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Natural Cedar vs. Synthetic Roof

As technology continues to evolve, manufacturers can produce new roofing materials, such as synthetic cedar shakes. Synthetic cedar shakes mimic the look and style of a cedar roof. On the surface, the materials seem alike, but underneath, there are significant differences between the two.

Many homeowners wonder which material is better. Each material has its pros and cons, so the best one for you depends on what you want out of it. This guide will review the similarities and differences between them to help you decide which is best.

What Are Natural Cedar Shakes?

Manufacturers create natural cedar shakes from cedar wood. A natural cedar roof is a luxurious investment that offers many benefits. It increases your home's value and curb appeal and provides energy savings and protection against various weather elements.

Cedar shake roofs have a natural, elegant look. When contractors install the shingles, they use ones with different thicknesses, widths and lengths. These purposeful “imperfections” are what make cedar roofs so desirable.

What Are Synthetic Cedar Shakes?

Synthetic cedar shakes resemble cedar shakes but consist of recycled resins and polymers instead of wood. They have realistic grain patterns and deep grooves and come in various colors, textures and sizes. While these shingles are meant to look exactly like wood, you can usually distinguish between synthetic and real cedar shingles.

Natural Cedar vs. Synthetic Roof: Major Comparisons

When determining what type of roof is best, look at different factors. These qualities include cost, durability, maintenance, life span, appearance and environmental friendliness. We'll compare natural and synthetic cedar shakes based on these factors.


Both types of roofing systems are investments. There are less expensive materials, but no other material gives the classic look of a cedar roof. Synthetic roofing materials are always cheaper than natural ones. Even though cedar shakes are not cheap, you get a long-lasting product and extended peace of mind when you purchase them. Plus, with proper care, you won't have to replace your cedar shakes, making them an investment that pays off over time.


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 harder to rip from the roof than other types of shingles. Plus, cedar resists impacts from debris that frequently falls on your roof from nearby trees. You won't suffer dents in your cedar shingles.

Every roof experiences wear and tear, but natural cedar shakes show their age more than synthetic ones. The edges of cedar shakes can curl, rot or crack, and their color fades over time. Many homeowners like the aged and worn look of cedar roofs. However, you can take steps to preserve the color of your cedar roof, and repair services from Cedar Roof Coatings can help replace broken cedar shakes.


You may need to perform less maintenance with synthetic 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.

Have a Cedar Roof Coatings professional inspect your roof regularly to look for signs that it needs maintenance, such as damage. When you maintain your roof, you experience many benefits, including an extended roof life span and longer-lasting beauty.

Life Span

With proper maintenance, cedar shake roofs can last a minimum of 30 years. Synthetic materials may not last as long.

Environmental Friendliness

Manufacturers can make synthetic shakes from recycled materials, and they preserve energy efficiency in the home nearly as well as cedar shingles. But the production of synthetic shakes is less green than the process for cedar ones. Many people also appreciate that they can reuse cedar shingles after they serve their purpose. You can turn cedar shingles into mulch to use on your lawn or wood chips.

Which One Is Best for You?

While both options have their strengths, many people prefer cedar roofs to synthetic roofs. The appearance of artificial shingles cannot match that of cedar shingles, which look more natural. Cedar has an attractive, regal look that most homeowners covet. Along with their unique appearance, cedar shingles are more durable and environmentally friendly and last longer.

Synthetic shingles may seem attractive because they cost less. However, cheaper doesn't always mean better. Cedar shingles have served the purposes of homeowners effectively for many decades. They continue to be a fantastic choice for new homes and those that need new roofs.

Cedar Roof Coatings Can Preserve Your Cedar Shingles

There are many advantages to cedar shingles, but you won't reap all of them if you don't maintain your roof. Cedar Roof Coatings professionals can spot minor issues before they become major problems and preserve your roof's aesthetic and integrity.

Cedar Roof Coatings is a family-owned and operated business serving Westchester County, NY, Fairfield County, CT, and the Hamptons for over 35 years. We offer preservation, maintenance and repair services to keep your roof looking and functioning like it should for as long as it can. Contact us today to request a consultation with our team.

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