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Everything you need to know about roof sheathing thickness

ByRonnie Belanger

Oct 13, 2022

Before you can put a roof on top, some sheathing needs to be applied to the roofing structure’s rafters. OSB (Oriented Strand Board), and plywood are the most common materials used for roof decking. Both are made from layers of wood that have been bonded together to form a single panel. They come in different thicknesses.

It is important to choose a sturdy and thick board when choosing roof decking. This will protect the rafters from damage and support the roofing material. How thick do you need to make your sheathing?

This page will cover all you need to know regarding roof decking thickness, and how you can choose the best decking for your roofing system.

What is the difference between Sheathing and Decking

Before we get into the main topic of this post, let’s first talk about the differences between roof sheathing & decking. What is the difference between them? It doesn’t exist. It is the same thing, even though contractors may call it something else.

It is an integral part of the roof structure, as we have already mentioned. Sheathing can be either open or closed depending on the needs of the structure.

Sheathing, or decking, is a vital component of a sturdy and stable roof. It is a continuous, solid layer that lies directly underneath your roof’s top layer.

How thick should plywood decking be?

There are many factors that affect the thickness of your plywood decking. The slope of your roof, the weight of any other material, and the spacing between rafters in your roofing structure are the most important aspects to consider.

You should also consider the pressure caused by snow and ice weight depending on where you live. This is not an important factor for warmer regions like Florida.

All of these factors being considered, it is clear that plywood decking should not be thinner or more durable than shingling. Let’s take a look at this through a practical example.

Roof deck thickness: A real-life example

A good way to do it is to have a standard pitch roof with roof rafters spaced 16′ apart. This is the minimum recommended roof decking thickness in this situation.

You should add plywood decking to any roofing structure that has rafters spaced at least 20 feet apart. The most common spacing between rafters in the United States is 24 inches. For such a roof structure, plywood decking 5/8” will suffice. It is strong enough to support most roof types.

How to calculate how much roof decking you need

You need to determine how thick your roof sheathing needs to be. Also, calculate how much material you will require upfront. A plywood sheet measuring four-by-eight inches in size is 32 square feet. Simply divide the total area of your roof by 32 to get the required amount.

To ensure that you don’t run short of material during installation, calculate a waste rate of 10 to 15%. This will give you an accurate estimate of how many square feet you need and the number sheets you should buy.

What is the cost to install roof decking?

Roof decking prices can vary depending on many factors. The more expensive a sheet of plywood is, the thicker it will be. A single sheet of plywood can cover 32 square feet. This means that you could expect to pay $60-100 for a sheet.

This estimate is for a home of average size with a 2000-square-foot roof. It will cost between $3600 to $6000. It is important to remember that installation costs will vary depending on where you live.

With this in mind plywood is a more expensive option than OSB. You can also use regular wooden boards if you have a tight budget. These boards are an option for decking but they are more susceptible to water damage and leaking.

For installation assistance, contact licensed professionals

Roof decking installation is simple. It’s not difficult, but it is important to do correctly if you want your roof to last the longest.

Nailing should be done carefully. Also, ensure that you stagger vertical seams. It is important not to overload the top, especially at the weakest points.

Reach out to us today if you need assistance in choosing the right roof sheathing thickness or installing roof decking. To get a free estimate on your roof, call today.

This article was written by a roofing professional at Roofing.co. At Roofing.co, we’re determined to be the only one you need to hire when looking for a Clearwater roofing contractor. We take a modern, professional approach to the roofing business in order to ensure our customers in St. Petersburg and the Central Florida region have the best possible experience whenever they choose us.