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When it comes to synthetic underlayment, one common question is how long it lasts. Actually, the lifespan of synthetic underlayment, particularly when left exposed, is one of its biggest advantages. Another important factor is tear strength—synthetic underlayment has a much higher tear strength than traditional asphalt, which means that once the rooftop is installed over the underlayment, it’ll last a lot longer than asphalt felt. This is particularly important beneath heavier roofing materials like clay tile. Read on to learn how the lifespan of synthetic underlayment compares to traditional felt!

How Long Does Underlayment Last?

The first thing homeowners and contractors alike will want to know is how long underlayment lasts with relation to the lifespan of a rooftop. In most cases, traditional felt underlayment is rated to last between 12 and 20 years. In other words, in a little over a decade, the underlayment beneath your roof’s surface may start to deteriorate. The roof will become more prone to leaks as this added layer of protection breaks down.

Synthetic underlayment is typically rated to last longer. For instance, Epilay’s Protectite Superior, which is the lightest weight synthetic underlayment that we offer, comes with a 15-year limited warranty. Meanwhile, Protectite Platinum offers a 40-year limited warranty—more than twice the lifespan that you’ll see from traditional roofing felt.

Tear strength is another issue that factors into the lifespan of underlayment. Traditional roofing felt tears easily, which means it may deteriorate more quickly under heavy roofing materials like clay tile or slates. Epilay synthetic roofing underlayments, on the other hand, are up to 35 times stronger than #15 and #30 felt, which means the underlayment will stand up to the weight of heavy roofing materials for longer than felt.

Underlayment Versus the Elements

Another important thing to consider when choosing an underlayment is the weather, both short term and long term. In the near term, synthetic underlayment comes with the advantage of being able to hold up against wind, water and UV exposure for longer than regular roofing felt. In fact, Epilay’s products are designed to withstand 365 days of UV exposure. If there are delays in shipping roofing materials, synthetic underlayment gives you peace of mind that the roof’s deck will be protected throughout the wait, whereas traditional underlayment should be covered as quickly as possible after installation.

In the long term, underlayment provides an extra layer of protection against extreme weather events. In high winds or other damaging events, a good underlayment provides a secondary barrier against moisture infiltration. Here again, synthetic underlayment performs better than traditional underlayment for two reasons. First, because it features a much higher tear strength, which makes it less likely to shear in high winds, thus keeping the roof deck protected, and second, because it has reduced water permeability, which prevents rain from leaking to the roof’s deck.

If you’d like to learn more about how Epilay’s synthetic underlayment stacks up against traditional felt, check out the video below! You’ll get a chance to see not only how synthetic underlayment protects a roof’s deck, but also how it makes installation easier.