Does Roof Replacement Include Plywood?

Having your roof replaced can take its toll on your budget, especially if it's not in your plan. Any opportunity to save on costs would mean a lot. Say if the plywood decking still looks intact, should it be included in your roof replacement? That's what we asked the roof experts and here's their reply.

Roof replacement may or may not include replacing the plywood decking. It would depend on the condition of the sheathing. If it is still intact and in great shape, there's no need to have it replaced. But if it is already weak, you need to include this in the list of items to be replaced for the roofing system.

Keep on reading to find out more about a roof replacement. We'll tell you when it would be a good idea to replace your decking. This article will also answer if you could put a new roof over an old roof. Let's get started!

Rooftop loaded with roofing supplies, Does Roof Replacement Include Plywood?

Does my roof need new plywood decking?

The roof is an essential part of the house that shields you from the weather. You can stay inside comfortably whether it's freezing cold or scorching hot outside thanks to the roof over your head.

Construction worker on a renovation roof the house installed new shingles

In the same way, it also protects your house so that you won't have to deal with moisture and pest problems and any unwelcome elements in your home.

The roof is composed of different parts that all work together to make this happen. Most people might only think of the roof as the colored shingles on the top of the house.

But under this roof covering are other components that make your roofing system effective in doing its job. The underlayment and sheathing are immediately underneath the shingles and then there are the rafters and trusses that support the top layers and give shape to your roof.

When we're talking about roof replacement, one of the major concerns of homeowners is the cost especially if it's an emergency repair and you haven't set aside funds for this kind of home project.

Does roof replacement mean replacing every component of your roofing system? The good news is no, it doesn't always follow that you have to replace everything.

Get a Professional Roof Inspection

Of course, the first thing you need to do is to talk to your trusted roofing company so that they can send someone over to do a thorough inspection of your entire roofing system.

Suppose your plywood sheathing or decking is still in good condition, then good for you because you can have it retained. There's no need to replace it if it is in good shape. As they say, you don't fix something that ain't broken, right?

Each plywood sheet costs around $70 to $100. The total cost of replacing the plywood decking would depend on the size of your roofing area plus the labor rate. So, we're talking about being spared from spending more than what you're supposed to.

But it also follows that when the roofer sees that there's indeed a need to include your plywood decking in the replacement project, then it's best to follow their expert advice rather than deal with more costly repairs and damage later on.

So, the replacement of your plywood sheathing would solely depend on its condition. It should be replaced if it won't serve its purpose anymore while it can be retained if it is still good to use.

How can I tell if I need to replace my roof decking?

Plywood decking damage and water stains from rain water standing

Your roof decking, also called sheathing, is in between the outermost layer of your roof and the innermost component made up of trusses and rafters that support your roofing system.

The roof decking is usually made of plywood or thin layers of wood that have been glued together. Some roof sheathing can be made of other composite materials.

Plywood is a good material of choice for your roof sheathing. It is expected to last between 30 to 40 years depending on the quality of the plywood, chemical treatment used on it, installation, and environmental conditions.

The roof decking anchors the shingles and their nails in place which is why it is an essential component of your roofing system. Being next to the shingles, you could also say that it is your next layer of defense against the elements should something go wrong with the exterior portion of your roof.

That's why it is important to ensure that the plywood decking is always in good condition.

Here are some things to look out for that would tell you that your sheathing needs a replacement already.

  • Discoloration. Look for parts of the wood that have turned dark or even black. This is a sign of moisture problems. Remember, wood is porous so the dark colors could indicate that water is seeping into the material and it won't be long until there are leaks in your roof.
  • Cracks or broken portions. These tell you that the plywood material has weakened or deteriorated over time or due to moisture problems. Be careful of wood rot because it can spread to other portions and your decking won't be able to support the shingles on top of it.
  • Mold growth. This is another telltale sign of moisture issues. Mold would thrive in a  damp environment so it means your decking has absorbed too much moisture.
  • Musty smell. A damp place has a musty smell. This is another sign of moisture problems in your roof decking.

It's always best to have your roofer take a look at your decking (and the entire roofing system) so that you would know exactly which parts need to be replaced. This way, you can prepare your budget and you'll avoid further damage caused by leaks and moisture problems.

Can you put a new roof over an old roof?

How about if you're not too keen on roof replacement because it would mean that your house won't have shelter for days?

Or maybe there's no roofing problem or emergency. You just want to change your current shingles' color but don't want to spend extra to have the old ones removed. Can you just install a new roof over an existing roof?

The short answer to this question is yes, you can put a new roof over an old roof. This process is called re-roofing. However, it needs to meet certain requirements.

  1. The shingles are in good shape. There shouldn't be any leaks, broken or missing parts. But it's okay if they are just discolored due to aging.
  2. All the other roofing parts need to be in good condition. This includes the underlayment, decking, trusses, and rafters.
  3. You will use the same materials as the current ones you have on the outermost portion of your roof. If you have asphalt shingles, your new roof needs to use asphalt shingles as well.
  4. Your current roof does not have two layers of shingles. This is due to the added weight of another layer which would be more than what the support system could bear.

Re-roofing a home

There might also be some local building codes that you need to consider before pushing through with this re-roofing project. That's why it's best to consult a professional roofer so that you can get the right assessment and recommendation regarding the state of your roof.

Final Thoughts

Roof sheathing and installation of a self-adhering rubberized asphalt flexible flashing

Simply put, the plywood decking need not be replaced if it's still in great shape and can serve its purpose well. But when it shows signs of aging or moisture problems, it is best to include it in your roof replacement to enjoy sufficient protection from the elements.

For more articles about roofing concerns, feel free to visit the following sites:

What Is Included In Roof Replacement?

Does Roof Above Door Or Window Need Asphalt Shingles?