Roof System Components: Roof Sheathing

Roof System Components: Roof Sheathing

A roof is not only just made up of shingles or tiles. It is a complex system of elements that all work together to protect your home. One critical part of the roofing system is your roof sheathing. So what exactly is roof sheathing? Why is it important to the roofing system as a whole and what are some of the different types of roof sheathing?

What is Roof Sheathing?

Roof sheathing is the material that goes on top of your roofing structure that the roof system is constructed on. The trusses and beams of the roof give the roof its initial pitch and structure. The sheathing, or roof decking, is applied on top of this so that the actual underlayment and roof covering can be installed. When you see workers transporting large flat pieces of lumber up to the roofing structure they are more than likely installing the roof sheathing.

What is Roof Sheathing Made Of?

Sheathing is almost always composed of wood in the United States, but different types of wood can be used. Oriented strand board (OSB) is one of the most popular materials for roof sheathing. OSB is lightweight, cheap and strong enough to resist bending or breaking.

Sheathing may also be constructed of plywood. Plywood is more expensive than OSB but usually stronger. Plywood may be used instead of OSB in cases where the roof covering is especially heavy, like in the case of slate, clay or concrete tiles.

How Do I Know What Sheathing I Need?

Sheathing comes in different thicknesses and what type of roof you have will help designate the thickness you need. Steeper roofs tend to have thinner sheathing due to lightweight roof coverings while flat and low sloop roofs that support more weight from precipitation or people walking on it will have thicker sheathing.

What type of sheathing you need depends on your roofing material, your home city, and jurisdiction code. We can help make sure you get the right type of sheathing for your home.