A perfectly installed roof is the only barrier between natural disasters and your home. It is what keeps you and your belongings safe.
We all know about the basic stuff such as what roofing material to choose, its color, and how it will compliment the house.
You call a professional roofer, and in a couple of days, your house has a brand new roof. In fact, most people install a new roof when they are changing houses. This investment increases the value of their house by a huge margin.
What if you live in an area where it rains a lot? Your roof was damaged due to the storm that recently hit the city.
You had just put the house on the market. Here’s your chance to increase the sale price of your house by installing a new roof, but there’s something you need to consider first.
You know your roof protects you.
But have you ever wondered how?
Two words: Roofing Underlayment.
It’s not the roof but this layer of protection that prevents water from entering your house among other things. Without it, your roof will be vulnerable to the harsh elements of the weather.
What Is Roofing Underlayment?
It is a waterproof or water-resistant barrier material that is installed on the roof deck. The material goes directly underneath the roof and stands as a protective shield against severe weather.
If your roof develops a crack, you can rest easy because this underlayment will prevent further damage.
There are three types of underlayments:
- Rubberized Asphalt Underlayment (waterproof *)
- Asphalt-Saturated Felt Underlayment (water-resistant *)
- Non-Bitumen Synthetic Underlayment (water-resistant *)
The first underlayment is waterproof, while the remaining two are water-resistant.
*Note: Most people are confused regarding the difference between water-resistant and waterproof. The former term (water-resistant) means that the underlayment can withstand water, but only for a certain period of time. On the other, the latter term (waterproof) means that the underlayment is completely protected from water.
Rubberized Asphalt Underlayment
Rubberized asphalt contains rubber polymers and asphalt. Amongst the three underlayments, it is the most expensive one because it is waterproof.
This underlayment is like a sticky paper. Before this underlayment is applied, its back membrane is removed. The sticky material is what acts as a waterproof seal. It also protects the roof edges from causing leaks. This material proves pretty beneficial in areas such as roof protrusions and valleys on the roof.
- Low installation cost: It may be expensive, but it is easy to apply
- Longevity: Rubberized asphalt comes in rolls, which means there are few seams. This lowers the chances of water entering the attic. This underlayment can last for 50 years.
- UV resistant: It is resistant to the sun’s ultraviolet rays.
- Durable: Compared to pure asphalt, rubber does not crack, expand, or contract due to weather changes.
- Easy to repair: A special type of tape is used for repairing any tears in the rubber. This usually does the trick.
- Rubberized underlayment comes in many forms. Some are resistant to fire and some are not.
- You need a professional to install this underlayment, which can add to the cost.
Asphalt-Saturated Felt Underlayment
Known as “tar paper,” this underlayment is made from varying blends of polyester, bitumen, cellulose, or asphalt. It is one of the most common materials used in older houses and usually comes in two different thicknesses: 15-pound and 30-pound. The 30-pound thickness is obviously more resistant to damage and will last longer (see video below):
Asphalt saturated felt is not recommended in areas where it frequently rains. The price of felt varies and mostly depends on the amount of asphalt in it. The more the asphalt content in the underlayment, the more durable and costly it will be.
- Contains fiberglass, which increases its durability and strength
- Good for low slope roofs as water will slide away easily
- Weighs more than rubberized asphalt underlayment and non-bitumen synthetic underlayment
- Installation is pretty costly
- Degrades pretty easily if exposed to external environment
- Vulnerable to sun damage
Non-Bitumen Synthetic Underlayment
This synthetic underlayment contains asphalt, along with fiberglass, polyethylene and polypropylene. These three materials give it superior stability and make it resistant to tears. Some manufacturers, add a slip resistance material to it, which protects it from water.
- Long lasting and durable
- Prevents water leaks and ice dams
- Fungus resistant
- Is not vulnerable to direct UV radiation
- Easy and safe to install
- Depending on the materials used in the manufacturing, it can be very expensive, which is its biggest and only drawback
To conclude, if you are installing a new roof, we would suggest that you choose Rubberized Asphalt underlayment. Yes, it is a little more on the expensive side but it will outlast the other material types and will surely protect your house from water leaks, mold and mildew.