How To Replace Rotten Roof Decking

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If you notice roofs leaks, check the roof decking. The wooden roof decking under the shingles prevents water from entering the home. Rotted roof decking should not be ignored because it could eventually lead to mold and further structural damage. 

Anyone with some basic DIY skills should be able to repair it without professional help. Fix the rotted roof deck boards by following these tips.

Prepare to Fix the Deck Boards

To fix deck boards, gather:

  • work gloves
  • eye goggles
  • extension ladder or scaffolding
  • pliers
  • tape measure
  • chalk or pencil
  • claw hammer or nail gun
  • pry bar
  • putty knife with wide blade
  • tar paper or felt
  • galvanized roofing nails
  • drill
  • roofing cement
  • circular saw 
  • replacement shingles
  • plywood boards 

Note where the roof leaks, or climb into the attic and look for moist spots. Set a scaffold or extension ladder on flat ground where you can easily access the roof, and avoid laying ladders on shingles. Get someone to hold the ladder and hand you tools, or use a harness and tool belt. 

Remove the Damaged Boards

Remove the nails from the damaged area by sliding the pronged end of the bar under the nail. Press down until you can grab the nail with pliers, and then slide a putty knife under the shingle edge to help loosen it. 

If the nails won't come loose easily, try using a nail puller. Remove the nails on the felt in the same manner, using the knife to score the edge. 

You will need an exposed rafter or truss to nail the boards, but don't cut into them. Locate roof rafters and trusses by tracing the nail pattern on the rotted boards, and mark them to keep from cutting into them. 

Set the saw to fit the depth of the damaged board, and cut the rotted wood between the marks, pull nails with the pry bar, then remove the board. If the board has screws, remove them with the drill.

Install the New Boards

Buy replacement boards the same type and depth as the old boards. Measure the perimeter of the opening, and trim the new boards to fit; then nail the new board in place, spacing nails six inches apart on supports. Run a bead of roofing cement around exposed flashing.

Cut the roofing felt or tar paper to the same measurements, and nail or staple it to the upper side to keep water from getting under it. Insert a shingle under the first top good shingle, raise the shingle over it, and nail it in place. Repeat the process until all boards and shingles are replaced. 

If replacing the deck seems like too big a task to tackle on your own, consider hiring a roofing company like Landmark Roofing.

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