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Setting The Standard Since 1980.

Cedar Shakes

Cedar Shake roofing has been used for hundreds of years. They are a beautiful and durable roof option, however, there are a lot of pro’s and con’s to consider when using a natural cedar shake roof.

So, why hire Summers Roofing?

We have been installing wood shake roofing on the South Carolina Eastern seaboard since the early 1980’s. Cedar shakes are expected to last between 30-40 years, but can be a very complicated system to install depending on the design of your roof. Professional installation with several years experience and the proper accessories should always be a top priority when installing any shake roof.

Product Types

  • 15″ Starter-Finish
  • 18″ Resawn Shakes
  • 18″ Straight-Split
  • 18″ True Edge Straight-Split
  • 24″ Jumbo
  • 24″ Resawn Shakes
  • 24″ Straight-Split
  • 24″ Tapersplit Shakes
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  • Aesthetics
  • Durability
  • Energy Efficient
  • Environmentally Friendly
  • Wind and Impact Resistant


  • Regular Maintenance
  • Cost
  • Flammability
  • Not Ideal in Certain Environments


Okay, let’s start with the cons. Yes, Regular Maintenance is required with a cedar shake roof. To ensure cedar’s longevity and durability, it needs to breathe. This means it should be regularly cleaned from branches, leaves, moss and any other debris that accumulate over time. This brings me right into the second item on the cons list. “Cost!” Cost and maintenance go hand in hand because yes, Shakes will cost considerably more than shingles from the start especially depending on how much copper trim metal is needed, but Cedar Shakes are also very dangerous to try and walk on, therefore we recommend you hire a professional to do regular cleaning and maintenance every 1-2 years.

Flammability? Yes, all wood shingles such as Cedar are obviously more susceptible to fire than shingles which have a high flame resistance. Some areas have building codes that prohibit the installation of wood roofing materials in order to prevent potential fires. However, companies such as Watkins Sawmills offers fire retardant cedar shingle and shake products, with three different levels of protection. These materials have been pressure-impregnated with fire-retardant polymers to provide permanent fire protection. These products carry the label Certi-Guard®.

Environments like close proximity to salt water, lots of shade or very humid climates, can shorten the life of your cedar shake roof. It is always important to clean and maintain your shake roof, however it may be required more frequently depending on the area you live. For more information please visit the Cedar Shake and Shingle Bureau.

The aesthetics of a natural wood shake roof is second to none. You will find that over time cedar shakes will age gracefully into a beautiful grayish silver color. The unique widths of each hand split shake means no two roofs will look the same, boots your homes curb appeal and resale value.

Durability – Regarded as one of the world’s toughest woods, cedar is a naturally durable roofing material. Cedar shakes are resistant to insects, but not large amounts of rain. Cedar shakes in a damp environment are susceptible to mold, mildew and rot. Sap from overhanging trees will encourage mildew, and when rot sets in, it has likely affected more than a single shake and the entire roof is a candidate for replacement.

Cedar shakes are extremely Energy Efficient and can reduce your energy costs, as well as carbon footprint. Testing demonstrated that it can keep your attic 28°F cooler during the hot summer months. This can help save you 20% or more on your air conditioning costs. The cell structure of wood makes it a natural insulator, which means your home will be warmer during the cold winter months.

Environmentally Friendly – While cedar is very friendly on the eye, its also friendly on mother nature. The cedar used in our roofs comes from a natural resource that is harvested in a sustainable manner. The shingles themselves are made in a way that uses minimal quantities of fossil fuels compared to other types of roofing. For example, asphalt roof shingle production requires a high amount of oil which, when burned, emits high levels of carbon dioxide and other damaging gases.

Wind and Impact Resistant – Cedar shakes have proven to be highly impact resistant and have tested to withstand wind speeds of 245 MPH. Asphalt shingles will however, blow off a roof in high winds. Fallen branches are also much more likely to damage an asphalt shingle than a wooden one.


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