7 Signs of Damaged Roof Decking: How To Spot the Problems Early

Posted on April 25, 2023

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7 Signs of Damaged Roof Decking: How To Spot the Problems Early

In this blog post, we will explore the top seven signs of damaged roof decking and provide tips on how to spot these issues early. Whether you are a homeowner or a potential buyer, understanding the importance of healthy roof decking and how identifying potential issues can help you save time, money, and resources. Read this article till the end to ensure your roof deck remains free of leaks and damage over its lifespan. 

What Is Roof Decking, and Why Does It Matter? 

The roof deck is a structural component of your roof that carries the weight of roofing materials installed on top of it. They are mainly of two types: plank decking and sheet decking. On modern homes, plywood or sheet decking is installed, while you can find plank decks installed on older homes. 

The roof deck carries great importance for any roofing system as it creates a foundation upon which the roofing materials are laid. Since they hold up many roofing materials and components and make up the roof’s architectural integrity, it plays a vital role in protecting a home’s interior and the occupants living below. While it’s made of strong materials to support the entire roofing system and protect the occupants below, these materials can become damaged and rot over time, leading to many unavoidable roofing problems. 

7 Signs of Damaged Roof Decking

Here are the seven signs you need to look for to protect the integrity of your roof. 

1. A Sagging or Dipping Roofline

One of the common problems with roofs is sagging. They can sag, curve, and dip for many reasons. Some of these reasons include poor installation, the heavy weight of snow or debris, water ponding, and low-quality roofing materials. Any of these reasons can severely damage your roofing system, leading you to repair or replace the roof deck. If you notice any of these signs on your roof, you must look for prompt solutions, as a delay in deck repair can cost you even more in the long run. 

2. Cracks or Splits in the Decking

Apart from sagging and curving, cracking, and splitting are major concerns when it comes to the roof deck. Damaged decking underneath shingles can be observed from your attic and should be promptly repaired or replaced, depending on the extent of the damage.

Cracking and splitting in the decking can occur due to a variety of reasons, such as storms, fallen logs, and ice formation. Ignoring or neglecting these damages can result in complete roof deck replacement, which can be costly.

3. Water Stains or Leaks in the Attic

The primary function of a roof deck is to be the next line of defense, behind the roofing materials, against external elements like rain, debris, snow, hail, and sunlight. If it fails at properly doing its job, it indicates damage. 

Ponding water on your roof for an extended period can cause the roof deck to weaken and become susceptible to damage. Furthermore, water that has seeped through roofing materials can manifest as water stains or leaks in your attic.

4. Curling or Buckling Shingles

Shingles are installed on your roof deck to protect it from water and other forms of weather such as intense storms, heavy rain, and high winds. If they curl, crack, warp, or buckle while doing their job, they cause water infiltration and moisture to form in your attic. 

The moisture and water in your attic will result in mold and mildew growth, which are responsible for progressive roof decay. If these signs are left unnoticed or ignored, they will increase the risk of roof deck damage and failure. 

5. Excessive Shingle Granule Loss 

Shingles are coated with granules, which are not easily visible until the shingles become damaged. These tiny elements provide shingles with color and durability, making them a valuable component. However, shingles experience granule loss over time, as they are only designed to last for 15 to 25 years. 

However, aging is not the only factor that contributes to granule loss. Storms and hail also damage shingles, causing them to lose their granules, and hence, their color and durability. As a result, they become susceptible to further damage. If you find granules in your gutter system, it may be time to replace your shingles to protect your roof deck. 

6. Sunlight Shining Through the Attic

If light enters through the roof into the attic, this means there is a hole in the roof deck, which is a bad sign for your roof. Regardless of if the hole is small or large, it will contribute to water infiltration, which progressively expands the size of the hole, making the roof deck more vulnerable to failure. 

If the humid air in your attic comes in contact with the water, mold, and mildew are likely to form and grow. 

7. Rot or Mold on the Decking

Mold and rot on a roof deck, as mentioned earlier, can be detrimental to both the roof’s health and the safety of occupants living below. The combination of rot and mold in the air can lead to respiratory problems when inhaled, which can cause various health issues.

Furthermore, a rotting roof deck can lead to its collapse, posing a severe threat to occupants. Therefore, if you notice any signs of rot in the early stages, it is crucial to seek professional inspection and repairs as needed.

Roof Decking

How To Spot Problems Early

We can’t stop roofs from becoming damaged, as they are consistently exposed to harsh weather. However, there are ways to spot damage early to prevent larger problems from occurring. 

Regularly Inspect Your Roof 

Regular inspections of your roof are crucial to identify and address any potential problems resulting from inadequate maintenance. Make sure your shingles are intact and in good condition, without the need for repair or replacement. Additionally, ensure that the vents on your roof are functioning properly, and there is no moisture trapped in your attic. These issues, if present, can be warning signs of more severe concerns, so addressing them promptly is crucial for the health of your roof.

Importance of Spotting the Issues Early

Regular inspections of your roof are essential for ensuring its durability and longevity. Many signs of weather damage on a roof can go unnoticed, increasing the chances of roof deck failure. Roof deck failure not only leads to the collapse of roofing materials but also to injuries and even the death of occupants. Therefore, whether you are a homeowner or a business owner, taking care of the roof should be one of your primary duties.

Consequences of Ignoring Damaged Roof Decking

Home and business owners can face the following issues if they ignore roof deck damage. 

Safety Hazards and Higher Repair Costs

Neglecting signs of damage on your roof can lead to serious safety hazards and increase repair costs. Ignoring damaged roof decking, in particular, can result in the roof collapsing, posing a significant threat to the safety of the building’s occupants. To prevent such catastrophic incidents, it is crucial to inspect your roof, vents, deck, and attic regularly as all of these components can deteriorate over time. Taking timely preventative measures can save you from incurring expensive repair costs down the road.

Repairing or Replacing Damaged Roof Decking

Repairing or replacing damaged roof decking can be done either through a DIY approach or by hiring a professional. While some homeowners may be capable of carrying out the repairs or replacement themselves, we advise hiring a professional roofer, particularly for more extensive damage. 

Repairing Or Replacing Damaged Roof Decking

Materials Needed for Repair or Replacement

A professional will have the necessary experience and equipment to ensure the repair or replacement of the roof is carried out safely and effectively, minimizing the risk of further damage or injury. They’ll use specific materials to repair or replace the roof deck, including plywood, nails, roofing adhesive or sealant, and tools such as a hammer, saw, and nail gun.

Cost Considerations

The cost to repair or replace your roof decking will widely depend on many factors, such as the size of the damage, the type of damage, the area you live in, and the time and labor it takes to complete the job. Since the cost of repair or replacement varies depending on these factors, there are no one-size-fits-all estimates. 

Preventative Measures for a Healthy Roof Deck

To ensure your roof deck remains healthy until the end of its lifespan, you must take the following preventative measures. 

Proper Ventilation and Insulation

Ensure adequate airflow in the attic, along with proper insulation to help regulate temperature and humidity levels. This reduces the risk of rot, mold, and other damage to the decking.

Regular Maintenance

Regular maintenance of your roof, including inspections, cleaning gutters and downspouts, and replacing damaged or missing roofing materials, can help prevent issues from developing or worsening over time.

Repair or Replace Your Roof Before It’s Too Late

If you notice any of the above signs on your roof decking, you need to take immediate action to resolve them. Call Northkit Roofing at (973) 396-7416 for a free residential roof inspection. 

The team at the company is proficient at handling all roofing projects, including roof repair, roof storm damage, roof replacement, coatings, and installation. 

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