Alternatives to Wood Shakes for a re-roof

It’s time to re-roof my 30 yr old home. It currently has medium cedar shakes over a substrate of 1X4’s with an air gap. It could probably last a few more years with annual inspection and replacement of some shakes but I’d rather get it replaced.

I have 3 roofers comming this week to provide quotes. Here are my questions:

  1. I’m leaning towards going with cedar shakes again. Is there any reason why I shouldn’t other then cost? Are new cedar shakes still decent quality?

  2. What other options do I have given that the roof substrate is spaced 1X4’s.

  3. Can synthetic shakes be applied over #2 or do they need a plywood base?

  4. Which synthetics shakes are the best? (rubber vs aluminum vs. other). Do they retain the factory color over the long haul?

tear off the shakes , beet the nails down, redeck with plywood,then install 30 yr demensional fiberglass shingles.

were do you live ?
you may be close to one of the memebers.


Portland, Oregon area.

Yes, I’d be interested in a forum member that would be interested in bidding the job.

I really want to avoid regular asphalt shingles. I’m leaning towards cedar again or possibly fake shakes.

We were in the exact same situation. Our cedar roof was about 20 yo. Considering all options we decided to go with a dimensional shingle - GAF Prestique Grande. It has a larger exposure (8 1/4") than normal shingles. We chose the color weathered wood so that it would look as close a possible to the old cedar roof. We also had spaced planks under the cedar so we had to put down 1/2 plywood. So far we are pleased with our choice (roof not complete yet).

The price of cedar has gone up a lot recently. Even with the new plywood asphalt was less expensive than putting cedar back on. And I don’t want to have to replace the cedar again in 15-20 years when the kids are in college. We also considered synthetic shakes, but they are much more expensive than cedar.



The price of cedar has gone up a lot recently.


I think you’re right. I don’t have quotes yet but one roofer gave me a ballpark of about $1000+/square for a shake re-roof. At 40 sqares that pretty spendy!!

In my area,slate was a popular roofing mat. but it is very pricy to replace entire roof, so most are removed,sheeted and shingled w/laminates…most slate roofs are 100 yo, and many repairs have been done over the yrs. The synthetic shakes, and slate need a sheeted deck for installation. So unless you go w/ real shake, or up the anty to slate, you need sheething…1000.00 per sq. sounds high to me, but he may have just spit out that # to see if you are seeing your reaction…Qualifing you…

you can get a metal roof for that price, and i like
that alot more than wood.