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Roof Replacement

Re-Nailing the Plywood Deck: Essential Steps in Roof Replacement

November , 2023 | 8 min. read

By Mitch Owens

roof being torn off and one piece of plywood being replaced

Are you currently navigating the complexities of a roof replacement? It's a significant decision that involves understanding the various steps and procedures. One common question we encounter is: Why do roofers re-nail the plywood deck during a roof replacement?

We know that investing in a new roof is not only about enhancing your home's appearance. Our roofs safeguard our biggest asset.

RoofCrafters has been in the roofing industry for over 30 years. We feel it's important to give homeowners knowledge. We want to help you understand roof replacement so you can make well-informed decisions for your home.

In this article, we’ll discuss the top five reasons why re-nailing the plywood deck is an important step in the roof replacement process. We'll explore each aspect in detail, offering you insights from our extensive experience. By the end of this article, you'll have a clearer understanding of this important roofing practice.

Let's dive into the reasons why re-nailing the plywood deck is not just a routine step, but a necessary one for the longevity and safety of your roof.

Ensuring Structural Integrity: The Foundation of a Strong Roof


A roof is only as good as its foundation, and in the case of roofing, that foundation is the plywood deck. Re-nailing the plywood deck during a roof replacement isn't just a routine step. It's a critical measure to ensure the structural integrity of your entire roofing system. 

steep roof replacement in progress with 2 roofers

Creating a Stable Base

Over time, the nails in your roof's plywood decking can become loose or corroded. This can lead to instability in the deck itself. Re-nailing is essential to tighten and secure the plywood. Which helps ensure it provides a solid, stable base for all the roofing materials that will be laid on top. Without this solid foundation, your new roof could be compromised. Thus, leading to a range of problems from uneven roof material application to more severe structural issues.

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Preventing Future Roof Failures


Proper nailing of the plywood deck is an important step in ensuring the long-term health of your roof. It's not only about fixing the present issues. It’s also about safeguarding against future problems. A well-nailed roof deck is pivotal in preventing the roof system from failing early.

Securing the Longevity of Your Roof:

  • Eliminating Movement and Wear: When the deck isn’t properly nailed, it can move or shift over time. This movement can lead to significant wear and tear on the materials. This will cause leaks or even catastrophic roof failures. By re-nailing the deck, roofers end this movement, extending the life of your roof.

  • Cost-Effective Maintenance: Re-nailing the deck is an extra expense during a roof replacement. But it's a cost-effective measure in the long run. It reduces the likelihood of future repairs caused by a poorly secured deck, saving you money and hassle.

  • Peace of Mind: Knowing that your roof deck is secured provides peace of mind. You can rest easy knowing that the risk of roof failures from poorly nailed plywood is avoided.

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Ensuring Uniformity and Stability


Roofers re-nail the plywood deck during a roof replacement for a stable base. It creates uniformity for the new materials. This process is important for several reasons.

Achieving a Flawless Roofing Surface:

  • Smooth Installation Process: A solid nailed deck ensures that the installation of shingles or other roofing materials goes down smoothly. An unstable deck can lead to complications during installation. It could affect the quality of the roofing job.

  • Enhanced Aesthetic Appeal: The uniformity provided by a nailed deck is not only functional; it's also aesthetic. When the base is even, the roofing materials laid on top appear more aligned. This uniformity contributes to the look of the roof, enhancing the curb appeal of your home.

  • Structural Consistency: A nailed deck contributes to the structural consistency of the roof. It ensures that each area of the roof has the same level of stability and support. Which is important for the long-term durability of the roofing system.

  • Prevention of Material Damage: Uneven decking can lead to stress and strain on roofing materials, causing them to wear out or fail early. By ensuring that the deck is nailed down, roofers help prevent such damage, extending the life of the roofing materials.

Enhancing Wind Uplift Resistance


In areas where storms and high winds are common, ensuring your roof can withstand these forces is crucial. Re-nailing the plywood deck plays a significant role in enhancing the roof’s resilience against such conditions. Here’s how it contributes to better wind uplift resistance.

GAF Windproven infinite speed icon

Fortifying Against Severe Weather:

  • Increased Holding Power: Re-nailing the deck with high-quality nails increases the holding power of the plywood to the roof’s structural framework. This enhanced grip helps the roof to withstand the forces exerted by high winds and turbulent weather.

  • Uniform Distribution of Wind Loads: Plywood nailed decking ensures that wind forces are distributed across the roof’s surface. This uniform distribution of load helps prevent localized weak spots that could lead to failures during a high wind storm.

  • Preventing Deck Movement: A well-secured plywood deck minimizes the chance of deck movement during high winds. Movement can lead to cracks and breaks in the roofing materials. This will compromise the roof's integrity and can lead to leaks or more severe damage.

Compliance with Building Codes


Adhering to building codes is a rule in most states. It's a crucial aspect of ensuring roof safety and legal compliance. Re-nailing the plywood deck during a roof replacement is often a need to meet these standards. In this section, we’ll explore how this practice aligns with building codes. In particular, the International Building Code (IBC) 2015 standards.

3 story beach front home with roof tear off in progress

Aligning with Roofing Standards for Safety and Legality:

  • IBC 2015 Standards: The International Building Code sets forth guidelines that dictate effective construction practices. The 2015 edition of the IBC includes specific provisions for roofing. This requires the re-nailing of the plywood deck to maintain structural integrity and safety.

  • Enhancing Structural Safety: By re-nailing the deck, roofers ensure that the roof structure meets or exceeds the safety parameters outlined in the IBC. This includes ensuring that the roof can bear typical loads and stresses, such as weight from snow or pressure from winds.

  • Legal Compliance: Adherence to the IBC or other local building codes is not only about ensuring safety. It's also a legal rule. Non-compliance can result in legal repercussions, including fines or mandatory corrections. Re-nailing the deck as per code requirements helps avoid such complications.

  • Insurance Considerations: Insurance companies often need proof of code compliance for coverage. A roof that’s updated to meet current building codes can also lower insurance premiums, as it’s seen as less of a risk.

  • Future Proofing: Building codes evolve, often becoming more stringent. By ensuring that your roof replacement complies with the latest standards, like the IBC 2015, you’re future-proofing your home. These changes could cause costly repairs if not done upfront.

In essence, re-nailing the plywood deck is a proactive step towards maintaining the structural integrity of your roof. It’s an investment in the future of your home, ensuring that your new roof remains robust, secure, and effective for years to come.

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Final Thoughts: Securing Your Roof's Future


The importance of re-nailing your roof’s plywood deck is clear. It's not just a routine step in the roofing process; it's a fundamental action that ensures the safety, longevity, and compliance of your roof. This extra step to a roof replacement protects your home from potential damages and aligns with legal standards.

At RoofCrafters, we want to empower our clients with knowledge. We have learned from 30 years in roofing that informed homeowners are the most prepared. We want to teach you about all parts of your roof replacement, like deck re-nailing. With 3 decades under our belts, we understand the nuances of roofing inside out – from the smallest shingle to the entire deck. Our commitment is to provide you with an educational journey, guiding you to make the best decisions for your home.

Whether it's a question about the right materials, the necessity of re-nailing, or navigating building codes, we are here to help. At RoofCrafters, your roof’s integrity is our top priority. If you need a roof replacement or have questions about your current roofing project, reach out to us. Let our decades of expertise guide you toward a long-lasting roofing solution.

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Mitch Owens

My name is Mitch, and I have over 10 years of roofing experience. I enjoy my career in the service industry because I love helping others take care of their homes and businesses. With over 10 years in the roofing industry, my success comes from my honesty and integrity during my roof inspections. I do my best to listen to the needs of my clients and strive to provide an awesome client experience.