What Is The Best Option For Roof Decking?

Posted on July 19, 2023

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What Is The Best Option For Roof Decking?

The best roof deck is the one that suits your personal preferences, the climate in your area, your budget, and local building codes. But finding the perfect one isn’t a simple task. It requires you to know all the available roof decking options, conduct thorough research, understand your specific needs, and engage in critical analysis.

As a professional and responsible roofing contractor in New Jersey, we consider this our responsibility to make things easier and smooth for you. Therefore, we have compiled everything you need to know in this blog post. 

This guide explores the various roof decking options, their pros and cons, and the cost associated with each material. By the end of this article, you will have a clear understanding of the best option for your roof decking needs.

The Importance of Roof Decking

What Is The Best Option For Roof Decking - New Jersey Roofing Contractor

Before we delve into the different types of roof decking, let’s first understand why it is so important. Roof decking serves as the foundation for an entire roofing system. It provides structural support and protects the roof from moisture damage. If your roof deck is damaged, the entire roofing system can become unstable, leading to leaks, sagging, or even collapse.

Additionally, the type of roof decking you choose can impact the overall performance and longevity of your roof. All materials have different variations of strength, durability, and resistance to weather elements. It is crucial to select the right roof decking material that suits your specific needs and climate conditions.

Types of Roof Decking

There are several options available for roof decking, each with its own set of advantages and disadvantages. Let’s explore the most common types of materials used for roof decking:

1. Plywood Decking

Plywood is a popular choice for roof decking due to its strength, durability, and cost-effectiveness. It is made from thin layers of wood veneer that are glued together, creating a strong and stable sheet. Plywood comes in various thicknesses, typically ranging from ⅜” to ⅝”. The width of the plywood decking will depend on factors such as roof slope, the weight of other roofing materials, and rafter spacing.

Pros of Plywood Decking:

  • Strong and durable
  • Resistant to moisture and rot
  • Easy to install
  • Available in different thicknesses
  • Cost-effective

Cons of Plywood Decking:

  • Can be susceptible to warping if not properly installed or exposed to excessive moisture
  • Requires regular maintenance and sealing to prevent water damage

2. Oriented Strand Board (OSB) Decking

Oriented strand board (OSB) is another common option for roof decking. It is made by compressing and gluing wood strands together in a specific orientation to provide optimum moisture and water resistance. OSB is known for its strength and affordability, making it a popular choice for many homeowners.

Pros of OSB Decking:

  • Strong and durable
  • Generally inexpensive
  • Resistant to moisture
  • Widely available

Cons of OSB Decking:

  • Not as water-resistant as plywood
  • Can swell or delaminate if exposed to excessive moisture
  • Proper installation and sealing are needed to prevent water damage

3. Metal Decking

Metal decking is commonly used for commercial buildings but can also be a viable option for residential roofing. It is typically made of steel or aluminum and provides excellent durability and resistance to fire and pests. 

Metal decking is often used in combination with other roofing materials, such as metal panels or shingles. Like other types of roof decking, metal decking panels are installed over structural supports, such as steel beams or joists, and serve as a base for other construction layers.

Pros of Metal Decking:

  • Durable and long-lasting
  • Fire-resistant
  • Lightweight
  • It can be used in combination with various roofing materials

Cons of Metal Decking:

  • Higher cost compared to plywood or OSB
  • Requires professional installation
  • It can be noisy during rain or hailstorms

4. Concrete Decking

Concrete decking is a popular choice for flat or low-slope roofs. It offers excellent durability and can withstand heavy loads, like large and advanced heating and cooling systems. Concrete decking is often used for commercial buildings but can also be used for residential applications.

Pros of Concrete Decking:

  • Extremely durable with excellent longevity
  • Can support heavy surface weight
  • Fire-resistant
  • Low maintenance

Cons of Concrete Decking:

  • Requires proper foundation and framing preparation
  • Heavy and may require additional structural support
  • Higher installation cost compared to other decking options

5. Wood Plank Decking

Wood plank decking is a traditional option that is still used on some older homes or for aesthetic purposes. It consists of elongated and rectangular wooden boards that are installed horizontally across the structural framing.

Pros of Wood Plank Decking:

  • Aesthetically pleasing
  • A variety of looks are available, depending on the type of wood
  • Can be locally sourced

Cons of Wood Plank Decking:

  • Regular maintenance and sealing is needed to prevent water damage
  • Not as durable or long-lasting as other options
  • More susceptible to rot or decay

Choosing the Best Option for Your Roof Decking

What Is The Best Option For Roof Decking - New Jersey Roofing Contractor

When selecting the best option for your roof decking, consider the following factors:

  • Climate In Your Area: The weather patterns where you live will determine the type of material that can withstand the conditions, such as high winds, heavy rainfall, or extreme temperatures.
  • Your Budget: Consider your budget and the cost of the decking material, including installation costs. Some materials may be more expensive upfront but offer long-term durability and cost savings.
  • Personal Preference: Take into account the aesthetic look you want to achieve for your roof. Some materials, like wood plank decking, can provide a traditional or rustic appearance.
  • Local Building Codes: Consult local building codes and regulations to ensure that the chosen decking material meets the required standards for your area.
  • Professional Advice: Seek the guidance of a professional roofer or contractor who can assess your specific needs and recommend the best option for your roof decking.

Remember, the best choice for roof decking may vary depending on individual circumstances. It is essential to weigh the pros and cons of each material, considering your unique requirements and constraints.

Cost of Roof Decking

What Is The Best Option For Roof Decking - New Jersey Roofing Contractor

The cost of roof decking will depend on various factors, including the material chosen, the size of the roof, and the complexity of the installation. Here is a general cost range for the different types of roof decking:

  • Plywood Decking: The cost of plywood decking typically ranges from $2 to $5 per square foot, depending on the thickness and quality.
  • OSB Decking: OSB decking is generally more affordable than plywood, with prices ranging from $1 to $2 per square foot.
  • Metal Decking: Metal decking can be more expensive, with costs ranging from $6 to $12 per square foot, depending on the type of metal used.
  • Concrete Decking: The national average cost of concrete decking is $12 to $18 per square foot, but this varies based on the size and complexity of the project. It is best to consult with a contractor for an accurate estimate.
  • Wood Plank Decking: The cost of wood plank decking will depend on the type of wood chosen and can range from $2 to $5 per square foot.

It is important to note that these cost estimates are general guidelines and can vary based on the location and roofing contractors you hire. It is recommended to obtain quotes from reputable suppliers or contractors to get an accurate cost for your specific project.

Hire Professional Roofers To Install Your Roofing Deck In New Jersey

Choosing the best option for roof decking is a crucial decision for homeowners. The right decking material can ensure the stability, durability, and longevity of your roof. Consult with professional roofers at Northkit Roofing to get expert advice tailored to your specific needs. The team of roofers at our company is ready to assist you in installing not only the roofing deck but also a completely new roof. Call us today at (973) 396-7416 and hire skilled roofers for your roof replacement

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