Ultimate Guide To Roofing Underlayment 2021 | Choose the Best Roof Underlayment

Which is the best roofing underlayment for you

If you are thinking of building a new house or struggling with a leaking roof every once in a while and trying to find a permanent solution; you need to consider gathering knowledge about roofing paper. Sometimes it is common for homeowners to leave the responsibility of the house to the contractors entirely. Although it is fine if you have a trustworthy person taking the duty – it is essential to know the details yourself. This article covers from choosing top roofing underlayment to safety precautions while roofing.

We will be sharing some in-depth knowledge about roofing wrap; you don’t need to depend on anyone next time something happens to your roof. You will be able to identify the best roofing underlayment options according to your house.best roofing underlayment

You will also be able to do a roofing underlayment comparison after going through the whole article, where I have picked up the best roof underlayment products for you.

A Basic Idea Of Roof Underlayment:

Shingle and the roof sheathing or roof deck are the two components that mainly make any roof strong and protect the house from any damage, which can be caused by weather.

Even though we can find concrete and steel as the roof deck material, wood is the most common material for a roof deck. For making the roof deck waterproof, an extra layer of protection is installed just on top of the roof deck. 

They apply it all over the roof, which comes in handy to protect your roof from harsh weather such as sun, snow, rain, or wind.

What Is A Roof Underlayment Used For?

Depending on the environment surrounding your house, applying roof underlayment might be necessary. Because it will not only protect your wooden roof deck, it will give extra protection to your home from any external damage.

Every kind of roof paper will make the roof water-resistant, which will keep your roof from getting leaked. When there is roof wrap present, the other protecting shield of the roofing system can serve the purpose even better.

The upper layer or shingles can break or get slandered easily because of wind or too much heat from the sun; hence, having roof underlayment as an additional safeguard is reassuring for the longevity of your house.

Types Of Different Roofing Underlayment:

In the present market, you might find various types of roof underlayment designed for different types of roof material, but all of them are not applicable to every situation. So I will be discussing some common types of roof papers that will be relevant for most circumstances. Homeowners can choose from any of them because they will give optimum protection even in terrible climatic positions.Types Of Different Roofing Underlayment

A. Asphalt-Saturated Felt:

The first-ever felt to be ever used and the most popular roofing felt before the invention of the other type. This is preferred to be the organic option as it is made of mainly plant materials. The main material is mostly tar paper which is coated with asphalt to make it water-resistant. Because of asphalt saturation, the material becomes strong enough to provide protection against debris or any heavy object.

How to install the Asphalt-Saturated Felt underlayment?

To install this semi water-resistant roofing underlayment, roofers first overlap the felt courses by at least 19 inches using low-slope roofs. This process doubles the underlayment layers across the entire roof. In the second case where the roofs are of steeper, the upper courses of underlayment is overlapped to the lower roofs by just 2 inches. While in houses situated in high-wind areas, plastic wind strips or cap nails are used to minimize tearing. The caps also resist wind and help preventing the leakage in the holes made by staples.Asphalt-Saturated Felt

Major precautions while installing Asphalt Saturated Felt underlayment

There are a few precautions that need to be taken before installing the Asphalt Saturated Felt underlayment because it has several failure points that can harm both your house as well as the roofers installing the underlayment.

  • This roofing underlayment is not resistant to UV damage. So you need to cover it with the primary roofing material ASAP while installing it to your roof.
  • Felt is known to be a weak material that can tear easily while installing the roof or walking around the roof during the installation process. To avoid any damage, make sure you take care of it properly.
  • The Asphalt saturated felt underlayment has been found to be non-durable because the materials used in making it water resistant dissipate over time, especially in warm conditions.

Mainly two kinds of this type of underlayment can be found in the market, 30 pounds and 15 pounds depending on their thickness.

B. Rubberized Asphalt:

The most durable felt and the costly one as well. This type is made of rubber polymers and asphalt. Because of the rubber present, it is waterproof in nature.

This type of material is best if the weather around your house is colder, it can even protect your house from heavy-duty rain. Different kinds of materials like fiberglass or polyester films are also being used for different purposes, making them even more costly but durable.

C. Non-Bitumen Synthetic Underlayment:

Synthetic underlayment is the most lightweight, easy to apply, and durable, which makes it the best choice for contractors today.

This is made with high-quality polymer material saturated with asphalt and sometimes fiberglass to provide more elasticity and resistance against tear.

This water-resistant, non-skid underlayment works against UV rays very firmly, preventing any damage due to excessive heat.

D. Water-Resistance Or Waterproof:

No matter what kind of materials the outer layer of your roof is made up of, shingles break or become fragile after a certain point, due to facing climatic struggles. You need extra protection to prevent the rain from coming into your house.

Water-resistant underlayment like asphalt felt helps the water to slide off the roof easily. Whereas waterproof underlayment like Rubberized asphalt will prevent any leakage giving and protective layer against the rain.

E. Granular Or Smooth Roof Underlayment:

With all the vast options available in the market homeowners need to have a clear idea of the function of every type of underlayment. Every home and the roof material is different and if the right one is chosen then it can provide the ultimate protection. The exterior of an underlayment is also necessary to understand and as it serves some integral purposes.

The Granular Underlayment has a thick membrane of 1.6 to 2.4 inches, which gives it a sand-like structure on the outer layer. Many homeowners opt for this one because of its anti-slip properties and low-cost advantage.

With the positive side there comes the negative side as well. This specific is not ideal for too much heat, as the surface may melt making it uneven and hard to work within the later time.

Whereas smooth underlayments make the roof waterproof banishing any chance of water leakage. If it is a peel and stick on then the application process is easy. On top of that when the homeowners will apply underlayment again after some time they can just stick the second layer on top of the first one, making it cost-friendly as well.

Top 4 Best Roof Underlayment Reviews

1. Tyvek Protec 160 Roof Underlayment Synthetic Roll – 4′ x 50′ – 2 Square

This synthetic underlayment is highly durable in every kind of weather condition. Industry-leading walkability is another advantage to choose this one for easy installation and usage. If you have a residential roof or slope commercial, you can go for one. High UV resistance for as long as 6 months will protect your roof from too much heat. Tyvek Protec 160 Roof Underlayment is Intertek approved with Class “A” fire rating, which will keep the fire at bay from your roof.

Pros

  • Industry-leading walkability
  • UV Resistance
  • 6 months of protection
  • High Durability

Cons

  • Non-Self-Adhesive
  • It is not the best waterproof underlayment

2.Grace Select 36 in. x 195 sq. ft. Roll Roofing Underlayment

Grace Select Roll Roofing Underlayment is a lightweight and thinner version of ice and cold shield. This stick-on underlayment can be used on different kinds of roofs ranging from low slope roofs to the highest ones. This will give protection against sun, rain, wind, or any climatic condition. Additionally, the added rubberized layer makes it slip-resistant and gives strength against any environmental damage.

Pros

  • Self-adhesive
  • Light Weight
  • Slip-Resistant
  • Rubberized later
  • Waterproof

Cons

  • No Fire Rating
  • Only 30 Day protection

3. Titanium PSU30 Peel & Stick Roof Underlayment

This is a rubberized asphalt with a peel and stick self-sealing system. Titanium Underlayment is self resistant and tough, designed for low slope roofs especially. You can use under tiles, metal roofs, slates, and asphalt shingles. With class 4 hail rating and class A fire rating, it can be considered as one of the best synthetic underlayments out there.
Titanium Roof Underlayment is engineered to stay the same and not get wrinkled even in extra cold or hot situations.

Pros

  • UV resistant
  • Durable and Slip-resistant
  • Suitable for most types of roof materials
  • This is best roofing underlayment for metal roof
  • Rubberized asphalt

Cons

  • It Mainly designated for sloped roof
  • May not be the best for every kind of roof design

4. Grace Ice & Water Shield 36″ x 36′ Roll

This easy to apply roll will get attached to the roof deck pretty easily without using any extra adhesive. Grace Ice and Water shield has a folded paper system which enhances the performance and gives an extra barrier protection. Rubberized asphalt layers add the feature of sealing around the nail, which prevents any water leakage.

Pros

  • Waterproof
  • Composed of double layer
  • Surface is rubberized
  • Self-adhesive
  • Foldless release paper system

Cons

  • UV protection is not mentioned
  • Non-slip-resistant
FAQ’s

How do I choose a roof underlayment?

Choosing the right kind of underlayment material may not be easy, but you can choose the perfect one for you once you have the idea. Because the right underlayment will make your roof stronger overall. check our review article to choose top leather roofing pouch .

Depending on the material and weather condition you should choose roof underlayment.

Roof Material:
With various types of roof underlayment, nowadays different types of shingles are also present. While choosing the underlayment you need to keep that in mind.
If your roof consists of asphalt shingles then you can go for the waterproof rubberized asphalt, as the asphalt shingles tend to break easily due to heavy weather conditions. So the waterproofing method of the rubberized asphalts will keep water leakage at bay.
Whereas if you have a metal roof, then it is best if you choose synthetic underlayment because they are known for their heat-resistant technique.


If you are thinking of getting a fancy kind of shingles like tiles, cedar or copper then there are roof underlayment available for them, specifically. You can talk to the professional about that as well.

Slope type:
Good old felt papers are recommended for low slope roofs, as they are easier to work within this situation. It will not only be easier to install, but it will provide strength as well. If there are many hard-to-reach places, then ice and water shields are perfect for this situation. This kind of underlayment can reach the hardest of places easily. Some roof underlayments are specially designed for specific slope designs as well . Check out our guide to roofing shoes which are slip resistant and waterproof even on 9/12 slope. Also read OSHA safety guide for roofers.

Price:
As for the price point of view, rubberized asphalts are the most pricey but durable and waterproof as well. Synthetic underlayments are much cheaper and durable, but before buying check for the quality. Felt papers are cheaper options as well, although they may not be as durable as the other two.

Climate:
If the area is too hot and protection against UV rays is important then synthetic underlayment will be the best choice.
Some specifically designed underlayments are for extremely cold and rainy weather, so if you are suffering from that issue, go with those types.

What is the best metal roofing underlayment?

Synthetic underlayment for the roof will be the best option for the metal roofing system. Because this kind of underlayment is not only easy to install but has a high tolerance for heat compared to the other types.
In high heat conditions, the ice and water shield melts and sticks to the roof deck making it impossible to detach. Even the nails used during the installation process melt and give protection. Because of this, when the next time you install underlayment, you can apply it on top of this layer, giving an added coat of protection.

Is synthetic underlayment better than felt?

There cannot be any particular answer to it, because this depends on your roof. If you have a low slope or tile roof you can easily go for the felt paper, but if you are opting for a metal roof then synthetic underlayment will be optimum.
Now the weather is also applicable while choosing the best one for you. Even though people might think of synthetic underlayment as the best one but there are many problems with synthetic underlayment as well. Not all brands will provide you with the best quality; in that case, you need to keep an eye on weight and thickness.

Is peel and stick underlayment worth it?

Peel and stick underlayment is nothing just a usual underlayment with an adhesive added under the layer to help it stick on the surface. This feature helps the ice and water shield to reach impossible places. 

The whole process grows quickly and easily, as the requirement of using nails decreases. Like I mentioned earlier, it gives an added layer of protection as well.

Conclusion:

We hope this article has helped you to understand the roofing underlayments in-depth and you will be able to make the right choice according to your situation. Felt paper might be a little outmoded, but it can still be handy in specific situations. 

Rubber asphalts have all the good quality, but the budget can be too much for you. Additionally, it takes more time to install. Synthetic underlayments come with their perks and issues as well. So it’s up to you to decide which one will be the best roofing underlayment for your house.

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