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Leaky roof and rotten wooden rafters.

How Do I Know If I Have Rotted Roof Decking?

Your roof is one of the most essential parts of your house.

Your roof is one of the most essential parts of your house, being a line of defense against the ravages of nature. Nature is tenacious and aggressive, with the weather, temperatures, and pests working tirelessly to find ways in and ruin the beauty and integrity of your home.

Water damage is probably the most insidious problem, with your structure beginning to rot, noxious and sometimes toxic molds growing, your possessions being ruined. Your home is a significant investment, so you definitely want to do all you can to protect it from this kind of problem.

Bad enough water damage can wind up destroying your house irreparably and can get your home condemned, sanctioned, or your insurance provider dropping you or at best, hiking your premiums up tremendously.

Thus, if your roof has problems, you will want to know how to spot them so that you can get a professional to work remedying and recovering from these problems right away. If these problems are left unattended for long enough, they can get out of hand, and become tremendously expensive and difficult to recover from.

One of the bigger problems to watch out for, because it’s quite the project to repair if it gets away from you, is rotted roof decking. This can become dangerous and can spread fast, resulting in collapsing ceilings and structure, so if you have rotted roof decking, something has to be done about it right away, or dire consequences will result, guaranteed.

What’s Roof Decking?

Roof decking is the substantial part of the roof underneath the shingles and adhesives. It’s usually made of wood and/or some composite layers, and it’s basically the foundation of the roof.

When tear off roof replacement happens, usually the roof is stripped down to the decking, and rebuilt from there, provided the decking is in good shape. The decking, combined with layers of insulation and other materials, creates an excellent, solid barrier between your home interior and the elements, and it is designed to resist leaks and water damage. It’s impossible to make it rot and waterproof though.

Causes of Decking Rot

We’ve talked a lot about water and water damage, and that’s because water is something of an ironic thing. It’s crucial to all life on earth to some level or another, and it’s what makes this planet so much more habitable than anywhere else yet known. However, water can kill, and water can ruin manmade structures like nothing else.
This is the leading cause of roof decking rot – water pooling and eating away at materials and decking wood. Molds and bacteria then become prolific, and they produce acidic chemicals that cause a spiraling effect that results in your decking decomposing at a logarithmically-increasing rate.

As the rot progresses, and molds begin to grow, more material and refuse will begin to accumulate too, causing weight and chemical stress on the entire thing, until it eventually may collapse given time.

Signs of Rot

There are a number of signs of roof rot, such as moldy smells beginning to appear, wet walls and consistent leaks even when it’s not raining. These are symptoms of bigger problems, which caused the water to pool and cause this rot in the first place.

Other signs of this will be ceiling and wall spots, the material beginning to buckle and fall away, and similar issues. As it worsens, you may also see sagging rooflines and buckles or other deformations visible underneath the shingles or other materials, as well. If you’ve ever seen sagging roofs, this is usually the cause, though tree branches can break decking too if they’re massive enough.

To Repair or Replace?

This is a tough question because it depends on how bad the damage is, and how bad the bigger problems which begat this issue actually are. Replacing will cost more, but will allow the entirety of the roof to be restored to new condition.

Repairs are harder to do on decking, because it tends to be less modular than most shingle or other roofing materials, and if the deck rot is bad enough, it’s probably a sign that your roof as a while has aged too much.
Don’t wait for your roof to begin to decay, fill out our contact form today!

Ready to get started?

Our contractors have the knowledge and experience to handle any roofing project, no matter the size and scope. Call us today to schedule a free consultation with one of our experts.

We’ll begin by assessing the current condition of your roof and will develop the best plan based on your circumstances. We can help you decide if repairs will be an adequate fix or if it’s a better investment to re-roof.

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