shingles: does price point matter?

I’ve been “buying time” with filler posts as I wait for furniture and accessories that will be placed into the remodeled Westville. They’re being handmade by a wonderful miniaturist, Paris Renfroe. Trust me, they’re worth the wait. When they arrive, I’ll unveil the interior of the new and very improved Westville. Hint: I love the result.

In the meantime, shingles!

From my very first dollhouse, the Beachside Bungalow, I found “shingles day” was my favorite. (For the record, “electrical day” was the worst.) There is just something about the combination of monotony and productiveness that I love.

In the course of my four houses, I’ve used shingles at a variety of price points. Here are three of the finished homes. Can you tell which one cost the most? Which one didn’t cost a thing?

Beginning with the top photo: these came from Mr. Train, a shop on Etsy. I paid about $20 for 300 pine shingles (I needed three packs to complete the Westville, so $60 total). They were noticeably thicker than the others, which is hard to see, but take my word.

The second set came from Earth and Tree. I bought 1,000 square cut cedar shingles for the Rye and paid $34. The manufacturer is Allesio Miniatures, which advertises its products are made in the United States. These are the most “standard” shingles–not too thick; not too thin. A good all-around option.

(By the way, I also used siding shingles for the Rye. They were quite a bit more textured, which added interest to the finished house, and differentiated them from the roof shingles. They are the sort of purple colored ones you can see in the featured image.)

The shingles shown in the third photo were basically free since they were included with the Orchid. They were the thinnest of the bunch and came as flat sheets. I had to detach each of several hundred shingles by hand. They looked really cheap and flimsy, and I didn’t have much hope, but they were “free,” so what did I have to lose?

I was pleasantly surprised they took the stain well and the application went smoothly. I don’t remember if the packaging specified the type of wood. Greenleaf sells mostly birch shingles on their Web site, so that may be the case. Pre-stained, they were very pale and didn’t appear to have much grain, but the stain brought them to life. Note: The original shingles were a fish scale pattern, but I wanted them square, so I turned them upside down. I overlapped the fish scale for the roof line, and squared off the end pieces.

After several types of shingles, what did I learn? The textures and thicknesses varied, but after they were stained and applied, I thought they all looked equally fine. (The only thing I would change is the stain color itself. I chose Minwax Ebony for the Westville, and it was definitely dark. Now that I have a point of comparison, I prefer more medium browns, like Provincial and Special Walnut.)

But types of wood, thickness, and textures aside, what is really important to me is country of origin, specifically, products made in the USA. In that respect, all three options fit the bill.

Now, which to choose? The Mr. Train shingles were thicker and more textured. You may prefer that. The Allesio Miniatures ones offered good value. The Greenleaf Orchid shingles that came free with the kit looked cheap and paper-thin, but they turned out really pretty. Ultimately, all three worked well.

Bottom line: When it comes to shingles, I recommend you scrimp on your rooftop, and splurge on something else. My current passion is real hardwood floors. But the decisions are endless!

Happy dollhousing!

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