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Austin Roofing: Article About Understanding Underlayments

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A roofing underlayment is necessary for ensuring the roof is water tight. It is the first layer to go onto the roof and is fastened onto the decking in order to increase the roof's water resistance by sealing joints and seams and creating a barrier around the roofing nails. Austin roofing contractors recommend using a high quality roofing underlayment that is designed for the weather patterns in the area where the home is located.

Installing a high quality roofing underlayment has many benefits. It protects the decking against rain while the actual roof is being installed. It can increase the home's value, add longevity to the roofing material and potentially decrease the home's heating and cooling bills. There are three general types of underlayments, including fiberglass or paper roofing felt, rubberized asphalt and synthetic underlayment.

Paper felt is constructed using organic materials and is water resistant but not waterproof. It also has a tendency to curl or bubble when exposed to high humidity or water. Fiberglass felt is more durable as it does not curl when exposed to the elements, and it also provides a flatter surface for the roofing material.

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Both fiberglass and paper felt can be purchased in 15 pound or 30 pound weights.

Rubberized asphalt membrane is constructed using recycled tire rubber, polymers and bitumen. It is extremely durable, waterproof and heat resistant. It can be purchased in self adhering rolls for easy installation.

Synthetic underlayments are a newer type of product. It is constructed using polymers that are woven into large sheets. These underlayments are fire resistant. They are coated with products that resist UV and water damage. The material does not wrinkle, bubble or buckle when exposed to water or humidity, and it is skid and tear resistant.

Roofing underlayments can be attached to the decking with staples, plastic capped nails and self sticking adhesive. Roofing staples are very similar to the staples used in staple guns except they are typically 1.25 inches long.

Plastic capped roofing nails are 1.25 inch nails that contain a dime sized, plastic cap just under the head of the nail. These nails are ideal for installing underlayments in wet or extremely humid climates because they hinder water penetration through the nail hole.

Membrane type underlayments are sometimes manufactured with adhesive backs. To install, all the contractor has to do is peel back the film, stick the underlayment to the decking and press it firmly into place.

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