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When you’re comparing synthetic roofing underlayment options, what are the top qualities to look for? Synthetic underlayment has a lot to offer—especially compared to products like traditional asphalt roofing felt. Below, we’ll show you the features and benefits that you should get from a quality synthetic roofing underlayment.

1. Durability

One of the biggest reasons to choose synthetic roofing underlayment over alternatives like asphalt roofing felt is because it should be much more durable. Not only should the underlayment be able to stand up to the elements (think high tear strength that prevents wind damage), but it should also have the durability to stand up to the installation itself.

Asphalt roofing is prone to crack and tear as you roll it out—especially in cooler weather when the asphalt hardens and becomes more brittle. The synthetic underlayment you choose should feature excellent rollability no matter the temperature, plus the kind of high tear strength that prevents damage both during installation and during high wind events.

2. Water Resistance

Good synthetic underlayment will also bring you the best in water resistance. For example, Epilay’s Plasfelt is a lightweight but durable synthetic underlayment that is water-repellant and non-absorbent. Not only does this make for a more water-resistant roofing system, but it also helps with installation, too. Whereas it’s best to cover asphalt roofing felt immediately so that it doesn’t get wet, you shouldn’t have to worry about dew or the odd rain shower with synthetic underlayment.

With some synthetic underlayments, you can even create a completely impermeable roofing system. Consider EpiStik Ice & Water, which is a peel-and-stick underlayment that bonds to the roof while sealing around fasteners. Not only is this product nonabsorbent, but the adhesive completely prevents water from infiltrating around laps and fasteners.

3. Ease of Installation

Roofing is both a difficult job and a dangerous one, which means that anything you can do to make installation easier and safer will be a huge plus. In general, synthetic underlayments should be much easier to roll out than asphalt roofing felt—no cracks, tears, or ripples that need to be smoothed out. Pound for pound, these products should also be much lighter than asphalt roofing felt—and that makes it both safer and easier to work with rolls of underlayment or carry them up to the rooftop.

Some synthetic underlayments also offer additional features designed to make installation safer and easier. For example, Epilay ProtecTite products feature a light gray color that helps keep it cooler on the rooftop while you’re working—which is especially important considering that roofing season is typically also the warmest time of year. Additionally, these underlayments feature the GripWalk surface, which is a high-traction top layer designed to make it easier to walk on steep slopes, even if condensation or moisture gathers on the underlayment

4. Excellent Adhesion

If you’re looking for a peel-and-stick synthetic underlayment, expect the best when it comes to adhesion. They should roll out easily and smoothly to ensure secure adhesion to the roof deck—no bubbles or other issues that would prevent the underlayment from sticking.

One example of a product that offers excellent adhesion? EpiStik PLUS is designed to replace traditional asphalt-based sand and granular peel-and-stick underlayments.

5. UV Resistance

One huge factor that sets synthetic underlayments apart from the alternatives is the fact that good synthetics can be left exposed for weeks or even months if needed. This is not only because they’re durable and moisture resistant, but also because they should have high UV resistance (as opposed to asphalt felt, which must be covered immediately because it degrades very quickly when exposed to sunlight and the elements).

Look for underlayments like those among the Epilay ProtecTite line, which can offer you up to one year of UV protection.

6. Compatibility with Various Roofing Materials

Not all underlayments are suitable for all types of roofing materials. For example, slate and clay tiles are heavy—and that means fragile underlayments like asphalt roofing felt just aren’t ideal. Look for synthetic roofing underlayment that has enough durability to make it compatible with metal, clay tiles, slate, and other heavier materials.

7. Code Compliance and Fire Safety

Underlayments that meet stringent building code requirements as well as fire safety standards are a wise investment. For example, fire-resistant roofing systems are slower to catch on fire and slower to burn—and that provides crucial time for evacuations and gives firefighters a chance to put out the fire before it can do additional damage.

Underlayments that comply with building codes—especially Florida and Miami-Dade codes—are underlayments that can handle what the weather can throw at them. These are underlayments that have high tear strength and offer optimum performance even during hurricane-force winds and other damaging weather events.

Choose Epilay Underlayments for a Quality Product

Looking for an underlayment that offers all of the features and benefits that we outlined above? You’ll find everything you need in Epilay’s lineup. The ProtecTite line gives you solid choices for rolled synthetic underlayment, or if you need a peel-and-stick product, choose one of our Epistik underlayments to get incredible durability matched with excellent adhesion.