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6 Common Problems With Synthetic Roof Underlayment

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6 Common Problems With Synthetic Roof Underlayment

If you’ve decided to use synthetic roof underlayment for your next roofing project, good choice! A proper installation is crucial to the longevity and performance of your roof, and synthetic underlayment can help you achieve those goals.

But before you go rushing off to the store to buy some material, it’s important to understand what synthetic underlayment is and what problems you might face with its installation. In this article, we’ll discuss six common problems with synthetic roof underlayment. By understanding these problems, you can make an informed decision when choosing an underlayment material for your roof.

Problems With Synthetic Roof Underlayment

Problem #1: Poor Durability (Loss Of Volatile Organic Compounds)

One of the problems with synthetic roofing underlayment is poor durability, which can be caused by the loss of volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Many synthetic underlayments are made with VOCs to improve their toughness, but these compounds can degrade and evaporate over time, especially in Florida’s hot and humid weather conditions. This can cause the underlayment to lose durability and become more susceptible to moisture absorption, leading to potential failure.

Poor durability can have serious consequences for your roofing system in these conditions. If the underlayment cannot withstand the elements, it may break down and need to be replaced more frequently, leading to extra costs and hassle. It can also lead to leaks and damage to the roof and building structure.

To avoid this problem, choosing a synthetic underlayment with good durability is important, as well as following proper installation and maintenance guidelines. It’s also a good idea to regularly inspect the underlayment to catch any issues early on.

Problem #2: Not Compatible With Every Roof (Check Building Codes)

The second problem with synthetic underlayment is that it may only be compatible with some types of roofs. In some cases, building codes may prohibit the use of synthetic underlayment and require the use of felt underlayment instead.

To avoid this problem, it’s important to refer to the building codes in your area before deciding on the underlayment you want. The building codes will specify if an underlayment is required and what type of underlayment should be used. By following those guidelines, you can ensure that you are using the appropriate underlayment for your roof.

If you need clarification about building code requirements or have any questions, you should consult a local roofing contractor or professional. They can provide guidance and help you make an informed decision about the best type of underlayment for your roof.

Problem #3: Difficult To Remove (Peel and Stick Can Be Difficult To Remove)

One of the major problems with synthetic roof underlayment is that it can be difficult to remove, especially peel and stick types. These products are designed to have a strong adhesive that stands the test of time, making them nearly impossible to remove without damaging the roof decking below. It can be tricky if you need to remove the underlayment and install a new one.

In most cases, if you do need to remove peel-and-stick underlayment, it is preferable to remove the roof decking as well. This is likely necessary to avoid damaging the decking during the removal process. However, this can be an added hassle and cost, as the decking will need to be replaced.

You should choose your underlayment carefully and consider whether ease of removal is something you feel is necessary.

Problem #4: Not True To Quality & Thickness

One issue with synthetic roof underlayment is that not all brands are created equally. While many high-quality synthetic underlayment options are available, some brands may trick you into thinking they are better than they are.

To ensure that you are getting a high-quality underlayment, look beyond the thickness and consider the weight of the material too. The weight of the underlayment is a good indicator of its overall quality because it reflects the thickness and strength of the membrane layer, which provides waterproofing and abrasion resistance. Some underlayments may have a fuzzy top layer that provides walkability for foot traffic, so be aware of this.

When choosing an underlayment for your roof, it’s important to do some research and choose a brand known for its quality. You can consult with a roofing contractor or other professional to get their recommendations. It’s also a good idea to check out reviews online to make sure you’re getting a high-quality product that will do the job right.

Problem #5: High Cost (More Expensive Than Felt Underlayment)

One of the downsides of synthetic underlayment is the high cost. Synthetic underlayment typically costs 17 to 25 cents per square foot, while self-adhering underlayment can cost 50 to 75 cents per square foot. In comparison, felt roof underlayment only typically costs about 5 to 10 cents per square foot.

The high cost of synthetic underlayment is due to its superior material strength and long lifespan compared to felt or asphalt paper underlayment. While the initial investment may be higher, synthetic underlayment can save you money in the long run by lasting longer and requiring fewer repairs or replacements. However, the high cost may put off some homeowners or contractors.

The consequences of choosing a cheaper, lower-quality underlayment can include needing to repair or replace the underlayment more frequently, which can add up in the long run. It can also lead to leaks and damage to the roof and building’s structure, which can be costly to fix.

It’s important to carefully consider the cost and long-term benefits of different underlayment options and choose one that fits your budget and needs. In some cases, it may be worth looking into a higher quality, more expensive underlayment, to save money in the long run.

Problem #6: Limited Temperature Tolerance

Synthetic roofing underlayment may not be able to withstand extreme temperatures, which can cause damage to the underlayment and the roof. High temperatures can cause the underlayment to crack or blister, especially if it is exposed to heat during installation. Cold weather can also be a problem, as the underlayment may become more fragile and prone to damage from impacts such as hail.

The reason for this limited temperature tolerance depends on the type of underlayment and the conditions it is exposed to. For example, asphalt underlayment may be more prone to heat damage due to the loss of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can weaken the material. Expansion and contraction can also cause damage, particularly around fasteners.

If the underlayment cannot handle extreme temperatures, it can lead to leaks and damage to the roof and building structure. It’s important to choose an underlayment that is designed to resist temperature changes and has strong tear resistance.


When considering synthetic underlayment for your roof, consider the material’s pros and cons. Synthetic underlayment is durable, water-resistant, and cost-effective, but it can be expensive to install and may not be appropriate for Florida’s climate. If you decide to go with synthetic underlayment, make sure that you carefully research its durability, water resistance, and other properties before making a purchase.

If you have any questions or need help making informed decisions about synthetic roof underlayment, don’t hesitate to contact our SouthShore Roofing & Exteriors team. We would be happy to discuss the problems with synthetic roof underlayment, as well as its benefits, and help you find a solution that meets your needs. Call us today at (813) 400-3329.

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