Quarve Contracting
Monday 27 April 2020

Minneapolis Homeowner Asks: Do I Really Need Underlayment with My New Roof?

Posted by at 9:00 AM

Are you thinking about having your roof replaced?  The first thing you'll likely choose is the type of roof you want.  (Of course, since steel and other metal roofing is our specialty, so that's what our recommendation would be if you ask.) Then right along with that decision is what licensed Minnesota roofing company you're going to work with for that new roof.  Hopefully that will be Quarve!  Hundreds of your friends and neighbors around the Twin Cities have hired us to replace their roofs. That new roof will involve more than just the roofing material you see on the outside. One thing we stress when we talk with homeowners here in the Minneapolis area about having a new roof installed is the other materials that go along with the roofing, most of which will be hidden by the exterior surface of the roof.  But how well that roof performs depends greatly on the roofer using proper materials underneath and around the roof.  In a recent post we discussed the importance of flashing, and in this article we'd like to handle another element:  underlayment. Often potential customers will ask, "Do I really need roof underlayment? Won't the roof I choose take care of my needs?"  Believe it or not, this particular material generates a wide range of opinions among novices to experts.  Ask around - some will tell you that you don't need it while others will insist it's absolutely necessary.  What do we say?  It's not a black-and-white issue; it will depend on a variety of factors. But for the most part, for homes in our area we recommend it, even for metal roofing.  So let's start with the basics.

Just What Is Roof Underlayment?

Knowing a bit about what roof underlayment is will help in our discussion.  Roof underlayment is a layer of material that goes underneath the shingles or other type of roof you'll have installed.  In addition to providing protection from our weather, it also adds another layer of insulation, increasing the energy efficiency of your roof. Underlayment is generally one of three types:
  • Roofing felt saturated with asphalt
  • Synthetic mixture (higher quality types have fiberglass mixed in)
  • Asphalt that has been rubberized (the most expensive of the three, but this type usually delivers the highest level of protection)
Regardless of the type of underlayment material used, it will perform the same functions:  adding an extra layer of protection to your home in case there is damage to the exterior of the roof, and providing a waterproof barrier in case something such as a severe storm or heavy snow accumulation results in water infiltration under your roof. Here in Minnesota, there are many weather elements such as high winds, hail, heavy rains, and substantial snow falls that can affect a roof.  Homes with flatter roof profiles are particularly prone to issues since they are more likely to have water pool up. That's where roof underlayment can be especially beneficial.  But in our climate, we generally recommend underlayment when your roof is replaced. The only exception might be if we install a metal roof over your existing roof, leaving what's underneath it intact. Quarve Contracting, Inc. is a licensed Minnesota roofing contractor serving the greater Twin Cities metro area.  Metal roofing is our specialty, but we also install asphalt roofs.