Metal Roof Underlayment
While asphalt shingles are still the most popular choice for home roofs in America, that doesn’t mean they’re the best roofing material. There’s actually a better option available to you: metal. In fact, metal roofing is now the fastest-growing category of roofing in the U.S. – and for a good reason. If you’re looking for a truly distinctive roof that can last you for a lifetime, then think metal! It’s incredibly durable, requires very little maintenance, and it looks great, too. Metal roofing also handles wind and snow loads better, and delivers that signature, soothing pitter-patter sound whenever it rains.
TOTAL PROTECTION ROOFING SYSTEM
What Makes Metal Roofing Better?
To be honest, quite a few things! Here are a few features and benefits of metal roofing that should get your attention:
- Can last 75 years (or longer!) with a quality coating system and a proper professional installation.
- Engineered to withstand high winds, heavy precipitation, and debris impacts better than most roofing materials.
- Metal is inflammable, and boasts a class A fire rating. This increased fire safety can also save you on your home insurance premiums.
- Metal is also better at absorbing and deflecting the impact of a lightning strike.
- Won’t crack, warp or peel over time.
- Makes for a more energy-efficient structure, thanks to metal’s ability to reflect radiation and absorb less heat. In fact, a metal roof can help keep your home cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter.
What is Metal Roof Underlayment?
Roof underlayment is material installed between your primary roofing material and your decking in order to create an added layer of protection from the elements. The roof underlayment is fabricated from a water-resistant material that creates a vapor barrier against moisture infiltration. A good underlayment can also help prevent the infiltration of certain chemicals, which can leach from various roofing materials over time. And some types of underlayment can add measurable roof insulation value, as well. Two common categories of underlayment material include felt and synthetic. While each has its own set of pros and cons, metal roofing benefits more by having a more specialized form of underlayment.
Does a Metal Roof Really Need an Underlayment?
That’s a fair question. Some might assume that because metal roofing is so sturdy and resilient, a vapor barrier isn’t really essential. But the right underlayment adds important benefits to any roof system, including a metal roof. If moisture vapor is able to infiltrate, then condensation is more prone to collect inside your attic space. And entrapped moisture can accelerate the deterioration of any type of roof, even one that’s covered with sturdy metal roofing. So the short answer is yes, a metal roof will benefit from having underlayment applied, and it needs to be an underlayment material rated for high temperatures.
Metal Roofing Underlayment Options
Professional metal roofing installers like Skywalker Roofing know that a metal roof system really works best whenever a proper underlayment is applied before the metal goes on top. By any measure, a metal roof is a significant investment, so it’s crucial to create the best support infrastructure for your roof system as possible. Here’s a survey of some of the many types of underlayment used for metal roofing:
Asphalt-Saturated Felt Underlayment
It goes by many names, including felt paper, tar paper, and asphalt-soaked felt. The base mat is saturated with asphalt for water resistance, and it can have either an organic or fiberglass substrate. Felt underlayment is commonly used on many pitched metal roofs, and one of the biggest reasons it’s so popular is its lower price point. But while asphalt felt is water-resistant, it doesn’t endure high-temperature environments very well. For this reason, asphalt felt really isn’t an ideal underlayment for metal roofing.
Synthetic Sheet Underlayment
Synthetic underlayment is a newer technology created with polyethylene or polypropylene with a polymer to form a more effective protective barrier for the roof. Synthetic sheeting is more durable than felt underlayment, it’s much more tolerant of high temperatures, and is incredibly effective at keeping out moisture. Synthetic sheeting is also more expensive than felt, but it also provides a more reliable level of performance and greater longevity.
Self-Adhering, or Peel-and-Stick Roof Underlayment
Much as the name suggests, self-adhering membrane is a peel-and-stick product that’s very simple to apply. Since it doesn’t require nailing down, there’s less chance of water infiltration through a nail penetration. Peel-and-stick underlayment works well in high-temperature environments, but isn’t known to work as well in low-temperature environments. Another challenge with self-adhering membrane is that it must be installed properly. A botched installation can result in peeled back membrane over time, which then gives an opportunity for infiltration.
Radiant Barrier Roof Underlayment
Radiant barriers are designed to reflect infrared radiation, which serves to help regulate and maintain internal temperatures. By blocking radiant heat energy rather than absorbing it, radiant barrier underlayment can help to create a more energy-efficient structure.
Tyvek Roof Underlayment
Tyvek roof underlayment is a particular type of synthetic underlayment constructed with high-density polyethylene fibers. The slip-resistant surface is safer for installers to walk on, and it does a pretty good job of supporting a metal roofing surface as well.
High-Temperature Roof Underlayment
High-temperature roof underlayment is composed of synthetic materials as well, and its particular claim to fame is its ability to provide exceptional resistance to heat stresses and impacts. This is a great solution for applications in the Southeast, as well as for other high-temperature climates.
Metal Roof Underlayment FAQs
Do all metal roofs have underlayment?
No. Some homeowners or installers may elect not to apply underlayment. Even so, we strongly recommend it. Underlayment is a water-resistant barrier that provides an extra layer of protection from the elements, and offers several other advantages as well. These advantages include an even surface for roof installation, enhanced insulation, compliance with building codes, and a more effective noise barrier.
Is underlayment necessary for a metal roof?
Simply put, yes, you should use underlayment with your metal roof. Metal roofing is somewhat notorious for being cold in the winter, hot in the summer, and loud when it rains. Applying underlayment will offer an extra layer of protection for your home, and also serves to help address the issues mentioned above.
Do you need a vapor barrier underneath a metal roof?
Yes you do. Vapor barriers serve to reduce the amount of condensation that can move through a material. When installed properly, they can help reduce both condensation and air leakage problems with your roof and attic. Vapor barriers are an important component of any total roof protection system, including metal roofs.
What underlayment is best for a metal roof?
We mentioned above that there are many types of underlayment for metal roofs. These include felt, synthetic sheets, and self-adhering membrane, among others. While there is no one single best answer for every metal roof, at Skywalker, we make a point to recommend high-temperature underlayments for metal roof applications in the Southeast, and we also recommend including water & ice protection (WIP) underlayment in low-slope areas and valleys.
How long can installed roof underlayment remain exposed?
It really depends on which type of underlayment you’re using. Felt underlayment shouldn’t be exposed to the elements for more than a week or two; direct sunlight can cause it to deteriorate rapidly. Synthetic underlayment, on the other hand, typically offers good resistance to the elements for anywhere from 3 to 6 months.
The Metal Roofing Underlayment Skywalker Recommends
As a rule, Skywalker Roofing prefers to use the Titanium line of high temp underlayments from Owens Corning. The main thing we look for is that the underlayment is engineered to be resilient, long-lasting, and rated for withstanding the high temperatures that are sometimes experienced with a metal roof. To that end, we trust Titanium Synthetic Underlayment from Owens Corning for any and all metal roofing projects we install in North Carolina and Virginia.
For low-slope areas, valleys, walls, and penetrations, we typically use WIP 250 HT underlayment from Carlisle. Their Water & Ice Protection line of self-adhering roof underlayments are designed to provide premium temperature and waterproofing protection for a variety of roofing applications, including metal roofing.
Skywalker Roofing Is Your Preferred Metal Roofing Contractor in NC & VA
When it comes to offering the best metal roofing components and the best metal roofing installation services, nobody does it better than Skywalker Roofing! We pride ourselves on our quality of workmanship, and nobody delivers a better customer experience either. When we say that a Skywalker roof is the last roof you’ll ever need, we mean it!
We have all the materials, tools, training, and expertise needed to craft and install your custom standing seam metal roof right onsite. In addition, we create and install the best possible support system for your roof, which is why we feature Total Protection Roofing Systems from Owens Corning featuring Titanium Synthetic Underlayment.
Selecting the right roofing materials is certainly important, but choosing the right local roofing contractor you can trust is even more important. If you need a roofing provider in NC or VA, then look no further than Skywalker! We’re proud to serve the NC Piedmont Triad, Piedmont Triangle, Lake Norman area, and southern VA region. And our satisfied customers give us an average rating of 4.9 stars on review platforms ranging from Google, to Facebook, to BBB, to Guild Quality!
Ready to get the last roof you’ll ever need? Reach out to us today to learn more about our trusted roofing services by calling +1 (336) 627-5596. One of our friendly experts will be happy to listen and answer all of your questions. We’ll also be glad to schedule your FREE home or business inspection and personal consultation. Give us the opportunity to show you the Skywalker difference!