Are Vinyl Cedar Shake Shingles Really A Better Alternative?

Vinyl Shakes

A natural cedar shake roof draws the eye and the imagination for good reason. They have been used on woodland cottages, oceanfront homes, and European mansions for over a century and instantly add a romantic style to any home they are installed on.

Because of this, the roofing industry has struggled for decades to make a synthetic cedar shake that has all the characteristics of real wood with none of the disadvantages.

Are Vinyl Cedar Shake Shingles Really A Better Alternative?

Some of the non-wood options include:

  • Metal
  • Asphalt
  • Fiber cement
  • Rubber
  • Plastic

The main reason these materials have missed the mark is because they have not been able to produce the genuine look of real cedar with its richness of texture, dimension, and diverse patterns. In addition, they often appear too shiny, making them look cheap.

Pros And Cons of Natural Cedar Shakes

Pros And Cons of Natural Cedar Shakes

Advantages Of Cedar Shakes


The natural wood tones are very appealing, and there are a variety of color tones of cedar. Plus, cedar wood eventually fades to a brownish silver if left untreated, which many attractive and appealing.


A cedar shake roof that is properly maintained will usually last up to 10 years longer than a standard asphalt shingle roof, meaning it also does not require as much maintenance.

Utility Savings

Compared with asphalt shingles, natural wood provides up to twice the insulation value, saving you money when in comes to heating your home.

Disadvantages Of Cedar Shakes

Limited availability

A hundred years ago, old-growth cedar enjoyed wide availability. However, in recent years, much of the old forests have been harvested and the newer trees do not provide a shake that is dense and stable.

Installation Costs

The roofer must be an expert in this category of roofing. Cedar shakes must be cut and placed exactly to ensure that there are no leaks.

Insects and mold

Cedar is naturally resistant to insects but when water or damp debris gets trapped beneath, mold and mildew can get a foothold. Unless the shingles have been treated to resist insect infestation, bugs that prefer softwood like carpenter ants and carpenter bees may make tunnels in your roofing.

Fire resistance

Cedar shakes must be treated to obtain any type of industry-approved fire rating. In some areas of the western U.S., wood shingles cannot be used whether they have been treated or not.

Can curl, crack and break as they age

As wood ages it naturally curls, cracks and splits. This can be more prevalent in the winter when moisture trapped inside the shake freezes and thaws repeatedly, eventually destroying it. Once they break you will have to replace them and maintenance must be done by a professional to avoid further damage when they walk on the roof.

The Better Alternative To Natural Cedar: Vinyl Cedar Shakes

Vinyl Cedar Shake

Since the invention of synthetic roofing materials in the mid 1800s, vinyl or synthetic roof materials have gained immense popularity. This has been partly due to the discovery that certain materials can be blended to produce a roof tile that looks like natural cedar but has additional benefits that real wood cannot compete with.

Brava Roof Tile makes a synthetic cedar shake that will give you an authentic look with a surface texture that was molded from real cedar shakes. They are manufactured in different widths and thickness to mimic the look of real hand-cut cedar roofing shakes, and they will not crack, split, or break when you walk on them.

Advantages of Brava Roof Tiles and Vinyl Cedar Shakes:

Class A fire rating

Brava’s synthetic cedar shake roof tile can be obtained with a Class C or Class A fire rating, depending on your needs.

Class 4 impact rating

To receive this rating, our roofing shingles must withstand having a 2-inch steel ball dropped multiple times from a height of 20 feet. Brava’s synthetic shakes are twice the thickness of most vinyl shakes on the market, providing an extra layer of protection and insulation to your home. Want to see for yourself? Request a sample of our synthetic cedar shakes.

50-year limited warranty

Vinyl Cedar Shake Shingles Alternatives

We back our synthetic roof products with a warranty that says we have confidence in their durability.

Unlimited Color Selection

Brava can custom color your roofing tiles and our color permeates all the way through the product. This means that weathering will not wear out the finish and leave an ugly roof that will need to be replaced before its useful life is up. If your roof design calls for more than one type of vinyl tile, we can ensure that they all will be color-matched. Check out our video gallery and photos of recent projects.

Installation is less expensive

Our synthetic roof tiles can be installed by any professional roofing company, unlike natural cedar that will require a specialist. This makes owning a home with a beautiful cedar shake roof much more affordable. In addition, if any maintenance is required, it can be handled by most roofing companies.

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Available around the world

Unlike other materials that are limited by location, we can ship your shingles to almost anywhere. Request a quote today.

Meets the California Title 24 “cool” shingle rating

We have 4 tiles that will meet Title 24 requirements, 2 of which are in the cedar shake category. We also offer white shingles which naturally reflect sunlight and help keep your roof cooler.

Explore Brava Synthetic Vinyl Cedar Shakes [and More]

There are many options for your next roof, including vinyl cedar shakes. However, if you're still unsure whether cedar shakes are the right choice, you can compare Brava's composite products to real cedar, slate, asphalt, clay, or other composite roofing materials right from our website.

The truth is, whether you are considering a synthetic cedar shake, Old World Slate or Spanish barrel tile for your next roof project, you can contact our team today for samples, expert advice, and assistance with finding excellent contractors.

We look forward to hearing from you!

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