ROSSELLI
ROOFING & SIDING, LLC
5 Roy Court
Wantage, NJ 07461
Tel (973) 702-8200
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(973) 948-0025
Fax (973) 702-8207

NJ License #13VH00092600
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RESIDENTIAL WOODEN SHAKES and SHINGLES

“Shingles” refers to sawn wood, while “shakes” refers to wood that has been split. Shakes are thicker, and have a rougher look. The cost of materials and installation of the wood roofing may get up to four to five times of that of asphalt or fiberglass one. Note, too, that the material is considered highly flammable. Although well resistant to weather, it is usually a choice of style, due to its textures, and the contribution it makes to style.

Many wood shakes and shingles have been replaced by composition or asphalt-based shingles. Nevertheless, wood shakes and shingles are still widely used on commercial structures and residential houses. Shingles are sawn from woodblocks; they are tapered and generally have a relatively smooth surface. Shakes are split from wood blocks; they are less uniform in thickness than shingles and are sometimes grooved, and frequently have little taper. Shakes may be split and then sawn to provide taper as well as a relatively flat side, which is turned away from the weather during installation. Shakes have a rustic appearance. Shingles and shakes can be used on sidewalls as well as roofs, but only roofs are addressed here.

Select Durable and/or Treated Wood

The most important wood property to consider when buying shingles is durability, its resistance to decay. Some woods, such as western red cedar, have natural durability. The heartwood of old-growth western red cedar is rated as extremely durable because of its extractives. However, the generally small amount of sapwood associated with this species is not durable. The consensus is that some second-growth timber, even from a decay-resistant species, is not as durable as the old-growth timber. Nevertheless, the durability of any wood decreases as rain or other sources of moisture leach extractives from the wood. For these reasons, the use of a “durable and treated” wood for shingles is increasing.

The most commonly used wood for shingles is western red cedar. Treated southern yellow pine taper-sawn shingles are also available. If the shingles are properly treated, other species can also be used. Using preservative-treated or naturally durable wood for shingles should result in a roof free of decay for 25 to 30 years. Weathering is erosion from sun, wind, debris, and precipitation. Even wood that does not decay is still subject to weathering. The weathering process removes about 1/4 inch of unprotected wood per century for soft woods (like cedar) on vertical exposures, but more wood is removed from roofs. Shingles are often left to weather naturally and, depending on exposure and climatic conditions, the wood will turn silver, dark gray, or dark brown. Applying finishes, especially those with pigment, can reduce weathering. Some preservatives retard decay and finishes retard weathering.

Proper selection of materials will appreciably influence the service life of wood shingles. Use only the top grade of shingles manufactured with edge-grained heartwood (or treated sapwood). A lower grade of shingles can be used on sidewalls or areas that require an undercourse. Roofs, unlike walls, have the most direct and extreme exposure to rain and sunlight.


Hand-split Shakes
These shakes have split faces and sawn backs. Cedar logs are first cut into desired lengths. Blanks or boards of proper thickness are split and then run diagonally through a band saw to produce two tapered shakes from each blank.

Taper-split Shakes
Produced by hand using a sharp bladed steel frame and a mallet. The natural shingle-like taper is achieved by reversing the block, end-for-end, with each split.

Straight-Split Shakes
Produced by machine or in the same manner as taper-split shakes except that by splitting from the same end of the block, the shakes acquire the same thickness throughout.

Premium Shingle
The premium grade of shingles for roofs and sidewalls. These top-grade shingles are 100% heartwood, 100% clear and 100% edge grain. Available in 16" or 18" or 24" lengths.

Good Shingle
A good grade for many applications. Not less than 10" clear on 16" shingles, 11" clear on 18" shingles and 16" clear on 24" shingles. Flat grain and limited sapwood are permitted in this grade.

Utility Shingle
A utility grade for economy applications and secondary buildings. Not less than 6" clear on 16" and 18" shingles, 10" clear on 24" shingles.

Undercourse Shingle
A utility grade for undercoursing of double coursed sidewalls only. Not a roofing material and not to be used as a starter course for roofs.


Handsplit  Shake
Hand-split Shake
Taper-split Shake
Taper-split Shake
Straight-Split Shake
Straight-Split Shake
Premium Shingle
Premium Shingle
Good Shingle
Good Shingle
Utility Shingle
Utility Shingle
Undercourse Shingle
Undercourse Shingle

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