When should you replace your roof deck? What a great topic to discuss today.
The roof sheathing or roof deck is the plywood that supports the roof coverings like shingles tiles ect. It is often debated when roof decking should be replaced. The answer to the question is simple. How long do you want your roof to last? If you don't care about the manufacture warranty and you don't think the wind will blow in the next 30 years, then replacing the decking is not needed. If you would like your roof to have a manufacturer warranty and you need the ASTM wind rating required by code, and you would like your roof to last more than 6 years, then you probably should replace the decking along with your roof.
You see when the sheathing is not replaced there are 1000'S of holes in every sheet of plywood. This is because the felt is nailed down every few inches, the shingles are nailed every 6 inches, and the new shingles go in the same spots. When the nails go in or near the same nail hole the pull resistance of those nails is dramatically reduced and those nails will pull out with a slight breeze or even just the expansion from heat. This is called a nail pop. Nail pops damages the shingles above as they push through, they break the seals and allow for water to leak into the home. This can take a while to work through or it can happen rather quickly in a wind event.
Your insurance carrier will tell you that they do not cover nail pops because if the nails were installed properly on a solidly sheathed surface like the code required. When it comes to replacing the shingles though they often will tell you that they will not pay for sheathing. So unless your contractor or insurance company is going to give you a letter that they will replace the roof if a nail pop happens you should probably replace the decking as well.
Studies have shown that 10% of nails on a second layer will come withing 1/2" inch of another nail. That means 10% of the nails will likely work their way out of the roof before the life of the roof is spent. That is a high probability of a leaky roof in a few years.
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