What is Roof Decking?

Your roof is more than the layer of shingles, copper, or slate you see when you look at your home from the street. A quality roofing system has multiple layers, each of which is important in protecting you, your family, and your belongings from the elements. 

What is Roof Decking?

Underneath your roof’s finish is one of the most important parts – the roof decking. Read on to learn what roof decking is, its role in your roof system, and how to detect signs of damage.

What is Roof Decking?

Also referred to as “roof sheathing,” roof decking is a term that refers to the layer of lumber that makes up the frame of your roof. The decking’s layer of wooden boards provides something for your roof’s underlayment and finish to attach to.

There are two types of roof decking, plank decking, and sheet decking. Plank decking is much older and was popular before plywood came on the market. Instead of large sheets, plank decking has rectangular wooden boards. These boards are either 1x6s or 1x8s.

The other type of roof decking is sheet decking which is more common in homes today. Sheet decking comes in two forms: plywood and OSB. OSB is the most popular type, made of wood chips and strips of wood that manufacturers compress together.

Regardless of the type of roof decking you choose, allow a roofing professional to install it. Having roof decking installed the right way ensures your roof system has a stable foundation to attach to. It also reduces the likelihood your roof will suffer damage.

When Should I Replace My Roof Decking?

No hard and fast rule determines when you should replace your roof decking. The roof decking will be brand new if you have a new home. If you’ve purchased an existing property, the decking will be of mixed quality since different parts of the roof decking age at different rates.

If any part of your roof’s finish suffers damage, the decking becomes exposed to the elements. The exposure expedites the aging process. Even though your roof has a membrane that protects the decking, exposure to the elements can lead to damage.

When you hire a roofing contractor to install a new roof on your home, they will inspect your current roof decking. In most cases, there will be some areas in your roof decking that need replacing. For example, you’ll need to replace any boards that show rot or water damage before your contractor can install a new roof.

How Much Does New Roof Decking Cost?

Lumber prices have been increasing for several years, making new roof decking more expensive. If you plan to use sheet decking, you’ll have to choose between traditional plywood and OSB. OSB plywood, which is more durable, has an average cost of $49 per sheet. A single sheet is 4 feet tall and 8 feet wide.

Traditional plywood is much harder to price, as many types and thicknesses exist. Plywood prices can range from $12 to $55 per sheet. It is important to note that plywood costing as little as $12 is not suited for roofing.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)FAQ

How long should roof decking last?

Most roofs last at least 20 years. Some sheets of plywood that make up your roof decking may last longer, while others may suffer damage earlier. A durable roofing material, such as slate, increases the lifespan of your roof decking.

What is the purpose of roof decking?

The primary purpose of roof decking is to provide a foundation for the rest of your roofing system. Roof decking also helps hold your home’s walls together, providing structural integrity.

Should I repair or replace my own roof decking?

If you notice damage to your roof decking, you should contact a roofing contractor as soon as possible. Trying to repair your own roof decking is dangerous, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. Not only could you put yourself in danger, but you may cause additional damage to your roof.

Final Thoughts

Even though you rarely see your roof’s decking, it’s one of the most critical layers. Not only does roof decking provide structural stability to your home, but it also supports the roof finish you’ve chosen. 

If you believe your roof decking is damaged, contact a roofing contractor as soon as possible.