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Atlanta Roofing: Article About Roofing Underlayments

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Most homeowners are primarily concerned with the costs and aesthetic appeal that a new roof will add to their property, but along with the actual roofing material selected, the type of underlayment they select can significantly affect the longevity and durability of the roofing product used. A reputable Atlanta roofing professional can assist property owners in determining the best type of underlayment that fits both the type of roofing structure and their budget.

There are three main types of roofing underlayments: asphalt saturated felt, non-bitumen synthetic and rubberized asphalt synthetic. Each kind has advantages and disadvantages given the type of roofing structure and the slope of the roof, but they all have some qualities in common.

No type of underlayment is completely waterproof; they are merely water resistant. Synthetics are generally more water resistant than asphalt paper, though they are more costly to purchase and install. Both asphalt and synthetics can provide temporary protection from weather in the event that the roofing material is damaged or missing, and all types protect the roofing material from resins that may be in the decking. Additionally, each type acts as a vapor barrier.

The type of underlayment a homeowner chooses depends on many factors. Steep slope roofs that have a grade greater than the standard 4:12 pitch require heavier underlayment. The standard minimum underlayment is 15-pound asphalt felt, but a greater pitch requires 30-pound felt. Asphalt felt comes in rolls that are spread out and either stapled or tacked down in overlapping sheets.

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Staples are less desirable than tacks because they are more likely to cause tears in the underlayment in high winds. Asphalt felt has a high fire safety rating, but is not as durable as synthetic products. Additionally, the 30-pound underlayment is quite heavy, and thus more difficult to install.

Synthetic roofing underlayments are superior to asphalt, but are also more costly. They are much lighter weight and are often easier to install. They also provide a skid-resistant surface to walk on, unlike asphalt, which can be slippery. Synthetics hold up to extreme weather much better than other products and can be left uncovered for six months to a year if necessary. They also prevent growth of fungi since they are not water permeable.

Rubberized asphalt is one of the strongest types of underlayment, but again, is more costly than straight asphalt felt. One of the advantages of this product is that it is self-sealing, so that there is minimal chance that water will leak in around the tacks or staples used to install it. Rubberized asphalt also comes with an adhesive backing and is an ideal choice for use under metal roofing products.

A qualified roofing contractor will take the time to explain the best options for homeowners, taking into account the roof design, weather conditions and budgeting needs.

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