5 Ways to Keep Roof Sheathing Healthy

The roof sheathing material, also called the roof deck, is the roof layer beneath your shingles and tarpaper that adds support and keeps your roof strong. But since it’s typically made of some type of wood (such as OSB board or plywood), this layer is highly vulnerable to damage if it gets wet.

Here are five tips to keep your roof sheathing healthy and avoid deterioration.

1. Ensure Proper Ventilation and Insulation

Ventilation and insulation work together to protect your roof from ice damming and condensation problems in cold weather. The insulation helps keep warmth from your home out of the attic. The ventilation allows outside air to sweep up the underside of the roof deck, which keeps it even closer to the outside temperature.

In the winter, keeping the roof cold like the outdoor air is critical. It reduces the chances that rooftop snow will melt from underneath and build up at the edges of your roof to form an ice dam and water damage to your roof deck. And keeping air movement across the roof deck helps to avoid moisture buildup that could create a condensation and mold problem.

2. Strip Down to Roof Deck With Every Replacement

An old roof takes works time to tear down. Because of this labor, workers will often install another roof on top of the old one for a lower price. But if the old roof has failed (which is likely why you’re getting a new roof), it likely has some moisture trapped under the shingles.

If you don’t tear off the old shingles, the water can continue to seep down until it damages your roof deck. And if the sheathing already needs repairs, you won’t know without a tear-off. Another reason complete tear-off is important is because underlayment has a limited lifespan, but you can’t replace it without a tear-off.

3. Execute Repairs Promptly

After a storm, you may look at your roof and think that it looks a little pocked, but basically still intact. However, some of the asphalt shingles may be more damaged than they seem. You’ll need a professional opinion to determine how much damage your roof has sustained.

The longer you leave a storm-damaged (or otherwise compromised) roof before you repair it it, the more time moisture has to reach and soak into the roof deck. To avoid this dangerous situation, always execute inspections and repairs promptly.

4. Avoid Moss and Debris

Another way water can reach the roof deck is if it’s held in place by a material such as moss or wet leaves. Instead of running directly off the roof, this trapped water has time to work its way under the shingles, soak through underlayment, and seep into the roof deck.

To help, sweep your roof regularly and keep trees trimmed back from roof edges. If you have a problem with moss on your roof, you may want to install zinc strips. These strips release small amounts of metals that hinder moss and algae growth.

5. Use the Right Underlayment

The right underlayment is just as important as the right shingles. Underlayment is not only critical for preventing long-term water damage, but it is also important if you want to keep your manufacturer’s warranty valid.

Depending on the roofing shingle product and the manufacturer, the requirements for an appropriate underlayment may vary a bit. For example, you may need to choose a water resistant underlayment or even a waterproof underlayment for some types of roofing.

An inferior underlayment could mean that the shingles and the roof deck are exposed to damaging conditions, since a cheaper product may not hold up as well or as long as a high-quality product. So don’t choose your underlayment until you know what the manufacturer requirements are for your shingles.

These five tips can keep your roof deck healthy and strong for decades to come. Remember, if you suspect any problems with your roof deck or if you need any roof repairs or inspections, immediate action is the best way to prevent further damage. Get in touch with R.L. Hayes today to learn more about how we can help with roofing and repairs.

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