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Choosing The Right Roof Underlayment For Your Home

When it comes to roofing, most homeowners focus on the visible components like shingles and flashing. However, what lies beneath those shingles can be just as crucial to the overall health and longevity of your roof. Roof underlayment is the unsung hero of your roofing system, providing an extra layer of protection against leaks, moisture, and heat. In this guide, we’ll help you navigate the world of roof underlayment and choose the right one for your home.

Inside this blog:

  • A brief overview of the role of roof underlayment
  • The 3 primary types of roof underlayment
  • 7 factors to consider when choosing a roof underlayment for your home

Keep reading to discover more about roof underlayment and how to select the right type for your home!

The Role of Roof Underlayment 🌦️

Before diving into the types of roof underlayment available, let’s understand why it’s an essential component of your roofing system:



Roof underlayment acts as a waterproof barrier, preventing rain, snow, and ice from seeping into your home.

Moisture Control

It helps control moisture and condensation that can accumulate in your attic, preventing mold and rot.

Temperature Regulation

Underlayment also aids in temperature regulation by insulating your home and reducing heat transfer.

Protection During Installation

During roof installation, underlayment protects your home from water damage in case of unexpected rain.

Now, let’s explore the types of roof underlayment you can choose from.

3 Key Types of Roof Underlayment

Let’s go over the 3 essential types of roof underlayment and what their pros and cons are.

1. Asphalt-Saturated Felt Underlayment (Felt Paper)

Felt paper is one of the most traditional roof underlayments and is made from a blend of cellulose, polyester, or bitumen-soaked paper.

Pros ✔️

  • Cost-effective
  • Provides a good level of protection against moisture
  • Available in various weights for added durability

Cons ✖️

  • Susceptible to tearing during installation
  • Limited resistance to UV rays and extreme weather
  • Not as long-lasting as some other options

2. Synthetic Underlayment

Synthetic underlayment is typically made from polyethylene or polypropylene and is engineered to be more durable and weather-resistant than felt paper.

Pros ✔️

  • Lightweight and easy to install
  • Resistant to tears and wrinkles
  • Provides excellent protection against moisture
  • UV resistant for extended lifespan

Cons ✖️

  • Can be more expensive than felt paper
  • May not be as breathable as some other options

3. Rubberized Asphalt Underlayment

Rubberized asphalt underlayment is made from asphalt and rubber polymers, offering enhanced durability and weather resistance.

Pros ✔️

  • Exceptional tear resistance
  • Excellent waterproofing properties
  • UV resistant for long-term protection
  • Suitable for extreme climates

Cons ✖️

  • Higher cost compared to other underlayment types

How to Choose the Right Roof Underlayment

Selecting the appropriate roof underlayment for your home involves considering various factors. Here’s a checklist of 7 factors to help you make an informed decision:

1. Climate

Assess your local climate and choose an underlayment that can withstand the prevailing weather conditions, whether it’s heavy rainfall, snow, or extreme heat. For example, in regions with frequent rain, opt for underlayment that offers exceptional water resistance.

2. Roof Type


The type of roofing material you plan to use may influence your choice of underlayment. Some materials, like metal, may require specific types of underlayment, ensuring compatibility and longevity for your roofing system.

3. Budget

Determine your budget for the roofing project, including the cost of underlayment and installation. Having a clear budget will help you make cost-effective choices without compromising quality.

4. Durability

Consider the expected lifespan of the underlayment material and whether it aligns with your long-term roofing goals. Investing in a more durable underlayment can save you money on replacements in the long run.

5. Installation Ease

Some underlayment types are easier to install than others. Evaluate your DIY skills or the expertise of your roofing contractor, ensuring a smooth and hassle-free installation process.

6. Ventilation Needs

Depending on your attic’s ventilation, you may need an underlayment that allows for proper airflow to prevent moisture buildup. Adequate ventilation is essential for maintaining a healthy attic environment.

7. Fire Rating

In areas prone to wildfires, check whether the underlayment meets fire safety standards. Ensuring your underlayment has the appropriate fire rating can provide added protection and peace of mind for your home.

Advantages of Synthetic Underlayment

Synthetic underlayment has gained popularity in recent years due to its numerous advantages:

  • Durability: Synthetic underlayment is more durable than felt paper and less prone to tears and wrinkles during installation.
  • Weather Resistance: It offers excellent protection against moisture, UV rays, and extreme weather conditions.
  • Lightweight: Synthetic underlayment is lightweight, making it easier to handle and install, reducing labor costs.
  • Longevity: It tends to have a longer lifespan than traditional felt paper, which can help prolong the life of your roof.

A List of Top-Rated Roof Underlayment Brands

If you’re looking for reputable brands that offer quality roof underlayment products, consider these 4 top options:

1. GAF WeatherWatch®

GAF is a well-known roofing manufacturer, and their WeatherWatch® synthetic underlayment is highly regarded for its durability and weather resistance.

2. Owens Corning® ProArmor®

Owens Corning offers the ProArmor® synthetic underlayment, known for its strength and ease of installation.

3. Tarco LeakBarrier®

Tarco’s LeakBarrier® line includes a range of underlayment options, including synthetic and rubberized asphalt, designed to protect your roof.

4. Grace Ice & Water Shield®

Grace Ice & Water Shield® is a popular choice for homeowners in cold climates, offering superior protection against ice dams and water infiltration.

Secure Your Roof’s Foundation With Roof Underlayment

Choosing the right roof underlayment is a crucial step in ensuring the longevity and performance of your roofing system. Each type of underlayment has its own set of advantages and considerations, so it’s essential to assess your specific needs, budget, and climate before making a decision. Whether you opt for traditional felt paper, synthetic underlayment, or rubberized asphalt, investing in a high-quality underlayment will help protect your home from moisture, leaks, and temperature fluctuations, securing the foundation of your roof for years to come.

Contact our pro team of roofers at Distinctive Roofing to experience top-notch customer service and excellent craftsmanship. We can’t wait to hear your questions and needs for your next roofing project!

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