ROOFING UNDERLAYMENT BEST PRACTICES - CONTENTS: Is roofing felt needed under asphalt shingle roofs?Underlayment for Standard Slopes. POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about the requirement for and installation of underlayment on asphalt roof shingles and similar materials. This article explains the benefits of and best practices use of roofing felt or other roofing underlayment products beneath asphalt shingles and other roofing materials.
We discuss underlayment or felt installation details for standard slope roofs, low slope roofs where shingles will be installed, and low slope roofs in freezing climates. Our page top photograph shows 15# roofing felt underlayment being installed in preparation for placing a new roof on an older home in Poughkeepsie, NY.
This article includes excerpts or adaptations from BEST ROOFING PRACTICES, adapted from Best Practices Guide to Residential Construction, by Steven Bliss, courtesy of Wiley & Sons.
Note that building codes or roof product manufacturers also require using roofing felt in many circumstances including to protect the shingle warranty - see ROOFING FELT UNDERLAYMENT REQUIREMENTS for details. For low slope roofs in cold climates where ice dams and ice dam leaks are likely, Bliss recommends a double layer of No. OPINION-DF: use a self-sealing self-adhering bituminous membrane such as Ice and Water Shield in these locations to provide maximum leak protection.
Roofing underlayment is specified in manufacturer's installation instructions and thus is indirectly require by building codes (stating that the manufacturer's installation instructions should be followed). But it is worth noting that some building codes such as the Canadian CBC do not require full roof underlayment below asphalt shingles. I'm not sure building codes describe underlayment positioning, but indirectly that installation probably is in violation of the best practices guides & probably the roofing manufacturer's instructions in that at least all the refs we have show placement parallel to eaves and with upper courses lower edges overlapping lower course top edges. That said, if the finish roof has been installed this IMO not a sufficient defect to warrant re-roofing or a tear-off. If there were NO felt installed we'd be missing an extra level of "insurance" against water damage from roof leaks following a partial shingle blow-off in a storm. And in my OPINION, because the felt is punctured thousands of times by the roofing nails that fasten down roof shingles, its ability to protect a home from leaks after the shingles have been installed is reduced significantly anyway. If some dope makes that mistake and if there is ever a shingle blow-off and water runs underneath the remaining shingles, a horizontal felt edge lap mistake will do a great job of sending nearly ALL of the leaked water underneath the felt. If we have a high-risk roof for which we want to add real leak protection extending beyond that afforded by the roof covering shingles, we'd cover the roof with an ice-and-water-shield type barrier - a membrane that seals around the nails. Watch out: What you should do before any arguing with your roofing contractor is give the manufacturer of your roofing shingles a call, speak to the warranty department, and ask if the position of roofing felt as we've discussed affects the shingle warranty. Put another way, if the roofer was inexperienced or uninformed enough to do something funny with the felt, one wonders what other mistakes were made: improper nailing for example.
Also see WARRANTIES for ROOF SHINGLES and for next time, see CHOOSING A ROOFING CONTRACTOR.
Continue reading at ROOFING FELT UNDERLAYMENT REQUIREMENTS or select a topic from the More Reading links or topic ARTICLE INDEX shown below. From the information I have garnered from the above we feel confindent in installing double 15# felt plus ice & watershield along the eveas, gutters and under all vents to prevent leaking.
I'm not sure building codes describe underlayment positioning, but indirectly that installation probably is in violation of the best practices guides & probably the roofing manufacturer's instructions in that at least all the refs we have show placement parallel to eaves and with upper courses lower edges overlapping lower course top edges. That said, if the finish roof has been installed this is certainly not a sufficient defect to warrant re-roofing or a tear-off.
If we have a high-risk roof for which we want to add real leak protection extending beyond that afforded by the roof covering shingles, we'd cover the roof with an ice-and-water-shield type barrier - a membrane that seals around the nails. What you should do is give the manufacturer of your roofing shingles a call, speak to the warranty department, and ask if the position of roofing felt as we've discussed affects the shingle warranty. Penny, I've seen self adhesive underlayment remain exposed to weather for quite some time in hot weather without harm.
I am purchasing a home and during the inspection it was determined the felt paper started 6" above the drip line on 3 steep planes.
You will not have success with asphalt shingles installed on a low-slope roof without taking extra steps in underlayment material and sealant at every course, pushing up the job cost and increasing the risk of a workmanship error.
Steven Bliss served as editorial director and co-publisher of The Journal of Light Construction for 16 years and previously as building technology editor for Progressive Builder and Solar Age magazines.


NRCA Roofing & Waterproofing Manual, 5th Edition, National Roofing Contractors Association, 10255 W.
Our recommended books about building & mechanical systems design, inspection, problem diagnosis, and repair, and about indoor environment and IAQ testing, diagnosis, and cleanup are at the InspectAPedia Bookstore.
The Illustrated Home illustrates construction details and building components, a reference for owners & inspectors. An unexpected bonus: we discovered that we had an entire bundle of shingles in the basement leftover from the main roof.
This article series discusses best practices in the selection and installation of residential roofing. Continue reading at WOOD ROOF SHINGLE PROPERTIES or select a topic from the More Reading links or topic ARTICLE INDEX shown below. Try the search box below or CONTACT US by email if you cannot find the answer you need at InspectApedia. Questions & answers or comments about sheathing, nailing, nailing battens, or skip sheathing for wood roofs.
This clay roof tile guide considers the various types of tiles, slates, and roofing materials on the marketA as well asA their uses, how to estimate the required quantities, and where to buy them.
The author, Kevin Taylor, works for the National Federation of Roofing Contractors as a technical manager presenting technical advice and providing education and training for young roofers.
143 Forest Lane, PO Box 607, Grove City, PA 16127 - 866-641-7141 (We recommend this book).
Solar heating, radiative cooling and thermal movement: Their effects on built-up roofing (United States. I've installed galvanized steel drip edges and roof underlayment but there's rain forecasted so shingling will have to wait.
Although I think I could have gotten half the roof done before the rain arrived, I didn't want to rush the job because shingling the roof is something you want to do carefully and correctly. The great thing about these architectural shingles is that their pattern looks fine even if randomized. These are pretty fancy for a garden shed but I figure that, with luck, the shed will last for the next ten years, so might as well make it look nice. The felt on a normal asphalt shingle roof installation is not intended to serve as the waterproof barrier - that's the shingle's job. With felt installed orthogonal to the eaves, the efficacy of felt as "leak insurance" would depend on wind direction as well as size of the blow-off: both conditions that could also affect the efficacy of felt even if installed properly, parallel to the eaves.
Still nothing much may happen until that water hits an open butt joint between two sections of roof sheathing.
And if question should arise about a building related topic for which you can't find a clear answer at InspectAPedia, please ask. Two of our contaacting bids include double 15# felt with one also having ice and water shield along with the double layers of felt. The felt on a normal asphalt shingle roof installation is not intended to serve as the waterproof barrier - that's the shingle's job.
Don't knock yourself out over this; IMO shingle warranties are not something owner seem to collect upon very easily anyway, and IMO they're at least as much a marketing tool as a product quality promise. I think we want someone to take a careful lookmat your roof to see what is the source of the brown goop.
On low slope roofs you'll have less leak risk with a properly-installed low slope roof membrane such as EPDM or even modified bitumen.
Booth, Keith Roberts, Proceedings of the North American Conference on Roofing Technology, p. The text is intended as a reference guide to help building owners operate and maintain their home effectively. Our page top photo shows a wood shingle roof on the historic Mesier Homestead in Wappingers Falls, NY. All rights and contents are ©Journal of Light Construction and may not be reproduced in any form.
Three tab shingles have apparently gone out of fashion and architectural laminated shingles like GAF Timberlines are what's in.


Being an inexperienced roofer, the randomized pattern helps to hide any installation irregularities that might have been obvious with the regular pattern created by the three tab shingles.
According to the installation instructions, you simply align the bottom of next course of shingles along the top edges of the saw tooth pattern of the previous course. With three tab shingles, you cut the shingles into thirds and use the pieces to cap the ridge. It's also in plain view of several of the neighbors so I didn't want to have a shoddy looking shed. The jobs of roofing felt underlayment on an asphalt shingle roof are described in the article above.
I suspect that roof covering manufacturers are thrilled when a product failure claim can be blamed on improper installation - which is in my opinion often the case.
The felt does cushion the shingles off of the plhywood - which is position independent, and it forms a vapor barrier (most likely not significant) and it affects the roof's fire rating (which is position independent as well). And in my OPINION, because the felt is punctured thousands of times by the roofing nails that fasten down roof shingles, its ability to protect a home from leaks after the shingles have been installed is reduced significantly anyway. I suspect that roof covering manufacturers are thrilled when a product failure claim can be blamed on improper installation - which is in my opinion often the case. I also finally nailed in the hurricane brackets - they attach the roof trusses to the walls.
As long as your first course is straight, then the succeeding courses should be straight too. We are dedicated to making our information as accurate, complete, useful, and unbiased as possible: we very much welcome critique, questions, or content suggestions for our web articles. Is this something that should be addressed with my roofer and should I pursue action before a problem occurs? Put another way, if the roofer was inexperienced or uninformed enough to do something funny with the felt, one wonders what other mistakes were made: improper nailing for example.
Is the brown stuff glue and is the underlayment not likely to function as well because of the substance that is running off(Glue)?.? According the the former owner there were once asphalt shingles in place before, but we do not know if there was proper underlayment. Special Offer: For a 10% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference Book purchased as a single order. The text covers moisture needs, heat tolerance, hardiness, bloom color, foliage characteristics, and height of 350 species and cultivars. By "position independent" I argue that installing felt underlayment parallel or orthogonal to the house eaves does not affect those functions.
Working together and exchanging information makes us better informed than any individual can be working alone. We have had three different opinions, one was flintastic, the second was shingles, the third metal. Thanks to Alan Carson and Bob Dunlop, for permission for InspectAPedia to use text excerpts from The Home Reference Book & illustrations from The Illustrated Home.
Is this something that should be addressed with my roofer and should I pursue action before a problem occurs? The shingles and asphalt can be applied and warrantied according to the manufacturer.There are pros and cons to both.
Carson Dunlop Associates' provides extensive home inspection education and report writing material. Special Offer: For a 5% discount on any number of copies of the Home Reference eBook purchased as a single order. Since the ridge will be exposed to wind and turbulence, any shingles that have lifted will likely blow off in pieces--- especially in the winter when they're the most brittle.
I have read that the shingles can retain water and cause leakage regardless of underlayment, and I have also heard the metal must be standing seam to prevent water leakage.



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