To most passersby, the difference between a shake and shingle roof is difficult to distinguish. But to the trained eye, the differences are noticeable and dramatic.
Shingles always have a smooth and uniform look, not just across each plate but over an entire roof. This is due to the traditional manufacturing method of sawing off singular cedar shingles from one block of wood.
Wood shakes, on the other hand, are traditionally hand split, which leads to a rougher texture and finish. An appearance like this manifests as a lack of uniformity across each shake and covering for the entirety of the roof.
Today, shingles are no longer sawn but rather manufactured by machines — meaning their uniform nature is only enhanced. When you hold a single tile in your hands, you’ll notice that both sides are smooth and consistent, and the overall piece tapers for ease in installation. Modern wood shakes are also made using contemporary technology. One side will deliver the hand split texture that some homeowners love, but the opposite side is typically smooth and sawn. Shakes are also much thicker than shingles, which leads to a much different appearance after installation.