We spend a lot of time thinking about our shingles. Are they clean? In good shape? Do they look great from the ground? But what’s underneath those shingles? Roof decking is the foundation that keeps your shingles supported. Sound, high-quality roof decking is essential to keeping your house dry and your roof in great shape.
What Is Roof Decking?
Decking (also called sheathing) is the layer of plywood or composite material between the structure of your roof (trusses and rafters) and the shingles. It’s not visible from the street, but it’s an essential component of your roof’s structure. Decking panels form the inner layer that connects the “bones” of your roof with the shingles that are so important for protection against the elements and curb appeal. It’s an anchor for your shingles and the nails that hold them in place. The most common decking materials are plywood and OSB. Plywood is made of thin layers of wood glued together. Oriented Strand Board (OSB) is an engineered wood made up of wood strands or flakes held together with adhesive.
How Can I Tell If I Need to Replace My Decking?
Water is your roof decking’s nemesis. If it gets damaged, it’s usually because of rain or snow and water-related rot. Some of the signs your roof decking may be damaged include:
- A leaky roof.
- Stains on the ceiling or in the walls.
- A sagging ceiling or roofline.
- Holes in the roof.
- Mold or mildew in the attic.
- Damage around flashing or chimneys.
- Significant changes in heating or cooling bills.
If you think you have damage to your decking, it’s best to call a professional roofing company for an inspection. You don’t want to put yourself at risk by getting on a roof with potential structural damage. However, you can take a preliminary look without getting on your roof. Check the attic for any damage visible from the inside, and see if you can spot any visible damage from the ground. Then call a trusted roofer to take a closer look.
Should I Replace My Decking When I Get New Shingles?
If you’re getting new shingles, it doesn’t always mean you need to replace your decking. But it often makes sense to replace them at the same time. If you have loose or missing shingles, water may be getting onto your decking, which can lead to damage and rot. Your roofer needs a solid base on which to install the shingles, so getting the work done together can make the most sense. If you decide to replace both shingles and decking, talk with your roofing company about new options in weatherproofing materials for installation between decking and shingles. We now have terrific new materials that let moisture out of the attic while providing an extra layer of protection from the elements.
How Can I Protect My Roof Decking?
Protecting your roof decking is really about proper overall roof maintenance. Here are a few steps that can help:
- Make sure your gutters are clean and in good repair.
- Replace shingles as needed.
- Get your roof inspected regularly and schedule an extra inspection if you’re concerned after a major weather event.
Concerned About Your Roof Decking? Call the Pros
It’s been a blustery spring in Northern Virginia. Wind events have been frequent, and shingles are flying, exposing decking to the elements. If you have concerns about leaks or other signs of decking damage, DryHome offers a free roof evaluation. We’re all looking at some extra time at home this spring and summer. Let’s get every aspect of your roof secure before summer’s heat and moisture rolls in. We can help keep cooling bills low and your house dry and comfortable all summer long.