All the Roof Sheathing Code Requirements You Need to Know
General Roof Sheathing Code Requirements
The type of roof sheathing required by code is determined in large part by the design and materials used for the roof's covering and the local climate. Roof sheathing is most commonly oriented strand board (OSB) due to the reasonable price. However builders can opt for a premium sheathing called plywood (CDX) which is more expensive and comes with benefits.
Roof sheathing building code requires that roof sheath decks be covered with approved roof coverings in accordance with the jurisdiction's guidelines and installed in compliance with both the building code and the manufacturer's instructions. Roof decks and roof coverings must also be designed for wind loads according to the jurisdiction's wind load pressure requirements.
Roof Sheathing Code Requirements Specific to Materials Used
Since roof sheathing code requirements vary based on the roof cover materials used, let's take a look at some of the International Building Code (ICC) guidelines that inform most jurisdictions' building code requirements.
Built-up roof systems may be applied to solid or close-fitted sheathing.
Modified Bitumen may be applied to solid or close-fitted sheathing.
Fully-adhered or other mechanically-attached single-ply roof systems may be applied to solid or close-fitted sheathing.
Metal panel roof systems that function as the roof deck and covering combined, must comply with design and testing requirements.
Metal roof panels may be fitted to solid or close-fitted sheathing.
Metal roof shingles may be applied to solid sheathing or close-fitted sheathing if the metal shingles are specifically designed for spaced decking.
Asphalt shingles must be fastened to solid-sheathed decks. or spaced structural sheathing boards.
Mineral-surfaced roll roofing materials require a solid sheathed roof.
Wood shingles and shakes may be applied to solid or spaced decking in warmer climates but require only solid sheathing in colder climates.
Above-deck thermal insulation is allowed when covered with approved roofing cover materials and required tests are passed.
Radiant barriers are permitted above roof sheathing when it is covered with approved cover materials and complies with wind pressure testing.
When performing a roof replacement, the existing roof cover must be removed down to the roof sheathing.
While International Building Code can serve as a vague guideline, contractors and adjusters must follow the roof sheathing codes specific to the property's jurisdictional authorities.
Roof Sheathing Code Requirements by Jurisdiction
It's important to know the roof sheathing code adopted by the local jurisdiction. Even though not all jurisdictions demand a permit for roof sheathing work, any repairs must nonetheless adhere to the relevant code that is in force at the time of the work. The roof sheathing code that was in effect at the time of the roof original construction should also be known in order to confirm the roof cover's compliance.
When roofing contractors and insurance adjusters have questions about local requirements, they often have to directly contact the relevant authority. The "building department" or "building inspection department" of the village, town, city, or county where the building is located is often responsible for this. Building officials are often helpful contacts for construction contractors and insurance adjusters and can answer many questions regarding which roofing products and processes are allowed in the jurisdiction.
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