When you look up at your roof, you primarily see shingles – or perhaps metal sheets or concrete tile. Have you ever thought about what lies beneath your primary roof material? Regardless of what the outer layer of your roof is made from, this material sits on top of your roof deck. Roof decks are the major structural component of a roof, and many homeowners don’t know as much about it as they should.
The Roof Deck: Defined
When a roof is put on a home, builders first install the rafters. If you venture into your attic and look at the ceiling, these are the boards you see. The rafters exist to hold the roof up, but you can’t attach shingles or tiles directly to the rafters. First, roofers must build a flat, solid surface on top of the rafters. That flat, solid surface is known as the roof deck.
Traditionally, roof decks have been built with wood. Many are made with plywood, which is affordable, durable, and comes in large sheets. Recently, many roofers have begun using more advanced materials, such as concrete composite or OSB, to form roof decks. But if your roof deck is over a decade or two old, it’s probably made from standard plywood.
Once the roof deck is in place, your roofers cover it with an underlayment for extra protection. They also install ice & water shield at this time. Finally, they can lay down the shingles or other roof materials.
The Role of the Roof Deck
Your roof deck keeps your roof rigid, strong, and secure. It also offers protection from the elements if your roof happens to lose shingles or if there’s a leak. Water won’t immediately enter your home; it has to get past the roof deck.
However, a roof deck can only do its job if it is in good shape. If the roof deck cracks or begins rotting, then it will start letting water into your attic. There are also concerns about the structural soundness of the roof at this point. A rotting roof deck is more likely to crack and collapse, causing damage to the rest of the home.
Signs of Deck Damage
It may be evident from the outside if you have extensive roof deck damage. If you look across the roof and see some areas where it’s sagging or looks depressed, your roof deck is likely cracked or rotting.
Less-serious damage can’t always be spotted from outside. If you go into your attic, though, you may notice spots of water, mold, or rot on the ceiling or rafters. This means water is coming through the roof deck. If the roof deck is not already damaged, it is well on its way to developing rot.
Another sign of roof deck damage is stains or wet spots on your upstairs ceilings. The paint or wallpaper near the tops of walls on your second floor may also start bubbling or peeling.
To fix a damaged roof deck, roofers need to remove and replace the damaged part of the deck. First, they must remove the outer roof material, such as shingles. This is an extensive repair; most roofers will recommend a complete roof replacement if you need roof deck work. If the roof deck is rotting and damaged, the rest of your roof isn’t in great shape, either.
If you suspect your roof deck is damaged, it’s wise to contact a roofer right away. This sort of damage can get worse quickly. If a branch lands on your roof or a strong wind blows through, the damaged part of the deck could collapse, causing extensive damage.
There are a few things you can do to keep your roof deck strong and in good repair. First, keep a close eye on your outer roof material, whether shingles, tile, or metal panels. Call a roofer immediately if you notice any missing shingles, lifted panels, or cracked tiles. Prompt repairs will prevent water from coming into contact with the roof deck and causing rot. Also, keep your gutters clear and in good shape. Clogged gutters can allow water to remain on the roof, damaging your outer roof material and the decking.
The roof deck is a major structural component of your roof, and roof deck damage can be detrimental to your home’s overall safety and stability. Take steps to keep your roof deck in good repair, and if you notice any signs of damage, contact Mark Kaufman Roofing in North Port, FL. Our experienced roofers can evaluate the damage and recommend the best roof deck repair or replacement approach.