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How Long Do Wood Shingles Last?

Date: June 29, 2023


Wood shingles have been a popular roofing option for centuries, renowned for their natural beauty and rustic charm. If you're considering wood shingles for your home, one essential factor is their lifespan. How long can you expect wood shingles to last? In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the various factors that influence the lifespan of wood shingles, signs of deterioration to watch out for, and essential maintenance tips to maximize their longevity.

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How Long Do Wood Shingles Last:

Wood shingles can last 30 years or more, but their longevity can vary significantly based on these considerations. By carefully addressing these factors, homeowners can ensure that their wood shingles maintain their aesthetic appeal and functional integrity for an extended period. Various factors influence wood shingles' lifespan. 

Factors Influencing of How Long Wood Shingles Last


The quality and effectiveness of the underlayment beneath wood shingles closely correlate with their longevity. A properly installed and high-quality underlayment is a protective barrier, guarding against moisture and potential damage. By preventing water infiltration, the underlayment plays a crucial role in extending the lifespan of wood shingles, ensuring they last for a significant period.


Proper ventilation in the attic or roof space is essential to maintain a healthy and moisture-free environment for wood shingles. Adequate ventilation helps prevent the buildup of excess heat and humidity, which can lead to accelerated deterioration of the shingles. It allows for proper air circulation, reducing the risk of rot, mold, and other moisture-related issues that can shorten the lifespan of wood shingles.

Shade or Sun Exposure:

The shade or sun exposure your wood shingles receive can significantly impact their longevity. Consistent exposure to intense sunlight can expedite wood shingles' weathering and drying process, potentially resulting in cracks, splits, and curls. On the other hand, excessive shade can create a damp environment, promoting the growth of moss, algae, and fungi, which can also degrade the shingles. Finding a balance between shade and sun exposure is crucial for maximizing the lifespan of wood shingles.


The quality of installation plays a vital role in wood shingles' overall performance and lifespan. Improper installation techniques, such as inadequate fastening or incorrect nailing patterns, can result in premature shingle failure. Hiring experienced professionals knowledgeable about the specific requirements of wood shingle installation is crucial to ensure the best possible outcome and longevity.

Signs of Deterioration in Wood Shingles:

Shakes Splitting:

As wood shingles age, you may notice shakes or individual pieces of the shingles splitting or cracking. Splitting or cracking of wood shingles can occur naturally due to weathering, temperature variations causing expansion and contraction, or excessive exposure to moisture. Splitting shakes can compromise the shingles' ability to shed water effectively, leading to further damage and reducing their lifespan.

Edges Weathering:

Over time, the edges of wood shingles may start to weather and erode. Exposure to environmental elements such as sunlight, rain, and wind can contribute to splitting or cracking in wood shingles. Weathered edges can compromise the shingles' structural integrity and their ability to provide adequate protection against water infiltration. Regular inspection and timely maintenance can help identify and address weathered edges before they lead to more significant issues.

Rotting out around Staples:

The metal staples used to secure wood shingles can become problematic if they consistently retain moisture, as this can result in the surrounding wood rotting over time. The combination of water and metal can create an environment conducive to decay, weakening the shingles and reducing their lifespan. Regular inspections and prompt replacement of deteriorated shingles are essential to mitigate the effects of rotting.

Curling Shakes:

The curling of wood shingles is a clear sign of aging and deterioration. Wood shingle curling can occur due to extended sunlight exposure, moisture imbalance, or inadequate installation. Curling shakes compromise the shingles' functionality and create vulnerable areas where water can seep into the underlying layers, causing further damage. Timely replacement of curled shingles is crucial to maintain the roof's integrity and extend the remaining shingles' lifespan.

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Maintaining Wood Shingles for Longevity:

Regular Inspections:

Schedule regular inspections of your wood shingles to identify any signs of deterioration early on. Inspect the roof for splitting shakes, weathered edges, curling, or visible damage. Early detection allows for prompt repairs or replacements, preventing further deterioration and prolonging the lifespan of the shingles.

Cleanliness and Debris Removal:

Keep your wood shingles clean and debris-free, such as leaves, branches, and moss. Debris can trap moisture and promote the growth of fungi, leading to premature deterioration. Use a soft-bristle brush or a leaf blower to gently remove any accumulated debris, not damaging the shingles in the process.

Moss and Algae Prevention:

Moss and algae growth not only detract from the aesthetics of wood shingles but can also accelerate their decay. To prevent the growth of moss and algae, trim overhanging branches that create excessive shade and limit air circulation. Additionally, consider applying a moss and algae-resistant treatment to the shingles as a preventive measure.

Proper Ventilation:

Ensure proper attic or roof space ventilation to maintain a balanced moisture level. Adequate ventilation helps prevent the buildup of excess heat and humidity, reducing the risk of rot, mold, and premature deterioration of wood shingles. Consult a professional roofer to assess your ventilation system and make necessary adjustments.

Moisture Management:

Wood shingles are vulnerable to moisture damage, so it's essential to promptly address any sources of excess moisture. Check for leaks or water infiltration around chimneys, vents, and skylights. Repair any damaged flashing or seals to prevent water from seeping under the shingles. Additionally, ensure proper rainwater drainage from the roof to minimize moisture-related issues.

Protective Coatings and Treatments:

Consider applying protective coatings or treatments to enhance the durability of wood shingles. These coatings can protect against UV rays, moisture, and fungal growth. It is essential to select coatings specifically formulated for wood shingles and adhere to the manufacturer's application instructions diligently.


Wood shingles can be a beautiful and durable roofing option when adequately maintained. Regular inspections, prompt repairs, and preventive maintenance can significantly extend the lifespan of wood shingles, allowing them to endure for 30 years or even longer. Underlayments, ventilation, shade or sun exposure, and installation quality significantly influence their longevity.

By promptly addressing signs of deterioration, such as splitting shakes, weathered edges, rotting around staples, and curling shakes, you can mitigate further damage and prolong the life of your wood shingles. Proper maintenance practices, including regular inspections, cleanliness, moss prevention, moisture management, and protective coatings, will help ensure that your wood shingles remain in good condition and provide reliable protection for years.

Remember, if you need clarification on any aspect of wood shingle maintenance or repairs, it's always advisable to consult a professional roofing contractor specializing in wood shingles to ensure the best possible care for your roof.

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