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Charleston Roofing: Article About Types Of Underlayment

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If you're planning to replace your roof, one of many decisions you'll face is your choice of underlayment material. An underlayment is an important part of any roofing system; it is located on top of the sheathing and acts as a barrier against weather elements such as rain, ice and wind. You can choose from several different options for your underlayment, including builder's felt, multiple synthetic materials and self-adhesive ice and water shield. The material you choose will depend on your region's climate, your roof's slope and local fire code requirements. Your Charleston roofing contractor can help you select the optimal underlayment for your roof.

Asphalt-saturated felt, typically known as builder's felt, is a common underlayment material that has been in use for decades. Although the material itself has a paper base, the paper is saturated or coated with asphalt to increase its weather resistance. Builder's felt is applied by rolling the product across the roof deck and nailing it down. Many homeowners and contractors choose this underlayment material because it is both affordable and easy to install, though it does have a few drawbacks. Asphalt-saturated felt is prone to tearing, especially in hotter climates. It doesn't breathe well, so it has a tendency to trap moisture inside the layers of a roof.

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Builder's felt also can be slippery to walk on, which can create a hazardous situation during the installation of the roof.

Synthetic underlayment materials are relatively new, but they've gained an avid following in the roofing field. This type of underlayment is made of artificially-created polymers such as polypropylene, polyethylene and fiberglass. Compared to builder's felt, these materials are thinner and lighter in weight. In addition, they resist tearing and are safer to walk on during installation. Although synthetic materials have many advantages over traditional felt, they come at a higher cost to homeowners.

Another underlayment option is an ice and water shield product. This self-adhesive material is made of rubberized asphalt. Ice and water shield products offer the highest level of weather resistance among underlayment materials; unlike felt, they are not susceptible to water seepage from nail holes. Ice and water shield can be applied to an entire roof, but many homeowners choose to use this expensive product only on certain trouble spots.

As you can see, there are a few different options available for your underlayment. While your budget may play a significant role in your decision, other factors should be considered as well. Safety, ease of installation, performance and durability should be kept in mind when choosing your material. If you're not sure which underlayment material is right for your home, ask your roofing contractor to evaluate your roof and advise you on your choice.

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