Types of Roof Underlayment

Last updated on June 14, 2023

Discover the different types of roof underlayment and their unique benefits as we guide you through choosing the perfect option for your home.

When it comes to roofing, there are several important components that work together to create a durable and reliable system. One of the most critical elements is the underlayment, which provides an additional layer of protection between the roof deck and the shingles or other roofing materials.

But with so many different types of underlayment available on the market today, it can be hard to know which one is right for your home or business. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at some of the most common types of roof underlayment and help you understand their unique benefits and drawbacks.

Whether you’re a seasoned contractor or simply a homeowner looking to learn more about your options, this guide will provide valuable insights into this essential aspect of roofing design.

Types of Roof Underlayment

types of roof underlayment

Roof underlayment comes in different types, each with its unique features and benefits. The most common types of roof underlayment include asphalt-saturated felt, rubberized asphalt, and synthetic underlayment.

Asphalt-saturated felt is the traditional type of roof underlayment that has been used for decades. It is made from organic or fiberglass materials that are saturated with asphalt to make them waterproof.

This type of roofing material is affordable and easy to install but may not be as durable as other options.

Rubberized Asphalt offers better protection than traditional felt because it contains a layer of rubber polymers that enhance its strength and durability. It can withstand harsh weather conditions such as heavy rain or strong winds without tearing easily.

Synthetic Underlayments are relatively new on the market but have gained popularity due to their superior performance compared to other options. They are made from high-tech materials such as polypropylene or polyester which makes them lightweight yet incredibly strong against moisture penetration.

Functions of Roof Underlayment

Firstly, it acts as a secondary barrier against water infiltration, protecting the roof deck from moisture damage and leaks. Secondly, it provides an additional layer of insulation to help regulate temperature and reduce energy costs.

Thirdly, underlayment can also serve as a slip-resistant surface for workers during installation or maintenance activities.

In addition to these primary functions, different types of roof underlayment may offer additional benefits such as increased durability or resistance to UV rays and other environmental factors. Understanding the specific needs of your roofing project is essential when selecting the right type of underlayment for your home or business.

Asphalt-Saturated Felt

This type of underlayment is made from a base material, such as cellulose or fiberglass, which is then coated with asphalt to create a waterproof barrier. Asphalt-saturated felt comes in rolls that are typically 36 inches wide and can be easily cut to fit any size or shape roof.

One advantage of asphalt-saturated felt is its affordability compared to other types of underlayment. It also provides good protection against moisture infiltration while allowing the roof deck to breathe properly.

However, there are some drawbacks associated with this type of underlayment as well. For example, it can be prone to tearing during installation if not handled carefully by experienced professionals.

It may not provide adequate protection against extreme weather conditions like heavy rain or wind-driven snow.

Rubberized Asphalt

This material is made by blending asphalt with recycled rubber, creating a flexible and durable layer that can withstand extreme temperatures and harsh conditions. Rubberized asphalt underlayment also has the added benefit of being self-sealing, which means it can help prevent leaks from occurring around fasteners or other penetrations in the roof deck.

One potential drawback to using rubberized asphalt as an underlayment is its cost. Compared to traditional felt paper or synthetic options, this material tends to be more expensive per square foot.

However, many homeowners find that the long-term benefits outweigh the initial investment when it comes to protecting their homes from water damage.

When choosing a roofing contractor for your next project, be sure to ask about their experience working with different types of roof underlayment materials including rubberized asphalt.

Synthetic Underlayment

Synthetic underlayment offers several advantages over traditional asphalt-saturated felt. For one thing, it’s much lighter and easier to handle during installation.

It also has excellent resistance to tearing and puncturing.

Another benefit of synthetic underlayment is its superior water resistance compared to other types of roofing felt. This makes it an ideal choice for areas with high levels of rainfall or snowfall where moisture can easily penetrate through the roof deck.

In addition to its practical benefits, synthetic underlayment also comes in a variety of colors that can complement your chosen shingle color or enhance your home’s curb appeal.

When choosing a synthetic underlayment for your roofing project, be sure to consider factors such as thickness (measured in mils), UV stability rating (to prevent degradation from sunlight exposure), and slip-resistance properties (for safety during installation).

Choosing a Roof Underlayment

One of the most important is the climate in your area. If you live in an area with high humidity or frequent rain, for example, you may want to choose a synthetic underlayment that offers superior water resistance and durability.

Another key consideration is the type of roofing material you plan to use. Some types of shingles require specific types of underlayment for optimal performance and longevity.

It’s important to think about your budget when selecting an underlayment. While some options may be more expensive upfront than others, they can often save money over time by providing better protection against leaks and other damage.

Ultimately, choosing the right roof underlayment requires careful research and consideration based on your unique needs as a homeowner or contractor.

Installation Methods

There are several different methods for installing roof underlayment, and each has its own advantages and disadvantages.

One common installation method involves laying the underlayment in horizontal courses across the roof deck. This approach can be effective at preventing moisture from seeping through gaps between individual sheets of material.

However, it may also create more seams that could potentially allow water to penetrate if not properly sealed.

Another option is to install the underlayment vertically along with eaves or rakes before adding shingles or other roofing materials on top. This technique can help prevent wind-driven rain from entering beneath shingles while also reducing potential leaks around penetrations such as vents or chimneys.

Regardless of which installation method you choose, proper fastening techniques are essential for ensuring a secure and long-lasting bond between your roof deck and underlayment layer.

Importance of Ventilation

Without adequate ventilation, moisture can become trapped inside your attic or crawl space, leading to mold growth, wood rot, and other serious problems. In addition to protecting your home from water damage and decay caused by excess humidity levels, proper ventilation can also help regulate indoor temperatures throughout the year.

When choosing a roof underlayment for your home or business property’s roofing system design plan with a professional contractor that understands how different types of materials interact with various venting systems. They will be able to recommend specific products based on their experience working with similar structures in the past.

Underlayment Lifespan

While some materials may offer superior protection and durability, they may also come with a higher price tag or require more frequent replacement. Generally speaking, most types of underlayment will last between 15-30 years depending on factors such as climate, installation quality, and maintenance practices.

Asphalt-saturated felt is one of the most common types of underlayment used in roofing today and typically has a lifespan ranging from 15-20 years. Rubberized asphalt offers increased durability and can last up to 30 years or more in some cases.

Synthetic underlayments are relatively new to the market but have quickly gained popularity due to their lightweight design and extended lifespan – often lasting up to 50 years.

It’s important not only to choose an appropriate material for your specific needs but also ensure that it’s installed correctly by a qualified professional who follows manufacturer guidelines closely. Proper ventilation can also help extend the life expectancy of your roof system overall by reducing moisture buildup which can lead to premature deterioration.

Warranties and Certifications

Many manufacturers offer warranties that cover defects in materials or workmanship for a certain period of time. These warranties can provide peace of mind and protection against unexpected expenses if something goes wrong during installation or use.

In addition to manufacturer warranties, there are also industry certifications that can help you choose the right underlayment for your needs. For example, some products may be certified by organizations like Underwriters Laboratories (UL) or the International Code Council (ICC), which test products for safety and performance according to strict standards.

When evaluating different types of roof underlayment, be sure to review any available warranty information and look for certification logos on packaging or marketing materials. By choosing a product with strong warranty coverage and reputable certification credentials, you’ll have greater confidence in your roofing system’s durability over time.