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Kent Roofing: Article About Wood Shakes and Shingles

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There are numerous materials that can be used for roofing, but most homes are covered with asphalt because it's cheap and easy to install. Unfortunately, asphalt roofing doesn't last forever, so homeowners eventually have to decide whether to replace their existing roofs with more asphalt or switch to something more unique such as wood. There are two main types of wood roofing: shakes and shingles. Homeowners shouldn't let difficult installation sway them either way because both styles need to be professionally installed by Kent roofing experts.

The first thing to know about these two roofing options is that they are both made from wood. As such, they must be treated before being installed on a roof. Untreated wood holds moisture longer, which accelerates its breakdown. Manufacturers also treat the wood to deter bugs from nesting in the material. To keep the wood in good condition, shingles and shakes have to be retreated every few years. Failure to do so will result in leaks from wood rot.

The biggest difference between wood shakes and shingles is the way they are manufactured. Wood shakes are split by hand using special crafting equipment, whereas shingles are mechanically cut. Regardless of which one the homeowner chooses, most manufacturers make the material out of cedar. This type of wood is chosen because it has natural bug repellent properties.

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Over time, the repellent fades, so the wood has to be treated to keep bugs at bay. Although less common, some manufacturers use redwood, pine and cypress for the material as well.

The difference in manufacturing gives wood shingles and shakes a unique look. Since shakes are split from blocks of wood by hand, they tend to be thicker than shingles that are usually cut by a circular saw. Also, since shakes are hand split, they tend to be less even. Some homeowners like this look because it adds texture to their roofs; others like the more professional and even look that wood shingles brings to their homes. In either case, homeowners still have the option to paint wood shingles if desired, but painting shakes can be more difficult due to the texture.

The installation process for professionals is slightly different for each type of material. Wood shakes have to be installed in an overlapping fashion, and a layer of roofing felt is placed between each layer. With wood shingles, the roofing material is installed across wood strips and felt. In either case, the goal is to help promote quick drying after the material becomes wet so that there is less chance of wood rot setting in.

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