When we talk about underlayment, we often talk about some of the most buzzworthy benefits—like how easy it is to work with, or how it protects roofing systems against moisture infiltration. There’s another benefit that doesn’t get quite as much attention, and that’s the extra UV protection it can add.
How crucial is that added layer of UV protection? Read below, and we’ll show you!
How UV Rays Damage Rooftops
Most homeowners worry about wind and rain—but UV rays from the sun are an ever-present threat that can cause a lot of problems. That’s because UV radiation tends to degrade most building materials over time. If you’ve ever noticed the way plastics exposed to sunlight become brittle, then you know what we mean. With plastics, the degradation process happens relatively quickly, but other materials, including the wood roof deck beneath the underlayment, will gradually bleach and weaken over time, too.
How Synthetic Underlayment Protects Roofing Against UV Rays
In most cases, roofing underlayment is hidden beneath the primary roofing material—like shingles, metal sheet roofing, or another material. That upper layer also provides UV protection, but keep in mind that because of UV radiation, wind, rain, and other elements, that upper layer will degrade with time.
So that’s perhaps the most important way that synthetic underlayment protects a roofing system against UV radiation. Should the primary roofing material become damaged in a storm, or when it starts to break down due to age and exposure, the underlayment is there as a secondary layer of protection that helps protect the roof deck—and the rest of the home. It’s an important way to protect any rooftop, and doubly so in areas that receive high levels of sunlight and thus tend to experience roofing material degradation relatively quickly.
Another use case for synthetic underlayment as UV protection is when you’re putting a new roof on—but there are delays between installing the underlayment and installing the primary roofing material. A common example of this is emergency roofing jobs in a storm-damaged area. With hundreds or thousands of rooftops that need to be fixed, it can be challenging for roofers to make all the needed repairs quickly, and there are often delays in manufacturing and shipping roofing materials to storm-damaged areas as demand surges.
When this happens, products like Epilay synthetic underlayments can give you up to one year of UV protection, which prevents sun damage to the roof deck while you wait to put shingles or another type of roofing over top.
Either way, whether the damage comes from severe weather or the ravages of time, synthetic roofing underlayment with UV protection can help extend the lifespan of a roof.
Helping Regulate Heat Inside the Home
Another advantage to UV-resistant synthetic underlayment is that it can help keep interior temperatures cooler. It’s not so much because of the underlayment’s UV resistance, but because synthetic underlayments are light in color. Light-colored materials reflect heat and light as opposed to darker materials like asphalt roofing felt, which absorb heat. The end result of synthetic underlayment is a cooler roof, a cooler interior, and reduced energy costs in warm weather.
Tips for Choosing Synthetic Underlayment with UV Protection
So how do you choose the right underlayment based on UV protection needs? Where Epilay’s products are concerned, the biggest determining factor is how long you expect the underlayment to be exposed to UV radiation. As mentioned, Epilay’s ProtecTite line of underlayments offers UV protection for up to one year—and that makes it a great choice if you’re anticipating delays between installing the underlayment and the primary roofing material.
However, Epilay also offers Plystik Plus, which is a peel-and-stick underlayment. This underlayment offers UV resistance for up to 180 days—which is enough to protect the roof in the event of storm damage, but if you choose this underlayment, be prepared to install the primary roofing material relatively quickly.
Protecting a rooftop against UV radiation isn’t always the primary concern—but it should be close to the top of your list of concerns. With time and exposure, sunlight can do a lot of damage, and synthetic underlayments can help you design a roofing system that resists UV radiation for years to come.