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  • Writer's pictureCenterlineRoofing

Sealed Roof Decks May Help Reduce Storm Damage.

A sealed roof deck shelters the interior from water damage in the event the roof deck is exposed.

In the event of a severe storm, a durable roof may help protect against water intrusion in the most vulnerable areas of a home. Under strong storm conditions, roof leaks can cause costly repairs and put belongings inside at risk of water damage.

For more than 20 years, the Insurance Institute for Business & Home Safety (IBHS) has extensively researched and tested what makes a strong roof. A result of this research is the FORTIFIED Roof standard, part of IBHS’ FORTIFIED Home program, which promotes the use of a sealed roof deck as part of its nationally recognized standards for resilient building.

Traditional roof decks may be constructed with oriented strand board (OSB) or plywood panels as the structural sheathing layer. Next, 15- to 30-pound felt (per local code) may be installed on top of the panels to repel water from the wood substrate. Lastly, a roof covering, such as shingles, is attached. In the event the covering, and likely the felt, is blown away, this method can leave vulnerable panel seams exposed.

Standard roof design

But a sealed roof deck, such as a ZIP System Roof Assembly, which is made of engineered wood panels with an integrated, water-resistive barrier and advanced acrylic tape, provides a secondary, continuous water-resistive barrier on a roof deck that helps prevent water intrusion at panel seams.

A sealed roof deck helps protect the integrity of the structure by sheltering the interior from water damage in the event the roof deck is exposed. This exposure can occur during construction or in a high-wind event if the roof covering is blown off. Building sealed roof decks as part of new construction projects has benefits for builders, too. Sealed roof decks can help achieve a quick rough dry-in to help interior crews start sooner and help protect interiors from water damage while a roof may be exposed before cladding.

There are four methods IBHS approves for installing a sealed roof deck to FORTIFIED Roof standards:

  • Using tape and underlayment, which requires a certain tape and underlayment material applied directly to the roof deck.

  • Applying a full layer of self-adhering membrane to the roof deck.

  • Installing two layers of felt underlayment to the roof deck.

  • Applying spray foam on the underside of the roof at every joint and seam.

Zip roof System

Utilizing these integrated products to create a sealed roof deck means the structural panel, underlayment, and air barrier are all warranted under a single manufacturer, too. In fact, ZIP System Roof Assembly is the first manufacturer-warranted(1) roof sheathing system(2) that meets the sealed roof deck standard for a FORTIFIED Roof(3).

The IBHS’s mission is to conduct objective, scientific research to identify and promote effective actions that strengthen homes, businesses, and communities against natural disasters and other causes of loss. Explore more about what IBHS is doing to create safer, more durable homes at

Colorado springs roof expert

FOOTNOTES The ZIP System product line is backed with a 30-year limited warranty. Limitations and restrictions apply. See

Roof sheathing system means integrated sheathing with a built-in, weather-resistive underlayment and taped seams.

When ZIP System roof sheathing is installed using the product installation instructions and attached to the framing members using a FORTIFIED Roof–accepted method.

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