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Underlayment – The Hidden Protector in Your Roofing System

Your roof is the protective barrier which Shields your home and everything within it from the harsh outdoor elements. What many consumers are not aware of, is that there is much more that goes into a roof than just what you see looking at the finished product. One of those unseen components is underlayment, which is the hidden protector in any complete roofing system. Maybe you’ve never heard of underlayment, as most consumers haven’t. But as you continue to read, you’ll realize just how important underlayment is in the protection of your roof and the security of your home every single day.

What exactly is roof underlayment?

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Underlayment is the protective Shield or barrier, which during the installation process is placed beneath roofing shingles. Depending on the type, it is a waterproof or water-resistant barrier which adds an extremely important layer of moisture protection. Roofing underlayment can be manufactured from a variety of different materials, for different applications. Some of these types include – rubberized, synthetic, polyethylene and felt. Different types of roofing underlayment provide different types of protection for your overall roofing system.

Why Do You Need Underlayment? …and Why Is It an Absolutely Essential Component of ANY Superior Roofing System?

The first thing to realize is the way a roof is able to protect a home, from the various components which have been proven to work together to provide the highest level of protection. Underlayment, as mentioned previously, is a moisture barrier. And although asphalt shingles can of course protect your home from rain, snow, and ice, water can still get past shingles. Wind driven rain can push water between shingles and trapped meltwater from ice dams can back-up between shingles as well. Shingles can also be lifted by damaging winds, and even blow off. Beyond that, as shingles approach the end of their lifespan they can deteriorate and become hardened or brittle. It is the underlayment beneath those shingles which sits atop and protects the roof deck (the wooden layer which a roof is installed upon) from moisture. Where even if some moisture penetrates through or between the shingles, the underlayment remains intact to protect the structure. Underlayment is a second line of defense that adds peace of mind and is well worth the investment.

Different Types of Underlayment for Different Parts of Your Roofing System

What might surprise you is different portions of your roof will require different types of underlayment. Typically, the general or larger areas of the roof will require a water-resistant underlayment which offers excellent protection. Today synthetic underlayments are the most common to use in these locations. While other areas of your roof will require waterproof underlayment, known as Ice and Water Shield and also referred to as a Leak Barrier. This type of underlayment is a peel and stick rubberized membrane used in vulnerable areas such as eaves and valleys. Along with other areas which have a high potential to leak, those being around chimneys, skylights, sun tunnels and other roof penetrations like plumbing vent pipes and roof vents, for example. Any skilled roofing contractor will know that these vulnerable areas require additional protection. If you happen to be watching the roof installation, you should be able to visibly see the installers applying these different types of underlayments to the different parts of your roof.

How This Affects Your Roof Systems Warranty

When you request a quote from any reputable roofing contractor, you want underlayment to be clearly identified and outlined within your roofing estimate. One reason being, that in the event you need to take advantage of your warranty, you will have documentation that your roofing contractor installed a roof that follows the protocols which any and every roofing manufacturer recommends.

Your Roofs Ability to Protect Your Home Follows the Old Adage That “It’s Only as Strong as The Weakest Link”.

Roofing underlayment may just seem like a small part of a big roof. But… the lack of underlayment … or…. The incorrect installation of underlayment …. or…. The wrong underlayment… could spell disaster for your roof. And although underlayment is only one component of a complete roofing system, when done wrong …or… not done at all, your entire roof and home could be in jeopardy.

How to Make Sure Your Roof System Is Installed Properly from Top to Bottom.

Of course, you want to make sure your roof is installed correctly, but how can you be certain you’re dealing with a pro? One great way is to look for a certified roofing contractor, and I highly suggest you read the article I just linked to, prior to hiring anyone to work on your roof. The reason is that only a certified roofing contractor has been trained and approved by the roofing manufacturer to install a complete roofing system the way the manufacturer has designed it to protect your home most effectively. Also, by working with this type of roofing contractor, you will likely be entitled to enhanced warranty coverage, due to the manufacturer knowing their product is being installed the RIGHT way!

Do you need a roof replacement?

If you’re in the process of looking for a roofing contractor to replace your current roof, and want to skip the hassle of trying to find a roofing contractor who meets the criteria that we’ve laid out for you here, and in many of our other consumer resource articles, then contact us here at Gauthier Roofing and Siding. We are a certified “Master Elite” roofing contractor (known as one of the hardest credentials, if not the hardest, to achieve in the roofing industry) by GAF, North America’s largest roofing manufacturer, and we will outline specifically how we will install a truly superior roofing system which is backed by enhanced warranty coverage. Request an Estimate Today!

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