What is Roof Sheathing?

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What is Roof Sheathing?

When we buy a house or build one we invest a lot of money into it, the last thing we want on our hands is for something terrible to happen. Homes are expensive, fixing them, building them, etc. are all costly tasks and ideally something we want to avoid. Unfortunately, problems do happen, but you want to do your best to avoid such issues. 

According to seasoned roofers in Rhode Island (https://therhodeislandroofers.com), there are ways to prevent such incidents from occurring. This is where roof sheathing comes into the picture. But what is roof sheathing, and what does it do?

Roof sheathing is fixed to the joists and trusses; it is a secure layer of wooden boards that help to support the roof of a building. It can instead be known as roof decking; however, this is slightly different.

What is roof sheathing made out of?

Roof Sheathing is usually made out of two types of wood, either plywood or OSB, which stands for oriented strand board. 

The difference between plywood and OSB is that plywood is a heavy material in comparison to OSB, which is a light material. With plywood being heavy, it can add to the weight of the roof, which isn’t necessarily a good thing. Plywood is a lot more expensive to purchase than OSB, which is cheaper. However, the benefit of plywood is that it is very durable. 

The most used wood out of these two types is OSB because of it being cheaper and lighter. 

What Does Roof Sheathing Do?

The primary purpose of sheathing is that it adds support to the roof of a building. But thankfully there are other purposes to roof sheathing which make it worthwhile to do! 

Helps Prevent Leaking

It is found that without roof sheathing, there is a higher risk of having leaks. The reason why it prevents leakages is that it provides them with another layer of protection against the elements such as rain, snow, etc. 

Adds Strength and Support

Roof sheathing helps to distribute weight evenly across your roof, which provides extra strength and support all across. 

Fire Protection

A bonus is that the type’s wood used for roof sheathing often has fireproof retardant treatment, although this isn’t wholly fireproof it can help to prevent and resist fires. 

How Often Should You Replace Your Roof?

Roofs are designed to last for a long-standing time; usually, a roof will last between fifteen to twenty years. But it is entirely down to the type and quality of material that you use. If you use a material that is bad quality, then your roof is less likely to last for a more extended period.

If you are looking for a very long-lasting roof, then purchasing a metal roof would be the best option as they can last between 30 to 70 years which is a considerable comparison compared to the other types of roofs.

How Do You Know When Your Roof Needs Replacing?

There will be visible signs that your roof needs replacing, these I have listed below. If you do notice any of these problems, I advise that you get it sorted as soon as possible to prevent any severe damage. Be advised that sometimes you can have any issue with your roof, but it might not be so easy to notice. 

Water Damage 

Water damage is an easy way to spot if your roof needs replacing. Usually, water damage comes through the ceiling, and you can vividly see that there is a problem with stains, puddles, and leaks. If you do spot water damage in your ceiling, it’s vital that you sort it quickly as it can affect the roof structure.  

It’s broken  

There are distinct ways to see if your roof is broken. For example, if a tree falls onto your house, then it is very likely that the roof is going to be severely damaged and will need replacing. Alternatively, there can be less obvious ones to spot, such as the sheathing boards being broken. To be able to check the quality of them, it might be worth checking in your attic every couple of years to see if they’re still okay. 


If you can see any rotting in your roof sheathing, this isn’t a good sign, and it means you need it to be replaced. This is something that would require you to go into your attic and physically look for it.

Ideally, if you are looking for your roof to be durable and last for a reasonable amount of time, then fitting roof sheathing either when you are building your house or if you are replacing the roof it is the perfect time to do so. As explained, there are many benefits; in the long run, it will save you money as it prevents any problems and helps to make the roof last longer.