1 Effortless Hack to Remember Shakes vs Shingles

What is the difference between wood shakes vs shingles?

In a nutshell, wood shakes have a split face and wood shingles are sawn. This impacts appearance, durability, cost, and other characteristics.

The easy way to remember shakes vs shingles is from the resulting surface textures:

  • Shake = Shaky
  • Shingle = Single (smooth or small grooves)
1 Effortless Hack to Remember Shakes vs Shingles 1

The backs and side edges of both shakes and shingles are likely to be sawn because it is more efficient at the mill, but those details don’t factor in to their broad definitions.

Like many roofing products, shakes and shingles are available in different grades, raw materials, colors, sizes, finishes, and production methods. When you are shopping around for roofing bids be sure to communicate in advance which type you want and be certain that it is specified in your contract. 

There is no such thing as a shake shingle or shingle shake; it is either a shake or a shingle.

Here are some more of their differences:





Cut Method



Face Texture

Rough, Significant Grooves

Smooth, Slight Grooves

Side Texture

Sawn or Split

Sawn, Tailored

Common Sizes

18″, 24″

16″, 18″, 24″

Butt Thickness

.375″ to 2″ or more

.625″ to 1.5″

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