Slate and Cedar Shake Roofing Alternatives for Homes and Lodges in the Smoky Mountains

Slate and Cedar Shake Roofing Smoky Mountains


The Great Smoky Mountains in Tennessee are known for their exquisite natural beauty, making them the perfect spot for a summer vacation or autumn outing. Many people have fond memories of summers spent in Pigeon Forge, Roaring Fork, or Gatlinburg, and some have even made the mountains their home.

But once you live in the area, you’ll discover that the Smoky Mountains are prone to extreme weather conditions, including strong winds, heavy rain, snow, and wildfires. These conditions make it vital to choose the right materials when building or renovating a home.

Don’t let your mountain retreat turn into a headache! When you choose a durable, robust, and fire-proof roofing material, you’ll avoid costly repairs after every storm.

Choosing the Right Material for Mountain Weather

At Brava, we believe in helping our customers choose the right materials for the job. While aesthetics and cost always play a role in selecting the ideal roofing material, buyers should also consider the material’s durability and suitability for the climate.

In a climate with heavy rain, snow, and wildfires, such as the Smoky Mountains, you need a material that:

  • Is fire-resistant
  • Is water-resistant
  • Is impact-resistant
  • Requires little maintenance
  • Comes with a hail warranty

Drawbacks of Natural Cedar Shake and Slate Roofs in the Smoky Mountains

The main reason why slate and cedar shake tiles are so popular in the Smoky Mountains is that they’re durable and attractive materials. However, as the climate in the Smoky Mountains continues to intensify, these materials are starting to show their weaknesses as roofing options.

Old wood cedar shake roof

Western Red Cedar—the primary material in cedar shake roofing—has a low ignition point, meaning that a minor fire can result in your entire roof going up in flames. Even fire-retardant cedar shake tiles are prone to catching fire, as UV and natural wear and tear will eventually remove the fire-retardant coating.

Cedar shakes are also susceptible to water damage, insect infestations, and rot and require significantly more upkeep than their counterparts.

old natrual slate roof


Slate may be one of the more durable roofing materials, but it also has drawbacks. The largest of these is its weight. Slate is one of the heaviest roofing materials and requires a strong supporting structure during installation. Incorrectly installed, this excess weight often results in structural damage and potential roof collapse.

The good news is that you can find several great roofing alternatives for homes and lodges in Pigeon Forge, Roaring Fork, or Gatlinburg, TN. Whether you’re building a cabin rental, a second home, or if you live in the area, these alternatives provide cost-effective and durable materials, perfect for the climate.

Benefits of Synthetic Cedar Shake

smoky mountains cedar shake roof


In the past, many people were reluctant to consider synthetic tiles because of their unrealistic, sometimes cheap-looking, appearance. Thankfully, technological advances by Brava Roof Tile have created polymer tiles that look almost identical to hand-split cedar. We’ve had experts struggle to tell the difference!

What makes Brava’s synthetic cedar shake roofing so appealing is the dedication to detail. Every shingle has unique patterns and coloration, along with the rustic split texture that makes cedar shingles so attractive. The shakes also come in a massive array of colors, ensuring that they’ll fit any application—even theme parks such as Dollywood.

But while aesthetics are important, Brava’s cedar shake roofing also offers all of the advantages of polymer shingles. Polymer roofs have several benefits as a roofing material, including:

  • Durability: Polymer shingles are durable enough to handle almost any weather condition. You won’t have to worry about impacts or damage during heavy rains or snow, and their fire-retardant capabilities make them perfect for areas prone to wildfires.
  • Low maintenance: Because synthetic cedar shake roofing is so durable, it doesn’t need much attention. While other roofing materials need constant repairs or replacements, these shingles will carry on strong for at least 50 years.
  • Fire-retardance: Unlike cedar shakes coated and chemically treated to become fire resistant, polymer tiles are inherently impervious to fire. UV rays and wear and tear will eventually remove the fire-retardant properties of cedar shakes, making them prone to catching fire. In contrast, synthetic shakes will remain fire-retardant throughout their lifetime.
  • Cost: Composite cedar shake roofs offer long-term cost savings over natural shakes. Their durability means that you don’t need to spend money on expensive repairs or maintenance during the roof’s lifetime. The tiles are also very energy-efficient, meaning that you’ll save on heating costs in the winter and cooling costs in the summer.

Benefits of Synthetic Slate Roof Tiles

synthetic slate roof smoky mountains


Slate is one of the most durable roofing materials on the market and often comes with an impressive lifespan. However, it does have disadvantages, including susceptibility to spall in mountainous regions, extreme weight, and lack of versatility.

Brava’s synthetic slate roof tiles are molded from natural slate, allowing for a wide range of textures and color shifts often associated with natural slate tiles. They also have the same profile, ensuring that the roof has the same volume and looks like traditional slate without the drawbacks.

Brava’s patented multi-color synthetic slate tiles also offer other benefits, such as:

  • Durability: Besides being class-4 impact rated and hail warranted, composite slate tiles use closed cell technology that prevents the damaging effects of freeze/thaw cycles during winter. This durability ensures you have a maintenance-free roof for at least 50 years and won’t have to worry about expensive repairs or inspections during the roof’s lifecycle.
  • Versatility: Unfortunately, slate doesn’t come in customizable colors, meaning that slate roofing often clashes with the style of the rest of the home. Composite slate roofing comes in ten color options, giving you more freedom to express yourself over its natural counterpart. We even offer custom color matching to ensure you get your perfect look.
  • Ease of installation: Traditional slate roofing is notoriously difficult to install. It’s almost impossible to install slate tiles in cold weather, and the sheer weight of the tiles means that some roofs need additional structural support before laying down the roof. Synthetic slate is lightweight and easy to install year-round, saving on installation costs and time.

Do you live in Tennessee near the Smoky Mountains and need a new roof? Is your cedar shake or slate roof at the end of it's lifespan? Contact Brava Roof Tile today and request a free sample and product brochure.