Typically made of plywood or composite material, roof decking or sheathing is installed between the shingles and the structure of the roof. It functions as an inner layer that connects the shingles to the trusses and rafters. Furthermore, roofers use the roof deck as an anchor on which shingles are nailed and secured in place. Without a roof deck in good condition, the integrity of your shingles as well as the entire roofing system itself could be compromised. That said, make sure to always include the roof deck in roof inspections and maintenance routines. If signs of damage are present on the roof deck, experts often recommend replacing the entire material instead of trying to fix it.
In this post, residential and commercial roofing expert Atrium Roofing shares more information about roof decking and why it’s best to replace damaged roof decking.
What Issues Are Commonly Associated With Damaged Roof Decking?
A damaged roof deck can cause further trouble for your roofing system, especially if the problem isn’t addressed right away. Some of the most common issues that result from a damaged roof sheathing are the following:
- Water leaks
- Water stains on ceilings and walls
- Molds in the attic
- Rot in the roof trusses
- Premature wear of roof shingles
- Insect infestations
- Unexplained increase in heating and cooling costs
What Causes Roof Decking Damage?
Although the roof deck is hidden and not visible from the ground, there are various ways in which the material could get damaged. For instance, roof decking damage in areas where shingles are missing is likely a result of roof aging or exposure to high winds or the sun’s UV rays.
Furthermore, roof decking can also be damaged from heavy snow loads. This usually happens when the snow has been sitting on the roof for an extended period. Another common reason behind roof decking damage is excessive interior moisture. A humid attic is usually a result of insufficient ventilation in the attic. Given enough time, this can trigger warping of the roof deck. A roof deck made of relatively thin material is particularly susceptible to this kind of damage.
Sustained or excess moisture can also cause rotting and water damage since roof decking is typically made from wood or wood composites. Take note of the various ways that water can seep into your roof system and regularly check for any signs of leaks or water infiltration. Pay close attention to your gutters and spouts and make sure they are not overflowing or clogged. Also, look out for old or worn shingles, torn flashing around chimneys, excessive humidity and heat in the attic, inadequate roof ventilation, and ice dams or snow buildup.
If you plan on installing solar panels on your roof, make sure that your roof has the capacity to bear the extra weight of the solar panels. Roof-mounted solar panels can be heavy. And if your roof is not built to carry that much weight, your roof deck could split or warp.
What Are the Signs of a Damaged Roof Deck?
Ideally, you should contact a roofing contractor to know the condition of your roof deck or to check for signs of wear or damage. But here are some ways to easily spot roof decking damage without climbing on your roof:
- Missing shingles
- Curling or buckling shingles
- Roof sagging (visible from the interior or exterior)
- Visible holes in your roof
- Mold or mildew growth in the attic
- Significant loss of shingle granules
- Deterioration around chimneys, vent pipes, skylights and other fixtures on your roof
Should Roof Decking Be Repaired or Replaced?
There is only so much that a repair could do for your roofing system, particularly for your roof decking. That’s why professional roofers often recommend replacing the roof deck right away instead of trying to repair it. This is especially the case if the problem is rot. While a repair may work for certain types of roof decking damage, there is no guarantee that your roof decking will remain in good condition for a long time. That said, it would be more practical to have your roof deck replaced instead of being repaired. The longer you hold off replacing your damaged roof deck, the more problems it can create and the more expensive the repairs will be.
Should the Roof Deck Be Replaced Too When Getting New Shingles?
If you’re replacing old shingles, you might want to have your roof deck replaced at the same time as well. For example, if you are dealing with loose or missing shingles, water has likely seeped into your decking, compromising its quality. With this in mind, it would be best to change your roof deck too so that you can avoid roof deck damage and rot. If you replace your shingles without changing the roof deck, you might find yourself calling up your roofer again to deal with roof decking damage and end up doubling your roofing expenses.
How Can the Roof Decking Be Protected?
To ensure adequate protection for your roof decking, you should invest in a comprehensive roof maintenance program. Below are some of the things that you should do for the upkeep of your roofing:
- Have your roof inspected regularly and call up your roofer for an extra inspection after a severe weather event.
- Replace the roof shingles as needed. Never delay repairs so that you can avoid extensive damage.
- Ensure that your gutters are also well-maintained. Remember that your gutter system keeps water off your roofing. If your gutters are clogged or damaged, they won’t be able to do their job and your roof might end up getting damaged by water.
If you need trustworthy and dependable roofers near me, Atrium Roofing is one of your best options in the area. Our team is composed of qualified and experienced individuals, who will make sure your project is done to the highest standard. We offer a range of services including roof replacement, gutter installation, insulation and more. Call us at (210) 806-7171 or fill out our contact form to request a free estimate.