Know Your Materials

Roofing contractors should know their materials inside and out. To fully understand underlayment one must know something about raw materials as well as manufacturing. Subtle variations at the molecular level have large effects on the properties of materials; furthermore, variations on the microscopic and macroscopic scales also affect performance.

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A Glance Backwards: The History of Traditional Asphalt-Saturated Organic Felt

Underlayment product selection is influenced by many factors. Primary roof covering, substrate type, roof design criteria, building codes, material cost, labor cost savings, life cycle expectations, walkability, exposure rating, warranties, climate and customer preference, to name a few, can all factor into the choice of underlayment.

To place these various factors into perspective, a good place to begin is a glance backwards at the history of traditional asphalt-saturated organic felt. That will help us to appreciate from a marketing perspective the entries of alternatives into the residential roofing industry. The new entries include premium self-adhering and synthetic underlayment products. The successful introduction of these new product categories into the residential roofing market is a remarkable story.

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Spinning PP Filaments

The textile industry has been making fabrics from polymers for more than fifty years; as a result, the processes and equipment are highly evolved.

A fiber of continuous length is typically referred to as a “filament.” With modern equipment it is possible to convert a thousand pounds of polymers into filaments without a single break occurring. In the textile industry, molten polypropylene (PP) passes through an adapter into a die that has a pattern of holes in it. The liquid polymer being forced through these holes solidifies in a short distance, typically about 100 centimeters or 40 inches (one meter), and it can be further stretched or treated before winding onto spindles.

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Selecting Underlayment for Tile Roofing

The type of primary roof determines the type of underlayment more than any other factor, especially in the case of a tile or metal roofing system. This factor alone can rule out many types of underlayment.

An underlayment for use under tiles needs to be rugged enough to support the weight of stacks of tiles. This requirement eliminates all but the most tried-and-true underlayment for tile applications.

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General Considerations for Underlayment Selection

When it comes to selecting a roofing underlayment, homeowners are mainly concerned with the tradeoffs between performance and cost. An underlayment is not going to be visible so aesthetics plays no role in selecting an underlayment.

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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.

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