Roofing systems are carefully built with multiple components to provide your home with durable and long-lasting protection from the elements. Roof decking is one of the support structures in your roof that maintains its form, acts as a base that carries the load of the shingles and performs other important functions. It is placed between your roof’s trusses and the shingle layers.
The roof decking can be damaged in different ways and can affect the look and performance of your roof. Knowing the signs of roof decking damage is helpful in maintaining your roof.
In this post, roofing and siding expert Pro Quality Construction Inc. discusses the signs of roof decking damage that you should look for and what you can do to address it.
Purpose of Roof Decks
Placed between the trusses and the shingle layers, roof decks serve multiple purposes in a roofing system. Primarily acting as a support layer for the underlayment and shingles, roof decks also provide additional protection and stability to your roof. They also give your roofing system better insulation and ventilation. Roof decks must be strong enough to bear the weight of both the underlayment and the roof shingles, resilient against constant exposure, and flexible enough against strong winds.
Different Types of Roof Decks
There are several types of roof decking available for residential homes, and each of them has its own advantages. Here are some of the most common types of roof decking for residential properties:
This decking material is highly preferred among roofers and homeowners due to its reliable performance and affordability. Wood decks are built using plywood, oriented strand board, or other durable wooden boards and planks that can form the layer between the trusses and the shingles. Wood decks are resilient against most elements, deliver excellent performance in different climates and are durable enough to support most residential roof designs. Furthermore, most roofing contractors are trained to install this type of roof decking.
This type of roof decking is made of concrete, which makes it extremely durable and lasts longer than most other types of roof decking. It comes in three forms — cast-in-place, post-tensioned and precast. Cast-in-place means that the concrete is mixed and poured on-site and allowed to set. Post-tensioned materials are prestressed steel cables in plastic sleeves; they are placed down before the concrete is poured into place. Finally, precast concrete decking is manufactured somewhere else and brought on-site for easier installation. However, the biggest disadvantage to this material is its heat conductivity, which can make rooms below it hotter than usual. It is also permanent, so customization is limited. Any roof design changes can be costly.
Steel roof decks are manufactured as panels and placed onto the roofing system. They are lightweight and typically require no additional reinforcement. This type of roof decking is also durable to the point that it can contribute to the overall stability of the roof by efficiently distributing weight. The disadvantage of this decking material is that it needs quality fabrication to be reliable. It also requires skilled roofers to install it as any error in the installation can quickly lead to major problems. Moreover, steel roof decking has the highest initial cost among other common roof decking materials.
Signs of Roof Decking Damage
Although most types of roof decking are durable, they are still susceptible to damage and deterioration. Here are some of the signs that indicate possible roof decking damage:
- Unusually high heating and cooling costs
- Pest infestations
- Premature wear on the shingles
- Different forms of moisture damage
- Sagging roof line caused by wood rot
- Mold in the attic
- Rotting roof trusses
- Water stains on ceilings and walls
- Leaking issues that are beyond repair
How Does Roof Decking Get Damaged?
While it is resilient, residential roof decking is still susceptible to the effects of extreme weather, heavy loads, excessive heat and strong winds. Wear and tear as well as constant exposure to moisture and the UV rays of the sun also significantly affect roof decking. Most residential roofs are meant to last between 20 to 25 years, so roof age also plays an important factor in the performance and longevity of your roof decking.
The most common culprits behind roof decking damage are heavy loads caused by improper reroofing or excessive snow, moisture damage due to inefficient roof ventilation, and penetrations in the shingles and underlayment where water can enter and rot the boards. Faulty repair by unskilled contractors can also lead to damage to your roof decking.
How Is Roof Decking Damage Fixed?
When you have roof decking damage, it’s ideal to have all the boards replaced to get the best results. Repair is only applicable to minor forms of damage and is not a cost-effective solution, especially when there are wood rot and moisture issues. Moreover, replacing only the affected boards can cause inconsistencies in your roof’s performance and pose risks that may be difficult to detect. Replacing the entire roof decking will also give you better results in insulation, protection, load bearing and overall performance.
How Can I Protect My Roof Decking?
The most effective way to protect your roof decking is to have regular roofing inspections and maintenance. Using high-quality shingles and underlayment can also prolong your roof decking’s service life. However, choose materials that are both lightweight and high-performance. Sacrificing shingle and underlayment performance for the sake of having a lighter weight will just end up costing you more in the long run. You should also regularly clean out your gutters to prevent clogging, which can lead to leaking issues as well as ice dams during winter.
Request a Roofing Quote Today
Make your roof last longer and perform better through regular inspections and maintenance as well as prompt roof repair. Pro Quality Construction Inc. is a siding and roofing contractor that provides high-quality services to both residential and commercial clients. We also carry out home improvements and storm damage repairs. To schedule a consultation, call us at (844) 499-7878 or fill out our contact form.