How Roofing Materials Work

Roofing Underlayment Materials

With all the seams in a roof -- especially with traditional shingles -- there has to be a layer of protection between the roofing materials and your house. That's where roofing underlayment materials come into play.

It used to be that an asphalt-saturated building paper acted as a weather barrier between roofing materials and the roof [source: Toolbase]. Today, there are many options for roofing underlayment materials -- rubberized asphalt to organic, fiberglass to synthetic. The right underlayment for your roof will keep moisture, cold weather and stifling summer air out, giving your roof a longer life. Many have anti-slip technology to protect the people who install the roof, and they can be exposed for up to six months while the roof gets built. If going green is on your agenda, you can choose from organic underlayments, as well as synthetic ones that can help your home become Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified [source: 4Specs].

Whatever is most important to you, roofing materials can provide a variety of options to suit your needs, from organic underlayment materials to classy copper roofs. Who knew a roof could have so much personality? For more information, visit the links below.

Related HowStuffWorks Articles


  • 4Specs. "Roof Underlayment Materials." (Accessed 12/16/08)
  • Morelli, Carlo. "Learn How to Install Metal Roofing." E-zine Articles. (Accessed 12/16/08)
  • New England Metal Roof. "Metal Roofing Contractors." (Accessed 12/16/08)
  • Toolbase. "Synthetic Roof Underlayment." (Accessed 12/16/08)
  • Vandervort, Don. "Metal Roofing Buying Guide." Home Tips. (Accessed 12/16/08)