Synthetic vs. Felt Roofing Underlayment: Pros and Cons

When it comes to roofing underlayment, you have two options: synthetic and felt. Both types of underlayment do essentially the same job—keeping your roof’s shingles in place and helping them last longer when exposed to moisture. However, each has its own benefits and drawbacks. While some people prefer one over the other for certain reasons, others choose to use both types because they can offer different advantages depending on the situation.

What is Roofing Underlayment?

Roofing underlayment is a critical component of the roofing system. It is used as an extra layer of protection between the roof deck and your roofing membrane. Roofing underlayment helps prevent leaks and extends the life of your roof by reducing wind uplift, water penetration, and ice damming.

It’s no wonder that it’s so important: a good underlayment protects your home from water damage by insulating against heat loss in winter and keeping heat inside during the summer. Without an effective air or vapor barrier layer in place, you could find yourself with a leaky basement or condensation on windowsills that would compromise both comfort and safety.

Types of Roofing Underlayment

There are two main types of roofing underlayment you will encounter. The first is synthetic, which can be thought of as a thin film that’s designed to protect the roof from moisture. The second type is felt paper. This material has been around for decades and serves a similar purpose to synthetic—to keep out moisture and make sure your roof stays dry.

Synthetic Underlayment

Synthetic underlayment is made from long-lasting polymers and typically moisture-resistant, when installed correctly. That can result in better protection from the weather compared to felt roofing underlayment, which isn’t always as effective against mold and mildew.

While synthetic underlayment is often more expensive than its felt counterparts, you may save money down the road since these products are typically less likely to result in leaks during inclement weather. Plus, you won’t need any additional repairs if your home sustains damage during an extreme storm or flood event—something that can happen often with older homes that have been poorly maintained over time.

Felt Underlayment

Felt underlayment is less expensive and easier to install than synthetic underlayment. Installation does not require the same amount of skill as other types of underlayment, but this makes it more prone to tearing in high winds or during installation. Be sure to have plenty of this material on hand in case you need to re-install portions of the roof!

Which Is Best: Synthetic or Felt?

Synthetic underlayment is more waterproof than felt and can make your home more energy efficient by trapping heat inside during winter months and keeping cool air outside during summer months. Although more expensive than felt, your investment will last longer.

If you’re on a tighter budget, felt underlayment can get the job done, but you may need to replace the underlayment more frequently than synthetic materials.

Are you in the roofing repair market?  Talk to one of our experts at Herbert Roofing to see what underlayment option is best for you and your home.

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