Update: We are no longer able to offer Tarco Easy Lay Hybrid underlayment. Local suppliers have stopped carrying this product.
Last but not least are the hybrid underlayments. Hybrids are a combination of synthetic and traditional asphalt products, and offer the best of both worlds. They do not wrinkle when cold or wet. They do not tear or puncture easily. They can be fastened with plain old roofing nails, and will not blow off or leak. They do cost more than synthetics, but you get what you pay for. Hybrids such as Tarco's Easy Lay can be left exposed for up to six months with no adverse effects.
Roofing felt, or underlayment is an essential part of almost every roof. Not only does it protect the roof deck from the elements during roof installation, but it serves a number of other purposes as well. On shingled roofs, it protects the under side of shingles from the acids in wood decking, and helps to keep shingles flexible by preventing the migration of oils into the roof deck. Underlayment also acts as a cushion for the roofing material, helping to keep any uneven surfaces in the deck from poking through the finished roof. For this reason, thicker underlayments are better than thin ones. Roofing materials manufacturers require the use of underlayments, and using the wrong one can actually void a roof's warranty. There are a number of factors to consider when choosing the proper underlayment for your project.
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Synthetics are generally stronger than felt. Like felt, they also come in different thicknesses; The thicker the better, but it has been our experience that the thicker synthetics go on wrinkly and stay wrinkly, despite manufacturer's claims. This is not a huge concern on tile or metal roofs, however the wrinkles can telegraph through on shingled roofs. Some synthetics can be exposed to the elements for up to a month, while others claim to be able to withstand exposure for up to six months, or even a year.
For more than 100 years, felt was the only product marketed for use as a roofing underlayment, and is still quite popular in many areas.
Asphalt saturated organic felt is a papery, black material which is flexible when warm and brittle when cold. It comes in two common thicknesses, #15, and #30. The higher the number, the thicker the felt. Felt can be used under metal, shingles, and tile. It is inexpensive, but tears easily, and wrinkles when cold or wet. Asphalt felt can be fastened to the roof deck either with metal or plastic headed cap nails. Felt underlayments should not be left exposed to the elements for longer than one week if possible.