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What Are The Different Types of Roofing Underlayment?

There are three types of roofing underlayment or roofing paper:

  • Asphalt-Saturated Felt (Felt Paper)
  • Rubberized Asphalt Underlayment
  • Non-Bitumen Synthetics (Synthetic Felt Paper)

Roofing underlayment is commonly known as Felt Paper, Ice, and Water Shield. However, they are two different materials. It is an important component of residential roofing systems today. The underlayment is the waterproofing layer that protects the substrate or roof deck from water intrusion in the event of damage to the outer layer. Let’s take a closer look at which types of roof underlayment you can choose.

Asphalt-Saturated Felt

Asphalt-saturated felt was the first type of underlayment material. This is how the term “roofing felt” or “felt paper” originated. Although the backing material functions in a similar way to tar paper, it is saturated with asphalt as the waterproofing agent. Although felt was once the most widely used underlayment, it has been replaced by other materials due to dwindling asphalt supply. Asphalt-saturated felt gives the roof deck more strength against hailstones, large tree branches, and other airborne debris.

Rubberized Asphalt

When rubberized asphalt is installed, it looks like rubber sheets. Although it does contain the term asphalt in its name it contains very little asphalt. Rubberized asphalt is similar to flat roofing membranes. It is attached to the roof deck with special adhesives. Rubberized asphalt has the advantage of being flexible. This makes it suitable for both extreme hot and cold climates. Asphalt shingles also lose their granules due to weather.

The requirements of each roofing project will determine the composition of rubberized asphalt. These features include improved waterproofing, fiberglass reinforcement, sound absorption, and improved waterproofing. Rubberized asphalt is similar to commercial flat roofing repair. However, the outer roofing layer must be removed in order to patch a leak.

Non-Bitumen Synthetics

Modern roofing companies will favor a synthetic non-bitumen underlayment. These materials can be used in food-grade containers as well as plastic models. These synthetics are strong, flexible, waterproof, and resistant to fungal growth. This is the standard underlayment material for roofing systems made by CertainTeed and GAF.

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