Roof Decking

Roof Decking

When re-roofing your home, It is not unusual for homeowners to focus on the more superficial aspects of the roof.  It’s important to keep in mind that decking is the foundation of your roof.  Thought should be put into what type of roof deck you are going to apply and who will apply it, since a bad installation can lead to a rapidly deteriorating roof.

Roofs need decking to provide the structure of the roof.  The roof deck is the layer which lies between the trusses and the joists, and the insulative layer of a typical roof.  It can be constructed out of sheets or out of boards.  The roof deck creates a smooth surface to which roof felt and the finishing material of choice can be applied. The roof deck must be strong enough to withstand high winds and the weight of the roofer who will be walking upon it during installations and repairs.

Roof decks made from exposed boards can add style to a living space while equally providing ventilation. Tongue-in-groove decking “is necessary in some special-effects ceilings. It is needed when the ceiling is exposed and the underside of the decking is visible from below or inside the room,” writes Mark Miller in “Miller’s Guide to Framing and Roofing. “One good thing about board roofs though, is that they can be repaired with plywood. The plywood must be the same thickness as the old boards and rated for exterior use, Chris Marshall writes in “Black and Decker Complete Guide to Roofing, Siding and Trim.”

The most popular roof deck style is sheet goods. 4′ x 8′ panels of oriented-strand board (OSB) make up the majority of residential roof decking.  Commercial buildings will sometimes have metal or concrete decking, but these aren’t popular materials for residential roofs. Other types of roof decking include double tee and grancrete encapsulated polystyrene.

When installing roof decking, builders nail 3/8-inch or 1/2-inch plywood decking every 6 inches over roof trusses spaced 24 inches on center for residential roofs. If your roof is in a hurricane or high wind area however, nails every 3 inches are recommended.

Belliveau, Jeannette. “Types of Roof Decking |” EHow | How to Videos, Articles & More – Trusted Advice for the Curious Life | Web. 20 Sept. 2011.

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