Roofing is comprised of numerous layers of a variety of materials, all affixed to create the most protective and weatherproof protection over a building. The base layer of any roof, regardless of the exterior roofing materials laid by a roofing contractor, is the decking. Roof decking covers the rafters, provides the external support on a roof, and is available in a few different types. When contracting roof services for any reason, it is essential to consider the condition of the decking, and repair or replace it if necessary to preserve the integrity of the roof.
A Quality Roof Starts with Quality Roof Decking
Roof decking is affixed to the rafters; it is also called sheathing and ties the entire roofing system with all the other external roof layers affixed to it. Decking is most commonly made of either thick plywood or oriented strand board (OSB); however, it can also be made in other ways. For residential roofing applications, insulated foam decking is available. Radiant barrier decking, is also used, which is foam or wood prepared with a radiant barrier on one side to help improve home insulation. Most importantly, decking must be properly installed by an experienced roofing contractor who knows the importance of using only the highest quality materials that are strong, dry, and level, and will not warp the roof as it dries out or give out under the weight of additional roofing materials.
Roofing Insulation and Roof Decking
There are two main ways in which any roof is insulated, both of which involve the decking. Radiant barrier sheathing is roof decking made with a layer of aluminum on one side, which is laid face inward as the decking is applied. The layer of aluminum does not allow heat from the sun to pass through the decking and into the attic space of the home. The other way to insulate a roof is to apply insulative materials on the underside of the decking from inside the attic. In either case, the decking is either the main heat barrier or acts as support for other insulation, as well as the support structure for all external roofing layers, like weather barrier and shingles.
Avoiding Damage to Roof Decking
Since decking is the main layer of the roof and the layer that holds everything else together, companies that offer roofing services observe that protecting it is very important. Damage to roof decking can occur in many different ways, from nail holes due to missing shingles to dampness, mold, and wood rot caused by missing or improperly placed gutters. Roof decking can also be damaged from chronic moisture collecting under the roof if there is not enough attic ventilation or if there is damage to the protective ridge cap on the top of the roof. This type of damage can go unnoticed for years, spreading slowly and weakening the entire roof structure, even causing damage to the rafters. It is essential that homeowners have their roofs regularly inspected by a knowledgeable roofing contractor who knows how to check the decking and can detect the presence of any damage that should be repaired in order to preserve the entire structure.
Simply stated, without decking or sheathing in place, it would be impossible to construct a durable roof over any home. Because of the vital role that roof decking plays on a sound, watertight roof, homeowners should have their roofs regularly inspected by experienced roofing contractors who are able to carefully inspect the roof decking. By working with a qualified roofing contractor, homeowners will receive skilled roof services and experienced advice on things like insulation and how to prevent damage to their roofs, including the roof decking!