Roofing Underlayment Explained

Homeowners are quickly learning the value of quality roofing systems and have started to ask some really probing questions about the components that make up a quality roofing system in College Station. One of the most important parts to a quality roof is the protection that roof offers. Good protection starts with good underlayment.

Roofing underlayment is a material that adds an extra layer of protection between the roof deck and the shingles. It serves as an additional drainage plane that for water that has penetrated the outer roofing materials. Underlayment is especially important around seams and joints; vulnerable parts of the roofing system. It directs water away from these vital areas and the roof deck, but still allows the roof deck to breathe.

Do you have to use underlayment?

The short answer; yes. In almost all applications underlayment must be used in a quality roofing system. There are a number of critical reasons to use underlayment on your roof:

Manufacturer Warranty

Manufacturers design their roofing systems to work in a specific manner. Founded on many years of research the roofing system is designed to best withstand each region’s climate and weather patterns. They design roofing systems to use underlayment because studies have demonstrated the positive effects underlayment has on roofing systems.

Added Protection

College Station roofer explains roofing system components
GAF Roofing System Components

Because manufacturers like GAF have done such rigorous testing, they have designed critical elements for roofing system that add to further protect your home, the roof, and extend the longevity of the entire roofing system. Most manufacturers offer varying types of underlayment that focuses on specific protective attributes. Basic protection comes with most all-purpose underlayment, but added protection is found with:

  • fire-resistant: protects against flame spread
  • fiberglass-reinforced: protects against impacts
  • synthetic: protects against wind driven rain and leaves roof breathable


Building Code

Local building code dictates College Station roofing. In order to properly serve the Brazos Valley, every roofing contractor must adhere to local building code. The code is designed to help protect homeowners against weather and fire related disasters.

Can we skip it to save money?

Cost is clearly one of the most important parts of the equation when homeowners need to have roofing work done. When making important decisions regarding roofing, homeowners should determine what their goals are; planning on keeping the house for a long time, investment options, quick sell, etc.

Felt underlayment in College Station roofing
Felt Underlayment Example by Armchair Builder

The most important part about the cost of a roofing project is determining the total cost. Total cost includes installation cost, maintenance, repair, and warranty coverage. Technically you could always find a contractor that would be willing to roof without underlayment, but they won’t be BBB approved or manufacturer approved either.

Skipping underlayment may reduce your installation cost slightly, but you will certainly have repair costs due to damage caused by water the next time it rains. Additionally, any perceived manufacturer warranty that you may understand to be in place, will be void. It most cases the entire roof will need to be replaced, easily doubling your total cost as you will not be able to rely on the warranty that should be in place.

Build Value, Lower Costs, and Mitigate Risk

For most homeowners ownership is also about an investment opportunity. Use of quality underlayment will increase the value, longevity, and energy efficiency of your home. Because roofing systems are designed for the weather patterns in your area, the use of specialized underlayment adds additional protection that can be directly measured on your insurance costs. Be sure to check with your local agent on what type of roofing qualifies for discounts; fire-resistant, hail resistant, and high wind resistant, etc. Finally, with any investment opportunity is risk. The wisest course of action is to mitigate that risk when possible. Use of underlayment adds an additional layer of protection that will perform when your outer roofing materials fail.

Schulte Roofing applies underlayment in College Station, TX
Schulte Roofing underlayment example. Used on the Guinness World Record Gingerbread House

Schulte Roofing is a College Station roofer with over 100 years of combined roofing experience. Schulte Roofing, a certified GAF partner, has been serving the Brazos Valley and beyond for the last 20 years and has been voted been roofing company for the last 5 years running. For more information contact Schulte Roofing today.

1 comment

  1. I am like you – “want it done yesterday” – and am mearird to the guy who won’t do anything half-heartedly and does it with precision and care. I think we need them, otherwise some things in our house would not look so pretty, or would take more time to complete because we’d screw up the first try b/c of lack of patience and have to do it all over again. Thank goodness for the balance we’ve found ;o)Cute mudroom – I want really need one but don’t have a place to put one. 🙁 I’ll just covet yours for a while longer. 🙂

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