Synthetic or Felt Roof Underlayment?

by robbinsroofinginc on March 8, 2012

It is necessary to have a barrier installed between your asphalt shingles and the roof deck. This acts as a vapor barrier, preventing condensation and other moisture from entering the attic. It also prevents oils in the shingles from leaching out and damaging the wooden roof deck. Here is what you should know when choosing between natural felt paper and synthetic roof underlayment.

Felt Paper

Felt Paper Roofing felt is actually paper that has been saturated with asphalt, making it thicker and water resistant. It is the final layer of protection between the elements and your vulnerable wood roof deck. It will protect your home should some shingles come off in a storm, but it should be recovered with shingles again as soon as possible.

Traditional felt paper comes in 15- and 30-pound weights. The 30-pound felt paper is heavier and more water resistant. However, that weight is not always the best thing for your roof, and it can be much harder to work with. The lighter felt paper is just as effective at protecting the home since it is protected by the shingles. It is also lighter in weight, less expensive and faster to install. Here at Robbins Roofing, we use the 15-pound paper for roof replacement or roof restoration jobs.

Synthetic Underlayments Technology changes many things, roofing felt included. Synthetic options are more durable and tougher than regular felt paper, yet they are lighter in weight. Made of polypropylene and polyethylene, fiberglass or polyester, these underlayments offer better traction, greater UV protection and more abrasion resistance.

They are also able to withstand the elements far longer than regular felt paper. While you should still replace missing shingles as soon as possible, it’s not quite as vital when your roof has a synthetic underlayment. Most experienced roofers can get out pretty quickly after a storm to replace missing shingles, but with a synthetic underlayment, you have a little more time on your side.

Choosing Between the Two Synthetic underlayments will cost slightly more than regular felt paper when you have a new roof installed. However, the cost is very slight when you consider the added water protection for your home. As the roof nears the end of its life span, a synthetic underlayment may be able to buy you a little more time before the roof has to be replaced.

Robbins Roofing, Inc., is a roofing company in Oklahoma City offering full roof services. We handle everything from installing a new roof to performing basic roof repairs. Visit us on Facebook and Twitter to learn more about our services and what we can do to help you.

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