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6 Minutes Guide To Why Your Roof Decking Material Choice Matters

Posted on June 28, 2023

6 Minutes Guide To Why Your Roof Decking Material Choice Matters

Are you thinking about upgrading your roof deck? The material you select can make a big difference in how your deck looks and functions. 

In this all-inclusive guide, we’ll explore the importance of roof decking, different types of decking materials, highlight their advantages, and give you the guidance you need to choose the best one for your home. Regardless of what you’re looking for, we have the information to help you make a confident decision.

What Is Roof Decking?

What exactly is roof decking? It’s a crucial aspect of your roofing system and holds immense importance. You see, roof decking, which can also be referred to as roof sheathing or roof substrate, acts as the backbone that supports the roofing material. 

It does an excellent job of evenly distributing the weight of the roofing material and other components such as solar panels, across the structure. And let me tell you, it plays a crucial role in maintaining the structural integrity and overall performance of your entire roofing system. Trust me, you don’t want to overlook the significance of roof decking!

Roof decking is usually made from wood or engineered wood products like plywood or oriented strand board (OSB).

Before beginning any roof decking construction, you should always check your local building codes and regulations. These codes prioritize the safety and structural integrity of your home, so ensure you comply with them.

The Significance of Roof Decking Materials

Did you know that the type of roofing materials you choose can make a world of difference for your roof? It’s true! 

The right materials not only make your roof sturdy but also help it withstand all kinds of weather conditions. Whether it’s heavy snow, strong winds, or even occasional foot traffic, having the right materials can give you peace of mind and a roof you can trust. 

Furthermore, the roof decking material contributes to the thermal performance of the building, affecting the energy efficiency and comfort inside the property. Some materials also provide a measure of fire resistance, which is a vital safety feature. 

The choice of decking material can also have implications for the cost, weight, and installation process of the roofing system, impacting the practical and economic feasibility of different roofing options, so considering the roof deck you want is crucial when planning your budget. 

Now, let’s dive into the different types of roof decking materials and see how they can make your roof strong and reliable.

Types of Roof Decking Materials

Choosing a material for your roof decking is a bit like choosing a superhero sidekick. It needs to be strong, reliable, and capable of taking a hit when the going gets rough. Whether you’re gearing up for a new roof installation or contemplating a roof replacement, you’re in the right place. 

We’ve done the research for you and dug deep into the world of roof decking materials. From the well-known plywood and OSB to the lesser-known steel decking, we’ve got you covered—literally! 

1. Plywood Roof Decking 

Let’s begin with the most popular material on the market right now, plywood. Plywood roof decking, often made from softwood like pine or spruce, is favored for its affordability and simplicity of installation. 

But don’t let that fool you, despite its cost-effective nature, plywood is sturdy and durable. It’s strong enough to withstand the weight of the roofing components while providing a smooth surface for your shingles. 

On the other hand, plywood is susceptible to moisture damage. If water manages to seep through your shingles, plywood can warp and rot. Regular maintenance is necessary to prevent this and extend the life of your roof. 

Plywood Roof Decking

2. OSB (Oriented Strand Board) Roof Decking 

Next up is another commonly used roof decking material, OSB. OSB is made of compressed wood strands bonded together with adhesive. It’s less expensive than plywood and has a greater load-bearing capacity, making it a cost-effective and sturdy option for roof decking. However, it’s just as susceptible to water damage as plywood, and may swell or warp if not properly protected. 

On the bright side, with proper installation and maintenance, you can extend its lifespan and maximize its performance. It’s just about making the right decisions and taking the right steps!

OSB Oriented Strand Board Roof Decking 1
OSB (Oriented Strand Board) Roof Decking 

3. Concrete Roof Decking

Let’s get into the world of concrete roof decking. A heavyweight in the industry, this roofing material is known for its longevity and strength and is typically only used for commercial, or flat roofs. But what more lies beneath its sturdy surface? Beyond brute strength, concrete roof decking offers superior fire resistance and durability against harsh weather conditions. 

Its weight is a considerable factor though. It’s heavy – really heavy, which means you’ll need a strong structural support system, a factor that can significantly increase the installation cost. However, there are newer, lighter variations of this decking on the market, and you can even find insulated concrete versions.  

Despite these setbacks, concrete is a strong and durable option, admired for its timeless, bold aesthetic and its knack for keeping noise out.

concrete roof deck
OSB (Oriented Strand Board) Roof Decking 

4. Metal Roof Decking

Imagine a roof that stands the test of time – that’s metal roof decking for you! This powerhouse material, renowned for its strength and durability, can take a beating from Mother Nature. But let’s be honest, it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. 

A metal roof can hold up to heavy downpours while keeping the attic temperature moderate, thanks to its heat-reflecting abilities. and it’s also a champion of longevity, typically standing strong for 40 to 70 years. 

And if you’re all about that eco-friendly life, you’ll be glad to know that metal decks are often made from recycled materials and can be recycled again at the end of their lifespan. Just remember to brace your wallet for the initial cost, as metal roof decking tends to be pricier than other options.

Metal Roof Decking
Metal Roof Decking

Summary: Comparing Roof Decking Materials

Roof Decking MaterialsPlywoodOSB (Oriented Strand Board)ConcreteMetal
DescriptionAffordable and easy installationCost-effective with good capacityLongevity and strengthStrong, durable, and long-lasting
CompositionSoftwood (pine or spruce)Compressed wood strandsConcrete or reinforcedVarious metals (steel, aluminum)
Strength/DurabilitySturdy and can bear weightStrong and good load-bearingVery strongResilient and long-lasting
Water SusceptibilityProne to moisture damageProne to water damageNot susceptible to waterGenerally resistant with care
MaintenanceRequires regular upkeepRequires proper maintenanceMinimal maintenanceMinimal maintenance
WeightModerate weightModerate weightHeavyModerate to heavy
CostAffordableCost-effectiveHigher installation costRelatively higher initial cost
Eco-FriendlinessDepends on sourcing of woodDepends on sourcing of woodNot eco-friendlyOften made from recycled materials
Suitable forVarious types of roofsVarious types of roofsCommercial or flat roofsVarious types of roofs

Top Tips for Choosing Roof Decking Materials for Your Home

Deciding on the perfect roof decking materials for your home is a crucial step. It requires careful consideration of various factors to guarantee that you make the most suitable choice according to your specific requirements. But fret not! We’re here to lend a helping hand. Keep these factors in mind when making your decision:

1. Climate Compatibility

Before making any decisions, consider the climate you live in. Different materials have varying levels of durability and resistance to extreme weather conditions. Make sure the material you choose can withstand the elements and protect your home for years to come.

2. Budget-Friendly Options

We understand the importance of sticking to a budget. Luckily, there are plenty of affordable options available for roof decking. By carefully researching and comparing prices, you can find a common roof decking material that meets your needs without breaking the bank.

3. Aesthetic Appeal

Your roof is an important part of your home’s overall appearance. Consider the desired aesthetic you want to achieve and choose a material that complements your style. Whether you prefer a modern, traditional, or rustic look, there are roofing materials available to suit every taste.

4. Longevity and Maintenance

Nobody wants to constantly worry about their roof. Look for materials that are known for their durability and require minimal maintenance. Investing in material that will stand the test of time will save you from future headaches and expenses.

5. Roof Decking Cost

Now, the price can vary quite a bit depending on a few factors. First, you’ve got the size of the roof to consider, along with its pitch. Then there’s the material used and the labor costs. So, it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation. On average, though, you can expect to pay anywhere from $2,400 to $8,600 to replace roof decking. When it comes to the cost per square foot, that usually falls between $2 and $5.

6. Professional Advice

When in doubt, seek the help of a roofing professional. They have the expertise to guide you in choosing the best decking materials for your specific needs. Don’t hesitate to reach out to a roofing contractor near you and ask for their professional opinion.

Remember, choosing the right roof decking material is crucial for the long-term protection of your home. By considering these tips, you can make an informed decision to install roof decking that will leave you satisfied for years to come.

Reach Out To Renova Roofing & Construction For Professional Advice

Looking for some expert advice? Look no further than Renova Roofing & Construction! We’re here to help with all your roofing and construction needs. Whether you need roof deck repair, new roof decking installation, or just some friendly advice, our team of professionals is ready to assist you. Don’t hesitate to reach out, we’re always happy to lend a helping hand! Call us today at (601) 647-3433!