Common Problems with Roof Supports

Beneath all great structures is a solid base… and without a solid base, weakness and problems occur. The same goes for a roof… roof supports need to be strong, solid, and functional. That’s why, before Weather Vane installs a roof, we inspect it from above and from below, looking for common problems with roof supports.

Why do we do this?

We do this because it’s important to inspect the area the new roof will be covering to identify problems that need attention, repair, or replacement before putting the new roof on. This also minimizes other problems from occurring after the roof is installed.  

We also do this to keep a step ahead. If there are unseen problems, there are unseen costs. And while we like “surprises,” we don’t like costly surprises for our customers if we can uncover them from the get-go.

Before there is a roof, there are trusses or rafters, depending on the age of the home. The trusses and rafters are a base for the plywood and other roofing materials that will go on top.

Inspection of the roof

Some common problems with roof supports that we look for before replacing a roof are:

  • Bad or broken Rafter Boards
  • Damaged plywood or roof decking
  • Older homes with skip decking
  • Buckling

Bad or broken rafter board – If a rafter board is cracked, broken, or rotting, it needs to be replaced or fixed before a new roof is installed.

Damaged plywood or roof decking – Leaks that have been occurring known or not, can be found and fixed. We don’t want to put a new roof over something that’s dysfunctional. If there is damage, we will sheet the roof with plywood or OSB.

Older homes with skip decking – Homes built in the 1920s and into the 1960s commonly used skip decking. This roof construction method has gaps between boards larger than today’s standards. When tearing off this kind of roof, these 1 – 2 ” gaps can’t just be shingled over. It has to be resheeted with a whole layer of plywood or OSB as the roof support.

Buckling – In the 1970s, thin 3/8 plywood was commonly used. Over time the plywood changes from contraction and expansion and the shingles buckle rather than lying flat. This is another example of the roof needing new sheeting.

Once repairs are made and the plywood or OSB is in place, it’s time for the underlayment. This is the in-between layer of synthetic paper between the wood deck and shingles. The Underlayment serves as a backup. If shingles blow off during a storm this provides secondary leak protection under shingles. It also keeps shingles from getting super hot and from melting into the wood.

For areas at the eaves, valleys, and around the chimney rather than synthetic paper, an ice guard is used. This is a peel-and-stick membrane around all the nails so that when ice damming occurs all nails are sealed and the water is stopped from penetrating. This covers about 30% of the roof. The rest of the roof is covered with synthetic paper.

The structural integrity of each component is important and all components play together to create the life and performance of the roof. We use all Atlas system products which enable the warranties to be active.

A couple of other things beneath the roof, though not really considered roof supports, that are important to be mindful of and that we check at the initial assessment are:

  • Depth of insulation
  • Ventilation

Both of these play a role in the performance of the roof in winter and summer. We may suggest changes to them, such as more insulation if we see a need.

If you are considering a new roof or interested in knowing what lies under your shingles and how a new roof may improve the function or aesthetics of your home, give us a call, get a free quote and get on our schedule. 

Get Your Free Estimate Today!

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About Weather Vane Roofing
We provide roofing, siding, insulation, windows, and gutters. Making your house beautiful and efficient is our main goal. We use the latest in technology and products to provide eco-friendly and cost-effective solutions for your home and business. With locations in Lansing, Owosso, and Brighton/Howell we are Mid-Michigan’s roofing experts. Let us transform your house into a home.

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