retain the textured, rough-hewn effect.

Cedar shakes around a skylight Source: Kuhl’s Contracting

A wood shake is instantly recognizable by its thick butt end. With the advent of commercial sawmills a wood shake was often sawn after splitting to achieve a uniform back side.

These sawmills also produced a completely uniform product with an even taper and identical thickness by sawing shakes on both sides. This manufactured product is known as a wood shingle.

California redwood, western red cedar, cypress, spruce and pine are all used to manufacture wood shakes and shingles. Cedar is the most popular wood for shakes, southern yellow pine is also popular. Wood shakes and shingles can be pressure treated with fire retardants and chemical preservatives.

Types of Asphalt Shingles

Asphalt or composition shingles are most commonly constructed from organic material or fiberglass. Asphalt shingles are built upon a base or mat that was originally made of absorbent cotton rags.

Roofing Shingles Display

Later, more readily available wood pulp or paper replaced the natural fibers. Asphalt was poured onto that base, known as “felt”.

In the 1970s, fibrous glass was introduced, which did not rot like the organic materials. Today, 95 percent of asphalt shingles feature fiberglass felt.

Cedar Shingles/Shakes Cost Vs. Asphalt

In the roofing industry, an 18-inch wood shingle is referred to as “Perfection” and 24-inch wide shingles are known as “Royal.” A wood shake is a premium product, costing around $3.50 per square foot versus $2.50 a square foot for wood shingles.

Cedar Shakes Siding and Asphalt Roof By Red House Architects

The most expensive option for shingling a roof is wood shakes — between $6.50 to $11.00 per square foot or $650 and $1,100 per square (100 square feet), installed.

Cedar Shakes Roof By Linda McDougald Design

Wood shingles are slightly less pricey at $4.50 to $9.00 per square foot or $450 to $900 per square, installed.

For comparison, asphalt roofing can cost as little as $2.75 to $5.50 per square foot or $350 to $550 per square, installed.

Roofing Shingles Installation

Install Roof Shingles

$7,500
Average price
Install Metal Roof

$14,500
Average price
Install Flat Roof

$8,225
Average price

See costs in your area Start Here - Enter Your Zip Code

So, why do homeowners opt for the much more expensive wood shingling? The answer is…

Aesthetics

It is hard to beat the appearance of a natural wood roof. If you are making over a traditional older house, cedar roofing is probably the historically appropriate choice. Not that asphalt shingles are an unattractive alternative.

Asphalt shingles come in a wide variety of colors and shapes and patterned asphalt roofs can be eye-catching in their own right.

Beyond looking great, wood shingling does not win many comparison battles with its asphalt-covered competition. Let’s explore some of the pros and cons up on your roof…

Longevity

Life expectancy for both asphalt and wood shingles is a tricky matter. Let’s tick off all the factors that can affect the longevity of a roof covering: quality of installation, diligence of maintenance, quality of materials, age of the house, overhanging trees, climate and foot traffic.

Chemically treated wood will outlast untreated shakes and shingles and a shake will survive longer than a shingle. Both asphalt and treated wood shingles can survive up to 30 years on a roof, given ideal conditions.

Durability Cedar shingles are resistant to insects but not large amounts of rain. Cedar shakes in a damp environment are susceptible to mold and mildew and rot.

Sap from overhanging trees will encourage mildew. When rot sets in it has likely affected more than a single shake and the entire roof is a candidate for replacement.

Cleaning Costs

Asphalt has its own weather issues. Algae is more likely to take hold on an asphalt roof than cedar shakes. While this will not hamper your roof’s protection abilities, it does lead to unsightly staining and premature replacement on appearance grounds, especially at resale time.

Cleaning either a asphalt or wood shingle roof with a solution of water and bleach applied professionally and gently with a powerwasher will run from $25 to $30 per square. And this is a job best left to competent professionals as a poorly handled powerwasher can wreak havoc on roof shingles.

Flammability

Some building codes where fire is a danger restrict or ban the use of wood shingling altogether. Asphalt shingles have a high resistance to flames.

Keep in mind that wood shakes and shingles can be pressure treated with fire retardants and chemical preservatives.

Wind and Impact Resistance

Cedar shakes and shingles are the clear winner here. Both have proven to be highly impact-resistant and have tested to withstand wind speeds of up to 245 miles per hour (which your house will never see).

Asphalt shingles will, however, blow off a roof in high winds. Fallen branches are also much more likely to damage an asphalt shingle that a wooden one.

Maintenance

Cedar is a high maintenance material. For starters, the wood needs to breathe and the roof must be kept clear of leaves, branches and debris.

Gutters must be regularly cleaned and ventilation kept open for air to flow around the shakes and shingles.

Topical treatments can be applied as water repellents and ultraviolet inhibitors that can prevent graying of a roof.

If individual shakes or shingles are required they will match the composition and color of the original roof – score one point for cedar.

While algae will not impair the performance of asphalt shingles, mosses that grow on a damp roof can cause the edges to lift or curl leaving them vulnerable to a blow-off in storms.

Moss can be removed with a 50:50 mix of laundry-strength liquid chlorine bleach and water soaked with a low-pressure sprayer.

The moss will eventually loosen and can be swept off the roof. It will return, however, if many of the same measures as keeping a wood roof dry – trimming tree branches, removing debris and clearing gutters — are not followed. Replacing individual shingles is often a DIY job.

ROI, Property Valuations, and Curb Appeal Considerations

In terms of property valuations, replacing a cedar roof with asphalt will instantly diminish the value of your property. — On some historic homes, as well as homes surrounded by other homes roofed with cedar, such as in historic districts/neighborhoods, this may not even be an option to begin with.

However, if you must replace a cedar roof with something else, then opting for a metal roof rather than asphalt will help preserve the valuation and curb appeal of your property.

Conclusion

On the cost and maintenance considerations – the “Big Two” for most homeowners – asphalt shingles are the clear choice over wood shakes.

And in fact, about 70 percent of American roofs are covered with asphalt shingles today. On the other hand, those wood shingled-roofs just look so darn good, don’t they? 😉


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Zinc Roofing Pricing Guide: Costs, Benefits, and ROI

Cost effective, durable, elegant — That’s what Zinc roofing is all about. Add in its magical, self-healing ability and it could just be the best roofing material. Ever.

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Steel and Aluminum roofing see much more play in the roofing market, thanks to their wide availability, lower costs and mass production. Copper roofing is Zinc’s real competition, and yet Zinc wallops Copper when it comes to pricing.

However, Zinc is no stranger to the residential metal roofing market in the US. Consider the fact that galvanized steel means zinc-coated Steel. It plays a significant role in ensuring Steel doesn’t prematurely rust. In the European roofing market, 70% of all residential roofs utilize Zinc.

How much Does a Zinc Roof Cost?

Cost of Materials

The material costs for Zinc roofing range between $4.50 and $8 per sq. ft., or $450 to $800 per roofing square. The breakdown for material costs is as follows:

  • $4.50 to $6.00 for Zinc Shingles or Tiles
  • $6.00 to $8.00 for Zinc Standing Seam

Note: A roofing square equals 100 square feet. It’s the term professional contractors routinely use when calculating both costs and materials for a roofing project.

A typical two-story home with a roofing surface measuring 2,300 square feet, is referenced as having 23 squares of roofing work to be done.

All roofing jobs will also require appropriate fasteners, underlayment material, flashing, and other misc. material. — These necessary supplies will add around $1.00 per sq. ft. or $100 per square.

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Tile Roof Cost and Pros & Cons – Clay Vs. Concrete Tile 2019

Tiles are mankind’s oldest manufactured roofing material, with the first use of clay tiles dating back to Ancient China. Throughout history, their durability made them the go-to choice for roofs in the Middle East, Europe and Asia.

clay-tile-roof

Today’s roofing authorities are reluctant to say exactly how long new tile roofs will last — they may last forever! 😉

Pricing Details

As with all roofing materials, but perhaps not so much as with tile, the upfront costs must be differentiated from the life-cycle costs. With the exception of some very high quality slate, clay tile is the most expensive roofing system you can get.

Count on a tile roof costing two times as much as a wood shake roof and four times more than asphalt shingles.

Depending on your region and the product you choose, expect to pay between $12.00 and $25.00 per square foot for a ceramic clay tile roof installed.

Concrete tiles are less expensive than clay, so they would be on the lower end of the above pricing range.

The color, style, and grade of the tile you choose, including its weight and thickness, is what will determine the actual cost of materials, while installation costs will vary, depending on your location.

Total Cost Installed

On average, a typical 2,000 square feet tile roof will cost between $25,000 and $45,000 to install, depending on the profile, roof difficulty, choice of material, and location.

Note: higher-end clay tiles can cost significantly more than low-end and mid-range tiles.

It’s not unheard of for a tile roof to cost as much as $50,000 installed, especially when you deal with a complex roof requiring a lot of tile cutting and additional labor.

Install Roof Shingles

$7,500
Average price
Install Metal Roof

$14,500
Average price
Install Flat Roof

$8,225
Average price

See costs in your area Start Here - Enter Your Zip Code

Historic Context and Larger Picture — Old School Tiles and Modern Revival

In the United States, tile roofing techniques traveled across the ocean with the Dutch on the East Coast and the Spanish missionaries along the Gulf Coast and out West.

Tiles were formed with clay and fired to produce the familiar orange-ish colors. Minerals could be infused into the baking process to create a colored tile and glazes could also be added to the natural Terra Cotta to increase the variety of colors.

With the abundance of trees in northern America, wood roofing soon replaced tile as a favorite house covering. Tile would go in and out of favor, owing to the vagaries of architectural styles.

In the mid-1800s, when flat-roofed Italianate villas became a momentary rage, the demand for tile surged.

In the 1920s American architects introduced Revival styles in Mediterranean, Spanish Colonial, Italian Renaissance and Mission designs which kick-started the clamor for tile roofs once again.

Spanish style clay tile roof on a stucco home in Florida

Today, clay and concrete are the two most common types of tiles used to cover roofs.

Clay tiles were historically hand-formed until the 1870s when tile making machines were first invented. Large manufacturing plants were then established in areas rich in clay such as the Ohio River Valley, northern Georgia and western New York.

Did you know? Today, almost all roofing tiles are machine-made.

The technology to fabricate tiles from cement became available in the 20th century. The gray concrete was impregnated with iron oxides to do duty as imitation Terra Cotta tile, imitation slate and even imitation wood shakes.

Tiles can be extruded to form nearly any shape. They can be churned out flat, as with shingles that overlap and interlock on a roof. They can be the familiar barrel style which are laid in vertical rows of half-circles. They can be S-tiles that have concave and convex troughs that overlap across a rooftop.

No matter what shape tiles take, they are among the most decorative of all choices for roof coverings.

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