Roof Decking

Roof Decking Information

How long has it been since you have taken time to check out the plywood or OSB decking on your roof?

Often damage to the roof decking on a home can go unnoticed because it is not visible. Damage could be caused by shingles being blown off allowing water to be absorbed into the wood decking.

There may be rotting, swelling, or cracking. You may have even had your shingles replaced a few times on your home but never questioned whether or not the plywood or OSB decking needed to be replaced. However the decking on your roof is very important to the structure of your home.

You can call a professional roofer like to do an inspection for you. You can also reach Fireman Roofing on Alignable.

Plywood and OSB Decking

What is the difference in plywood and OSB. Plywood is several thin layers of wood glued and pressed together to form a single 4’X8’ sheet of wood. OSB (oriented strand board ) is similar to particle board. It is an engineered wood formed by adding adhesives and then compressing layers of wood strands in orientations ( formed and cut into 4’X8’ sheets ).

Plywood boasts of being stronger and smoother for decking roofs. When it comes to a wet test, plywood can get wet and the plys will come unglued and cause problems. Whereas, OSB is more cost effective compared to plywood, but when OSB gets wet the stands tend to swell and it weakens the board. They both have pros and cons for the homeowner.

Replacing Your Decking

To keep your home in tip top condition your roof decking should be changed each third or fourth time you have new shingles installed, or when you notice damage or rotting on or in the plywood or OSB. In certain parts of the country severe thunder storms with large hail occur regularly each year. Which means many homes may have hail or wind damage bad enough that the shingles have to be replaced regularly as well.

One of our customers had to replace his shingles four times in less than ten years. The amount of damage inflicted by the roofing nails after new shingles were installed several times left the decking inferior and substandard. Needless to say his roof decking no longer had the integrity left for another re-roof.

Be Careful on Inspections

Taking a walk on your roof can be a good way to tell if decking needs to be replaced. Always use caution and don’t take chances. Because of how steep the pitch is on some roofs they are just too dangerous to try and walk on. In this case an experienced roofer should be called to do an inspection for you. But if it is safe, you can walk back and forth on the decking to see if it has a hard solid surface.

If on the other hand, if the decking feels either mushy or you can hear it cracking ( likely due to being old dry and brittle ) then it probably needs to be replaced. Or at least the compromised sheets need replacing.

Your home is probably the most expensive investment you’ll ever make. Make sure that investment is solid from top to bottom.

Roofing Framing Styles

When building a roof, it is important to understand how the “pitch” of the angle of the roof functions. The vast majority of homes are dramatically pitched. Even when a roof appears to be flat, there is still a slight angle to it. Here is a little information about roofs concerning pitches and framing:

Four Basic Roof Types

There are about four basic pitched roofs: gabled, hipped, shed, and mansard. Perhaps the most common of them all, the gabled roof, is most easily recognized for its triangular shape. Gabled roofs are excellent choices in areas with heavy snow or rainfall, because water and snow slides off with easy. Gabled roofs also allow for good ventilation in the home.

These roofs however are not recommended for areas that have frequent high winds or hurricanes. This is because it tends to be weaker in structure, and it will possibly collapse in on the home.

Another popular roof is the hipped roof. Hipped roofs have four equal sloped sides,that join together to form a ridge at the top. These roofs are more durable than most, and certainly more stable than gabled roofs. However, due to the complexity of its structure and more materials needed it is more expensive to construct.

The shed roof has only one slope. This type of roof is not normally used for the entire home. Most of the time,the shed roof is used when it is necessary or desired to build an add on to the home. However, it is not unheard of to have a shed roof for your home. Shed roofs are sometimes used to roof the entire house, and it is an attractive and quirkier choice. Though take into consideration that if the roof is pitched too high, one side of the home is at risk of having an uncomfortably low ceiling.

A mansard roof has four sloped sides that form another roof shape on bottom. These roofs can contain another living quarter or a large attic, which adds value to your home. These roofs are not ideal for regions that experience heavy snowfall however, as it will pile up.

Stick & Truss Framing

Moving onto frames, there are two methods usually used to build the frame of your home. One is called a “stick”frame. The other is called the “truss” frame.

When using a stick frame, every piece of the roof is built while at and on the construction site. Each of these pieces are stuck together piece by piece, therefore earning the name “stick” frame as it is quite literally stuck together.

The truss frame is a tad more complicated, though normally more sturdy and can handle heavier and more lumber. Before ever coming to the construction site, a truss is built, which pre-determines what the pitch of the building will be. Attached to the trusses is the ridge beam, which runs down the home long ways at the peak of the pitch.The rafters meet at the ridge beam to help support the pitch of the home.

The framing of the roof depends on the structure and the material used to roof the house. Be sure to choose a reputable contractor to construct your home!