Roofing underlayment is not usually visible even though you may never have heard about it! However, it is a critical element of every roofing system.
Roofing underlayment is a water-resistant or waterproof barrier that works as a protective layer against rain, snow, moisture, and wind. Roofers install it directly on your roof deck and under the rest of the roofing materials.
Why Do You Need Roofing Underlayment?
Many roof areas need roofing underlayment. Indeed, shingles cannot protect your roof deck alone.
Remind that shingles aren’t sealed at all corners, and strong winds can lift them. Over time, they become fragile, and the heat of an unventilated attic can cook them. Even they are susceptible to tear-off or infiltration by wind-driven rain.
Shingles reflect the sun’s rays, resist wind, and block the rain, but they are only the first defensive line. Therefore, to protect your home effectively, your roofing system needs underlayment.
Types of Roofing Underlayment
1. Asphalt-Saturated Felt:
Several mixtures of different natural fibers plus bitumen, polyester, or asphalt make up this type of underlayment called “felt paper” or “tar paper”. Usually, it has a base mat or a flexible base layer. Besides, manufacturers make it water-resistant by saturating it with asphalt.
Advantages of asphalt-saturated felt:
- It comes in different thicknesses, so it can adapt to your local weather demands. You may have a variety of options since they have varying resistances to weather exposure.
- It’s less expensive than many other materials
- Provides a good seepage barrier
- You can use common tools easily to install it
Disadvantages of asphalt-saturated felt:
- It can be heavy, especially when you layer it enough to make it effective in harsher climates
- Its installation can be difficult because it is heavier than other options
- It can crumble and crack when exposed to cold
- Its volatile compounds can dissipate when exposed to heat. So, the underlayment can absorb moisture and break apart.
Manufacturers design synthetic underlayment to be installed across the complete roof deck. They saturate them in asphalt, adding fiberglass to gives them superior tear resistance and stability.
Advantages of synthetic underlayment:
- It is a light and effective water barrier. Thus, it doesn’t add a lot of weight to your roof
- It’s tear-resistant when exposed to high winds
- It does not absorb moisture. So, it resists mold and fungal growth
- It will maintain its integrity even when exposed to the cold and don’t wear down as quickly as others
Disadvantages of synthetic underlayment
- It tends to be more expensive than asphalt-saturated felt
- Require more tools and skill for proper installation
Currently, most roofing professionals prefer to use synthetic underlayment. Likewise, high-quality synthetic underlayment like CertainTeed’s Diamond Deck™ includes scrim reinforcement for added slip resistance.
3. Rubberized Asphalt:
Rubberized asphalt underlayment has higher percentages of asphalt and rubber polymers, making it waterproof. Often, it has a sticky back with a protective membrane that roofers remove before installation. This backing creates a waterproof seal between the underlayment and the roof deck.
You should add this underlayment at valleys and spots prone to leak, such as roof protrusions.
Rubberized asphalt advantages:
- It does a great job of protecting your roof against water damage
- Waterproof roofing underlayment at the roof eaves is helpful in places where winter is severe. The underlayment will protect the roof deck edge from water damage
- It provides much more heat and cold resistance than asphalt-saturated felt
- They have a long life when installed
- Will you have to wait before installing your primary roof covering? No problem, this underlayment can be exposed to weather elements for up to 180 days without having significant damage
Rubberized asphalt disadvantages:
- Maybe the only downward of this underlayment is its cost since it will require a higher investment.
How to Choose Roofing Underlayment that’s Right For Your Roof
When it comes to choosing your underlayment, you’ll want to consider the price. Defining your budget first will allow you more easily to decide what underlayment options you can assess.
Of course, finding what works best with your roof type is also critical.
For example, since synthetic underlayment has higher heat resistance, it will work well in metal roofs. Meanwhile, roofing felt underlayment could work well with a conventional asphalt shingle roof.
The main part of the problem is that you never knew from where water entered the house or roof. The water stains of your ceiling make it obvious but you have to be very tricky in locating these points.
Also, you should consider the environment where you live and its climate. The underlayment you choose must meet the local weather requirements.
Do You Need a Roof Replacement?
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