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Underlayment is an important part of a roofing system; it affects how long your new roof will last, how it looks, and how well it protects your home from leaks.
What is Roofing Underlayment?
Underlayment is a layer of material applied directly over roof decking boards before a shingled roof is installed. Several types of underlayment are available. In years past, asphalt-saturated paper (tar paper) was commonly used. Today rubberized asphalt, roofing felt, synthetic underlayment and even organic underlayment are available.
The purpose of underlayment is to create a water barrier that protects roof decking boards from moisture damage. It also provides a smooth, uniform surface for shingle application, and may help prevent penetration of heat and sound into the home. Rubberized or anti-skid underlayment also creates safer working conditions for roofing contractors.
Types of Roof Underlayment
Felt vs. Synthetic Underlayment
Synthetic underlayment costs more than felt, but is considered to be a high performance product with distinct advantages. It is lighter weight than felt and therefore much easier to work with, and it can be up to 600 times more tear resistant. This means it provides better leak protection, because it is less likely to tear around nails or from being walked on during the installation process.
All of the major roofing manufacturers provide complete roofing systems that include their recommended underlayment products. Generally, the use of the manufacturer’s specified underlayment is required to validate the full roof warranty.