Your roofing system is more than just the shingles and guttering you see from the curb. It is made up of numerous components that act as the primary defense against the weather. They all work together to keep your interiors dry and safe. However, many homeowners overlook some of the less obvious parts of the roof. One of them is the underlayment.

Roofing Underlayment

It might be hidden from view, but the underlayment is one of the most important components of your roof. It plays a significant role in the structural integrity and health of your entire home. Kingdom Roofing, a leading provider of quality roofing replacement and repair services in the area, provides an overview of the importance of roofing underlayment.

What Is Roofing Underlayment?

The roofing underlayment, also known as a “shingle underlay,” is a moisture-resistant material sandwiched between the framing materials and the outer roof covering. It serves as a barrier that protects your home, as well as the roof decking, from leaks and other harsh elements. It is often referred to as the final barrier that moisture must overcome to penetrate into a home.

In times past, the roofing underlayment was typically made of heavy black felt with an adhesive layer of asphalt for the shingles. Thanks to modern technology, there are a variety of alternatives from which homeowners can choose to protect their roofing system. Your roofing contractor would be the first to say that having an additional layer of protection between your structural frame and the roofing shingles has numerous benefits — not only for your roof but also for your quality of living.

What Are the Different Types of Underlayment?

In general, roofing underlayment comes in three different types: asphalt-saturated felt, non-bitumen synthetic, and rubberized asphalt. Although all types of underlayment can be beneficial to your home, some are more appropriate for certain homes than others. To help you determine which is ideal for your home, we list the pros and cons of each material:

  • Asphalt-Saturated Felt

Decades ago, asphalt-saturated felt was the most popular type of underlayment — until synthetic products entered the market. Sometimes referred to as “tar paper” or “felt paper,” it is made of bitumen (asphalt), polyester and natural plant fibers or cellulose. Felt paper is fastened with staples or attached to the deck with plastic caps.

Furthermore, the base layer of an asphalt-saturated underlayment is drenched with asphalt for better water resistance. However, even though asphalt-saturated felt is water-resistant, it is not completely waterproof. For this reason, asphalt-saturated is best for sloped roofs where water can drain. Using this type of underlayment for flat roofs, meanwhile, can result in water damage that may require emergency roof repair services.

  • Non-Bitumen Synthetic

Non-bitumen synthetic is the most common type of underlayment used today. It has all the same qualities as asphalt-saturated felt, but fiberglass is added to give the product better water and tear resistance as well as superior stability. If you’re looking for a cost-effective underlayment option, non-bitumen synthetic is designed for full application on the entire roof, helping you save money.

High-quality synthetic underlayment includes scrim or coarse woven material reinforcement. This means that even when the material is wet, it can still withstand slips. Non-bitumen synthetic underlayment is also extremely flexible, long-lasting and waterproof. It is resistant to mold and continuous UV exposure.

  • Rubberized Asphalt

Known for being the most expensive type of underlayment, rubberized asphalt has all the benefits of the aforementioned underlayment types and more. It contains a higher percentage of rubber and asphalt polymers, making it completely waterproof. It also has a special backing with a protective membrane that creates a watertight seal between a clean roof deck and the underlayment.

To protect the deck’s edges from moisture damage, rubberized asphalt should be used at the roof’s eaves. Your roofing contractor will likely add it to low areas such as in the valleys and protrusions where leaks are more likely to form. Because of its self-adhesion and being 100% waterproof, rubberized asphalt is often recommended in areas that experience extreme temperature fluctuations.

What Are the Benefits of a Good Underlayment?

A durable, reliable roofing underlayment has many benefits for your home:

  • Prevents water damage. Water, be it in the form of precipitation or moisture from humidity, can do a number on your roof. It can lead to leaks, mold or other kinds of water damage. The inclusion of the underlayment on your roof helps prevent this from happening.

  • Protects your shingles from weather elements. Shingles are designed to withstand extreme weather conditions, but because they overlap, they can be lifted by heavy winds. As such, your shingles are susceptible to water penetration. With quality roofing underlayment, you can keep snow, ice and rain from damaging your roof deck until you get shingle roof repair services.

  • Saves on energy expenses. In addition to being the last line of defense against water damage, your roofing underlayment can add an extra layer of insulation that prevents air from entering or escaping your home. Thus, this barrier material can help you save on energy expenses in the long run.

  • Complies with building codes. Since shingles alone cannot meet the Class A fire rating, installing a roofing underlayment that complies with your local building codes can help your roof meet a Class A fire rating. Make sure that your underlayment is approved by industry guidelines and compatible with the overlying shingles. To make sure, don’t forget to consult your roofer.

  • Increases curb appeal. Your roof deck cannot lie straight or flat. Fortunately, your roofing underlayment can create an even, uniform surface whereon your shingles can be installed. No matter the type of underlayment you choose, your roof gets a more refined and attractive finishing touch.

Whether you require roofing replacement or repair, you can count on the professional expertise of Kingdom Roofing. We are committed to providing our customers with the most professional roofing services and installing only the highest quality products, correctly, on time and at the best value. Our reputation is our trademark and it has been earned by treating each customer with excellent care. Give us a call at (941) 217-2411, or fill out our online contact form to request an estimate.