Roof Construction Roof Leakage

Underlayment: What Is It, and Which Type Should I Choose?

J&K Blog

Underlayment: What Is It, and Which Type Should I Choose?

Your roof is a complex system of parts designed to protect your home from the elements. Most of us are aware of certain basic aspects of the roofing system, such as the decking or asphalt shingles. But there is another integral material that provides added protection and waterproofing: the underlayment.

What is Underlayment?

The underlayment is a sheet of material, either felt or synthetic, that is sandwiched between the decking and shingles. The purpose of the underlayment is to further seal your home against wind, hail, snow, and rain.

What is the Difference Between Felt and Synthetic Underlayment?

Felt Underlayment

Felt underlayment is made by saturating paper or fiberglass with asphalt. It comes in two sizes: No. 15 and No. 30, with the latter being thicker and more tear-resistant. The main appeal of felt underlayment is that it is less expensive than synthetic versions. It also does not require any specialized tools to install. However, you will want to be aware of potential drawbacks that may ultimately overshadow the cheaper price:

  • Tearing: felt is susceptible to tears during the installation process or in severe weather, such as high winds.
  • Wrinkling or Cracking: when exposed to moisture, felt can wrinkle; it may also crack in cold temperatures
  • Weight: felt is heavier, which can make it more difficult for a roofing contractor to haul up onto a roof
  • Slippery Surface: felt underlayment has an oily, slippery surface which can make it more tricky to install
  • Time Limits: felt can dry out or absorb moisture if left exposed, so shingles need to be placed as soon as possible after the felt is applied to the decking.

Synthetic Underlayment

These days, synthetic underlayment is the preference of many roofing contractors. Made from polymers like polypropylene or polyethylene, it offers many advantages over traditional asphalt-saturated felt underlayment:

  • Tear-resistant: synthetic underlayment is much less prone to tearing than felt
  • Lighter: the lightweight nature of synthetic material makes it easier to install and puts less strain on the home’s framework
  • No cracking: synthetic underlayment does not crack in cold weather
  • No moisture absorption: synthetic underlayment does not absorb moisture, it will not wrinkle and is not susceptible to mold or fungal growth.
  • No volatile compounds: unlike felt underlayment, synthetic materials do not contain volatile compounds, which tend to dissipate over time and can compromise the integrity of the underlayment.

How Do I Choose the Right Kind of Underlayment?

J&K Roofing has experience and is certified in all types of underlayment, both felt and synthetic. We work with the highest quality vendors to ensure your home is fully protected against Colorado’s weather. If you are in the Denver Metro, Front Range, Colorado Springs, or Northern Colorado areas, we are happy to assist you in every step of your roofing project. Contact our office today to see how we can help.

Roof Construction Roof Leakage

What To Do If Your Roof is Leaking?

J&K Blog

What To Do If Your Roof is Leaking - JK Roofing

What To Do If Your Roof is Leaking?

With Colorado’s storm season in full swing, we have had several calls regarding water leakage into the home.

In the event that you notice your roof leaking, there are steps you can take to mitigate the damage while waiting for professional repairs.

1. Contain the Leak

If you see water spots or bulges in the ceiling, grab a bucket. Using appropriate safety measures (ladder and spotter), locate the center of the wet/bulging area and puncture it with a screwdriver.

The water will be released into the bucket below and keep water pressure from building up and potentially destroying the whole ceiling.

2. Tarp the Leak

If it is actively raining, your local roofer will be unable to start repairs until the inclement weather has stopped. They may, however, be able to place an emergency tarp over the area to prevent further damage.

You can also do this yourself, but it is not recommended due to safety hazards.

3. Schedule Inspection and Repairs

As soon as possible, you will want to contact your local roofer to inspect the damage and begin repairs.

4. Consider Costs

Once the inspection is complete, you will have a choice between paying out of pocket or filing an insurance claim. In some cases (if the quote of your project is less than your deductible, for example), it may be more cost-effective to cover the repairs yourself.

You can discuss the best course of action with your local roofer during the inspection.

Waterproofing Your Roof

While your leak is being repaired, you may want to discuss additional waterproofing steps with your roofer to avoid future issues. For your part, you can ensure that the exterior and surrounding areas are well-prepped to withstand a storm:

1. Inspect your roof for signs of damaged, curled, or hanging shingles.

2. Make sure gutters are clear of debris to allow water to flow freely.

3. Keep tree branches trimmed back away from the house.

4. Always thoroughly inspect the home exterior after a big storm.

Your roofer can offer several product options to repel water and reduce potential damage, such as an elastomeric coating or high-quality silicone. Remember to hire a licensed, local roofer to undertake any waterproofing measures.

J&K Roofing is a local Colorado company with over 35 years of experience. We are well-versed in our state’s stormy weather and have the tools and knowledge to repair and protect your roof from water damage.

If you are in the Denver Metro, Front Range, Colorado Springs, or Northern Colorado area, contact us today for a free inspection and to discuss all our weather-proofing options.