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What is Underlayment?

Roof shingle - Roof installation

You’ve spent countless hours doing research and have finally picked out the perfect shingle for the new roof you just purchased. But did you know that it is just as important — if not more — that you put just as much time and effort into choosing what your roofer is putting underneath those fancy new shingles?

Although it is rarely seen, roof underlayment is a crucial part of your roof. Unless you are a roofing professional, however, you may not even know what a roof underlayment is, much less how to choose the right one for your home and the large effect it will have on the life of your roof.

So what exactly is underlayment, what is its role and how do you choose which type to install?

What is Roof Underlayment?

Let’s start with the basics. Roof underlayment is a water-resistant (or waterproof) barrier material installed over your roof deck that gives an added layer of protection against the elements such as rain, sleet, wind, hail, wind, and any other type of severe weather you can think of. It is a semi-breathable membrane made of any of several different materials (more on that later). Its purpose is to provide a second layer of protection against water intrusion and leaks, while also allowing air and humidity to escape from the roof deck below.

Why is Underlayment So Important?

Your roof is constructed in stages. The first layer of your roof is called the deck and is the surface you see when you are inside your attic. It forms the backbone of the roof and is where all of the other parts are attached. This is the part you never see unless you are watching your roof be installed or repaired. The top layer of the roof is the shingle, which forms the protective barrier against the elements. Sandwiched between these two is the third layer, which is the real behind the scenes star of the show — the underlayment.

A little-known roofing fact is that all roofs leak underneath the top layer. Whether it is a shingle, metal, or tile, water eventually finds its way underneath. The part that actually keeps your home dry is the underlayment underneath the shingle. And the main function of that shingle, tile or metal is to keep the elements from deteriorating the underlayment. Underlayment helps preserve and protect the roof deck, and it also creates a watertight seal where shingles and flashing are tacked or nailed in.

Which Type of Underlayment Should You Choose?

There are several types of underlayment on the market today. In the past, everybody used a tar paper, which is basically a cloth sheet in which tar is sprayed onto and put underneath the shingle. Nowadays, asphalt-saturated felt is commonly used and fits most budgets. Synthetic underlayment, however can add up to 50 years to your roof’s life span and is well worth the small extra cost to upgrade. The experts at Stratus Roofing can help you make an informed decision about the right underlayment to match your shingle.

The safest and smartest way to choose the right roof underlayment is to contact an experienced, licensed roofing company like Stratus Roofing. We are proud to be your trusted residential roofing and commercial roofing partner since 2004. Find out how we can help you with your roofing needs by contacting us today:

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