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The Pros and Cons of Cedar and Asphalt Shingle Roofing Materials

Family house after asphalt shingle roofing installation

For some homeowners and business owners, the perfect roof is the one that fits the budget. For others with a more aesthetic preference, cost isn’t a filter, so something along the lines of cedar might fit into the description of a must-have roofing material. While cost and aesthetics are certainly part of the equation, the life of the roofing material must also be taken into account.

First off, it must be established that harsh weather will compromise the quality of any roofing material. Furthermore, an EF5 tornado, should it rip through your area, will pretty much wipe everything out. But it doesn’t take the highest magnitude tornado to compromise a roofing system.


Asphalt roofing shingles are the go-to roofing material for most builders, but they come in a variety of sizes, shapes, colors and wind rating. For instance, Class D asphalt shingles, according to the Asphalt Roofing Manufacturers Association, can withstand wind speeds up to and including 90 mph. Class G shingles are rated at 120 mph, whereas Class H are rated to withstand 150 mph winds. Obviously, repeated windstorms of these magnitudes will create issues with the roofing system, necessitating an inspection and/or repair or replacement of part of or the entire roof.

Under normal wear and tear, asphalt shingles can last around 20 years on average before they need to be replaced. However, some roofs with this material can provide the necessary protection for a home or business for 30 years.

Asphalt pros:

  • Ease of installation
  • Cost effective
  • Virtually endless number of colors, shapes, and sizes
  • Recyclable
  • Asphalt cons:
  • Sudden weather changes lead to lower life expectancy
  • High winds cause uplift, leading to moisture
  • Shouldn’t be installed in cold weather
  • Poor attic ventilation can reduce life of shingle


Despite the pros and cons that must be weighed with cedar shingles, for some business owners and homeowners, there is absolutely no substitute for the unique look that cedar provides a structure. In fact, some neighborhoods actually require all new homes or businesses to be covered by a cedar roof, and in some cases, cedar siding.

Cedar is naturally resistant to pests and will age quite gracefully from a warm hue of natural wood to a grayish, silver tone. Speaking of age, cedar roofs that have been well maintained will last around 10 years beyond most other roofing materials, which makes the higher cost of cedar more palatable.

Cedar pros:

  • Exceptional beauty
  • Energy efficient
  • Storm resistant
  • Durable

Cedar cons:

  • More costly
  • Susceptible to mildew if not treated
  • Require more maintenance than other materials
  • Require expert installation services

Regardless of what type of roofing material you decide to go with, it’s important to partner with a contractor that uses materials made by the best manufacturers. Furthermore, your roofing contractor should also have years of experience installing, inspection and maintaining a variety of roofing system types. VIS Exteriors has a team of professionals with the experience Naperville area general contractors rely on to get a job done right and on time. Contact us today at (630) 230-8533 and let’s discuss your next project.

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