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How to Repair and Replace Damaged Roof Decking

The roof decking, also known as the roof sheathing, is the layer of material that provides structural support for your roofing materials, such as shingles or tiles. Over time, roof decking can become damaged due to various factors like water leaks, rot, or wear and tear. Addressing damaged roof decking is essential to maintain the integrity of your roof and protect your home from potential water damage. In this article, we’ll guide you through the steps to repair and replace damaged roof decking.

Note: Roof decking repair and replacement can be a complex job. If you are uncomfortable working on your roof or if the damage is extensive, it is advisable to hire a professional roofing contractor to assess and repair the decking.

Materials You’ll Need:

  • Safety gear (gloves, safety glasses, and a mask)
  • Plywood or OSB (Oriented Strand Board)
  • Circular saw or reciprocating saw
  • Hammer or roofing nailer
  • Roofing nails
  • Measuring tape
  • Pry bar
  • Carpenter’s square
  • Roofing felt
  • Roofing cement
  • Utility knife
  • Shingles or roofing material of your choice

Step 1: Safety First

Before you begin any roofing project, prioritize safety. Ensure you have the appropriate safety gear to protect yourself from potential hazards, including falls and debris.

Step 2: Identify the Damaged Area

Inspect your roof for areas with damaged or rotting roof decking. Look for sagging or soft spots, water stains on the ceiling, or shingles that appear warped or discolored.

Step 3: Remove Shingles or Roofing Material

Carefully remove the roofing material in the area where you’ll be working. This typically involves lifting and loosening the shingles above the damaged decking using a pry bar. Take your time to avoid damaging the shingles you intend to reuse.

Step 4: Cut Out Damaged Decking

Using a circular saw or reciprocating saw, cut out the damaged section of roof decking. Be sure to make clean, straight cuts along the edges of the damaged area. Use a carpenter’s square to ensure precise cuts.

Step 5: Prepare the Replacement Decking

Measure the dimensions of the hole you’ve created in the roof decking. Cut a replacement piece of plywood or OSB to the same size. Make sure it fits snugly into the opening without gaps.

Step 6: Install the Replacement Decking

Slide the replacement decking into the hole, ensuring it’s properly aligned with the adjacent decking boards. Use a hammer or roofing nailer to secure the replacement decking in place. Be sure to drive nails along the edges of the new piece and into the rafters or trusses for added stability.

Step 7: Apply Roofing Felt and Shingles

Cover the repaired area with roofing felt, overlapping it with the surrounding roofing felt. Secure the felt with roofing nails. Once the felt is in place, re-install the shingles or roofing material you removed in step 3. Make sure to align and nail them properly.

Step 8: Seal the Edges

To prevent water infiltration, apply roofing cement along the edges of the repaired area. This creates a watertight seal and ensures no moisture can penetrate.

Step 9: Inspect and Test

After completing the repair, inspect the area to ensure all materials are properly installed and sealed. Check for any remaining issues, and perform a water test to ensure there are no leaks.

Step 10: Cleanup

Clean up any debris and discarded materials from your roofing project, ensuring your work area is clear and safe.


Repairing and replacing damaged roof decking is a crucial aspect of roof maintenance. By following these steps and prioritizing safety, you can effectively address damaged roof decking and maintain the structural integrity of your roof. If you have any doubts or concerns about tackling this project yourself, it’s always a good idea to consult with a professional roofing contractor to ensure the job is done correctly and to prevent further damage to your roof.

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