I also consider it a maintenance/performance issue, but also touch on safety since I have personal experience in stepping in the wrong spot (back when I walked roofs, you understand, not as a home inspector) and having a foot go through the roof. So here’s what I put in my report:

Rob, lets go back to the begining here, we are not talking about spaced sheathing as would be used under shakes, we are talking about the rough-*** old timber planking that you will find as sheathing on most 50 year old roofs.

But you knew that :wink:




Now I knew you were an old fella…lol…but do you remeber the good ole’ 30’s…thehehehhe

I’m a history fanatic.

My grandparents built their home in Kingsville, Texas, in 1933. Skip-sheathed, as were all the neighborhood houses built there in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s. I used to love playing in those ol’ attics (and under the houses, as well; cool foundations).

Oh…ok…For a second their I thought YOU helped him do it back in the 30’s…thehehehhee…

Now ya got me curious. Were those houses originally constructed with asphalt shingles over spaced wood plank decking? Or were they originally wood shingles that were later re-roofed with asphalt shingles? Also note that spaced wood plank decking does not hold up well in an earthquake.

I should have noted … “for the original construction … around my neck of the woods” … :wink:

I think there is more to it than that.

P.S. Gerry, I’m also not following the comments on codes then, as the IRC and manufacturers allow wood plank decking for asphalt shingles (with small gaps similar to plywood), but not spaced plank sheathing (which is only acceptable for wood shingles in most areas).

JMO & 2-nickels … :wink:

yeah, sheathing added over the batton boards, adding to the total weight of the roof system, but kinda needed due to rafter spaceing.

Concur with Joe.


You need to take it easy on Gerry, fore he might get overstressed and we will all miss out on his inputs to this board. :slight_smile: :stuck_out_tongue:
After, all he is right in his deduction, I have seen this type of Construction, and there was nothing wrong with it then and is still surviving strong.
Doesn’t that make you wonder of todays standards?

I would believe, that the yester year building is as adequate as of today.
Buildings today, as far as Commercial is concerned, is based on a 20 year turnaround.

I call this disposable buildings.

Residential buildings that were built in circa-1800’s are some of the most interesting Handy-crafted specimens around compared to todays standards.
How can one compare these outstanding performances to today’s standards?
Inspected a house just this past few days that dated back to 1892, and had to admire the condition it was in.

You might need to brush up on how things used to be built. I believe that is what Gerry is trying to point out.

Gerry has been there and so have I. Not trying to outguess you Gerry, but if I am, just let me know. :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :slight_smile:


All old Victorian farmhouses used spaced decking. They were never vented because lets face it they were pretty drafty and the spaced decking prolonged the life of the roof. Even today, I have seen many a farm houses from late 1800 that are not vented, and are plank decking and are no worse for no ventilation, not to mention the lack of solid decking.

I don’t know about others but I do not attempt to make an old house new again or to todays standards.

Asphalt shingles over spaced wood plank decking is the wrong way to get attic ventilation … which should be with adequate eave and gable/ridge vents. It’s not good to solve one problem by creating another … :shock:

Marcel, don’t worry as Gerry and I are mates. Even though we agree more often than not, we enjoy a good debate/discussion sometimes … and even have fun with it occasionally … :wink:

Hi. Bob;

I guess I would have to say that is wrong by todays standard or was it wrong by yesteryear standard, that is the question.

The later, I believe would be correct. Can we compare todays standards with Construction techniques of the Past? To some extent.
Todays Manufacturers will commit any extra paper work and recommendations as required to protect their liabilities all caused by lawsuits of this economy.

Roofing installation on houses with rough sawn boards unsquared and lined provided adequate substrate for the roofing composites prior 1960’s and was adequate.

Today, I guess I have to agree, it would not fly.

Marcel :slight_smile: :slight_smile: :wink:

The reason planking is not used today is because of cost and installation time.

As to ventilation old homes with plank decking and no ventilation appear to have longer lives.

Is there any research to support that statement? Or is it just a result of better construction materials and construction protocols resulting from a greater love of labor then versus today’s get-it-done-now construction protocols? I would suggest that it’s probably the latter.


Just look at how wood shake and shingles are installed today. In most all cases the wood shingles are installed on plywood decking as opposed to the preferred method of spaced planking. Putting wood shingles on plywood decking will half the lifespan of wood shingles.

I am basing my statement on field experience particularly century farm houses. I am not suggesting new homes would fair better because of better building and ventilation techinques and increase in knowledge.

Due to the high fire hazard area in which I live, we don’t use wood shingles down here, so I can’t speak to how they are installed today or their preferred method of being installed today.

Do you have some links to research that will support that statement?

I’m wondering if you truly have enough “field experience” though to make such a generalized statement? And was that “field experience” acquired under controlled conditions? I suspect “no” to both questions. One would have to not only know the installation procedures but the maintenance that has taken place over the years. Etc.

Well I guess thats why you live down in California and I up here. I know through experience and education that solid sheating for wood shingles is not as good at shingle longevity as planking. Just ask Carson Dunlop Consulting engineers.

Also I have the building code which does not indicate that spaced planking is not allowed.

Again I am talking old farmhouses that have planked decking, of course they were built to a different standard over a hundred years ago, no code, just the builders local expertise brought over from the old country.

I guess that is why my Municipalitiy also appointed me to serve on the Heritage Council, to advise council and to oversee the reassembly of a historic log home on town property and to help disassemble an old Victorian farmhouse to save historical artifacts, such as windows, doors, pine floor planks etc. What experience you ask?

You can find lots of info for this, here is some,Red Flags and Visible Contamination/cedarroof.jpg

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Chuck and Ray great sites thanks .
Roy Cooke … RHI…