The difference in Installation Between Wood Shingles and Wood Shakes.

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The difference in Installation Between Wood Shingles and Wood Shakes.
roof of the house vilex construction - vilex construction company

The desire to surround your life with ecologically “healthy” constructions and materials has a lot of weighty justifications. Along with great achievements and exciting developments in the field of the building there was a danger of pollution of the environment and loss of quality of life respectively.

The threat is created by toxic emissions, volatile allergens, the formation of condensation that promotes the settlement of harmful mold fungus. That’s why mankind remembered the old, centuries proven technologies that exclude the above-mentioned problems. On their basis, a wooden roof is being built, with the construction of which we will try to understand all the details.

People who care about their own physical condition give absolute preference to a wooden roof. Ancient methods and techniques of wooden roofing are actively used in the construction of eco-houses.

However, the main focus is not on the fashion for naturalness, but the obvious benefits of the use of natural resources in the roofing business:

Significant environmental advantages. Wood does not spread toxins, natural materials are ideal to live next to biological beings. It is safe, disposed of naturally, without polluting the environment.

Excellent isolation qualities. Roofing made of wood prevents sound and heat waves from penetrating.

Steam control. Due to the ability of wooden shingles to freely remove evaporations that appear in the building as a result of standard processes of life, it is not necessary to arrange a steam barrier using polymer films.

Exterior attractiveness. Even the most selective critics will not argue with the esthetic priorities of roofs constructed of piece elements with unique structural patterns.

Lightness. The specific weight of the roofing, spread over 1 m² of the structure area, varies from 15 to 17 kg, the exact values depend on the roof slope and roof density. The low weight in comparison with slate and ceramics allows not to erect complex and bulky rafter frames.

There are no clear opinions on the durability of wood. But practice shows, that competently arranged systems can last more than half a century and more.

How to Install Wood Shingles

The assembly of the wooden roof is always made of piece elements. The technology of laying and the principle of construction depends on the shape and size of these elements, among which are significant:

Shingle. The planks are made by “splitting” or stranding the logs along the fibres. It is produced both by hand and mechanically. Handmade products may have differences in shape and thickness within a single batch. It was used in the German principalities.

Wood shakes. It is similar to a shingle, by the method of manufacture, but thinner. The geometric dimensions of the piece elements may differ by comparison.

The smaller the size of the element, the more often a crate is built for it. The step between grids is calculated so that there are at least three supports under each longitudinal row of piece elements.

The size of a bar under the covering from the shingles is 50×50 or 40×40 mm. If the length of the roofing piece is more than 800 mm, a thicker bar or pole will be required.

General rules for wooden roof installation

Wooden roofs are placed only on pitched roofs with a slope of at least 80% or 45º. This is necessary so that rainfall does not trap on the roofing, posing a threat to moisture-sensitive wood. This limit is permitted in the construction of slope roofs. It is recommended to construct steeper structures for the roofing of shingles.

Avoid direct contact between wood and building structures made of asphalt or cement concrete. If contact is unavoidable, a waterproofing must be installed between the wooden elements and the concrete base.

It is important to consider that the wooden roof is not stable. That means that when it gets wet from heavy rain, during snowmelt or the regular increase in atmospheric humidity in the off-season wooden elements swell, and when the humidity decreases, they shrink in size. And these changes can take place during decades, not the first year or two after the installation.

When compressed in dry weather, they open up natural ventilation paths to remove excess moisture. As a result of the motion described above, no condensation is formed under the wood shingles, it is perfectly ventilated and perfectly protects the buildings from precipitation.

The wooden shingles are laid with the overlap of each element so that the water flowing down from above on the slope does not have any possibility to seep under the roof at all. The longitudinal grooves are chosen to speed up the flow.

However, there are significant differences in the technology of the device, which should be dealt with by craftsmen and owners of eco-houses who want to get a roof with the ecological and aesthetic wood covering.

Installation technology

In order to understand the specifics of the installation of wooden roofs, we will consider each option, dividing the blocks of information into parts about the manufacture and features of laying.

Shingle roof

With a hand pruning hemp on the boards, the natural structure of the wood is preserved, attracting not only natural beauty, but also maximum protection against moisture. The correct split of the workpiece into the elements of the shingles is essential for the wear resistance of the coating. It is therefore better to entrust the workpiece to an experienced craftsman.

If you do not intend to use manual work in the manufacture, it is better to buy the material in a reliable place, the reputation of which in the market not even leaves the slightest doubt. Ready for laying the shingles should be pre-dried, according to the regulations, its moisture content should be up to 18%.

This type of coating is supplied in bundles, each of which is calculated on the laying of a roof area of 1 m². Purchase should be made so that the ledges, which are usually 40-50 cm wide, are taken into account.

Both coniferous and deciduous trees are used in the manufacture. Priority is given to larch, red cedar and oak. Before buying, it is important to check the location of the annual rings, with a quality coating they are located at a slope of 30 º.

The step of the battens that are built for the laying of the planks depends on their length. They are laid according to the “chess order” principle so that the adjacent side edges of the elements laid in the longitudinal row do not coincide with the edges of the preceding longitudinal row.

In order to ensure the connection of the elements, each starter board is divided in half in the second row. The starting board for the third row shall be cut into three parts. The cut-offs are not lost, they are used for further stacking, the location of joints as a result of this division may coincide only after 3 rows, which is quite enough for a construction of not leaking wood shingles.

From above, each plate is closed by 2/3, only one third of which remains outside. As a result of this laying is actually a three-layered roof, which does not let water through when snow melts and it rains, and then “opens” itself for drying.

Laying of wooden elements begins with eaves, then moves upwards. Horizontally, small gaps of 2-3 mm are left between them, which are necessary to ensure that the wood expands when it swells. This gap is maintained throughout the entire area of the wooden roof.

The boards do not close along the ridge line, a gap of 2 – 5 cm must be left between the slopes, through which household vapours will escape. From above, this gap is closed with a hat, two boards connected to each other or specially assembled short plates, the “rear” of which is turned to the windward side.

Wood Shakes

Wood shakes can be easily associated with a shingle: they do not have too many differences in the way they are made and stacked. However, it is made mainly from coniferous wood, because the elements of the shakles are thinner, so it is more reasonable to beat it from blanks with a soft, supple structure.

It is also made on machines, but knowledgeable housekeepers prefer handmade material. For the production of such a roof hemps are being chosen without knots and similar defects. Manually prick the original plates with a wedge-shaped tool, acting on it with a beater. Work is carried out accurately, aspiring not to damage natural fibres and capillaries.

The thickness of the plates 0.3 – 1.0 cm, the thinner, the more layers will have to build a roof. On average, there are 7 to 9 of them. At the same time with this fact increases the number of air gaps between the layers, as a result, improved insulation qualities, and at the same time optimized ventilation.

In general, the width and length of the plates are not normalized. Elements can vary in length from 30 to 100 cm, in width from 9 to 15 cm. The main thing is that in one batch, prepared or purchased for the roofing device, shakes are approximately the same size.

In contrast to the material described above, the wood shakes is placed on a continuous purlin, built of the board. The planks are fixed with a 3-5 mm gap between them, which is necessary to form air ventilation flows. All other nuances of installation are identical.


Wooden varieties of roofing attract not only with environmental advantages, but also incomparable aesthetic qualities. The coating created from them is unique and most favorable for the construction of houses. A great advantage of these materials is that it can be laid by hand, guided by the information offered by us.