Any information you can give me on a new type of underlayment?

Answered by Jeffrey Anderson ~ February 6, 2014 ~ No Comments

I've heard that there is a new type of underlayment that replaces the old black tar paper. From what I understand, it's some sort of a membrane and you heat the overlaps. Is that correct?


Jeffrey Anderson

Jim, there are some new types of roofing underlayment that can be used in place of traditional felt paper. However, you may be confusing some of the products when you refer to heating the overlaps or seams. It's possible there might be something I'm not aware of as new materials come to the marketplace fairly often, but the only products I'm familiar with that involve heated overlaps are some of the membranes for low-sloped roofs. Those products serve as the finished roof covering, as opposed to underlayment, which has asphalt shingles, metal, or another type of roofing material installed over it.

Many homeowners don't realize that the underlayment is just about as important in protecting the inside of their house as the finished roof material. That's because if there is ever a strong storm that removes some of the shingles or metal, it's the underlayment that prevents water intrusion until a repair is made. If that underlayment comes loose or tears, water from rain, melting snow, or ice is almost sure to find its way into the house. And once it's in, the cost to repair damage can escalate very quickly.

GAF, CertainTeed, and several other companies that are well known for their asphalt shingles and other roofing products have developed improved underlayment that can be used in place of felt. GAF's product is called TigerPaw and is advertised to be 600 percent stronger than 30 pound felt. In addition, it's breathable so moisture isn't trapped between the roof sheathing and underlayment where it can eventually decay the wood. TigerPaw underlayment is fastened to the sheathing with the same type of nails as felt, but has up to 129 percent more holding power than the traditional material. That means it has a better chance of remaining in place when you need it the most.

CertainTeed's improved underlayment is called DiamondDeck and has protective qualities that are very similar to those of TigerPaw. When used in conjunction with the manufacturers' shingles, both products have limited warranty periods at least as long as the finished roofing material.

If you live in an area that is prone to strong storms or winter precipitation, upgrading your home's underlayment when replacing the shingles may be a very good idea.

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