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Everything You Need to Know About Roof Decking

By August 29, 2021 No Comments

What is roof decking?

Everything You Need to Know About Roof Decking. When you’re considering a new roof, it’s important to consider the many factors that contribute to the overall quality of your roofing project. One of these factors is your decking, also called sheathing. The decking is the foundation of your roofing system that connects the roof to your house. It’s the base that lays on top of the structural trusses—the “bones” of your attic—to cover the rafters and support the weight of the roofing shingles.

Although you can’t see it, roof decking is very important to the structure of your home. Covering the top of your home, roof decking supports all the roof structure above. If damaged or rotten, it can drastically affect the structural integrity of your home. In some cases, even small issues with roof decking have resulted in massive property damage.

Everything You Need to Know About Roof Decking

What are different types of roof decking

Most roof decking is made from plywood, or a plywood composite known as Oriented Strand Board (OSB). OSB is composed of intertwining wood strands bonded together by a waterproof resin and is a popular option due to its low price point. Plywood, while a bit more expensive than OSB, is much denser and provides greater protection against moisture.

What causes roof decking to rot?

The number one cause of roof failure is the accumulation of water. Water is not only the leading cause of most leaks, but also may lead to structural degradation. Since roof decking is made from wood and wood composites, it is particularly susceptible to rotting and water damage when continuously exposed to sustained or excess moisture.

Water seeps into your roofing system in many ways. Old and worn-out roofing shingles, overflowing roof gutters or spouts, torn flashing around chimneys, ice dams or snow accumulation during the winter season, excessive humidity and rising heat in the attic, and inadequate roof ventilation can all allow water and moisture to slowly make its way into your roofing system and lead to rotted roof decking. In most cases, water penetrating your roofing system can cause damage in a very short amount of time. The water will eventually find its way into your attic, which may show signs of discoloration or rotting joists. Eventually, the ceiling below your attic will be soaked with water, and the wood floor below that will begin to rot as well.

“Not repairing a leak as soon as you notice it can lead to mold, damage to the structure of your home, water damage, and even fire if water comes in contact with electrical wiring,” Carlos de León, vice president of the León Group, told Realtor.com.

What are the signs of rotted roof decking?

There are many signs of rotted roof decking:

  • Roof leaks
  • Wet spots on the ceiling
  • Stains on interior walls
  • Peeling wallpaper
  • Water stains on rafters
  • Mold and mildew in your attic
  • Sagging ceiling or roofline

One of the most common signs that a roof’s decking is damaged is a roof leak. Homeowners can often spot attic leaks early on when they notice stains or discoloration on the ceiling. Symptoms of an attic leak include black mold, damp cracked ceilings, and warped joists, ceiling crevices or sagging floors. A quick inspection of the attic might uncover dark water stains on the rafters or in the insulation, or even light passing through holes in the roof. If left undetected, mold and mildew will develop in the walls, ceilings, and insulation.

Sagging ceilings and rooflines are a tell-tale sign that water is soaking and damaging the ceiling structure. Soaked or waterlogged decking can warp, which can lead to a bowed or wavy ceiling and roofline.

When it comes to your roof, you can never be too careful. Since your roof is consistently exposed to various weather conditions, the National Roofing Contractors Association recommends that you have your roof inspected twice a year—once in the fall, after hot weather has subsided, and once in the spring, after the danger of ice and snow is behind you. You should also have your roof inspected after a big storm, hurricane, or other potentially damaging weather event.

Should roof decking be repaired or replaced?

Think about the last time your roof needed repairs or replacement. Did you opt for a quick patch, or did you do the job properly by replacing the entire deck system? Most homeowners don’t extend their roof’s shelf life by doing a quick patch job. When it comes to rot, roof deck repair isn’t an option — It must be fully replaced. The longer you go without replacing roof decking that’s been damaged, the more problems it can create, leading to costly repairs and more mold and mildew.

While replacing a roof is an expensive undertaking, it’s certainly less costly in the long run than replacing stained drywall, waterlogged framing and joists, or water-damaged electrical systems.  If you see any signs of rot, call an expert from Matlock Roofing to help you stay ahead of the problem. It may be time to replace your roof.  

Matlock Roofing uses the Integrity Roof System, which includes Diamond Deck high-performance underlayment to work with your shingles to protect your roof deck. In addition, products like WinterGuard® waterproof underlayment provide an extra layer of protection at vulnerable places like the edges and seams of the roofing system where water is most likely to penetrate.

When installed as part of an Integrity Roof System, these products create effective ice and water barriers. Matlock Roofing’s SureStart PLUS® roofing warranty, which can cover your roof up to 50 years, provides another level of comfort and security.

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