What is Roof Decking? Everything You Need to Know

What is Roof Decking? Everything You Need to Know

August 29, 2023

When it comes to roofing, most people think of the shingles, metal sheets, TPO, or other materials that make up the exterior of the roof. While this is an important part of the longevity and appearance of your roof, there’s actually more to it than that. 

Your entire roof is a system of different parts that work together to protect, insulate, and complement your building. That’s why when you’re considering repairing or replacing your roofing, your roof decking is also an important thing to consider.

We want to help you understand the different parts of your roof and their purpose, as well as how to keep them in tip-top shape. 

So, let’s get into everything you need to know about roof decking.

What is Roof Decking?

Roof decking is a fundamental yet often overlooked component of any roofing system. It serves as the base for other roofing materials and provides structural support, insulation, and protection against weather and the outside. 

There are different types of roof decking out there, all with different uses and properties that cater to different architectural and environmental needs. 

Plywood Decking

Plywood is a widely used decking material because it is generally cost-effective, widely available, and relatively easy to install. It comes in various thicknesses and can be treated to resist moisture and decay.

Plywood decking is most common in residential roofing and is a lightweight decking option.

OSB (Oriented Strand Board) Decking

OSB is another popular roof decking material. It is made by compressing wooden strands with resins, creating a durable material. OSB is also quite popular, as it is similar to plywood. The only potential drawback of OSB decking is its susceptibility to moisture damage.

OSB is also commonly used in residential buildings and is cheaper than most decking options.

Metal Decking

Metal roof decking is typically made from steel or aluminum and it is commonly found on commercial and industrial buildings. It has an excellent strength-to-weight ratio, is very durable, and is fire-resistant.

Metal decking is common on flat or low-slope roofs and is usually used on commercial buildings.

Concrete Decking

Concrete decking is exceptionally fire-resistant and durable. They are commonly used on large buildings and multi-story structures. There are also lightweight concrete decking options available.

Concrete decking is less common than other decking systems, but it is quite versatile.

Wood Plank Decking

Wood plank decking is most commonly found on older buildings and is not usually used on buildings today. While a popular decking choice in the past, it is less favorable now. Plank decking is prone to decay, distortion, and moisture damage.

Most roofing companies won’t replace a decking system with wood plank decking because it is less durable than most decking options.

When Should Roof Decking Be Replaced?

After a bad storm, substantial leaks, or any other major damage that indicates you need your roof replaced, you may have to replace your decking. When your roofing company is inspecting your roof, anything compromising your roof’s integrity like rotting or broken parts will need to be replaced.

For a full roof replacement, needing some areas of your decking replaced is common. Any damage to your roof decking has to be fixed before your new shingles, metal, etc. can be installed. In order to support your roof replacement and protect your building, your decking has to be in good shape.

Signs of Roof Decking Damage

There a few things that may indicate that your roof decking needs to be looked at by a professional roofing company:

  1. Visible damage: Is any of your decking exposed? And if it is, do you notice any visible signs of decay or damage?
  2. Unusually high energy costs: Has your heating or cooling bill gone up significantly over time?
  3. Mold or rotting in your attic: Is your attic taking in moisture? Is the interior of your roof starting to mold or rot?
  4. Water leaks and stains: Are there any leaks when it rains? Does your ceiling or walls have water stains?
  5. Roof distortion: Is your roof sagging or warping anywhere? Are your shingles curling or moving in some spots?

The Cost of New Roof Decking

There really is no clear-cut answer as to how much roof decking costs. Prices vary by your area, the contractor you choose, and fluctuations in building materials.

For wood especially, the prices of wood go up and down all the time and directly affect the cost of wood decking systems. 

Labor and materials will also affect the price of decking. In some cases, repairing certain parts of your decking can actually be more expensive than completely replacing your decking with a material like plywood. A professional roofing company can help you figure out an estimated cost for your decking and help you pick the right option for your budget.

Roof Decking: Conclusion

Roof decking is an important part of your roofing system. If you’re in the market for roof repairs or a replacement, make sure you take our decking into account as well! When choosing a decking type, consult with a roofing professional to determine the most efficient, durable, and cost-effective option for your building.

We hope this post helped you learn more about roof decking! If you have questions or want to get an estimate on any of your roofing needs, give Statewide Roofing a call or let us know your need on our contact page. You can check out more of our residential and commercial roofing services, or take a look at our financing options.

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Call Statewide Roofing for a free quote for all your roofing and home improvement needs. We specialize in all kinds of roofing systems for both commercial and residential buildings. Browse of list of services by visiting our commercial and residential pages, and take a look at our portfolio for some example work and projects our team is proud of.

Let us know if you have any questions about us, our services, financing, repairs, or our process. Our team is here to answer any of your questions and get your the information you're looking for for any of your roofing needs. We're happy to help! For immediate assistance, give us a call to speak with one of our professionals and get started with Statewide.

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