Understanding the Difference Between a Wood Shake Roof vs. Wood Shingles


Traditional roofing materials like wood shakes and shingles can create a unique and stunning roof. One of the best things about a wood shake roof or a wood shingle roof is that each shake or shingle is unique, and when installed creates a one-of-a-kind design.

Given that there are pros and cons of both, which is better when choosing between wood shingles vs. wood shakes? The answer may surprise you.

Wood Shingles

Wood shingles are made with logs that are sawn on both sides to create a flat, smooth surface on the top and the bottom. Because they are typically machine made, wood shingles are uniform, but the wood lends enough variability in coloring to create a dynamic look.


  • Machine made, so each shingle will be uniform in size and shape

  • Uniform dimensions give a roof a consistent look

  • Less expensive than wood shakes

  • Easy to install and repair

  • Highly durable against hail, wind, and heavy rain

  • Recyclable


  • Higher risk of fire than other types of roofing such as synthetic materials

  • Less durable than wood shakes

  • Not approved by some building codes

  • Regular maintenance is required

Wood Shakes

Wood shake shingles are similar to wood shingles but their manufacturing process differs depending on the type of shake it is. Shakes are typically hand sawn on one side, that creates a smooth side that faces the roof and a rough, textured side that faces up.

In one method for creating wood shakes, the wood is sawn on both sides, but the rough texture is left on the upward facing side. The other method for making wooden shakes is to saw on the downward facing side and leave the face of the shake rough.


  • Each shake is unique

  • Durable and able to stand up to wind, rain, and hail

  • Creates a traditional rustic look

  • Adds an authentic and natural element to the design

  • Recyclable


  • Fire risk

  • Rough hewn surface doesn’t provide a smooth place to overlap the next row of tiles

  • Variable conditions of the wood such as the type of tree and quality of the wood can affect the quality of the wood shake

  • Not approved by some building codes

  • Regular maintenance is required

Synthetic Cedar Shakes Are Even Better

When it comes to wood shakes vs wood shingles, the best choice is…neither! For modern homeowners and builders, synthetic Cedar Shakes are a superior alternative to both wood shingles and wood shakes.


Synthetic cedar shakes are an incredibly durable material, and Brava Cedar Shake tiles have a 50-year transferable warranty. Our synthetic cedar shakes have a Class 4 impact resistance rating — the highest resistance rating against hail and storm damage.


Wood shingle roofs and wood shake roofs pose a fire threat that can cause concern for many homeowners. In fact, some building codes don’t even allow wood shingle or shake roofing. Brava synthetic cedar shakes, on the other hand, actually have a Class A fire rating to protect the roof and home in the event of a fire.

Mother Nature-Inspired Color Options

Traditional wood shingles and shakes can be stained to increase their appeal and finished look, but they require regular refinishing. We offer synthetic cedar shakes in nine different hues to allow you to complete the aesthetic of your home while capturing the rustic beauty of traditional materials.

Our variegated and multi-toned colors ensure that each shake is unique and results in a roof with no discernible pattern.

No Maintenance Costs

We use natural minerals for color and texture along with the most advanced UV stabilizing elements, so our products provide superior color and strength and don’t require any regular maintenance.


All of our products, including cedar shakes, are made with recycled material and our Cedar Shake is fully recyclable at the end of its life.

Choose Synthetic Cedar Shakes From Brava

Our cedar shake molds are cast from hand-split Western Red Cedar shakes, allowing us to create an authentic look and feel without the downsides of natural wood shingles or wood shakes. For superior durability, less maintenance, sustainability, and safety, Brava is the best choice for your wood shake roof.

Contact the experts at Brava today to explore our Cedar Shake options and see for yourself that synthetic is the best option.