In Portland, many of our new developments include homes with predominantly shake roofs. These homes are 20-25 years old, and are starting to need new roofs. Lately, I’ve been asked about shake alternatives.

Right now, wood for shake roofs is really expensive. But people still want that unique look for their homes, so they are turning to something called synthetic shake. You still get the shake look and texture, without the high price tag.

There are several different versions of synthetic shake, but there are a few that we will not recommend. We have been maintaining roofs in Portland, around 11,000 of them, for the last 35 years, so we have seen what fails. But we have found a couple of synthetic roofs that have been around for about 20-25 years, that give you that shake look and that shake feel.

Here are the benefits.

The biggest benefit is you don’t have to maintain them. There is zero moss treatment for either of these synthetic shake roofs. You still have to blow off debris and keep the dust off, but that’s normal. You won’t escape that with any type of roof.

This roof is also a true fifty-year roof, meaning it’s going to last that full length of time. Does it cost more than an asphalt roof? Yes, but it’s going to last longer, and cost you less per-day with maintenance.

Another cool thing about synthetic shake roofs is that you get to pick your color. So you can coordinate your shake roof with the paint on your house.

Let’s talk ventilation. If you own a two-story house, more than likely it’s super cold downstairs and a little warmer upstairs. When you take your shake roof off and you put down asphalt, you are going to raise the temperature of the upstairs, even with the best ventilation in the world. With synthetic shake, it will raise just a little bit, but not near the amount as you would with an asphalt.

Synthetic shake is a great way to go. It’s going to give you longevity, so if you plan on staying in your house for a long time, this is a roof that’s going to serve you at the lowest cost per day of any roof out there.


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