Mastering the Premium Underlayment Upsell

Distributors have the choice of three broad categories of roofing underlayments to offer to their customer base: Asphalt saturated roofing felt; Synthetic underlayments; and Modified bitumen membranes.

Typically, contractors choose the type of underlayments based on various factors such as, job requirements, performance criteria, building code requisites, and roofing system specifications as well as cost and familiarity with the product. For a long time, asphalt saturated roofing felt was the primary underlayment material that was used. In the last thirty years, we have witnessed the introduction of premium modified bitumen based underlayments followed by the advent of polymeric sheets, also known as synthetic underlayments.

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While some contractors prefer tried-and-true asphalt saturated roofing felt, a breathable, medium weight material that is adequate for many types of steep sloped residential roofing, others have migrated to synthetic underlayments due to their unique features such as high strength and lightweight characteristic in addition to more coverage per roll resulting in labor cost savings.

Tarco offers a very economic synthetic underlayment Custom Print solution for roofing contractors. Lead time is approximately only two weeks, once Tarco has an approved contractor logo proof.

Nonetheless, there are contractors who are driven by roofing system specifications and expectations of higher quality that can be achieved only using modified bitumen underlayments.

Tarco offers all three types of underlayments. The Tarco Quick Product Reference Guide provides a summary of the various product offerings, which allows the distributor to display a range of options that meet the demands of the end user. The Tarco underlayment product portfolio includes several different asphalt saturated organic felts, three grades of EasyLay® UDL synthetic underlayments, and more than ten different modified bitumen membranes that meet the stringent needs of the contractor.

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The Case for Quality

Whereas the traditional asphalt saturated felt and synthetics most often meet the needs of the customers, contractors will quite often become interested in and demand a higher quality underlayment for their roofing projects.

When Tarco introduced its LeakBarrier® line of premium underlayment products, one of the main selling points was ease-of-installation. The peel-and-stick membranes are easier to apply to a roof compared to mechanically fastening asphalt saturated felt or a synthetic underlayment.

While the main drawback of a premium underlayment is pricing, it is usually not a factor if the customer expects the best performance.

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A Partner in Quality

The Tarco publication "Rethinking Roofing Underlayment" recommends "Good, Better and Best" underlayment options. For practically any type of primary roof, the "Best" underlayment is a premium modified bitumen membrane.

As a distributor, you are in a unique position to partner with your contractors to assist them in delivering the best roofing system available, including high quality underlayments from Tarco.

Asphalt shingles are compatible with a wide range of underlayment options. The following underlayment choices are recommended for shingle applications.


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Conventional felt is suitable for asphalt shingle applications. Synthetic underlayments cost more; however they are stronger and perform better when exposed to the elements.


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A lightweight synthetic such as EasyLay UDL 15 attached with capped nails may be a better choice for under shingles because of its light-weight feature and higher strength. A heavier synthetic such as EasyLay UDL Basic or EasyLay UDL 50 can be used as an upgrade to EasyLay UDL 15. A conventional asphalt saturated felt can be reinforced with LeakBarrier MS300 self-adhering modified bitumen membranes in vulnerable areas of the roof such as eaves and valleys.


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Premium self-adhering roofing underlayment such as MS300 and PS200HT could also be used to cover the entire roof deck, creating a secondary water barrier. Such premium underlayment products are ideal for use under premium grades of asphalt shingles where a long life is expected; and where the design of the residence is compatible with the use of a secondary water barrier. Such complete coverage with a secondary water barrier made of a premium modified bituminous underlayment is also recommended in high wind areas where shingle loss can be a problem during hurricane events.

Quick Reference Product Guide

Custom Printing


Every roof is a billboard with our custom printing program! Get our LeakBarrier EasyLay UDL Synthetic Roofing Underlayments custom printed with your company logo, phone number, website – whatever you want to promote your business! Custom printing is available for: EasyLay UDL 15, EasyLay UDL Basic & EasyLay UDL 50.

Click here to get started!

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