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Roofing Tips, Tricks and Ideas

Not Replacing Damaged Roof Decking Could Be a Big Mistake

Published by Pickard Roofing at

When building owners look for problems on their roof, the most common area to look at are the shingles. If the shingles look good, they feel satisfied knowing that their roof is in good condition. While shingles are an important part of your home's roof, they are not the only item that needs inspecting. The roof’s decking sits just underneath the shingles, and it’s a critical component to the roof's wellness and overall lifespan.

As a homeowner or building owner, it's important for you to know what the roof deck is, what purpose it serves, and what signs of damage to look for. The more you know about your roof and how to care for it, the easier it will be to maintain. Performing repairs or replacement to the roof deck, especially during a re-roofing project, can help prolong the life of the roof by many years. Here's what you need to know.


Roof Decking is the Foundation of Your Roofing System

Your home's roof decking is the part of your roof that covers the rafters and supports the shingles. Roof decking is typically made from plywood, individual boards, or OSB (oriented strand board) cut to size and fitted directly over the rafters. It's then covered by an ice and water barrier, underlayment, and then shingles are installed on top.

You can't see roof decking, but it's very important. If your roof leaks, the roof deck may get wet and stay wet for a long time. Over time, water intrusion can cause the decking to rot, allowing more water to enter your home through the attic. Rotting wood from water intrusion can cause structural damage to your home. By the time the problem has been identified, there could be significant damage to your home. Poor ventilation can also be the underlying problem of rotting wood and should be addressed.

Some people choose not to repair or replace roof decking before installing a new roof. Damaged roof decking may not outlast the new shingles or roofing material placed atop them. This is a problem for all roof types, including commercial, residential, flat roofs and pitched roofs.


Signs of Damaged Roof Decking

Knowing the signs of damaged roof decking is important. Depending on the kind of damage, you may be able to see the signs of damage to your decking even from the inside of your home or commercial structure. Look for signs of a roof leak.

  • Bulging paint
  • Stains on the ceiling
  • Water leaking from the attic
  • Sagging ceiling
  • Sagging roofline

The National Roofing Contractors Association (NRCA) recommends having your roof inspected twice per year, in the fall and spring. Roofing problems tend to compound themselves over time, getting worse rather than better, and causing more damage the longer they're allowed to persist. Getting your roof inspected can identify these problems, so you can get them repaired.


Not Repairing and Replacing Roof Decking Could Be a Mistake

To save money or time, some building owners and homeowners choose to lay down new roofing material directly over their old roof decking. Damaged wood needs to be replaced. If your roof deck is rotten, there are many problems that could take hold on your roof, including mold, mildew and pest damage. The longer you wait to repair your roof, the costlier the fix.

Saving Money Now Means Spending More Later

While it's important to spend within your means when repairing your roof, deferring important repairs like replacement of roof decking may shorten the service life of the roof. This could mean that your roof will leak years down the road, leading to expensive repairs. Typically wood decking replacement is localized and only sections of damaged wood are replaced and not the entire decking. 

Know Which Roof Decking Material to Use

There are multiple types of decking material that your contractor may suggest during your re-roofing project, including plywood and OSB. Don't make your decision based on cost alone. Plywood roof decking is better than OSB because it's denser and provides better moisture protection. In addition, high-quality underlayment like Certainteed RoofRunner helps ensure your roof will be stronger and sturdier.


Call North Carolina's Roofing Expert

With over 90 years of experience, Pickard Roofing is the premier roofing contractor in North Carolina. We guarantee your roof replacement will be done right the first time. Renew your roof with Pickard Roofing today. Call to make an appointment for a consultation.


At Pickard Roofing, we think Design. Craft. Renew. We are experienced in all types of roofing systems- and provide the right roofing design and selective craftsmanship for renewing our customer’s assets. We invite sustainable building customers to give us a call for your free evaluation. For over 90 years Pickard Roofing Company has installed countless metal, tile, slate, TPO, EPDM, and all types of shingle roofing in the Triangle. Our services include residential, commercial, custom architectural metal fabrication, and historical renovation.