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When is it Time to Replace Roof Sheathing?

When is it time to replace roof sheathing?

Sheathing, also known as the roof deck, is what sets up the rest of your roof for success. How often should you replace roof sheathing, and what is roof sheathing in the first place? Here’s your guide to the roof deck, from its purpose to its maintenance.

What is Roof Sheathing?

roof sheathing under metal roof

Roof Sheathing (or decking) is the layer between your roofing materials and the structural supports of your home. Think of it like the “skeleton” of your roof. It’s a frame that provides stability and support for your roofing materials, and it’s also what you’ll see if you ever take a peek inside your attic.

That frame can be made up of plank boards, plywood, or OSB (oriented strand board). The most common type of sheathing is plywood, but your home may have one of the other types depending on its age and construction. Your contractor will be able to tell you what type of sheathing your home has.

There are a couple of different reasons why you might need to replace your roof sheathing. After all, it is constantly exposed to the elements and can take a beating over time. Here are a few signs that it might be time for a replacement:

When To Replace Roof Sheathing?

If your roof is damaged enough to need a replacement, your sheathing is probably also damaged and may need to be replaced. In a lot of cases, you won’t know if you need new roof decking until your contractor removes the old roofing materials.

If there’s any sign of rotting or physical damage, it’ll be time to replace the sheathing before replacing the rest of the roof. Often, this will just be a portion of the sheathing. If there’s no sign of damage, your roof deck should be strong enough to support the new roof.

If your home is old, it might also be time for a replacement even if there’s no visible damage. Over time, the elements can take a toll on your roofing materials and cause them to degrade. If your home is more than 20 years old, it’s probably time for a roof deck inspection.

Your contractor will be able to tell you for sure if your roof sheathing needs to be replaced. They’ll also be able to give you an estimate of the cost and time involved in the replacement.

The Dangers of a Rotting Roof Deck

wood rot of roof sheathing

If your roof has been damaged, it’s important to get it repaired as soon as possible. A damaged or rotting roof deck can cause a lot of problems for your home. One of the biggest dangers is that it can expose sheathing to the elements.

If your roof sheathing is exposed, a ton of moisture can get in and cause the wood to rot. This can weaken the frame of your roof and make it more susceptible to collapse. Mold can start growing inside your home, compromising the quality of the air. The rot can spread to other wood on your roof and eat away at insulation, weakening your roof and raising your energy bills. The damage can even spread to your home electrical system and other functions. In extreme cases, a poorly maintained roof can even cause your home to become structurally unsound.

Other Signs Your Roof Sheathing Needs To Be Replaced

Visible Breakage

One obvious sign that you need new roof sheathing is if you can see your sheathing boards are breaking. This is especially common with older homes as the wood begins to dry out,

but it can also be a sign of damage from severe weather conditions – like damage from a tree falling. If you have any visible breakage, it’s best to have a contractor come out and take a look as soon as possible.

Light Seeping Through

If you see light seeping through your roof, it’s a sign that your sheathing has been damaged and is no longer doing its job of protecting your home from the elements. This is a serious problem and needs to be fixed immediately to avoid further damage. If this is happening in your home, call a contractor to have a look and see what needs to be done.

Sagging Attic Ceiling

If you have a sagging attic ceiling, it’s a sign that your roof sheathing is no longer supporting the weight of your roof. This is often caused by water damage or rot, and it’s a serious problem that needs to be fixed right away. If you have a sagging ceiling, call a contractor to come out and take a look.

Your Roof Is More Than 20 Years Old

Even if you can’t see any damage, it’s a good idea to have your roof sheathing inspected if your home is more than 20 years old. Over time, the elements can take a toll on your roof and cause damage that’s not always visible. If your home is getting up there in age, it’s a good idea to have a contractor come out and take a look to see if anything needs to be replaced.

Don’t Wait Until It’s Too Late To Replace Your Roof Sheathing

Of course, you don’t want to wait until the damage is bad enough to cause air quality, structural, or electrical issues to replace roof sheathing. It’s best to be proactive and have your roof inspected regularly. Take action as soon as you see any signs of damage.

If you’ve had physical roof damage, ice damming, or leaks, your sheathing might be compromised. Excess moisture in the attic is a sign you might be experiencing root rot as well. If you have any reason to be suspicious of the condition of your roof deck, hire an inspector or roofing company to take a look.

There are cases where you’ll be able to find out if your roof deck is rotting without needing to get a full roof replacement as we mentioned before. But, if it’s time for a full replacement, you want to be sure that you find a contractor you can trust to do the job. Look for a contractor with experience replacing roof sheathing. Make sure they have a good reputation and that they are properly licensed and insured.

Here at Energy Shield of New Hampshire, we offer free inspections and estimates. If you’re concerned about your roof sheathing, our professionals can identify any problems and get your roof back to its absolute strongest.

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