Nailable Surface


Any words of wisdom on what to say to get substantial amounts of decking replaced because the insured is owed a nailable surface?

Working in a neighborhood where a lot of the houses have soft decking.

What should I look for?
What kind of tests should I make?
What documentation is usually required by the insurance company?



There is an item in Residential Building Code regarding the requirement for a nailable surface. If the HO has the option in the their policy for Ordinance or Law Code Enforcement, it is possible to have it paid for. You will need to reference the code item and also provide documentation from the local municipality proving it requires enforcement of Residential Building Code. You can usually do that by doing a Google search for “municipality name
building code requirements”. Find it on their website, print screen and provide a copy to the Adjuster. We go to the Adjuster meeting with that work already complete and the documentation in hand.


What type of membrane/roof are you installing? Single ply or asphalt shingle?

For single ply, a simple pull test will tell you if the deck can handle the fasteners.


I’m curious about this too, we’ve done jobs where the HO wanted to dispute the cost of decking we had to replace. Other than leaving the bad laying on the ground for the HO to inspect, what could a responsible contractor do?


Our contract plainly states that rotten decking found will be replaced at $xx per sheet. We also use what we call a pre job check list we go over with the HO that sets expectations and again covers the fact rotten decking will be replaced and charged for. In order for the roof crew to get paid for rotten decking, they know they have to take pictures and send to me. If questioned by the Customer when we present the invoice, we remind them of the contract, the pre job check list and show them the pictures. We rarely experience any problems getting paid for rotten decking.

Often, not always, you can detect a potential decking problem when inspecting the roof. That generally leads to an inspection of the attic to see if we can detect anything from that side. Either way, we alert the HO to the potential problem AGAIN setting expectations appropriate up front rather than popping a surprise on them when we’re done.

The vast majority of the time it’s all about properly setting expectations.



I had a guy look it up the other day for me and I fogot the exact numbers but he showed me some citation where plywood could only be nailed 3? times and I think OSB 4 times? I really can’t remember where he pulled it from but it was there. Might help in older roofs with multiple layers? I wsh I could be of more help…


I have had several re-decks paid for by insurance. USAA for example will pay if it is not 1/2 inch. They only pay for a layover. Nationwide will pay if they have 1 by 6 or 1 by 12. Not sure exactly why, but if the city code requires it, they will also pay. I just got ALLSTATE to pay for a layover…surprised the heck out of me…something about a clean, nailable surface…


When you say: “they only pay for a layover”, do you mean that they pay to lay new osb over the existing sheathing? That they won’t pay to remove and haul the existing sheathing?

I didn’t know that they would pay for re sheathing over 1x6 boards. Or if the sheathing wasn’t 1/2". I’ve been denied that when I tried because we were installing over 3/8" plywood.


Did you find out where he pulled that from?


It depends on the insurance company. Allstate paid after we got a letter from the city that 1/2 inch was required per code.