When the time comes to replace your roof or install one on your new home, you’ll have to choose between felt or synthetic underlayments. If you’re unfamiliar with the differences between the two, selecting the best option for your home can be challenging. Keep reading to learn about each type of underlayment and how to determine which best suits your home and budget.
Our team of roofing professionals at Elite Remodeling Services can handle your new roof installation or replacement. If you live in Farmington, Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, or Lakeville, MN, call us at 952-646-2480 to schedule a free inspection.
What Is Underlayment on a Roof?
The underlayment layer is an essential part of the roof installation process. This layer of felt or synthetic material provides a protective sheet between the roof decking and the roof system material (shingles, tiles, etc.). Whether your home has metal roofing, clay tiles, or asphalt shingles, your roof likely has an underlayment layer.
Benefits of installing roof underlayments include:
- Warranty compliance: Many roofing material warranties require underlayments.
- Noise reduction: Underlayment helps muffle roof noise, such as heavy rain.
- Improved water resistance: Underlayment offers moisture resistance if roofing materials are damaged or torn.
What Is the Difference Between Felt and Synthetic Underlayments?
Let’s look at each type of underlayment to understand the differences between felt and synthetic.
Before manufacturers began creating underlayments using synthetic material, most roofers used felt. Crafted using recycled paper, sawdust, and asphalt, felt underlayment provides a leak-resistant (but not waterproof) layer that offers added protection for the decking below.
Rolls of felt underlayment come in two varieties: No. 15 and No. 30. No. 30 felt is more durable but weighs twice as much as the thinner variety.
Manufacturers create synthetic underlayments using polyethylene or polypropylene plastics. This material offers increased resistance to tears and water intrusion. In fact, roofers can leave synthetic underlayments exposed in inclement weather for months with little risk of water damage.
Since synthetic underlayments weigh less, they come in larger rolls with more square feet per roll.
Which Type of Underlayment Is Best?
Homeowners must consider several factors when choosing felt or synthetic underlayments. These include:
- Cost: If you have a tight budget for your roofing project, you may opt for felt underlayment because this type tends to cost less than synthetic options. However, underlayment represents a nominal cost compared to roofing material prices, so consider synthetic underlayment for extra protection, even if you choose a cheaper roofing system.
- Code: Some areas have building codes dictating the type of underlayment roofers must use. If such regulations exist where you live, you’ll need to use what the guidelines dictate.
- Weight: A roof’s structure can only hold so much weight, which becomes an essential factor when choosing between felt or synthetic underlayments. Felt tends to weigh significantly more than synthetic materials. This becomes especially crucial when using heavy roofing materials like clay or concrete.
- Speed: Because synthetic materials tend to be lighter and thinner, a roll of underlayment goes much further. Roofers can install synthetic materials much faster because there are fewer seams between rolls.
- Performance: Although felt underlayment resists water intrusion, it does not create a watertight seal. Overexposure to water can cause felt to bunch and lose its effectiveness. Felt also tears more easily than synthetic materials during installation or severe weather.
- Safety: No matter what type of roofing you choose, roofers must walk across the underlayment during installation. In general, synthetic materials are safer because felt underlayments can be slippery.
Synthetic underlayments are the better option in most cases. They’re lighter and more durable than felt and offer better resistance against moisture and wind damage.
Trusted Roofing Contractors in Farmington, MN
The roofing professionals at Elite Remodeling Services can help you choose between felt or synthetic underlayments for your new roof. We’re a trusted, experienced roofing company in Farmington, MN, serving clients throughout the South Metro area. Whether you live in Apple Valley, Burnsville, Eagan, or Lakeville, we can take care of your roofing project.
We have experience with all types of roofing, including asphalt shingles and cedar shakes. Get in touch with us today, and we’ll begin with a free inspection and estimate. Contact us online or call 952-646-2480.