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Natural Cedar vs Synthetic Roof

Updated: Apr 13


With better technology comes new trends for homes. Small changes in materials and manufacturing lead to exciting choices. One of the newest trends in roofing is the introduction of synthetic roofing materials that can mimic the style of a real cedar roof.

But is newer necessarily better? This question follows every new technological advancement, and it's something you should ask yourself before making a decision on your roofing. We put together this comparison of real cedar shakes and synthetic cedar shakes to help you decide what is the best option for your home.

What Are Synthetic Cedar Shakes?

Synthetic shakes are shingles made to look as though they are natural wood but are really manufactured from resins and polymers. Not every synthetic shake looks the same. They have various sizes, colors and textures. While these shingles are meant to look exactly like wood, your eye can usually distinguish synthetic from real cedar shingles.

Cedar vs. Synthetic Roof: Pros and Cons

Your roof should exhibit durability and reliability. Those concerns top the list of any desirable qualities for shingles. Both cedar and synthetic shakes are durable and reliable, though to different degrees. Other things you may be concerned about include:

  • Cost

  • Environmental friendliness

  • Maintenance

  • Appearance

Synthetic shakes demonstrate impressive durability. They stand up to wet weather and protect your home during snowfalls. Cedar shakes show similar strength. In windy weather, they keep your home safe and are tougher to rip from the roof than other types of shingles. Plus, cedar resists impacts from the debris that frequently falls on your roof from nearby trees or even hail. You won't suffer dents in your cedar shingles.

For reliability, cedar holds a slight advantage over synthetic. While both are great options for roofs, one with cedar shingles can last for up to 50 years. Synthetic materials may not have quite as long a lifespan.

Costs of Cedar and Synthetic Shingles

Synthetic shakes are more expensive than asphalt shakes. Cedar shakes are not cheap, but you do get a long-lasting product and extended peace of mind when you purchase this type. Plus, with proper care, you won't have to replace your cedar shakes, making them an investment that pays off over time.

Are Synthetic Shakes Environmentally Friendly?

Synthetic shakes can be made from recycled materials, and they do preserve energy efficiency in the home nearly, as well as cedar shingles. But the production for synthetic shakes is less green than the process used for cedar ones. Many people also appreciate that they can reuse cedar shingles after they have served their purpose. You can turn cedar shingles into mulch and use it on your lawn, or make the old shingles into wood chips.

Maintenance: Synthetic vs. Cedar Roof

You may need to perform less maintenance with synthetic vs. cedar shingles, though every type of roof requires some degree of upkeep. When wet leaves or snow pile on top of your roof, you need to clean them off regardless of what shingles sit beneath. You may need to do it more quickly for cedar, as wood can rot if you allow extended exposure to moisture. But, that rotting won't set in right away.

Is a Cedar Roof Better Than a Synthetic Roof?

While both options have their strengths, many people prefer cedar roofs to synthetic roofs. The appearance of artificial shingles simply cannot match that of cedar shingles, which look more natural. Cedar has an attractive, regal look that most homeowners prefer.

Many people enjoy trying out the latest innovations, and synthetic shingles may seem attractive because they are new. But often, "new" doesn't mean better. Cedar shingles have served the purposes of homeowners effectively for many decades, and they continue to be a fantastic choice for new homes and those that need new roofs.

Keep Your Cedar Roof in Excellent Condition

If you decide to get a cedar roof, you will need to care for it properly to ensure it stays strong and effective. You can do this by enlisting the help of a professional. If you live in Westchester County, NY, Fairfield County, CT, or the surrounding areas, Cedar Roof Coatings can assist you with maintenance, repair and inspection. Contact us today to discuss your needs.


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