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Roof Decking: When Should You Replace?

exposed roof decking

How Healthy Is Your Roof Under the Surface? Learn When To Replace Roof Decking

Your roof is more than just what’s on the surface. It takes all the different elements of the roof to protect your home from the elements day after day, year after year. So even if your roofing shingles or metal roofing sheets look good, that doesn’t mean that the roof itself is in good shape. It’s also important to consider the health of your roof decking and when that roof decking might need to be replaced.

What Is Roof Decking?

Underneath your roofing surface, there are several layers designed to help protect your home from water leaks and maintain energy efficiency. This includes, among other things, boards designed to hold up the shape of the roof. If your roof is at a slope, your roof decking is often what dictates that slope. Roof decking is most commonly made of wood sheets (though it can sometimes be steel or concrete, or composite materials), attached to rows of wooden planks.

roof decking

Potential Problems With Roof Decking

Over time, roof decking can begin to deteriorate, especially if moisture makes it through the layers of your roof. The decking can weaken, or even rot, when heat and humidity occur. Termites can also damage your roof decking.

It can sometimes be difficult to tell whether something is wrong with your roof decking because it’s under the surface of your roof. A leak can be an indicator of damaged decking. If you don’t see any obvious signs, it might be a good idea to schedule an annual roof inspection so you can get an expert opinion.

When To Replace Your Roof Decking


So when should you replace your roof decking? As stated above, it’s not always immediately obvious. The best way to get a sense of the health of your roof decking is to take a look at the rest of the health of your roof, or even looking at the inside of your home. Some of the signs might include:

  • Sagging or discolored sections of your roof
  • Water stains on the ceiling of your home
  • Cracks of light appearing through your attic ceiling
  • Mold or mildew in your attic

Even without these signs, however, it might still be time to replace your roof decking. Here are a few of the ways to know it might be time to replace your roof decking.

Your Energy Bills Are Rising

The health of your roof impacts your energy bills. If your roof is damaged and letting too much water in, that could affect the electricity usage in the home. If holes in the roof are leading to heat loss, your heating and cooling will have to work twice as hard to keep your home comfortable. If you’ve noticed a spike in your energy bills in recent years, speak to a roofing professional about whether or not it could be due to your roof.

Your Roof Doesn’t Have Proper Ventilation

Proper roof ventilation is deeply important to the health of your roof. Without ventilation, humidity can build. Humidity can create the perfect conditions for mold, fungi, softening, or swelling of the wood. If your roof isn’t ventilated or doesn’t have sufficient roof ventilation, it’s likely to cause issues for your roof decking at some point down the line. When replacing your roof decking, it might also be a good idea to install some roof ventilation.

You’re Planning To Sell Your Home

Maybe you haven’t noticed any obvious problems with your roof decking, or at least, nothing large enough to make you worry. But now you’re planning to sell your home, and you want your home value to be the best it can possibly be. If you already plan to replace your roof, it might be a good idea to go ahead and replace the roof decking, as well. The last thing you want is a new roof tacked over and it’s the last thing homebuyers will want, as well.

Your Roof Is Over 20 Years Old

If you have an older roof and think you may need to replace it with something more efficient, it’s a good idea to replace the roofing system, not just the top layer. New roofing systems will be more energy-efficient and weather-resistant. The decking will be stronger and more durable. It will also give you a chance to see what roof decking options are out there now, so you know what you can choose from.

Your Rooftop Has Mold or Algae

You might not be able to see the entire system, but you can see the top layer of the roof. Notice any green growing out of the shingles? That’s a bad sign that at least part of the roof is creating conditions for fungi and mold. It’s possible that the problem goes below the surface, as well. Have a roof inspection so a professional roofer can tell you how deep the problem is likely to go and whether you’ll need to replace the roof.

When it’s time to replace your roof decking, Houston Roofing has you covered. We always install to a clean deck, and work with GAF Roofing to offer premium roofing systems, not just roofing shingles. Contact us today to learn more about our roofing services or to schedule a free estimate.