Should I Choose a Traditional or Synthetic Underlayment for My Roof?

August 17, 2018 Published by Leave your thoughts

The roof gets all the glory. It is regularly heralded for protecting a building from wind, rain and sun exposure. While the roof does play a pretty important role, it wouldn’t be as effective without the help of the critical secondary barrier known as the roofing underlayment. The roofing underlayment is a waterproof barrier material that is installed directly onto the roof deck underneath the shingles to provide an additional layer of protection for the entire roofing system in North Carolina. It prevents the wood deck from drawing tar and moisture from the shingles, in addition to acting as a secondary layer of protection just in case the rain or snow passes the joints of the shingles.

Previously, many homes relied on traditional asphalt-saturated felt for the underlayment. Many homeowners are now opting for a synthetic underlayment to get the job done. The key is to find the best option for your specific roof, as both offer a variety of different benefits.

Asphalt-saturated felt

Asphalt-saturated felt was the top choice for contractors for decades because it is easy to access and relatively inexpensive. The underlayment is made of a blend of natural fibers known as cellulose, polyester, bitumen or asphalt. Then, the base mat—the flexible base layer—is saturated with asphalt for water resistance. The felt paper is applied across the entire length of the roof deck before the asphalt shingles are installed.

Felt underlayment has remained popular because it is relatively inexpensive. However, over time, the asphalt-saturated felt will rot, buckle and crack from both age and wear and tear. Homeowners should plan to replace the underlayment every 12 to 20 years, depending on the rate of deterioration.

Synthetic underlayment

Synthetic underlayment has emerged as the preferred option for roofing in North Carolina. The synthetic underlayment base mat is saturated in asphalt before fiberglass is added to increase tear resistance and stability. Many brands of underlayment have the added benefit of scrim reinforcement, which increases the slip resistance even when the surface is wet. This helps the workers safely walk on the underlayment while installing shingles.

Synthetic underlayments are six times lighter and three times stronger than their felt counterparts. Many people shy away from the synthetic underlayment, as it has a higher cost per square foot than traditional felt. On the other hand, it is more durable and could last for over 20 years with regular maintenance.

Don’t opt for the same underlayment type just because it is what you have always used for roofing in North Carolina. Take the time to speak to one of the roofing experts at Carolina Improvements to determine whether synthetic or traditional felt underlayment is the best choice for your home. The decision should be made based on the roofing type, your budget and the demands of the climate. We offer both budget-oriented products and high-end, longer-lasting options to perfectly fit all needs. Give us a call today to schedule your free in-home estimate—we look forward to assisting you soon!

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