What is Shake Siding? Comparing Wall Cladding Options

Shake siding

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Siding plays a big part in protecting your home and enhancing its curb appeal – you want something that looks great, lasts a long time, and doesn’t require constant maintenance. One option that stands out to many is shake siding. In just a moment, we’ll explore what it is, its advantages and disadvantages, and how it compares to other popular cladding options.

Whether you’re shopping around for your home’s exterior or just curious about shake siding, this guide will give you a comprehensive look at its appeal and practicality.

What is Siding?

Siding is the protective material attached to the exterior of a house, playing a critical role in shielding it from the elements. It also helps insulate the home, contributing to energy efficiency, and significantly enhances the overall appearance.

There are various types of siding materials available, each offering different benefits. These include vinyl, wood, fiber cement, and stone veneer. Among these options, shake siding has gained popularity for its distinctive look and durability.

Defining Shake Siding

Shake siding refers to a type of siding that mimics the appearance of traditional wooden shakes, which are small, rectangular pieces of wood split from a log. Shake siding can be made from wood, vinyl, or composite materials, each offering its unique advantages.

Known for its rustic, textured appearance, it adds a charming and timeless aesthetic to any home.

Example of a house with shake siding on an upper level.

Benefits and Drawbacks

  • Durability and Longevity
  • Aesthetic Appeal & Versatility
  • Insulation
  • Low Maintenance Requirements

Especially when made from composite or vinyl materials, shake siding offers impressive durability. It can withstand harsh weather conditions and resist damage from insects and rot, ensuring a long lifespan.

Also, the unique texture and natural look of shake siding enhance a home’s curb appeal. It provides a classic, rustic charm that can elevate the overall aesthetic of any property. It’s available in various colors and finishes, allowing homeowners to choose a look that complements their home’s style. Whether you prefer a natural wood appearance or a more vibrant color, there are plenty of options available.

Beyond that, shake siding offers good insulation properties, helping to maintain a comfortable indoor temperature. Unlike traditional wood shakes, modern shake siding made from vinyl or composites requires minimal maintenance. It doesn’t need frequent painting or staining and is easy to clean!


  • Initial Cost
  • Complex Installation
  • Weather Susceptibility

Particularly with high-quality materials like composite or premium wood, shake siding can be more expensive, initially, compared to other siding options. However, the long-term benefits and durability often justify the investment.

The installation of shake siding can be more complex and time-consuming than other types of siding. Since each shake is placed individually, it requires careful alignment and fastening to ensure a uniform appearance and effective protection. Proper spacing and overlap are critical to prevent water infiltration and damage.

Finally, natural wood shake siding, while beautiful, is more susceptible to weather-related damage such as warping, cracking, or rotting. Regular maintenance is necessary to keep it in good condition – which might not appeal to all homeowners.

Comparing Shake to Other Siding Options

To fully grasp whether shake siding would work for your home, it helps to consider how other wall claddings. measure up. In terms of cost, maintenance, durability, and aesthetics, here’s how it compares to a few other common options.

Vinyl Siding

Vinyl siding is a popular choice for its affordability and low maintenance. It comes in a variety of colors and styles, offering versatility for different home designs. Compared to shake siding, vinyl is generally less expensive and easier to maintain. However, it can crack in extreme temperatures and may fade over time. While shake siding offers a textured and rustic look, vinyl siding provides a smoother, more uniform appearance, which may lack the unique charm of shakes.

Wood Siding

Wood siding is celebrated for its natural beauty and traditional appeal. It can be stained or painted in various colors to match any home design. However, wood siding requires frequent maintenance, such as painting or staining, to prevent damage from pests and rot. Shake siding, especially when made from vinyl or composite materials, is more durable and easier to maintain. Both options offer a natural look, but shake siding provides a more rustic, textured appearance that many homeowners find appealing.

Fiber Cement Siding

Fiber cement siding is known for its durability and versatility, mimicking the look of wood, brick, or stone. It is resistant to fire, pests, and rot, making it a low-maintenance option. However, fiber cement siding can be heavy and more expensive, requiring professional installation. Both fiber cement and shake siding are durable and low-maintenance, but shake siding offers a unique, textured look that fiber cement might lack, giving homes a distinct and charming appearance.

Brick and Stone Veneer

Brick and stone veneer siding provides a classic and durable exterior, highly resistant to weather and damage. These options are generally more expensive than shake siding and require professional installation. Both materials require minimal maintenance, making them long-lasting choices. However, brick and stone offer a timeless, classic look, while shake siding provides a charming, rustic appearance that adds character and warmth to a home.

Maintenance will be needed for shake siding.

Recommended Maintenance

To keep your shake siding looking great and prolong its lifespan, regular cleaning and inspection are essential. Clean the siding annually with water and a mild detergent to remove dirt, mold, and mildew. Use a soft brush or a low-pressure washer to avoid damaging the surface.

For minor repairs, small cracks or splits in wooden shakes can be fixed with wood filler or caulk. For vinyl or composite shakes, use manufacturer-recommended repair kits. If you encounter damaged or rotten shakes, replace them promptly. For extensive damage, consider hiring a professional to ensure proper installation and alignment.

Seasonal maintenance is also important. In the fall and spring, check for any damage caused by extreme weather conditions, such as high winds or heavy snow. Make sure all shakes are securely fastened and that there are no gaps or overlaps that could allow water in!

When to Call a Professional

Despite shake siding’s durability and low maintenance, there are times when calling a professional is the best course of action. If you notice extensive damage, such as large areas of cracked, warped, or missing shakes, it’s wise to seek expert help.

Additionally, if you’re planning a major installation or replacement project, professional installation ensures proper alignment and fastening.


In essence, shake siding is a strong contender for anyone looking to merge aesthetics and function outside their home. Choosing the right siding for your home is a significant decision that affects both its appearance and protection.

Regular maintenance and timely repairs are crucial for preserving the beauty and functionality of your cladding. If you want to schedule an inspection of your home, including your existing siding, call Fox Mountain Inspections in MD, PA, VA, and WV.

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