Homeowners today have a plethora of roofing materials to choose from, each offering a unique blend of benefits and drawbacks. Two of the most sought-after roofing options are cedar shake and slate. Both materials exude elegance and add significant curb appeal to homes, but they also come with distinct characteristics that may sway a homeowner’s choice. Let’s delve into a comparison between cedar shake roofing and slate roofing.

Cedar Shake Roofing & Slate Roofing in NJ | Comparing Roof Types

Appearance and Aesthetics:

Cedar Shake: Cedar shakes are natural wooden shingles made from split logs. They offer a rustic and traditional appearance that exudes warmth and charm. Over time, cedar shakes age to a beautiful silver-gray hue, which can give homes an antique and time-worn look that many homeowners find appealing.

Slate: Slate roofing tiles are made from natural stone and present a refined, classic elegance. They come in a range of colors including blue-gray, green, and even purple, making it possible to find a hue that complements the architecture and style of a particular home. Due to its stately appearance, slate roofs can significantly increase the value of a property.

Durability and Lifespan:

Cedar Shake: While cedar wood is naturally resistant to insects and UV radiation, it’s susceptible to rot, moss, and mildew if not properly maintained. With regular maintenance, including treatments to prevent rot and moss growth, cedar shakes can last up to 30 years.

Slate: Slate roofs are known for their remarkable longevity. A well-installed slate roof can last up to 100 years or more, with some lasting even longer. They are also resistant to fire, mold, and fungal growth. Their primary weakness is their susceptibility to breakage if walked on or if there’s a severe impact, but this is often avoidable with caution and proper care.


Cedar Shake: Cedar roofing requires a moderate level of maintenance. Homeowners need to periodically check for rot, moss, and mildew, and treatments may be necessary to prolong the life of the shingles. Clearing debris from the roof is essential to ensure it remains in good condition.

Slate: Once installed, slate roofs require minimal maintenance. It’s advisable to occasionally inspect the roof for broken or chipped tiles and replace them as needed. The primary concern is ensuring that the roof is not walked on, as this can break the tiles.


Cedar Shake: The cost of cedar shakes can vary based on the quality of wood, region, and installation costs. Typically, cedar shake roofing is less expensive than slate but costlier than asphalt shingles.

Slate: Slate is one of the most expensive roofing materials available. The costs encompass not only the tiles themselves but also the specialized labor required for installation. However, when considering the lifespan of the roof, the long-term investment can be justified for many homeowners.

Environmental Impact:

Cedar Shake: Cedar is a natural, renewable resource. However, the environmental impact varies depending on the source of the cedar and the logging practices employed. Responsibly sourced and certified cedar can be an eco-friendly option, while other sources may contribute to deforestation.

Slate: The extraction and production of slate tiles have environmental impacts, including habitat disruption and energy use. On the upside, because slate roofs last so long, their overall footprint may be smaller than roofing materials that require replacement every 20-30 years.


Cedar Shake: Cedar shake installation is less specialized than slate but still requires knowledge and experience. Incorrect installation can lead to problems like premature rot or moisture infiltration.

Slate: Slate tile installation is a specialized skill. These tiles are heavy and require a specific technique to install and anchor correctly. It’s essential to have an experienced slate roofer handle the installation to ensure the roof’s longevity.


Both cedar shake and slate roofing offer unique aesthetics and benefits that can enhance the beauty and value of a home. Cedar shake offers a rustic charm with a moderate lifespan, while slate provides a refined, elegant look with impressive longevity. Your choice between these materials will largely depend on your budget, desired aesthetics, and maintenance preferences. Consider consulting with a roofing specialist to help you determine which option is best for your home and region.