ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

What is a Cedar Conversion?

Updated on December 4, 2015

Twenty Years Later

Twenty years will pass and the life of your cedar roof will be over and it will be time for a new roof but when you see the cost of labour for a cedar install you realize that for the same price you can get an asphalt roof.

So yes a cedar conversion defined is when you have a cedar roof and you then get an asphalt roof replacement.

Why would you do this? The cost of the replacement is almost the same but this is all about planning long term as for roof number three will be much more affordable.

Here is Why

A cedar roof does not actually sit on a roofing deck. All that is required to install a cedar roof is strapping which is a strip of wood running horizontally from the eave to the ridge which has a space between the strapping several inches apart depending on the builder.

Asphalt roofing material cannot sit directly on strapping and needs a solid plywood deck. The cost to install a plywood deck is quiet an addition to a roof project but is a huge asset in the future when it is time to replace your roof as anything can sit of plywood even if you choose to go with a new roofing material that is not asphalt.

The other bonus for the average home owner is that they do not have to worry for a little bit longer as the warranties of asphalt compared to cedar speak for themselves. Do not get me wrong a cedar roof can come with a pretty strong warranty if you get an old growth three quarter inch resawn shake. If fact there are roofing companies around the Lower Mainland of Vancouver that will offer a fifty year roofing warranty with a resawn cedar shake that has been treated. But the average affordable shake used in new construction comes with a lifespan of about twenty years.

Whats your plan?

If you had to re-roof your cedar, would you...

See results

Now Lets Talk Asphalt

Asphalt on the other hand comes with a thirty year warranty if you start with the most affordable and from there the warranties only go up, all the way to lifetime. The oil based product has a much more resilient build to the elements than its cedar counterpart. There is also competition in the visual street appeal when it comes to the capping, cedar used to dominate the market with this feature.

Asphalt manufacturers have been working hard as trying to resemble the beauty of the raised cedar cap by manufacturing really thick, and visually appealing capping which resembles cedar. You do get more colour choices with asphalt shingles with different designs some even trying to imitate the visual effect of cedar shingles and shakes. compared to cedar speak for themselves.

The Cedar Conversion

Cedar shake or shingles sit on strapping
Cedar shake or shingles sit on strapping
In a cedar conversion plywood is required for the asphalt deck
In a cedar conversion plywood is required for the asphalt deck
The ice and water shield, underlay and then shingle is installed onto the house
The ice and water shield, underlay and then shingle is installed onto the house

Things to Watch Out For!

When you get a cedar conversion done there are two major structural changes to your home that must be factored in and taken care of. Cedar shake has an amazing ability to breathe on its own but when a plywood deck is placed down the entire attic is tightened up and the ability for moisture to escape the home is decreased dramatically.

Vancouver roofing companies are well aware of the need for roof vents but you may be surprised to find out that a few do not install enough to meet code or follow the roofing material manufacturer’s recommendations.

Educating yourself on what is required to have a well ventilated roof is not hard and any person who can do basic math can figure out how much roof vents will be adequate on their home. This is absolutely fundamental as it must be done during a cedar conversion and if it is not then you may be in for higher energy usage in your home and a roof that does not last as long as you intended, new roofing plywood deck included.

Click here to help working out how many roof vents you may need

Should I Convert?

Roof Type
20 year - 50 year
Curb Appeal / Reuseable
30 year - lifetime
Colour Choice / Affordable

One More Thing...

The other important factor of a cedar conversion is that the new plywood deck will raise the height of the roof by three eighths to half an inch up. I know this does not sound like a lot but there are certain elements of the home that may not have been designed for such a change. The main weak point may be the flashing on the roof. Flashing is the metal pieces on the roof that protect the home from water finding a way into the attic by running down the chimney or the various pipes on the roof. Flashing also runs along a wall where the roof may run into or along as well as skylights. If the roof is raised that line that the flashing sits will have to be raised too. Most homes are fine with this change but a few are required to replace the chimney counter flashing which is mortared in, or cut the siding if the deck butts up higher. This is not common but does occur.

The other important change is the exposed plywood deck along the gable / rake edge. Like the flashing issue when the plywood is laid down the raised deck will exposed on the gable edge. In the rainy Pacific North West this can be a issue as plywood does not like rain so it is very important for the roofing contractor to install flashing along the gable to ensure that the edges of your new roofing deck is not exposed to the elements.

Check out this great video on cedar conversions thanks to SPR-Canada Roofing

Special Labour Required

When hiring a roofing contractor it is important that you sign up with one who has experience in cedar conversions. This is a little different than the standard roofing replacement as it will require an individual who is handy with a table saw. The various angles of the valley and other items that might stick out of the roof will require someone who can measure and cut the plywood without making many mistakes.


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No comments yet.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)