• Sue Nassiri

Making Your Roof Last: The Importance of Underlayment

One of the most important features of a home is a strong and sturdy roof. As the main defense against damaging elements, such as torrential downpours and powerful winds, the roofing system is made up of various components that work together in order to keep the home secure and dry, and the residents safe and comfortable all year round.

In this article, trusted roofing contractors discuss an often overlooked part of the roofing system - the underlayment. What Is Roofing Underlayment? Also known as roofing felt, the underlayment is the protective barrier that can be found between the shingles and the sheathing. It is typically made of plywood or oriented strand board (OSB). Its main purpose is to prevent the risk of leaks and other forms of water-related damage from wreaking havoc on your home. Traditionally, roofing underlayment is made of black felt with an adhesive layer of asphalt. However, modern innovations in manufacturing have introduced a range of alternatives to further optimize protection based on specific weather conditions. The Main Types of Roofing Underlayment While each type of roofing underlayment comes with its own advantages and disadvantages, most available products on the market today are categorized into three groups: asphalt-saturated felt, non-bitumen synthetic felt and rubberized asphalt. When choosing an underlayment type, it is important to take into account the slope and shape of your roof and the location of your residence to ensure you are effectively protected. These are the main types of roofing underlayment that you can use for your roof:

  • Asphalt-Saturated Felt Also referred to as tar paper or felt paper, asphalt-saturated underlayment is made from combinations of asphalt, polyester, bitumen, natural plant fibers and fiberglass. It used to be the most prevalent type of roofing underlayment until synthetic materials became commonplace. It is currently the most affordable option found on the market. It is relatively strong and water-resistant, and ideal for steeply sloped roofs. This type of felt is usually fastened with staples or attached to high-wind zones using plastic caps.


  • Non-Bitumen Synthetic Felt Today, non-bitumen synthetic felt is the top choice for roof installations and replacements. It is made from thermoplastics and is known for its extreme durability, flexibility and longevity. It does not tear and can withstand prolonged moisture and ultraviolet (UV) light exposure in some cases. This type of underlayment is also lightweight and resistant to mold. Because of the use of synthetic materials, however, non-bitumen felt is more expensive than a few of its alternatives.


  • Rubberized Asphalt This is one of the newer and more enhanced underlayment options you can find on the market today. While its name may suggest otherwise, many manufacturers have opted to exclude the use of asphalt when producing this type of material. Instead, various combinations of recycled rubber, polyester, polyethylene and even fiberglass are utilized. According to roof repair and replacement specialists, rubberized asphalt is applied in large panels and fused into a single membrane to create an airtight seal around nails and staples. Because it is completely waterproof and resistant to ultraviolet rays, it is suitable for homes in climates with extreme temperatures. One downside is that it usually comes with a heftier price tag. It is, however, easy to install and repair, helping keep professional upkeep expenses low.

The Benefits of Roofing Underlayment Adding another layer of protection between your roof shingles and roof frame does not only improve the performance and lifespan of your overall roofing structure; it also enhances your quality of life at home. Get to know the important benefits of roofing underlayment here:

  • Weather Protection As discussed above, the primary advantage of having an underlayment involves weather protection. Functioning as a sort of moisture barrier, roofing underlayment acts as a backup layer to protect the larger structure sitting underneath it as well as the inside of your home. Since underlayment materials are either water-resistant or waterproof, it becomes the final barrier before a leak ensues.


  • Fire Safety In order for your asphalt shingle roof to meet the requirements for a Class A fire rating, it is imperative that you choose an underlayment approved by industry-standard regulations and have it installed by a qualified contractor.


  • Prevention of Ice and Water Damage Excessive rain, snow and ice can all put an unnecessary strain on your roof. While all that extra weight typically leads to leaks and water damage, the water-resistant membrane your underlayment creates will provide a seal around the roof frame to fend off rainwater or snowmelt.


  • Roof Deck Preservation Roofing underlayment is designed to cover the entire frame of the roof and safeguard it from the risk of water infiltration. By keeping the roof deck or sheathing protected, all the wooden components are protected from rot and mold, preserving the roof's structural integrity.


  • Energy Efficiency Your roof shingles can curl, crack or break over the years. But with a durable underlayment right beneath the shingles, there is an extra layer of insulation that will prevent air from entering or escaping your home. As a result, this protective barrier can reduce your energy consumption and increase your energy savings in the long run.


  • Curb Appeal While most roofing structures do not sit completely flat on their own, the underlayment provides an even surface to which the shingles can be securely attached, enhancing the curb appeal of your home.


  • Peace of Mind It is perfectly normal for homeowners to worry about the condition of their roofs during severe weather events, such as hailstorms. By having your roofing system installed by a certified roof replacement contractor, you can have peace of mind knowing that the very structure separating you from the onslaught of nature can remain strong and reliable for many years to come.

Call A1 Quality Roofing, Inc. for Professional Roofing Services! For top-notch residential and commercial roofing solutions across southern California, A1 Quality Roofing, Inc. is the name to trust. Whether you are looking to repair small leaks, install a shingle or tile roof, or get roof certification for a home sale, we got you covered. Just give our team a call at (951) 877-4406, or fill out our convenient online form to request a free, no-obligation quote.

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