Wood & Synthetics
Weight: 100-215lbs per 100 sq. ft.
Wind Resistance: 100mph+
Composition: Wood, Recycled Rubber, polymer
Advantages to Wood: Natural Beauty, Environmentally Friendly,
Advantages to Synthetics: Aesthetic Beauty, Environmentally Friendly, Long Lifecycle, Low Maintenance
Disadvantages to Wood: High Initial Cost, Short Lifecycle, Expensive to maintain, Limited Fireproof Ability
Disadvantages to Synthetics: High Initial Cost, Unproven
Wood shakes have also been used for new roof construction throughout recorded building history. Types of wood used in wood roofing varied with regional availability. Examples of this are white pine used in New England, cyprus & oak used in the South, and red cedar used in the West.
Size and shapes of the wood shakes varied in accordance with regional trade practices and experience of local craftsmen. Wood shingles were treated with oils or paint to improve durability in harsh climates. The use of wood shingles for roofing in urban areas declined considerably in the late 19th and early 20th centuries as fire hazards drove building codes away from the use wood. However, rural areas continued to use wood shingles due the abundance of the product and the natural beauty.
The Colonial Revival and demand for Craftsman Style houses in the mid 20th Century strengthened the demand for the use of wood as a roofing material. Many consumers still use cedar shakes for roofing in the Northwest United States. They are not nearly as popular here in the Southeast due to our climate. The high humidity prevents the wood shakes from drying out and causes premature deterioration. In addition, wood shakes roofs require significant maintenance to prevent rot, curling, and splitting.
In order to provide the look of a cedar shake roof without the maintenance and the look of slate roofing without the weight, companies developed synthetic roofing. These man made products simulate the random appearance of natural roofing products with variations in color, texture, and size. They also meet stringent UL Codes for Impact Resistance which has plagued asphalt shingles. Products such as Ecostar, DaVinci Roofscapes, Symphony by Certainteed, and Lamarite by Tamko are a few examples of these synthetic roofing materials. It is important to note that many of these synthetics are new and have not passed the test of time. Early versions of synthetic roofing products curled, lost color, or became brittle due to UV degradation. It is important to ask a reputable roofing contractor what products are the best in the marketplace.