Which Is Better: Synthetic v. Felt Underlayment

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Which Is Better: Synthetic v. Felt Underlayment

Which Is Better: Synthetic v. Felt Underlayment

While most people think about the type of roof they want to install on their home, very few think critically about what underlayment they’re going to use. That’s because your roof’s underlayment acts as a critical but hidden layer that is vital to the durability of your roof. The classic debate for many is synthetic v. felt underlayment. There are several pros and cons to both. 

What is Underlayment?

Roofing underlayment is a material laid down between your roof’s deck and its shingles. It works to protect your home and roof deck from natural disturbances like wind, rain, and snow. Underlayment is installed directly onto roof sheathing before you install your actual roof. 

What is Synthetic Underlayment?

Synthetic roofing underlayment came on to the scene a few decades ago and is now popularly used for its water resistance and durability against weather events. Synthetic underlayment is typically made of polymers, which last longer and are more durable. It generally offers better and more long-lasting protection when compared to felt underlayment. 

Though they offer great benefits, you still have to be careful when using synthetic underlayments. Their materials are not regulated, meaning different products can offer vastly different performance capabilities. Be sure to do your research and talk with a professional roofer who can help you choose the best underlayment for your roof. 

Felt Underlayment

Felt underlayment, also called asphalt-saturated felt, was an extremely popular underlayment just 20 years ago. It’s still a good option today, though most new homes are built with synthetic underlayment.

Felt underlayment is made of blended plant fibers with asphalt. It also comes in sizes, which you can choose from based on thickness. Typically the thicker the felt underlayment, the stronger and more durable against weather conditions it will be. 

Which is Better?

Felt and synthetic underlayment both offer different pros and cons. The type of underlayment you choose depends on the climate where you live and the material of your roof. In our experience, synthetic underlayments for tile roofs do not last and are prone to leak. On the other hand, we have found synthetic underlayment under shingles to be effective in standing up to wind and storms during construction. It also stands up against the Arizona monsoon season.  

Felt Underlayment

Pros:

  • Cost-effective
  • Comes in several different sizes and thicknesses

Cons:

  • Difficult to install
  • May tear in high winds
  • Absorbs water if exposed, causing felt to wrinkle

Synthetic Underlayment

Pros:

  • Long-lasting
  • Easy to install
  • Water-resistant

Cons:

  • More costly

Get a Free Estimate On Your Roof 

Are you building a home or looking for a roof replacement in the Phoenix area? At Roofstar Arizona, we’re experts on Arizona and Phoenix roofs. We can help you choose the right roof for your home based on your roofing materials and local climate. Call our experts now at 480-426-1915 for more information or to schedule a free estimate on your next roofing project. We’ll tell you the truth about your roof!