What Roof Underlayment Should I Use? A Guide For Southern Maryland Home Owners

Roof repairs don’t come cheap.

For instance, the national average for repair work is $815 each time. However, according to the same source, the cost can reach in excess of $4,500 in serious cases.

That’s a lot of money, especially for an unexpected expense! Clearly, it pays to take the time to properly construct and maintain your roof.

The most common problems tend to involve missing shingles and leaks caused by bad weather conditions. Don’t repair it, and the problems can escalate! Thankfully, one way to prevent such leaks and minimize damage is with quality roof underlayment. The right underlayment can make all the difference.

But you might never have even heard of it! How on earth can you expect to know which is best for your home?

Keep reading to learn all about underlayment and how to choose it for your Southern Maryland property.

What is Roof Underlayment?

Your roof is what keeps your home safe from the elements every day, right?

You already know that.

But you might not know that what’s known as the ‘underlayment’ plays a key role in that process too. This vital element is placed beneath your main roofing material (known as the shingle). It’s a semi-breathable waterproof (or resistant) barrier that gets laid directly upon the deck of your roof.

Think of it as an extra layer of defense. It protects you from particular harsh weather conditions when the shingle fails somehow. It also allows the house to breathe- humidity and air can still leave the roof as required.

You can’t afford not to have underlayment.

That’s especially true in places like Southern Maryland, where the weather can be particularly extreme. Likewise, it’s important to have the right type fitted.

Indeed, not all underlayment is created equal. Some are better than others for meeting specific housing needs.

The Different Types of Underlayment

Below you’ll find the different types of underlayment available.

Felt Underlayment

Also known as ‘felt paper’, this option is usually a cellulose-based sheet of felt that’s been coated in asphalt. Think felt that’s saturated in asphalt to provide a level of water-resistance. An adhesive coating on one side assists installation.

Felt was the go-to underlayment for many years.

Indeed, it’s generally inexpensive versus other types. But it’s thicker and heavier, and generally less water-resistant too. Water absorption can be a problem.

Synthetic Underlayment

Synthetic underlayment is a plastic sheet that combines polymers and polypropylene. It’s also saturated in asphalt to satisfy its waterproofing requirements. A fiberglass addition is sometimes included to increase its durability.

It’s more expensive. But it’s lightweight, better at resisting moisture, and generally offers increased water-resistance.

Rubberized Asphalt Underlayment

Combine greater levels of asphalt and rubber polymer to create this type of underlayment.

The most expensive option, compared to the aforementioned options, rubberized asphalt isn’t a ‘whole-roof’ design. It isn’t usually used to cover the entire roof. Instead, it’s best used in certain places. These include valleys and at roof bulges and bumps.

Rubberized asphalt is a fully waterproof and useful addition to homes in places that have extreme winters.

How to Choose the Best Underlayment

Now you know what it is and the different options out there. Let’s turn to 5 considerations when choosing it for your Southern Maryland home.

1. Speed of Installation

Sometimes you need to build or repair your roof fast.

In these situations, felt underlayment is a decent bet. Roofers can’t afford to leave it exposed to potential bad weather, so shingle is generally attached as soon as possible. Moreover, by nature, it’s easy to install and requires less labor than other types.

Indeed, synthetic underlayment is more challenging to install. That amounts to higher labor costs and general expense all-around.

2. Longevity

However, longevity should be of paramount importance too.

You don’t want to require frequent repairs and replacement.

And that’s where felt can let you down. It’s true that in the right conditions, quality felt can last over a decade. But that isn’t always the case.

If you have time at your disposal, then synthetic options are generally preferable. They fit better, are of greater durability and are less likely to struggle with inclement weather.

3. The Climate

Climate always plays an important role when deciding the best underlayment.

Synthetic materials tend to be suited to hotter areas, as well as those that receive large quantities of rainfall. Similarly, synthetic options offer good UV protection, which is a boon in sunny
climates. Heavy-duty felt is sometimes preferred in locations known for snow and wind.

4. Primary Roofing Material

The material of your shingles should also be taken into consideration.

This top layer has an impact on the effectiveness of the underlayment. For instance, metal roofing may demand synthetic styles of underlay. That’s because heat is trapped more easily and synthetic underlayment is known for its heat resistance.

Traditional shingles, such as tile, may be better-suited to felt.

5. Price

Housing costs are normally front and center of home-owner decision-making.

After all, housing repairs and construction never come cheap. If the price is your foremost concern, then felt is typically a better bet. Generally speaking, synthetic underlayment is the more expensive option. Rubberized asphalt is the most costly.

That said, rates do vary depending on the specific materials and the labor costs involved.

Likewise, a more expensive option upfront can save you money long-term. Going for an expensive underlayment that’s better suited to your location (compared to cheaper options) is an investment.
It will save you money in ongoing repair work down the line.

Time to Wrap Up

There you have it: a complete guide to buying the best roof underlayment for homes in Southern Maryland.

Roofing repairs don’t come cheap. It’s in the interest of every homeowner to take proactive steps in avoiding them wherever possible.

Of the numerous ways of doing that, fitting quality roof underlayment is of utmost importance. This protective barrier can make all the difference when the weather turns. Which, as we all know, can often be the case in Southern Maryland!

Hopefully, the information above will help you choose the best material for your particular roofing needs.

Want help with your roofing needs? Be sure to contact us today to see how we can be of assistance, and for a no-pressure estimate.

Roofing Contractor Prince Frederick, MD