Roof Decking: What It Is & When To Replace [Homeowners Guide]
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Roof Decking: What it is & When to Replace [Homeowners Guide]

Posted by Northface Construction

If you know anything about roofs, you’re probably familiar with roofing materials, like shingles and underlayment. But what about roof decking? Most people aren’t aware of this component, but it serves as the foundation for roofing materials.

Unfortunately, roof decking can deteriorate over time, so you’ll require roof replacement at some point. In the content below, we’ll explore:

With that said, let’s not waste any more time. Read on to learn more!

What Is Roof Decking?

close up to plywood decking

Roof decking, also referred to as roof sheathing, is the layer of material that covers the rafters of a roof. It provides a solid base for the installation of roofing materials, like shingles or tiles.

Roof sheathing plays a vital role in the overall strength and stability of a roof. It evenly distributes the weight of the materials and supports the entire roof system.

There are several materials used for roof decking, including plywood, oriented strand board (OSB), and wood planks. The material you choose depends on your budget, climate, and personal preference. 

Roof decking is usually installed in large sheets that are secured to the roof’s framing. The sheets are laid horizontally, starting from the bottom edge of the roof, and overlapping each other to create a watertight barrier. This layer of decking provides a solid surface for the other roofing materials.

The Importance of Roof Decking

The importance of roof decking cannot be overstated when it comes to the overall strength and durability of a roof. Properly installed roof decking provides the following benefits:

Common Causes of Roof Decking Damage

Understanding the common causes of roof decking damage can help you take proactive measures to minimize issues. Below are some typical factors that can lead to roof decking damage:

By being aware of these common problems, you can help to prevent rotten decking. Regular inspections and proper maintenance are key to extending the lifespan of your roofing system.

5 Signs of Damaged Roof Decking

plywood roof decking damaged

If you can catch issues with your roof before they get out of hand, it’ll save you a headache. Here are some indicators that it’s time to replace your roof decking:

1) Sagging Roof

If you notice a sagging or uneven appearance on your roof, it could be a sign of damaged or weakened roof decking. Sagging indicates that the decking has lost its structural integrity and may not be able to support the weight of the roofing materials much longer.

2) Water Leaks or Stains

Water leaks or stains on your ceiling are major signs of roof damage. If you notice water dripping or brown spots on the ceiling, it may be a sign that your roof decking has been compromised and needs replacement.

3) Mold Growth

Excessive moisture in the roof space can cause the growth of mold. If you smell a musty odor or see patches of mold in your attic walls,  there’s likely been water infiltration caused by faulty roof decking.

4) Faulty Roofing Materials

Pay attention to the condition of your roofing materials. If you see curled or missing shingles, the damage could eventually flow to the roof decking. As a result, the damaged decking can lead to further issues.

5) Higher Electricity Bills

 A sudden increase in your energy bills may be caused by poor insulation resulting from damaged roof decking. If your roof is not effectively regulating the temperature inside of your home, it may be time to consider replacing the sheathing.

The Roof Decking Replacement Process

house roof decking replacement process

Replacing roof decking is a significant undertaking that requires careful planning and execution. Here are the general steps involved in the roof decking replacement process:

Inspection and Assessment

A professional roofing contractor will begin by inspecting the existing roof decking to determine the extent of the damage and assess the overall condition of the roof. They’ll identify any underlying issues that need to be addressed before the replacement.

Removal of Current Roofing Materials

Before the roof sheathing can be replaced, the existing roofing materials need to be removed. This step will also involve the removal of flashing, underlayment, and other components that are attached to the decking.

Decking Removal

Once the roof is clear of the old materials, the deteriorated roof decking will be carefully removed. This may require the use of several tools to detach the decking from the roof’s framing.

Repair and Reinforcement

During the removal process, the roofing contractor may discover additional issues that need to be addressed, such as damaged rafters or trusses. Any necessary repairs or reinforcements will be performed at this stage to ensure the roof’s structural integrity.

Installation of New Decking

After the necessary repairs and reinforcements, new roof decking will be installed. The sheets of decking are secured to the roof’s framing using the appropriate fasteners, ensuring a sturdy base.

Installation of Underlayment

plywood roof decking and chimney

Once the new decking is in place, an underlayment layer is put in to provide additional protection against moisture infiltration. Lastly, the outer roofing materials are attached, completing the replacement process.

Clean-up and Inspection

 After the roof decking replacement is complete, the roofing company will clean up the work area, removing any debris or waste materials. A final inspection will be conducted to ensure that the replacement has been carried out according to industry standards and that the roof is in optimal condition.

Put Your Roof in Our Hands

As you can see, healthy roof decking is essential for keeping your entire roofing intact. Without it, you could face serious problems. The good news is Northface Construction can take care of things for you. 

We offer a variety of roofing services, and we are trusted by some of the top industry organizations. So, if you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, call 763-265-6937, or get a free quote on our website.


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