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Charleston Roofing: Article About Roofing Underlayment

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When hiring professional roofers to install or repair roofs, most homeowners only consider the outermost layer of their roofs. While it's important to choose the right top layer for a roof, it's just as important to pick the right underlayment. The underlayment is the layer of the roof that sits just above the roofing deck. It comes in three basic types: rubberized asphalt, asphalt-saturated felt and non-bitumen synthetic. All of these can be installed by a Charleston roofing expert. Although roofing underlayments wouldn't increase the lifespan of the roofing material on top of the house, it may help to increase the life of the roofing deck.

The most common type of underlayment found on residential homes is asphalt-saturated felt paper. The felt itself can be made from a variety of materials including fiberglass or organic substances. The term "organic" is given to felt that has some kind of cellulose base. While the felt used in this type of underlayment is water resistant, it's far from being waterproof. The felt usually comes in 30-pound and 15-pound thicknesses. The main difference is that 30-pound felt is much stronger and more water resistant, and it should protect the roofing deck longer.

All underlayment made out of rubber-like material is placed under the category of rubberized asphalt. This type of underlayment generally has adhesive on one side.

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This makes it easy to install because the roofer only needs to peel off the membrane protecting the adhesive and stick it onto the roofing deck. Despite the fact that rubberized asphalt is more expensive, most roofers recommend it over felt because of its self-sealing properties. This simply means that the rubber creates a seal around staples, nails and other fasteners after being installed. All rubberized asphalt is designed and manufactured to meet different requirements. For example, some are designed to withstand heat of up to 250 degrees Fahrenheit, while others are reinforced with fiberglass for added strength.

The last type is non-bitumen synthetic underlayments, which are made from polyethylene or polypropylene. Due to the high strength of this material, synthetic polymers are often used in the making of a variety of products outside of roof underlayments, such as rope, storage containers and underwear. Contractors often enjoy working with this material because it's lightweight and easy to install. Homeowners choose it because it's wrinkle-free and resistant to all fungal growth. While underlayments aren't normally exposed to sunlight, non-bitumen synthetic underlayments are resistant to the sun's UV damage. This means the product can be left in direct sunlight for nearly six months without signs of wear.

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