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At first glance, most people would not know what the difference is between shingles and shakes since they both have the same functions as well as appearance. The difference between the two depends on how they were made and processed. In most cases, the two materials are used for different eras of architecture since shakes create a more rustic motif while shingles are more precisely sawed which gives out a more precise Victorian-era theme rather than a more irregular rustic theme of shakes.

Green grass in the back side of house

Another common use of cedar shakes other than being used to create barriers in roofs is that they can also be utilized as sidings for houses. The longevity and the durability of cedar shakes make it an ideal way of keeping your home dry while also providing a good amount of insulation against cold weather and moisture.


Shakes have a more irregular finish because of the way that it’s made. Usually, a block of cedar would be split between the middle to create smaller more slender ‘tiles’. The refined product would then be used as a building material for sidings and roofs. Because of the irregular shape and the more robust way of creating this material, most homeowners would prefer it for its rustic appearance. Cedar shakes work well with pre-victorian-style houses.


Compared to shakes, shingles are cut by sawmills which makes it a more precise and well-defined material. The flat shape and precise shape of shingles means that it does not have to be installed together with a felt interlay. In most cases, you will be able to see a house with at least 3 layers of shingles to provide a good amount of protection and insulation. Having 3 overlapping layers mean that water cannot easily penetrate the weatherproof system while keeping the layer underneath insulated which can retain heat conveniently.

In terms of functions, shingles provide a more definite and precise volume which makes them good material for roofs and sidings. Shakes are still great for siding, but horizontally-propelled winds and rain can easily slip through the gaps of shakes since they have a more irregular shape.

Since shakes have much larger gaps, the best way to address this issue is to install felt paper through the installation of roofs. This process will help block wind and water from seeping through.

Pricing Comparisons

If you’re buying shakes and shingles from an average builder’s depot in the United States, you will have to expect these prices.

The most well-sought out cedarwood are from Western Red Cedar trees which are known for their sturdiness, having a good amount of raw material, and do not decompose as easily as other forms of wood. This makes it a prime example of building material.

On average, you will be facing prices of about $7.50 to $14.00 for each square foot of cedar shakes. Of course, this will also depend on where you will be buying the cedar shakes and the quality of the material.

It’s commonly known that shake sidings use a clear grade which is one of the best qualities. If you’re going to be placing a layer underneath, it is best to use lower-quality shake sidings since they will not get as much exposure as the layer at the top part.

Moreover, if you’re looking for cedar siding shakes that have different colors, then white cedars usually provide lighter color schemes while red cedars provide darker color schemes. The design and the thickness of these shakes are also determined from the process that they are milled and cut.

Since shingles stay uniform after it is cut, it stays equal for ⅜ an inch. In some cases, shakes have a thickness of 1 inch if it is split by hand.


If you’re weighing in on which one seems to be more expensive, you’ll also have to weigh in on the costs of installation of your shakes and shingles. Usually, installation is the most expensive in terms of charging for the labor of roofing and siding experts.

It is best to install a double-layer shake siding if you want to achieve a good amount of insulation. Double-layer shakes are known for being incredibly good at providing insulation that rivals other siding and roofing materials.

Overall, both shakes and shingles offer the same function as well as the same longevity and durability if they are made of the same material. Choosing between shakes and shingles is more on the personal preference of the homeowner and how the material would complement the structure and style of the house.

If you’re not sure and confident about how you will be installing your cedar shake sidings, then you can always ask for the help of professional siding and roofing contractors that can help inspect your home for any damages and the quality of your sidings. Roofing Frederick MD has skilled roofers and siding specialists that can give you an extensive overview of your siding plan while giving you professional services.

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Semper West

9211 Baltimore Rd, Frederick, MD 21704