The old-time choice of shingle is the wood shingle. Cedar shakes are are typically used because they are naturally resistant to insects and rot. A big reason for putting on a cedar shake roof is for their beauty. Some neighborhoods, especially on the East Coast, require that cedar shakes be used to maintain old-time charm and uniformity. Cedar shingles will weather to a gray color which is preferred by many homeowners. Or, stains can be applied to give your roof a different color. Another reason to use cedar shingles is that a well installed cedar roof can last 50 years with proper maintenance. In addition, cedar shingles are light weight, relatively resistant to wind and hail and easily repaired.
The disadvantages of a cedar shingle roof are a relatively low fire resistance and a relatively high initial cost which may be double that of asphalt shingles. Fire resistance of cedar shingles can be improved using fire a resistant coating. Also, the overall cost of a wood roof can be similar to asphalt shingles when you consider that the cedar roof might last twice as long.
Wood shake roofs are not as common in the midwest, currently, and some town’s codes do not allow for wood roofs as a fire safety issue. For example, many Kansas City metro neighborhoods, such as Overland Park, Kansas, do not permit the use of wood roofing.