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The Home Depot

Wood Shake Repair Guide

Pro Referral > Home Guides > Carpentry > Wood Shake Repair Guide
Wood Shake Repair Guide

Wood shakes are thick, rough, uneven shingles that are hand split from logs. They are popularly used in roofing and siding with the higher grade shakes used for the former and the lower grade ones for the latter. Wood shakes not only give a rustic look to roofs, they are also quite durable and provide protection from all kinds of weather conditions. At the same time, the maintenance involved is also much higher compared to other roofing materials. The wood shakes used in the U.S. are made of Western Red Cedar, while in other parts of the world pine is the wood of choice.

  1. Failure to properly install your home’s electrical panel could result in fire, serious injury or even death.

    1.Depend on Where You Are

    Various counties have their own set of rules and regulations when it comes to permits for wood shakes in new roofing and also for the repair of existing roofs. In some areas, only a single overlay of wood shakes for roofing is permitted while in other areas, no permission is granted for wood shakes in new roofing or for re-roofing purposes.


    Common problems in roofs with wood shakes can include leaks due to cracked or damaged shakes. At times, wind and rain can also lead to the some shakes being displaced and this will also cause leakage and other related issues with the roof.

  2. 2.Inspecting the Wood Shakes

    A written estimate helps you know in advance about how much you’ll be spending for the job. It helps avoid sticker shock at the end of the job. It also helps you compare contractors and choose one who fits into your budget. Most good electricians will meet with you and provide a cost estimate free of charge to get the ball rolling. Be wary of contractors who only offer fuzzy numbers, won’t commit to anything on paper, or try to tack on a lot of extras once the project begins.

  3. 3.Replacing Damaged Wood Shakes

    If any of the wood shakes have been cracked, warped, or damaged in some way, replacing them is the only solution. You will need to use a hammer and chisel to split the defective shake and pull it out. Any nails embedded in the shake will first have to be extracted without causing any damage to the roofing material underneath. Then a replacement shake will have to be cut to the exact dimensions of the old one and affixed in its place with a hammer and roofing nails. If more than 20 percent of the wood shakes are damaged, replacing the entire roof might be a better option.

  5. 4.Inadequate Draining

    At times, roofs with wood shakes can encounter problems with inadequate drainage. If moisture stays on the roof, there is a possibility of moss growing on the wood shakes which can then retain water every time it rains and thus cause a damp environment which can lead to growth of various kinds of fungi and bacteria. This can also happen if there are many shady trees over the roof. The solution is cutting off the limbs that overshadow the roof. In order to remove moss that has already grown there, a power washer with hot water and fungicides may be the only solution.


    Be careful, moss can be slippery and you do not want to fall off a roof. That would be a serious setback, certainly mentally traumatizing. This is not task you want to tackle when it is raining. You may have to hire a professional or rent a man-lift to lift you up about 15 feet so you can angle the power washer at the fungi and disengage it from the roof. This should eliminate the problem, kill the bacteria, get the extra weight off of your roof, and make your home a clean air breathing place again.

  6. 5.Replacing Damaged Wood Shakes

    Since the repair work will have to be done on the roof, it is best to have someone to assist you and keep a watchful eye while you work. Wearing protective gear such as gloves and goggles for your eyes is a must to prevent any injury while repairing or replacing the wood shakes. If you are working on a rooftop which is quite steep, you will need to wear a safety harness to prevent you from slipping and falling down (which has been mentioned). This is another strategy to arrest this problem. In some instances, where the shakes might have split, they can be secured with nails. After this, the nail heads have to be covered with roofing cement.


    You can provide greater protection to your wood shake roof by having an ice barrier installed along the eaves as extra protection. Since wood shakes are premium products today, making that extra step when caring for them is a solid investment on your part. Periodic inspections and careful maintenance will help you nip any possible problems in the bud.

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