Need help on fighting with Insurance Company for Re-Decking

I am a GC for 6 years now and have couple flip under my belt. I just recently get in to a roofing business. I have re-roof 2 house with 3 helper and I pretty know how to do everything. My problem is there is several houses that need to be redecking (in my opinion) because when i walking on it, I feel like it can sagging down. However, when i try to explain to the adjuster they always say no to full replacement of decking or even repair it. They told me that they wont replace a rook deck unless there is a hole and if i need to replace it that is between me and home owner.

My question is how can I fight back? I feel really bad to just install shingle on these decking and know for sure it will not nail down to OSB 100%. Beside, im living in Dallas, TX and code now require to have 5/8 sheathing for roof with 24" spacing and all the old sheathing is 1/2"

Any tip or sharing information from expert here is greatly appreciate.

International building code says that roofing materials must be installed on a solidly sheathed deck. If your homeowner has Code Coverage on their policy (Ordinances and Law) you can use this code to get the deck approved. That being said, I have not had a lot of success in getting this approved prior to work starting…it usually must be done once you tear off the shingles and see what you are dealing with. Then you just take photos, call the adjuster and tell them you need decking. If it is warped it is not solid, if it is splitting, rotting, or has holes you need a nailable surface to install the new roof to.

Another issue to consider is whether the current decking meets code requirements for type of decking and thickness. Check with your building inspector if the decking is not up to code and see if they require the roof to be brought to code. Some areas require it only if any portion of the decking is being replaced for any reason. This could turn replacing a couple of pieces of decking to a full re-deck if it is required.

IRC Code: R905.2.1. Sheathing requirements. Asphalt shingles shall be fastened to solidly sheathed decks.

See IRC Codes R803.1 for Lumber sheathing and R503.2.1.1 for Panel sheathing

Hope this helps!

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Thanks a lot for your reply.

So when you tear off the roof, take photo and send in for supplement, how can you deal with the roof? leave the decking expose, or install the felt, or finish everything and hope that insurance gonna cover? Cause from my experience, insurance always take any where from 2-5 days for response to my supplement.

The old house here in Dallas (built before 1990), they all use 3/8" and the 2015 code is 1/2" for 24" spacing. In addition, code require when you replace anything, it need to be up to code. So when you replace 1 piece on decking the rest of the decking on the same surface need to come out or it will create a bump of 1/4".

The main thing i concern is insurance approval, because 1 piece of decking is about $100 to replace. That is a lot of money to play lottery with.

You take photos after you have the roof torn off, send them to the insurance company, and immediately call the adjuster. Don’t take “No” for an answer. Let them know you have the roof torn off and your crew is waiting on the ground until the decking is approved. Make sure you have the adjuster email verification that it is approved. I am not going to lie, this process will ruin your day! But it is the most effective way to get it paid for - it creates a sense of urgency because the roof is off and you cannot proceed because of the decking issues.


Also, when it is a code thing for decking thickness, get the adjuster to agree to a couple of pieces…call the building inspector and get something in writing that the entire deck must be replaced to bring to code and then call the adjuster back to inform him. Once he has agreed to replace one piece, they are pretty much married to it.


We just had one of these this week. In this situation, it was some older type of plywood from the 60’s that was delaminated. Our guy immediately took photos, called Adjuster, sent to him. Adjuster initially denied, our guy got HO to sign change order agreeing to pay for a complete redeck. Someone was going to pay for it before we proceeded and it wasn’t going to be us.

The Sales Rep called me, I told him this is a code issue. He gave me Adjuster contact info. I called and initially got resistance. Adjuster wanted us to dry it in and wait for an Engineer to come out. I said fine, but why waste $1500 (my charge to tarp or dry in) and also their cost of hiring the Engineer as well as delay the project and put the home at risk from weather? I patiently (at least for me) explained what codes applied (nailable surface and manufacturer’s specs which generally state materials must be nailed to a solidly sheathed surface. Manufacturer’s specs become code because code states they are) and walked him through it. He approved it then. Sent supplement in promptly, invoiced yesterday, check to Customer going out tomorrow.

Look up code online if you don’t have a code book yourself. Chapter 9. There’s also code for decking based upon spacing if the decking is 1 x 10’s, slats, whatever. I believe it is maximum of 1/8" spacing in between the boards/slats allowed by code. Any more than that, must be replaced.

Similar situation with Travelers about 3 weeks ago. Followed process described above, had it approved within a few hours. This roof was mostly 12 pitch so I was also able to add the Xactimate line item for installing decking on a double steep slope. So it ended up paying over $80 per sheet to install.


Great info and recommendations here fellas. Thanks.

What can we do if the homeowner insurance dont have the code compliant coverage?

Charge the homeowner. They should have invested their money in a proper policy.


IBC doesn’t define solidly sheathed deck so in most jurisdictions that alone wont work. Some places (Denver for example) specify exactly how big the gaps can be. Others dont give a gap size, but refer to the manufacturers requirements (which usually also do specify allowable gaps size.) You didnt mention if the roof was damaged due to a covered peril. If not, there is no claim anyway. Rotting isnt a reason either as code upgrade doesnt apply if the damage is specifically excluded elsewhere in the policy (rotting is excluded.)
Last-code upgrade applies only where the code is actually enforced. If its code but there are no permits required or the city doesnt inspect for the code-coverage doesnt apply.

There are only some trades that require inspections: Foundation, plumbing, mechanical, gas, electrical, framing, and masonry. However, just because an inspection is not required doesn’t
mean that the contractor can ignore the building code. See R105.8, R113.1, and R113.4.

Oh I agree. I’m just saying the policy wouldn’t pay for it.

Code does not specify a solidly sheathed deck. However, code does specify that manufacturer’s installation guidelines be followed. Therefore, manufacturer’s installation guidelines are code. Code is a minimal set of construction standards and defer to manufacturer’s guidelines when the guidelines are more stringent than the code. Manufacturer’s guidelines always have some statement about the decking requirements and the spacing between the decking that is allowed.

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Most do. Some don’t. And it depends on the jurisdiction.

Who doesn’t? And what jurisdiction are you referring to.