How Long Does Wood Shake Last?

Wood Shakes Don’t Last Forever—and They Should Be Replaced in Colorado

Wood shake roofing achieved popularity for its unique, rustic appearance and eco-friendliness as a natural roofing material. In terms of longevity, however, this roofing material can be a bit more variable. Wood shakes tend to last longer than asphalt shingles, but not as long as the most durable materials like tile and metal. So many homeowners may be wondering: How long does a wood shake roof last?

Here at Elite Roofing & Solar, our goal is to provide high-quality roofing services while keeping our customers educated on all their roofing options. Due to fire risks and insurance coverage issues, wood shake roofing is no longer recommended for use in Colorado. In fact, it’s even banned in many areas of the state. Homeowners whose roofs are made from wood shake may be wondering when the right time to replace their roof may be—and that starts with knowing the expected lifespan of your roof. Let’s take a look!

How Long Does a Wood Shake Roof Last?

The expected lifespan of a wood shake roof is highly variable, but in general a wood shake roof will last for around 20–40 years before needing to be replaced. At the lower end of that range, wood shake is on par with asphalt shingles, which can last anywhere from 10–30 (and usually 15–25) years. At the higher end, 40 years isn’t too shabby for such a lightweight material, as that starts to approach the minimum lifespan of a material like tile.

What Affects the Lifespan of a Wood Shake Roof?

Of course, with such a wide range of years, there are several factors that can impact the expected lifespan of a newly installed wood shake roof. Things like climate, the quality of materials, and the quality of the installation all make a difference. 

Quality of the Wood Shake 

The quality (or grade) of a wood shake material will greatly impact its maximum lifespan. All materials will degrade at some point, but higher-quality materials will have a higher theoretical maximum number of years it can last. 

Cheaper, lower-quality wood shake roofing will be plenty adequate in protecting your home from the elements, but these may only last around 20–30 years or so. To achieve the maximum lifespan of 40+ years, homeowners need to have purchased high-grade cedar shakes.

Quality of Installation

No matter how high-quality of a material you purchase for your roof, the lifespan of your roof will depend greatly on the skill of the roofer you hire. Installation issues are one of the leading causes of premature roof replacements. This is because the fundamental problems stemming from installation are difficult to address through repairs alone. If your roof was installed by a lesser-quality roof, it will shave several years off the lifespan of your roof.

Climate and Weather

A wood shake roof will need to stand up against the elements, and it simply won’t last as long if those elements are especially unfriendly. Wood shake roofs are especially prone to degradation due to moisture. In many areas of Colorado this won’t be a problem—but cooler, more forested areas where homes have lots of overhanging vegetation will be more prone to damaging mildew and algae buildup.

How Much Longer Does My Roof Have Left?

Fire-prone areas of the United States have begun banning wood shake roofs due to fire risk. Many parts of Colorado have banned new wood shake roofs from being constructed, while specific localities have even begun to mandate the replacement of these types of roofs. Because of these factors, along with ongoing fire risks and insurance coverage issues, homeowners with wood shake roofs should be looking into replacement options.

Of course, we understand wanting to get the most from your roof rather than replacing it before it reaches the end of its lifespan. However, if you have a wood shake roof, it may not have many more years left. In many areas, new wood shake roofs have been banned since the early 2000s—meaning any wood shake roof in these areas will be at least 20 years old already. This means it could already be time to replace your roof anyway.

Related post: Why Now Is the Time to Replace Your Wood Shake Roof

Talk to Elite Roofing About Your Wood Shake Roof Replacement!

At Elite Roofing, we build roofs designed to deal with the specific challenges and threats presented by Colorado’s unique climate. That includes roofs that can stand up to hail, high winds, storms, and, increasingly over the last couple decades, fires. Our team can replace your wood shake roof with one that will last a long time—and protect your home against all the elements Mother Nature may throw at it. 

To get started, schedule an inspection with one of our roofing experts. We’ll be able to shed more light on the health of your roof and its expected remaining lifespan. Contact us today!

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