Roofing Underlayment EXPLAINED

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When you need a roof contractor you can rely on the team of experts at Ernie’s Roofing. We specialize in a wide range of services from new construction, maintenance, and repairs for your home or business.

Roofing Underlayments EXPLAINED

Welcome to Ernie’s Roofing blog! As a licensed roofing contractor with decades of experience, we understand the importance of roofing underlayments in ensuring the longevity and durability of your roof. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll delve into the world of roofing underlayments, covering everything from tar paper to synthetic membranes and ice and water shield. Whether you’re planning a re-roof, total roof replacement, or dealing with storm damage, understanding underlayments is crucial for a successful roofing project.

Understanding Roofing Underlayments:

Roofing underlayments are essential components of any roofing system, providing an additional layer of protection between the roof deck and the shingles or other roofing materials. They serve as a secondary barrier against moisture infiltration, helping to prevent leaks and water damage.


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Types of Roofing Underlayments:

  1. Asphalt Felt (Tar Paper): This traditional underlayment is made from organic materials coated with asphalt. While still used in some cases, it has been largely replaced by synthetic underlayment due to its inferior strength and tear resistance [1].
  2. Synthetic Underlayment: Made of polypropylene synthetic membrane, synthetic underlayment offers superior strength and durability compared to asphalt felt. It is resistant to tears and provides excellent waterproofing properties [1].
  3. Ice and Water Shield: This specialized underlayment features a plastic backing for enhanced stickiness, making it ideal for areas prone to leaks such as valleys, chimneys, and end walls. It forms a strong seal when heated, preventing water penetration [1].
  4. High Temp Ice and Water Shield: Designed for use in hot climates, high temp ice and water shield offers similar properties to traditional ice and water shield but is specifically formulated to withstand high temperatures. It is compatible with various roofing materials, including metal, copper, and synthetic tiles [1].
  5. Base Sheet: Part of rolled roofing systems, base sheet is applied directly to the decking before installing the granulated cap sheet. It offers increased thickness compared to ice and water shield and is marked for easy installation [1].

FAQs About Roofing Underlayments:

  1. What is the purpose of roofing underlayments? Roofing underlayments provide an additional layer of protection against moisture infiltration, helping to prevent leaks and water damage.

  2. Why is synthetic underlayment preferred over asphalt felt? Synthetic underlayment offers superior strength, durability, and tear resistance compared to asphalt felt.

  3. Where should ice and water shield be installed? Ice and water shield should be installed in areas prone to leaks, such as valleys, chimneys, and end walls.

  4. What is the difference between ice and water shield and high temp ice and water shield? High temp ice and water shield are designed for use in hot climates and can withstand higher temperatures compared to traditional ice and water shield.

  5. Can base sheet be used on flat roofs? Yes, base sheet is part of rolled roofing systems and can be used on flat roofs or low slope roofs.

  6. Are roofing underlayments necessary for a re-roof or total roof replacement? Yes, roofing underlayments are essential components of any roofing system and should be included in re-roof or total roof replacement projects.

  7. How long do roofing underlayments typically last? The lifespan of roofing underlayments varies depending on factors such as material quality and environmental conditions. However, they are designed to last for many years.

  8. Can roofing underlayments be installed DIY or should I hire a licensed roofer? While some homeowners may attempt DIY installation, it is recommended to hire a licensed roofer for proper installation and to ensure warranty coverage.

  9. Do roofing underlayments provide insulation? Roofing underlayments primarily serve as a moisture barrier and do not provide significant insulation. Additional insulation materials may be required for thermal efficiency.

  10. Can roofing underlayments be reused during a roof replacement? In most cases, roofing underlayments should be replaced during a roof replacement to ensure optimal performance and protection.

Understanding the different types and functions of roofing underlayments is essential for homeowners and contractors alike. Whether you’re planning a re-roof, total roof replacement, or dealing with storm damage, choosing the right underlayment can make a significant difference in the longevity and performance of your roof. If you have any further questions or need assistance with your roofing project, don’t hesitate to contact Ernie’s Roofing, your trusted roofing contractor since 1978 in Denver.


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Their knowledgeable staff is ready to help you assess the damage caused by storms and provide you with a comprehensive repair evaluation & plan. We specialize in all types of roof damage, including hail, wind, and even lightning strikes. Hail Claim Help

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Our team of experienced insurance claim specialists will work with you to ensure that the insurance claim process is as stress-free as possible. We will work with your insurance company to provide all necessary documentation and estimates to ensure that your claim is processed quickly and correctly.

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Wind Damage

When it comes to roof damage, it can be difficult to determine whether the damage was caused by hail or wind. While both types of damage can cause similar symptoms, they have different causes and require different repair methods.

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