Shake shingle roofing is used on small homes and large homes. You will see them on upscale estates and rural structures. Shake shingles offer a character attraction that is matched by no other roofing type product. The only reason they have declined in popularity in Florida is due to their life expectancy compared to their costs of shipping them down and the possible fire hazard they pose.
Though some shake shingles are produced from northern US forests, the vast majority are produced in Canada. The Shake and Shingle Bureau is the governing authority that establishes the grade rating and the size characteristic requirements. Shake shingles range in thicknesses classifications of three-eighths to one-half inch, one-half to three-quarter inches, three-quarters to one inch and the stump jumbos that range from one inch to two inches. The back sides of shake shingles are machine sawn smooth and the front side is split apart from a block of cedar giving them a rough hand split textured appearance. They taper back to a maximum length of twenty-four inches and range in widths of four inches to twelve inches.
Shake shingles can be treated with fire
retardant chemicals but just as the sun's rays strip them of their life extending oils, the sun will take these chemicals away in a much shorter time frame. The life expectancy for shakes is 30 years plus in the northern states but is much reduced here in Florida due in part to the sun’s UV radiation and the continued dampness of our environment.
Wood roofs are designed to breathe in the north but in Florida the construction codes require sealed systems that prevent the wood roofs from properly drying through a breathing process. Without proper drying, the wood roofs are exposed to premature rotting. They are beautiful when first installed but in Florida they age quickly.
One other detractor of these types of roofs is their susceptibility to storm damage. Wood shakes and wood shingles are prone to wind damage shortly after their initial installation. The trim pieces as well as the individual shingles are installed with two corrosion-resistant nails. It is not unusual for the wood to split during the installation process weakening their ability to remain in place when elevated winds buffet the roof.
Shake shingles are one of the original roofing materials and have stood the test of time as a good roofing system but this is based on their performance in cooler climates where the trees themselves grow. If it is a shake shingle roof that you want you should expect multiple maintenance repairs.