Until the mid-1990’s, it was common for high-end homes to be built with wood shake roofs. Indeed, the county assessor’s website still notes whether a home has a wood shake roof as if it were a premium feature, although I doubt their software still assigns extra value to any home based on that fact.
The tables have really turned, and now a wood shake roof is a liability, not an asset. The insurance companies have contributed to the situation by charging more for homeowner’s insurance when the home has a wood shake roof. Worse yet, the insurance companies now depreciate a wood shake roof — but not other roofs — when a claim is made. If your shake roof is destroyed in a hail storm, the insurer will not pay to replace the roof. Instead they will give you its depreciated value. If the roof is 15 to 20 years old — which it probably is by now — that value could be zero or nearly zero. And yet you were paying extra for coverage! If you have an old composition shingle roof that is damaged in a hail storm, most insurance companies will still buy you a new roof.
Because of these facts, I advise sellers to replace their wood shake roof before listing their home, and, when I’m representing a buyer, I advise him or her to insist on replacement of the roof in any offer I write.
Replacing a wood shake roof with a composition shingle roof can cost $10,000 to $15,000 or more. Call me for vendors I recommend.