Importance of Roofing Underlayment - Protecting Your Home



Southern Ontario weather is utterly unpredictable. The climate, according to Ontario’s global positioning, suggests a warm summer, cool spring and autumn, and a rigid cold winter; with precipitation adequacy and expectations in accordance to each season. Ontarians, however, have witnessed several extreme weather phenomenons throughout the combined seasons. Some instances included summer hail and tornados, winter thunderstorms, dry spring, and hot autumn. This weather phenomenon had homeowners several disastrous intervals. The common element often relating these weather-related issues in Ontario is water. Even during moderate weather conditions, water, along with fire, is a primary element which caused millions of dollars of internal, external, and structural building damages, beginning with water roof damages. There exists a significant importance for roofing underlayment for which consumers should be aware in protecting their home

























The average home owner is unaware of the complexities involved in a proper roofing system installation. The consumer is misinformed that roofing shingles alone provide adequate protection against the environment. Roofing shingles are not waterproof. Ontario home owners, with newly installed roof (shingles), or new home buyers who take roofing into consideration upon making their investment, are often astonished when water propels into the home causing extensive damages internally and to the roofing system. Typically, the caused damages are linked to an inadequate roof underlayment utilized during roof installation by the ‘roofing professionals’.
























Roof underlayment, or a roof vapour barrier, is the ultimate sub roof system providing a secondary, and most significant, layer of defence under roofing shingles. It is literally, a crucial protection layer for the home. A proper underlayment protects the roof anywhere from moderate to substantial precipitation throughout the year from variable precipitation and ice and snow build-up creating roof ice dams.

























To lower costs and to raise profit, some roofing installation companies tend to use an economical roof underlayment or none at all. An economical roof underlayment is often inadequate to withstand the unpredictability of Canadian weather. The GTA building code requires a minimum installation of a non-waterproof roof underlayment around the roof eaves troughs only. It is astonishing the code does not require an installation of any roofing underlayment throughout the roof deck and its surface.

























For optimal roof and home protection, consumers need to be aware of the types of roof underlayment products available on the market.  The underlayments are categorized as the following: ‘Asphalt-Saturated Felts’, ‘Synthetic Underlayment’, and ‘Self-Adhering Ice-and-Water Barriers’.



The foremost and most commonly utilized underlayment variety, ‘Asphalt-Saturated Felts’, have been utilized in the roofing industry for over 50 years. It is known as a ‘builder’s felt’ or ‘felt paper’. An inexpensive roofing underlayment product which tears easily; this underlayment category in not breathable, jeopardising the integrity of the required roof and attic ventilation as well as contributing to condensation build-up; the roof underlayment is not waterproof.



The secondary underlayment category, ‘Synthetic Underlayments’, are marketed as a ‘wrinkle free’ product. These products have an increased durability to the latter, and are tear resistant. It is considered waterproof with an ability of moisture diffusion.





The final underlayment type, categorized as a ‘Self-Adhering Waterproofing Underlayment’ was primarily developed for cold climates for damage prevention due to roof ice dam formations. Initially, this underlayment variety was installed in distinctive ice dam formation locations, such as valleys, eaves, and variable slopes of the roof; but its utilization has progressed and been adapted as full coverage material. This product has self-adhesion capabilities designed for optimal seal factor of any fissures and hardware preventing leaks and water penetration.




In conclusion, it is in consumer’s best interest and of extreme significance to take roof underlayment into thoughtful consideration and contemplation, when purchasing a new roof, installation or a new home. The outcome could be disastrous, or at the minimum, very costly. Without proper roof underlayment, the roof will leak – it’s as simple as that. Consumers need to be aware that there are different types of roofing underlayment, and one gets what one pays for.


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