Underlayments – An Often Missing Element in Home Energy
Underlayments may be one of the underappreciated elements of roofing. While great care may be taken in constructing the frame of the roof, selecting the manner of insulation and the shingles, the material that goes under the shingles – the underlayment – may the one aspect of the roofing process that is taken for granted.
The underlayment is the layer of material that goes between the wood portion of the roof and the covering – shingles, slate, shake, etc. It serves as a protective barrier in a number of ways and helps your roofing system last longer. Underlayments serve as an extra barrier to keep moisture away from the wood underneath.
Installing underlayment is an environmentally sound decision for several reasons. First, homeowners have the option of purchasing underlayment that is made from recycled material including paper, wood chips and scraps of leftover fiberglass, materials that would normally become debris in a dump or landfill.
Underlayment can also be an environmentally sound decision when it comes to saving energy in the home. By installing underlayment, you can increase the energy efficiency of your home by limiting the amount of heat and air conditioning that escapes through your roof. The loss of heat and air conditioning can cause your furnace and air conditioning unit to work harder and lead to higher energy bills.
Underlayments include the following items:
- Ice & Water Shield
- Felt Paper
- Starter Strip
- Shingle Match Paint
CDX plywood is structural wood that is used as a roof sheathing. It comes in 4′ x 8′ pieces and is 1/2″ thick. This is the most popular roofing sheathing for single family residential homes.
FRT plywood (fire resistant treated) also comes in 4′ x 8′ pieces and is 1/2″ thick. This plywood is required in townhomes as they help to slow a fire from spreading from one townhome to the next.
When Sunshine Contracting installs your roof, we check all plywood boards and make sure they are all as strong as possible and that there is no rot. If we find rotted plywood, we are required to replace them by law.
Ice & Water Shield
Ice & Water shield material helps provide your home with a leak barrier and protects it from wind driven rain leaking through the roof deck and into your home’s interior. Valleys, eaves, and rake areas are the most vulnerable places for leaks on your roof – by using an ice and water shield, you are protecting your home as best as possible against any leaks and will give you peace of mind.
The Ice & Water Shield we use is GAF Weather Watch. This product creates a 100% water tight seal. It is a fiberglass reinforcement and actually helps reduce wrinkling and buckling lays of shingles.
Felt paper comes in rolls and is rolled out on the roof. To make the underlayments even more of a protective barrier, the felt is often saturated with asphalt or other minerals to increase its waterproof aspects.
Felt paper is sold in weights. For instance, 15 pound roofing felt is the most inexpensive available and the most common underlayment used in the residential roofing industry. The 30-pound material is the popular choice of professional roofing contractors who place a heavy emphasis on how important underlayment is to the roofing process.
In addition to regular 15 and 30 lb felt paper, we also offer GAF Deck Armor. This premium roof deck protection reduces trapped moisture and protects your home. It helps prevent wind driven rain from seeping underneath your shingles and causing leaks or structure damange. GAF Deck Armor provides longer protection than conventional felts and lays flatter so your shingles will too. Deck Armor is breathable, which is very unique, and allows excess moisture to escape, and is tear resistant!
GAF Shingle Mate is another felt paper option. Shingle Mate is also fiberglass reinforced and reduces the telegraphing of wrinkles that often occurs with conventional felts. Shingle Mate is lightweight and easy to handle and eliminates the need to slit bubbled felt.
GAF Tiger Paw helps provide that critical extra layer or protection between your shingles and your roof sheathing. It has a special moisture control design and helps remove nearly twice as much moisture from your roof as other felts. It is made of non-asphaltic, polypropylene construction and thus provides long-lasting performance. Tiger Paw has up to a lifetime limited warranty as long as it is installed with lifetime shingles.
Starter strip shingles are used to create the very first row on your roof. They work essentially as a foundation for the rest of your roofing shingles and can be used on eaves and rakes.
GAF Pro Start starter strip helps prevent shingle blow off and is a cost affective alternative to cutting up shingles as your starter strip. Pro Start has the adequate adhesive to be used as a starter strip and acts as a guide for placing the rest of the shingles on your roof. It creates straighter roof edges and also helps prevent potential leaks. It uses GAF’s Dura-Grip adhesive in order to lock down on the roof edges.
GAF Weather Blocker is a pre-cut eave and rake starter strip. When installed correctly, it can help prevent blow off shingles and also prevent leaks. It uses GAF’s Dura-Grip adhesive in order to lock down on the roof edges.
Shingle Match Paint
GAF Shingle Match Paint allows you the option of painting your vent pipes and exhaust vents to match the color of your new roof. It actually reduces rust on roof accessories and helps give a more appealing look. The paint comes in 12 colors and is backed by a 1 year limited warranty.