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Understanding The Types of Roofing Underlayment

30 June 2021

When homeowners think about materials for roofing projects, they almost always focus their attention on the shingles.  While shingles are an important component of roofing, there are others that play a large role in the roof’s lifespan.  One such component is the roofing underlayment.  Here’s what you need to know!

roof install

What Is Roofing Underlayment? A roof’s underlayment is installed between the roof deck and the shingles.  Its purpose is to add additional protection against damage from rain, wind, and snow.

What Is Felt Roofing Underlayment: Felt roof underlayment is made from natural materials, such as plant fibers, wood, and polyester.  It is available in either 15-pound or 30-pound weights.  Between the two, 30-pound roofing is heavier and less likely to rip when being installed or during major weather events.

roof install

What Is Synthetic Roofing Underlayment: This type of roofing underlayment is manufactured from strong polymers in order to be long-lasting.  Popular roofing underlayments within the marketplace are Tiger Paw™ and Deck‑Armor™.

Learn More About Tiger Paw™ Synthetic Underlayment From GAF: 


Felt Roofing Underlayment Synthetic Vs. Synthetic

Price: Synthetic roofing underlayment cost more than felt underlayments.  This makes felt underlayment ideal for homeowners trying to get their project done as cheaply as possible.

Quality: Synthetic roofing underlayment is harder to tear and can hold up against being walked on during installation.  Felt underlayment can be compromised if not carefully installed or if it is exposure to high wind speeds.

installing a roof

Ease of Installation: Contractors tend to prefer working with synthetic roofing underlayment because it installs quicker than felt does.  Felt weighs more, making it more difficult to transport to the rooftop.  In addition, felt underlayment can be slippery to work with and has more seams.

Warranty Concerns: Some major roofing manufacturers offer lesser or no warranties if felt underlayment is used.  This is because its quality does not match that of synthetic underlayment.

roof install

Exposure to Mother Nature: Another reason felt underlayment is so difficult to work with is that should not be left exposed for long periods of time.  If it is, it can dry out and the oils within the material can leak out.  Either of these scenarios can negatively impact the underlayment’s ability to hold up against snow and rain.  If the roof felt gets wet during installation, it can become wrinkled.  When this happens, it is more difficult for the shingles to lay flat.

See Our Minnesota Roofing Projects

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