The decking, which is a structural component located right below your shingles, is integral to keeping the entire roofing system durable and well-performing. However, like most components of your home, it is also susceptible to damage. It might not seem like a big deal, especially if you’re confident with the materials that make up your roof. But if left unaddressed, decking damage can compromise the structural integrity of your roof and lead to extensive issues.
Here’s what you need to know about decking damage and how to deal with it.
What Is a Roof Decking?
The roof decking, also known as sheathing, connects the roof to your house. It’s the foundation of your roofing system and the base that lays on top of the structural trusses. It helps cover the rafters and supports the weight of the roofing shingles. Roof decking is typically made of plywood or a plywood composite known as oriented strand board (OSB). Plywood is made of thin layers of wood glued together while OSB is composed of intertwining wood strands bonded together by a waterproof resin.
Although it may not be visible, the roof decking is an essential part of your roof’s structure, especially since it ties all the components of your roofing system. As such, roofing contractors will make sure that it is strong enough to carry the weight of the shingles during installation while also being flexible enough to slightly give in to high winds and underload.
Moreover, the roof decking moderates the moisture level in your home. It keeps rain and snow out and allows excess moisture to evaporate through your attic. In most residential homes, you might see a thin layer of engineered material called roof underlayment installed between the decking and shingles. This roof layer assists with moisture protection and ventilation.
How Can Roof Decking Get Damaged?
The roof decking is a vulnerable roofing component, and it can get damaged because of heavy loads. The installation of solar panels, for instance, can add extra weight to your roof that can cause your decking to warp or split. Another example is heavy snow loads during winter. Snow may build up on your roof, and if it remains there for a long period, it can eventually damage the decking.
However, one issue that roofing contractors recommend watching out for is signs of excessive moisture. Whether it stems from insufficient attic ventilation or clogged gutters, moisture buildup can cause your decking to rot.
What Causes Rotted Roof Decking?
The roof decking is made from wood and wood composites, making it especially susceptible to rot and water damage when exposed to sustained or excessive moisture. Water can make its way through your roofing system in many ways, from excessive humidity and rising heat in the attic to torn flashing around chimneys. No matter the reason, water can penetrate your roof decking and cause problems.
One of the most common signs of damaged roof decking is leaks. If you notice cracked paint or stains on your ceiling or interior walls, your roof may have suffered a leak. Make sure you get in touch with a local roof repair technician to have this issue fixed immediately.
Keep in mind that your roof is constantly exposed to a wide variety of weather conditions. This is why having your roof inspected twice a year – one in fall and another in spring – is imperative. After a big storm, hurricane, or other damaging weather events, it’s also a smart idea to schedule a roof inspection. This way, you make sure your roofing system is free from moisture damage.
Should You Repair or Replace Rotted Roof Decking?
In the event that your roofer finds rot on your roof decking, simple repairs no longer cut it – you may need a roof replacement instead. The longer you go without having it replaced, the more problems coming your way in the long run. This may put your roof at risk of potential structural damage and even lead to more mold and mildew growth.
Additionally, if you’re planning to get new shingles, roofing experts may recommend replacing your roof decking as well. Loose or missing shingles usually mean that water is seeping through your decking. By replacing your decking along with your shingles, you can prevent rot from occurring in the first place. Also, since your roofers need a solid base to install the shingles, they may find it easier to replace your decking in the process. Don’t forget to ask your roofer for options regarding weatherproofing to keep moisture out of the attic and provide an extra layer of protection.
How Can You Protect Your Roof Decking?
Prioritizing proper roof maintenance is the best way to protect your roof decking from rot and other issues. In addition to scheduling regular roof inspections, you should keep your gutters and downspouts clean. If they are damaged, be sure to have them repaired as soon as possible. Clogged gutters and downspouts may contribute to water buildup on your roof and cause rot. In addition to that, keep a watchful eye on your shingles and replace them as needed. Since they are located above your roof decking, they serve as your first line of protection against moisture damage.
Making sure the attic has proper ventilation is another way to preserve and even extend your decking’s lifespan. Adequate vents help ensure air circulation to minimize moisture and heat buildup. With these, you avoid the premature deterioration of your roof’s important components, including your shingles and the decking.
For your roof replacement needs, turn to Neumann Construction. We specialize in installing a wide range of roofing systems, including asphalt shingle roofs. With our highly skilled crews, we provide the highest quality of workmanship and products on every job. We are a GAF-certified roofing contractor, so you can have peace of mind knowing a trained, knowledgeable roofer will be handling your project when you hire us. We are also fully licensed and insured, so you don’t have to concern yourself with liabilities like medical costs when we’re installing your roof.
Call us today at (218) 270-0009, or fill out our online contact form to set an appointment. We proudly serve homeowners in Brainerd, MN, and the surrounding communities.