The Truth About Roofing Underlayment. Is it Necessary?

Roofing underlayment can be considered a bit of a controversial topic when it comes to residential roofing. Everyone you meet will have an opinion, many of which will differ from one another, but no one seems to want to take a middle of the road stance on the material. Some will say roofing underlayment is an absolute necessity, something that is crucial to protecting your home. Others will tell you that roofing underlayment is a waste of time, energy and money. 

Which is it? Is roofing underlayment necessary? Is it overrated? The answer is a bit more complex than yes and no. We’ll start at the beginning. 

What is Roofing Underlayment

Roofing underlayment is a material that is placed underneath the shingles before they are installed on your home. It acts as a waterproof and weather-resistant barrier that protects your home from leaks and the effects of harsh weather. 

The first question everyone asks is, “isn’t that the job of your roofing shingles?” The answer is yes, your roofing shingles do an adequate job of protecting your home and the roof deck from water and inclement weather, but they can’t always provide 100% protection for your home. 

When Roofing Underlayment is Necessary

Most residential roofing systems can benefit from adding in a layer of underlayment between the roofing materials and the roof deck. This is true for everything from asphalt shingles to metal roofing. It should be noted that roofing underlayment is not absolutely essential for every roof, but in most cases it’s a good idea to have. 

Roofing underlayment provides two major benefits for your roof and home: 

  1. Adds another waterproof layer to the top of your home, helping to prevent leaks during heavy rain, high snow accumulation, and severe storms. 
  1. Provides an extra layer of shielding in case your roof becomes damaged or any shingles or shakes are blown away during a heavy storm. The roofing underlayment will provide protection until the repairs can be made and/or the shingles replaced. 

If you have a low-sloped roof or a roof where water can accumulate at all, roofing underlayment becomes all the more essential as a measure of protection for your home. 

The Types of Roofing Underlayment

There are three major types of roofing underlayment: 

  1. Asphalt Saturated Felt: largely made from pulped wastepaper, asphalt, polyester and other materials. 
  1. Synthetic underlayment: non-bitumen synthetic underlayment adds fiberglass into the mix to create a higher quality material. 
  1. Rubberized asphalt: contains rubber and asphalt polymers. It’s generally the most expensive, but it also provides the most protection. 

Is Roofing Underlayment Needed in Minnesota?

If you live in Minnesota, or anywhere in the Midwest for that matter, having a roofing underlayment as an added layer of protection is definitely advisable. These areas are prone to severe storms and tornadoes, heavy snow accumulation, hail and high winds, all of which can damage your roof and cause leaks in your home. Investing in a roofing underlayment will help you avoid leaks and more severe repairs in the event something happens to your home. 


Looking for roofing repair or replacement in Minnesota? Contact the local, family-owned roofing experts at Schmidt Roofing today!

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