If you have an old wood shake or wood shingle roof and you’re considering replacing it, there are a few things you need to know about the replacement for a Shake Roof.
First of all, most cities won’t allow you to replace it with another real wood roof, particularly since most of the LA areas is considered a high fire zone. So you’ll be obliged to find an alternative. The most common alternative is your typical asphalt composition shingle. But two other choices are a lightweight concrete tile or an artificial shake (usually a thin, cementious fiber blend or a polymer plastic). Both of latter are very expensive – roughly 2 to 3 times the cost of a composition shingle.
One major cost may be the need to re-sheet your entire deck with plywood, so that it is a solid wood deck, which is required by code. Chances are your old wood shake/shingle roof was installed over what’s called an open-spaced deck. Typically it’s composed of 1×6 deck boards spaced about 4-5 inches apart. This was possible because wood shakes are stiff planks of wood and would overlay these gaps without posing any sort of issue. However, these gaps don’t work with some more modern materials. More importantly, a solid wood deck is a code requirement almost everywhere I know of and this will generally add costs of around $1.50 a square foot.
The most common and cheapest replacement is the tried and true comp shingle. If you must have a more genuine look, then the next up in cost would be a lightweight concrete tile but generally, unless you have engineering saying you can have a heavier roof, it must be a truly lightweight tile (6 pounds a square foot or less) and most tiles are not. Your typical installation costs will vary by region and how complicated and/or steep your roof is and the specific product chosen but a rough chart here can give you some idea. The tear off will run about $0.40 a square foot, plywood about $1.50 a square foot, composition shingles $3 a square foot, cement tiles about $ a square foot and artificial shakes about $6 a square foot.
There are some very nice, higher-end composition shingles that replaces a Shake Roof and cost somewhere in between which are meant to emulate shake and are a very nice alternative to the real deal. But whatever you choose, make sure your roofer gives you some addresses to go out and look at installed product so you can see what it looks like in real life, and not just on a brochure or sample board.