What is the Best Wood for Roof Shingles?

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Wood shingles are tough, durable, have a natural beauty, and can securely protect your home. However, no wood shingle is completely damage-free, and only good-quality woods can help you avoid frequent repairs or replacements. So, what is the best wood for roof shingles?

Three types of wood share the spot for the best roof shingles: cedar, teak, and Wallaba. Each one has unique features that may meet your specific requirements. So, the best wood for your roof shingles depends on your preference, your home’s style, and location.

This article delves into the roof materials available and the best wood for roof shingles. I also discuss the longevity of wood shingles and the wood roof colors that fit certain house styles.

How Many Types of Roof Materials Are There?


A roof is a vital part of any building because it protects all its contents and makes the space comfortable. Hence, choosing the material for your roof is no small feat, and it requires careful consideration.

To make things easier for you, here is a description of the common roof materials:

Wood shingles

Also known as royals, 5X, or perfection, wood shingles are one of the most stunning natural roofing options for homes. A common source for wood shingles is red cedar because of its availability and rot resistance.

The shingles are cut precisely, sawn into perfect sizes, and are low maintenance. With great care, wood shingles will last for at least 30 years. They also cost between $500 to $950 per square foot of roof area.

Wood shakes

Although many people lump them in with wood shingles, they are very different. Wood shakes aren’t cut to specific dimensions; instead, they are often machine split or made by hand. As a result, they are slightly irregular and have a rustic, rough-hewn texture because of their manufacturing style.

Red cedar is also the most common source for wood shakes, and redwood, cypress, and white cedar are suitable alternatives. The wood shakes usually come in random widths and lengths of 18 inches to 24 inches.

Wood shakes can last as long as the wood shingles are adequately maintained. They are also thicker than wood shingles, more durable, and cost between $850 to $1,500 per square foot.

Asphalt shingles

They are trendy for American homes and have been in use since 1901. Asphalt shingles are affordable, durable, and come in various colors and textures. Fiberglass base shingles have fiber, glass, and asphalt on top, making them waterproof and not fire-prone.

Organic base shingles comprise roofing paper or felt saturated in asphalt to make them waterproof. They are the most durable, fire-prone, but less environmentally friendly than the fiberglass variety.

Asphalt shingles require a lot of maintenance as they get older because they can be subject to granule erosion, crack, and curl.

The quality of the shingle determines how long it lasts, but the general range is between 15 to 40 years or more. They cost between $130 to $200 per square foot.

Luxury asphalt shingles

These comprise several layers of fiberglass coated in asphalt, with aggregate granules added for weathering protection. Luxury asphalt shingles are thick and simulate the look of slate roofing or wood shingles.

You may also know them as lifetime shingles because they can last for 50 years and above. In addition, the durability and thickness of the shingles make them pretty low maintenance. Luxury asphalt shingles cost between $320 to $350 per square foot.

What Is the Best Wood for Roof Shingles?

Wood shingles have been around for as long as roofing has, with much discovery about the best materials. Homeowners prefer various wood shingles, depending on the shingle’s quality, shape, color, etc.

Some folks like the exotic vibe of Wallaba shingles, while others prefer the all-American aesthetic of cedar. Whatever your preference, consider the best wood choices according to most roofers:

Cedar shingles

The cedar tree is native to the US Pacific Northwest, and it’s known for its flexibility, weather resistance, strength, and pleasing scent. Cedar shingles come in different styles, and the type of cedar determines its initial color and how it’ll change.

Alaskan yellow cedar starts as pale yellow and changes to gray or silver. Eastern white comes in yellow and brown hues but fades to gray with time. Western red cedar starts in a yellow-gold or deep reddish-brown shade and changes to brown or gray.

It is very economical, with excellent mold and insect resistance. In addition, temperature fluctuations and humidity doesn’t affect its size and shape. Other benefits of cedar shingles are that they are resistant to moss, insulate perfectly, and are eco-friendly.

Teak shingles

Firstly, they are the most expensive of the bunch. Teak is one of the most water-resistant woods available, and it’s often considered the gold standard for many wood projects. It contains natural chemicals that make it resistant to mold, disease, and pests.

Teak’s durability, flexibility, and weatherproof nature make it an excellent choice for roof shingles. It has a range of colors, including gold and red, and is naturally sourced. For homes in areas of heavy downpour, teak is an excellent choice for wood roof shingles.

Even with years of exposure to snow and rains, teak shingles never saturate, won’t shrink, or develop fungi and mildew. They might not be cheap, but they are durable, hence cost-effective.


This is the most water-resistant of all three, making it the best for hurricane-style weather or areas where humidity is an issue. Although it’s less expensive than teak, Wallaba is reddish-brown and similar to teak.

Wallaba comes from South American tropical forests, and it has a reddish-brown hue. Wallaba shingles are resistant to corrosion, mites, environmental elements, and decay. As a result, many architects (domestic and international) prefer this shingle for all kinds of buildings.

These shingles have a timeless appeal and look better with age. Wallaba has exudates and resins that make it resistant to mold and even fire. Its shingles are treatment-free and decompose when you discard them.

Other suitable wood options include honey locusts, pine, black locust, and rock elm. In addition, wood shingles are a popular roof choice because they last longer than asphalt shingles and have a natural appeal.

However, weigh your options and select what’s best for your home and environment.

How Long Do Wood Shingles Last?

Teak lasts for 50 to 80+ years, cedar for 30 to 50 years, and wallaba for 35 to 60 years. Considering how expensive a wood shingle roof is, you should maintain it well and do what you can to extend its life. Keeping it clean and using the correct wood protectant coating are excellent maintenance practices.

What Color Wood Roof Fits My House?

Different architectural styles require specific wood roof styles to look great, and this list below will help you choose correctly:

  • Victorian—gray or green
  • Colonial—green or dark gray
  • Ranch or split-level—any color that contrasts with the home’s siding is good
  • Craftsman-style—brown or neutral colors
  • Farmhouse—green or natural colors

Light or medium-shade shingles can make a small house look larger. A taller house will look more grounded with a darker roof. Thankfully, wood roofs come in several color options, making them perfect for various home designs.

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