How to Tell When Your Roof Deck is Damaged

How to Tell When Your Roof Deck is Damaged

High winds, driving rain, heavy snow loads, and UV rays can all cause premature wear to your roofing shingles, but the problems don’t stop there. The structural component located right below your shingles is known as your roof decking, and it’s also vulnerable to damage. While a bit of damaged roof decking might not seem like a big deal, left unaddressed, it can lead to serious structural issues and hefty repair bills.

What’s a Roof Deck? 

Also known as sheathing, roof decking is the layer of materials located directly above the rafters and below the felt underlayment that’s installed beneath your shingles. In residential applications, roof decks are commonly built using plywood or oriented strand board (OSB). In some older homes, the roof deck may be constructed of boards that are either butted together or connected with a tongue-and-groove joint.

Your roof deck plays a critical role in the structural integrity of your home — it’s what ties all the components of your roofing system together. Roof decking needs to be strong enough to bear the weight of your roofing shingles while being flexible enough to give slightly in high winds and under load.

The roof deck also helps to moderate moisture levels in your home by keeping rain and snow out and allowing excess moisture to evaporate through your attic. Most homes will have a protective layer of thin, engineered material called roof underlayment installed between the decking and shingles to assist with moisture protection and ventilation.

What Problems Are Associated With Damaged Roof Decking? 

A damaged roof deck can lead to a host of problems, especially if the damage isn’t repaired right away.

Common issues associated with damaged roof sheathing include:

  • Unusually high heating and cooling costs
  • Premature wear on the shingles
  • Water leaks
  • Mold in your attic
  • Rotting roof trusses
  • Water stains on your ceilings and walls
  • Insect infestations

How Can Roof Decking Get Damaged? 

Roof decking can be damaged from heavy snow loads, especially if the snow sits on the roof for a period of time. Damage can also occur in areas where shingles are missing as a result of high winds, UV deterioration, or age. Most roofs are engineered to last about 20 years, although the actual lifespan varies depending on the materials, quality of the installation, and the local climate.

Other things that can lead to a damaged roof deck is excessive interior moisture caused by insufficient venting in the attic. Over time, a humid attic can trigger warping of the roof decking, particularly if the decking is relatively thin.

Another common cause of roof deck damage is the installation of solar panels on the roof. While a home solar system can be a great way to cut your home energy costs and minimize your carbon footprint, roof-mounted solar panels can be quite heavy. All that extra weight can cause your roof deck to warp or split, and the cost of repairing that damage can far outweigh the benefits of solar panel installation.

Common Signs of a Damaged Roof Deck

While you’ll need to contact a roofing expert to verify whether your roof deck needs repair, there are some easy-to-spot signs you can watch for without climbing on your roof. These common signs of damaged roof decking include:

  • Visible holes in your roof
  • Signs of mold or mildew in your attic
  • Missing shingles
  • Roof sagging that’s visible from the exterior or interior
  • Curling and/or buckling shingles
  • Shingles that are wearing in a granular pattern
  • Deterioration around skylights, vent pipes, chimneys, and other fixtures on your roof


Contact Thompson Creek’s Roofing Experts 

If you think you have damaged roof decking, give us a call at Thompson Creek. Our team of roofing experts have the skills, specialized equipment, and knowledge it takes to inspect your roof safely.