At one time, wooden shingles were the standard. The two common styles are smooth shingles and their rustic counterpart, the shake. Fabricators use special crafting tools to split lumber to make shakes, a process that leaves the shingle looking rough-hewn.
Because some homeowners don’t want the upkeep of real wood roofing, manufacturers have started making shake alternative shingles out of other materials such as asphalt and composite. While shake alternative roofs would look handsome on any house, the roofing would especially complement certain architectural styles.
An obvious house style for the roofing option is the most rustic one — log homes. The housing style originated as hand-built, one-room cabins in the woods using materials at hand. Typically, the builders didn’t even use nails. The style dates back to the 1600s.
Today, people turn to the homey style for their woodsy retreats. Builders often use siding in place of the old-style construction methods. No longer so humble, log homes would still look correct with rustic shakes for roofing.
Ranch homes originated in the country — as their name suggests, on ranches in the rural West. Traditional ranch houses are simple affairs that were originally one-story. They’ve become popular in suburbs, though, and you see more split-level ranches.
Original ranch houses in the rural West often had cedar shingles or shakes on top. The modern alternative is the composite or asphalt shake.
The Cape Cod is another housing style that dates back to the 1600s, which also puts it more on the rustic end. Builders were inspired by the thatch cottages in England, but they used steep roofs to withstand the snowy winters in Cape Cod, where the style originated.
Cedar shingles are typical of the Cape Cod style. However, shake alternatives would work well because of the original inspiration — thatch roofing. Shakes would give Cape Cod houses an Old World appeal.
Another style with roots in the 1600s is the Dutch Colonial. Like log cabins, they were originally modest, one-room affairs. Similarly, they carry the appeal of a barn because of their broad gambrel roof, which is the same style found on barns. Indeed, the Dutch door, which allows you to open just the top half, was invented to keep farm animals out of the house.
Wooden roofing is characteristic of the original versions of Dutch Colonial houses. So, shake alternative would offer a traditional roof with less of the upkeep.
Cottage houses are another style that took their inspiration from homes in England, in this case, medieval houses in the countryside. Architects strive to add details that give them storybook charm, so you see steep roofs and cross gables. Brick, stucco, or stone siding is common.
Some forms of shakes were almost certainly used for countryside cottages in England. Their characteristic profile adds to the country charm of a cottage house.
The Craftsman style is much newer. It dates back to the Arts and Crafts Movement that took place in the early 1900s. The movement marked a return to craftsmanship, which is, of course, where the style gets its name. Craftsman houses are characterized by the extensive use of woodworking.
While shakes do present a rough-hewn profile, original wooden shakes do take craftsman-level woodworking skills to create. Because the shake alternative roofs do a good job of replicating wooden shakes, such a roof would complement the craftsmanship of this style of home.
The prairie style is similar to the Craftsman house largely because architect Frank Lloyd Wright used the movement as inspiration. So, prairie homes feature a lot of woodwork. Indeed, the style favors the use of natural materials and simple techniques.
Prairie roofs are long and flat with an emphasis on organic patterns. The lines featured in alternative shakes would be ideal to meet these characteristics.
If you plan to build or re-roof one of the above styles of houses, consider asking for a shake shingle alternative to complement its style. Talk to Golden Spike Roofing about your options.