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Synthetic Roof Underlayment VS Traditional Roofing Felt Paper

Something often overlooked in the residential roofing process is the roofing underlayment. Underlayment is the base layer of material that is installed directly on top of the decking and under the shingles. The underlayment is the last line of defense from moisture/leaks and arguably the most important component of a roofing system.

Mile High Roofing laying synthetic roof underlayment while repairing a roof.

The Problem with Traditional Roofing Felt Paper

Most contractors will install traditional roofing felt paper (also known as tar paper) as their standard underlayment. Tar paper is a heavy-duty asphalt-based paper that is water resistant and comes in multiple levels of thickness (15 pound being the thinnest/minimum requirement and 30 pound being the thickest/maximum for a standard roofing application).Although tar paper is a very common application, it certainly has its disadvantages. One of the major cons of tar paper comes during the installation of the roof. Left to its own devices tar paper will hold up fairly well, however it is highly susceptible to tearing simply from being walked on. In fact, tar paper can rip as easily as a child’s construction paper used for arts and crafts. Depending on the slope of the deck, tar paper can be quite slick and difficult to walk on. Lastly, over time tar paper will begin to rot and crack thereby losing its capability to shed water and needing to be replaced.

Is Synthetic Roof Underlayment a Better Alternative?

Synthetic Roof Underlayment is a far superior product. It is typically a polypropylene based material (plastic based) and has a number of benefits when compared to asphalt based felt. Although it is more expensive than tar paper, the extra price is worth it. Not only It is extremely difficult to tear during installation, it is virtually impossible to destroy with the heavy foot traffic of installing a new roof. Standard synthetic roof underlayment is equivalent to and of greater strength than a 30 lbs. roofing felt. It also provides much better traction to walk on. Most importantly it is completely waterproof. Given enough exposure, tar paper will absorb and retain water, whereas synthetic roof underlayment will never absorb or retain water.

At Mile High Roofing, Inc., our company policy is to install synthetic roof underlayment on every job. Other roofing companies charge more for this is an upgrade, we offer it for free. It may cost us a bit more, but we want you to have the peace of mind knowing that our roofs are not likely to leak.

We want you to be 100% satisfied, which is why we are comfortable offering a lifetime labor warranty on all complete roof installs. Contact us today for a free consultation!

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