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What Is Underlayment?


Perhaps you have heard the term underlayment when discussing your roof, but what is underlayment?  While it may be referred to by many names, felt, tar paper, or asphalt, it is simply a water-resistant layer installed under your main roofing material (usually shingles).

Although you can’t see the underlayment, it is often required by many building codes, and most manufactures will require the installation of it before applying their material.  This layer works in conjunction with the other materials installed on your roof to help protect it – in short, it adds another layer of protection.

The most common type of underlayment used on residential roofs today is asphalt-saturated felt or felt as it is commonly referred to.  The evolution of felt has been substantial over the last century, with its beginning as “tar paper” to its now newly engineered and improved felt products.

The installation of your underlayment is critical to the overall roof installation.  Prior products were known to develop wrinkles, which could lead to buckling or bulging shingles; and they tore easily, leaving your roof exposed.  Today’s organic felt is more durable and provides contractors with a product that is easier to install and secure.

Today’s felt underlayment can be secured without the use of staples, as in the past.  More efficient methods can be used, geared toward the type of environment the roof will be prone to, such as high wind areas, extreme cold, and more.  A variety of fasteners are available to secure the underlayment, taking into account these environmental factors.

As you can see, underlayment is essential in your roof installation, and today’s innovative felt products will outperform, resist wrinkling, and reduce slippage, which makes it tougher than past products.  CJS Exterior Maintenance will help you choose the best underlayment for your roofing project.