The Impact of Underlayment on Energy Efficiency in Roofing

by | Jul 12, 2023 | Blog | 0 comments

Energy efficiency in buildings has become a critical factor in today’s world due to the growing concern for sustainable living and reducing carbon emissions. One often overlooked aspect of energy efficiency in roofing is underlayment. Underlayment is a crucial component in roofing systems that provides an additional layer of protection and plays a significant role in optimizing energy efficiency. This article explores the connection between underlayment and energy efficiency in roofing, the types of underlayment materials available, the benefits of energy-efficient roofing systems, the impact of underlayment on energy efficiency, considerations for selecting the proper underlayment, and installation techniques for optimal energy efficiency.

Understanding Underlayment in Roofing

Underlayment refers to the layer of material installed directly onto the roof deck before the roofing material. Its primary purpose is to act as a secondary barrier against water infiltration and provide added protection from external elements. Additionally, underlayment helps to enhance the overall energy efficiency of the roofing system by offering thermal insulation and moisture control properties.

Types of Underlayment Materials

  1. Asphalt-Saturated Felt: This traditional underlayment material is a heavy-duty, organic, or fiberglass mat saturated with asphalt. It provides excellent protection against water penetration and acts as a vapor barrier. However, it has limited thermal insulation properties compared to modern underlayment options.
  2. Synthetic Underlayment: Synthetic underlayment is made from lightweight materials such as polypropylene or polyester. It offers superior tear resistance, durability, and enhanced moisture control. Synthetic underlayment also provides better thermal insulation compared to asphalt-saturated felt.
  3. Rubberized Asphalt: This underlayment material combines asphalt with rubber polymers, enhancing flexibility and durability. Rubberized asphalt underlayment is highly resistant to water infiltration and offers improved thermal insulation properties.
  4. Non-Bitumen Synthetic Underlayments: These are typically made from high-density polyethylene or other synthetic materials. They offer exceptional durability, tear resistance, and advanced moisture control capabilities. Non-bitumen synthetic underlayments provide superior thermal insulation and are highly reflective, reducing heat transfer into the building.

Energy Efficiency in Roofing

Energy efficiency in roofing refers to the ability of a roof to minimize energy consumption and optimize the thermal performance of a building. Roofs play a crucial role in energy conservation by reducing heat gain during hot climates and heat loss during colder seasons. Energy-efficient roofing systems offer several benefits:

  1. Lower Energy Consumption: By reducing the need for excessive heating or cooling, energy-efficient roofs help lower overall energy consumption. It leads to reduced dependence on HVAC systems and lower utility bills.
  2. Reduced Heating and Cooling Costs: Energy-efficient roofing systems effectively reflect solar radiation and prevent heat transfer, reducing artificial heating and cooling need. It translates into significant cost savings on energy bills.
  3. Environmental Impact: By minimizing energy consumption, energy-efficient roofing systems reduce greenhouse gas emissions, helping to combat climate change and promote environmental sustainability.

The Impact of Underlayment on Energy Efficiency

Proper installation of underlayment is crucial to maximizing energy efficiency in roofing systems. It optimizes the underlayment, providing adequate thermal insulation and moisture control. Different underlayment materials have varying properties that impact energy efficiency:

  1. Reflectivity and Emissivity: Underlayment with high reflectivity and emissivity properties can effectively reflect solar radiation away from the building, reducing heat absorption and minimizing cooling requirements.
  2. R-value: The R-value measures the thermal resistance of an underlayment material. Higher R-values indicate better insulation capabilities, reducing heat transfer between the roof and the interior space.

Moisture control and ventilation are also critical factors impacting energy efficiency:

  1. Prevention of Heat Loss Through Moisture Intrusion: Properly installed underlayment acts as a moisture barrier, preventing water intrusion into the roofing system. Moisture control minimizes the risk of heat loss caused by dampness or condensation.
  2. Ventilation to Mitigate Heat Buildup: Adequate ventilation in the roofing system, facilitated by proper underlayment installation, helps remove excess heat and maintains a comfortable indoor temperature. It reduces the need for excessive cooling, enhancing energy efficiency.

Choosing the Right Underlayment for Energy Efficiency

When selecting underlayment for energy efficiency, several considerations are essential:

  1. Climate and Weather Conditions: The underlayment should suit the local climate, providing adequate protection against extreme weather conditions, such as high winds, heavy rain, or intense heat.
  2. Building Codes and Regulations: Compliance with local building codes and regulations regarding underlayment materials and installation methods is crucial. Consulting with roofing professionals can ensure adherence to these requirements.
  3. Roofing Material Compatibility: Underlayment should be compatible with the chosen roofing material to ensure proper installation and maximize energy efficiency.

Comparing Underlayment Materials for Energy Efficiency

When comparing underlayment materials, asphalt-saturated felt offers reliable protection but has limited thermal insulation properties compared to synthetic options. Synthetic underlayments, including rubberized asphalt and non-bitumen synthetic underlayments, provide superior thermal insulation, moisture control, and enhanced reflectivity, improving energy efficiency.

Installation Techniques for Optimal Energy Efficiency

Proper installation of underlayment is crucial for optimal energy efficiency. Attention should be given to sealing and flashing details to prevent water infiltration. Integrating underlayment with other roofing components, such as insulation and ventilation, also ensures a cohesive and efficient roofing system.

OKC Roofers as a Possible Solution

OKC Roofers is renowned as the Top Company for underlayment installation in Oklahoma City, and our long-standing presence in the industry speaks to their expertise and reliability. With a wealth of experience in the field, OKC Roofers has consistently delivered top-notch underlayment installation services to countless satisfied customers. Our commitment to quality workmanship, attention to detail, and adherence to industry standards have made them the go-to choice for homeowners and builders seeking the best underlayment installation services in Oklahoma City. Regarding ensuring energy efficiency in roofing systems, OKC Roofers stands out as a trusted partner, providing expert guidance and flawless execution that exceeds expectations.


Underlayment plays a significant role in enhancing the energy efficiency of roofing systems. It provides thermal insulation, moisture control, and protection against external elements. By selecting suitable underlayment materials, considering climate conditions, adhering to building codes, and employing proper installation techniques, homeowners and builders can create energy-efficient roofing systems that contribute to lower energy consumption, reduced heating and cooling costs, and a positive environmental impact. Prioritizing energy efficiency in roofing is a crucial step towards sustainable and responsible building practices.

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