Best Roof Underlayment Types Going Into 2024 | Roof Troopers
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Best Roof Underlayment Types Going Into 2024

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Posted By: Roof Troopers

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When it comes to roofing, it’s what’s underneath that counts! Roof underlayment is a crucial layer that provides an extra shield of protection against the elements. In this comprehensive homeowner’s guide, we’re diving deep into the world of roof underlayment, exploring the best types to consider as we head into 2024. Get ready to discover the key players in keeping your home safe and dry!

Inside this blog:

  • The key functions of roof underlayment
  • 5 best roof underlayment types for 2024
  • Benefits and considerations for each roof underlayment type

Keep reading to learn more about roof underlayment and which type could benefit your home in 2024!

Understanding the Role of Roof Underlayment

Before we delve into the types of roof underlayment, let’s understand why it’s such an essential component of your roofing system.

Roof underlayment is a layer of material installed between the roof deck and the final roofing material (shingles, tiles, or metal). It serves several crucial functions:

Weather Barrier: It acts as a secondary barrier against rain, snow, and wind-driven moisture.

Protection: Underlayment provides temporary protection during roof installation and serves as a safeguard if your primary roofing material fails.

Ventilation: Some types of underlayment offer breathability, allowing moisture vapor to escape from the attic while preventing water from entering.

Now, let’s explore the top 5 roof underlayment types for 2024!

1. Asphalt-Saturated Felt Underlayment

Asphalt-saturated felt underlayment, commonly known as felt paper or tar paper, consists of a base material saturated with asphalt. It’s available in various weights and thicknesses.

Advantages ✅

Affordability: Asphalt-saturated felt is one of the most budget-friendly options for roof underlayment.

Water Resistance: It provides a reasonable level of water resistance and protection during roof installation.

Versatility: Suitable for use with a wide range of roofing materials, making it a versatile choice.

Considerations 🤔

Not Breathable: Felt underlayment is not breathable, which may trap moisture in the attic if not properly ventilated.

Durability: It has a shorter lifespan compared to some other underlayment types and may require replacement sooner.

2. Synthetic Underlayment

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Synthetic underlayment is typically made from polypropylene or polyethylene materials. It’s engineered to be lightweight, durable, and water-resistant.

Advantages ✅

Lightweight: Synthetic underlayment is lightweight and easy to handle during installation.

Durability: It offers excellent durability and can withstand harsh weather conditions.

Breathability: Some synthetic underlayment products provide breathability, allowing for better attic ventilation.

Tear Resistance: Synthetic underlayment is tear-resistant, reducing the risk of damage during installation.

Considerations 🤔

Cost: It can be more expensive than traditional felt underlayment.

Brand Variability: The quality and features of synthetic underlayment can vary by brand, so research your options carefully.

3. Rubberized Asphalt Underlayment

Rubberized asphalt underlayment, also known as peel-and-stick or self-adhesive underlayment, features a rubberized asphalt layer with a peel-away backing.

Advantages ✅

Easy Installation: The peel-and-stick design makes installation straightforward and reduces the need for nails or staples.

Waterproof: Rubberized asphalt underlayment provides an exceptional level of waterproofing.

Self-Sealing: The self-adhesive nature of this underlayment helps seal around fasteners, preventing water infiltration.

Durability: It offers excellent durability and resistance to UV exposure.

Considerations 🤔

Cost: Rubberized asphalt underlayment tends to be more expensive than traditional felt underlayment.

Professional Installation: While it’s user-friendly, professional installation is recommended for optimal results.

4. Synthetic Roofing Underlayment with Ice and Water Shield

This type of underlayment combines synthetic materials with an added layer of self-adhering ice and water shield. It’s designed for superior protection against ice dams and water intrusion.

Advantages ✅

Ultimate Protection: The addition of the ice and water shield provides unparalleled protection against ice dams, heavy rain, and wind-driven rain.

Versatility: It’s suitable for use in areas prone to severe weather conditions.

Durability: Offers exceptional durability and longevity.

Self-Sealing: Like rubberized asphalt underlayment, it self-seals around fasteners for added waterproofing.

Considerations 🤔

Cost: This type of underlayment is among the most expensive options.

Professional Installation: Due to its complexity and need for proper sealing, professional installation is strongly recommended.

5. Synthetic Underlayment with Radiant Barrier

Synthetic underlayment with a radiant barrier is designed to reflect heat away from your home’s interior, helping to improve energy efficiency.

Advantages ✅

Energy Efficiency: The radiant barrier reflects heat, helping to keep your home cooler in hot climates.

Water Resistance: Offers excellent water resistance and protection.

Durability: Synthetic underlayment with radiant barrier is known for its durability.

Reduces Heat Absorption: By reflecting heat away, it can extend the lifespan of your roofing materials.

Considerations 🤔

Cost: It tends to be more expensive than basic synthetic underlayment.

Specific Applications: While it offers energy efficiency benefits, its primary focus is not waterproofing, so proper installation is crucial for water resistance.

Installation Matters: The Key to Longevity

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Regardless of the type of roof underlayment you choose, proper installation is paramount. Here are some installation tips to ensure your underlayment serves its purpose effectively:

Substrate Preparation: Ensure the roof deck is clean, dry, and free from any debris or protruding nails.

Overlap and Fastening: Follow manufacturer guidelines for overlap and fastening methods, which can vary based on the type of underlayment.

Sealing and Flashing: Pay special attention to sealing around roof penetrations (vents, chimneys, etc.) and flashing details to prevent water infiltration.

Ventilation: Adequate attic ventilation is essential for the performance of some underlayment types, especially synthetic ones. Ensure your attic has proper ventilation to prevent moisture buildup.

Professional Installation: While some homeowners opt for DIY installation, professional installation can provide peace of mind and ensure the underlayment performs as intended.

The Cost of Roof Underlayment

The cost of roof underlayment can vary widely based on the type of material, brand, and quality. Here’s a rough estimate of the cost per square foot for each type:

Asphalt-Saturated Felt: $0.10 – $0.30 per square foot.

Synthetic Underlayment: $0.20 – $0.50 per square foot.

Rubberized Asphalt Underlayment: $0.50 – $1.00 per square foot.

Synthetic Roofing Underlayment with Ice and Water Shield: $1.00 – $2.00 per square foot.

Synthetic Underlayment with Radiant Barrier: $0.50 – $1.50 per square foot.

Keep in mind that these are approximate costs and can vary based on location and market conditions. Additionally, installation costs are separate and should be factored into your budget.

Maintenance and Replacement

Roof underlayment, while a crucial layer of protection, doesn’t last as long as your primary roofing material. Therefore, it’s important to monitor its condition during regular roof inspections. If you notice any damage, wear, or signs of deterioration, consider replacement.

Your Roof’s #1 Protector 🛡️

Roof underlayment might not be the star of the show, but it’s undeniably your roof’s silent guardian. Choosing the right type of underlayment for your roofing project can significantly impact your home’s protection, energy efficiency, and longevity. As you head into 2024, make an informed decision based on your climate, budget, and roofing goals. And remember, whether you’re installing a new roof or replacing an old one, your choice of underlayment plays a vital role in keeping your home safe and dry for years to come! 


Get in touch with our pro team of roofers at Roof Troopers today and experience top-tier craftsmanship and honest, transparent communication. Let’s keep your home standing strong with a durable and eye-catching roof!

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