21st Century Roof Technology

21st Century Roof Technology Asphalt Felt Underlayment
November 9, 2023

In the 21st century, roof technology has evolved significantly, offering innovative solutions like asphalt felt underlayment, synthetic underlayment, and peel and stick underlayment. Join us on a journey to explore how these advancements are reshaping the way we protect and enhance our homes.

Whether you’re a homeowner looking to invest in the best protection for your roof or a professional in the roofing industry, this blog post is your gateway to understanding the cutting-edge options available today.

Let’s dive into the exciting world of 21st Century Roof Technology!

New underlayment technology doubles roof protection. Roofing underlayment plays an important role in how well your roof system performs in rain, wind, snow, ice, and fire.  It is back up to the asphalt shingle on top of it, ensuring a long dry life.  

For decades the material between the asphalt shingle and the structure of your home was a felt cloth soaked in asphalt.  Today, modern technology offers a far more durable long-lasting weatherproof shield between your shingle and structure.

Asphalt Felt Underlayment

Asphalt felt underlayment, also known as roofing felt or simply felt, is a water-resistant material that is installed under shingles or other roofing materials to protect the roof deck from moisture damage.

Manufacturing asphalt-saturated felt underlayment is a straightforward process. Recycled paper is processed into a roll. Hot asphalt is then added to the roll and asphalt-saturated underlayment is formed.  It is offered in two thicknesses and is occasionally doubled based on the slope of your roof.

Benefits of Asphalt Felt Underlayment

  • Water resistance: Felt underlayment is an effective barrier against water, preventing it from seeping into the roof deck and causing damage.
  • Secondary protection: In the event that shingles or other roofing materials are damaged, felt underlayment provides a secondary layer of protection against water infiltration.
  • Easy installation: Felt underlayment is relatively easy to install and can be done by DIY homeowners with some basic tools and skills.
  • Affordable: Felt underlayment is one of the most economical options for roof underlayment.

Considerations When Using Asphalt Felt Underlayment

  • Durability: The downside to asphalt felt underlayment is that it wrinkles when wet; cracks and splits in cold weather.  Over time it denigrates and no longer provides the secondary protective layer it is intended to be. i.e. shortening the life of your roof.
  • Susceptibility to UV damage: Felt underlayment can be damaged by UV radiation from the sun, so it should be installed under shingles or other roofing materials as soon as possible.
  • Moisture retention: Felt underlayment can retain moisture, which can lead to mold and mildew growth. If you live in a humid climate, you may want to consider using a synthetic underlayment instead.

If you are concerned about durability or moisture retention, you may want to consider using a synthetic underlayment instead.

Synthetic Underlayment

synthetic underlayment | 21st century roof technology

Synthetic underlayment is quickly growing in popularity. These lightweight sheets made of woven or spun synthetic fibers (polyethylene or polypropylene) provide a durable, weather-resistant barrier that is easy to apply and often includes shingle or nailing patterns printed on their faces.

Because synthetic roofing underlayments are so lightweight, manufacturers can offer more square footage per roll. They’re more expensive, but the faster coverage that synthetic underlayments offer because of their size can be a big boost in production. Also, because the fibers that make up synthetic underlayments are so durable, they don’t need to be covered nearly as soon as felt does.

These qualities have made it a preferred choice for many roofing professionals. Its adoption has grown steadily, and it is now a common option for roofing projects, particularly in regions with specific climate and environmental considerations like Central Florida Roofs.

  • Superior Waterproofing: Synthetic underlayment is highly resistant to water and moisture, providing an effective barrier against leaks and water infiltration. It helps protect the roof deck and the interior of the structure from water damage.
  • Enhanced Durability: Synthetic underlayment is more durable and resilient compared to traditional felt. It can withstand tear and puncture better, making it more robust during installation and long-term exposure to the elements.
  • Lightweight: Synthetic underlayment is lighter in weight than traditional roofing felt, which can make it easier to handle and install. This can be especially beneficial for roofing professionals during the installation process.
  • UV Resistance: Synthetic underlayment typically has good UV resistance, meaning it can withstand prolonged exposure to sunlight without degrading or deteriorating. This can be particularly important in sunny and hot climates.
  • Tear Resistance: Synthetic underlayment is designed to resist tearing, which helps maintain the integrity of the roofing system, even during high-wind events or rough handling during installation.
  • Breathability: Many synthetic underlayment products are breathable, allowing moisture vapor to escape from the attic, and helping to prevent moisture buildup and potential problems like mold or rot.
  • Non-Slip Surface: Synthetic underlayment often has a non-slip surface, making it safer for roofing professionals to walk on during installation and maintenance.
  • Longevity: Synthetic underlayment typically has a longer lifespan compared to traditional felt, which means it may require less frequent replacement and maintenance.
  • Recyclability: Some synthetic underlayment products are recyclable, making them an environmentally friendly choice for roofing projects.
  • Versatility: Synthetic underlayment can be used with various roofing materials, including asphalt shingles, metal roofing, and more, making it a versatile option for different types of roofing systems.

Peel and Stick Underlayment

peel and stick underlayment

Peel and stick underlayment is a type of synthetic roof underlayment that has a self-adhering backing, eliminating the need for nails or staples. It is typically made from a mixture of rubberized polymer blends and is often used for flat roofing and low-slope roofs. and is available in both roll and sheet form. 

  • Easy installation: The self-adhesive backing eliminates the need for nails or staples, making installation faster and easier.
  • Secure adhesion: The adhesive backing provides a strong bond to the roof deck, preventing the underlayment from shifting or wrinkling.
  • Enhanced water resistance: The self-sealing properties of the adhesive help to seal around nail shanks and other penetrations, reducing the risk of water leaks.
  • Durability: Peel and stick underlayment is more durable than asphalt felt underlayment and is less susceptible to tearing, puncture, and UV damage.
  • Long lifespan: Peel and stick underlayment has a long lifespan, often lasting beyond the life span of asphalt shingles.

Maintenance and Inspection

Regular roof inspections, ideally twice a year, should include checking the condition of the underlayment. Look for signs of damage, such as tears, punctures, or excessive wear, and address any issues promptly. Proper maintenance will extend the lifespan of the underlayment and contribute to the overall longevity of the roof.

In conclusion, roof underlayment is an essential component of a roofing system, playing a critical role in protecting the roof deck, the interior of the home, and the overall structural integrity of the building.

By understanding the types, considerations, installation tips, and maintenance requirements for roof underlayment, homeowners can make informed decisions and ensure their roofs are well-protected for years to come.

Make sure to discuss the type and quality of underlayment being used to replace your roof with your roofing contractor as part of the overall quote process.