Best Synthetic Roofing Underlayment Options

CertainTeed's WinterGuard on all roofs.

Archer Roofing installs CertainTeed's WinterGuard on all the vulnerable areas of a roof.

When it comes to roofing underlayment for your home there are ONLY a few choices.

Having met many homeowners who were confused about choosing roofing underlayment options for their homes, I’ve outlined the differences between synthetic and felt roofing underlays in my previous article. Having worked with a considerable amount of products in the roofing industry, my recommendation for clients is to choose a synthetic roofing underlayment for their roof.

DiamondDeck synthetic roofing underlayment by CertainTeed.

Archer Roofing installing shingles over a DiamondDeck underlayment on a Toronto home.

That’s what my roof has and I chose a synthetic underlayment because it has superior waterproofing protection and higher overall performance.

Below, I will outline the leading synthetic roofing underlayment options and products that Archer Roofing contractors install for homeowners:

DiamondDeck by CertainTeed

This is a lightweight synthetic, scrim-reinforced, water-resistant underlayment that can be used beneath shingle, shake, metal or slate roofing. It has exceptional stability and tear-resistance when compared to standard felt roofing underlayment and its special top surface provides excellent slip resistance, even when wet.

It has the best-in-class performance in terms of both weather protection and contractor safety and that is why DiamonDeck is Archer Roofing’s preferred roofing underlayment of choice.

WinterGuard by CertainTeed

WinterGuard roofing underlayment.

Archer Roofing installs CertainTeed’s WinterGuard roofing underlayment on all the vulnerable areas of a roof.

WinterGuard is what’s called an “ice and water shield specialty underlayment”. It is a more expensive waterproof shingle underlayment that prevents leaks from wind-driven rain and ice dams in vulnerable areas.

WinterGuard is made up of a composite material of asphalt polymers, formed into a rolled sheet. The asphalt provides the waterproofing. The polymers make the asphalt elastic and sticky, which ensures its ability to stretch and cling. This means that WinterGuard doesn’t rip when stressed, and seals around nails driven through it. It sticks to a roof deck like glue and it won’t dry out during its warranted lifetime.

The result is a waterproof barrier beneath your shingle system, which pooled water and driven rain cannot penetrate.

Archer Roofing installs CertainTeed’s WinterGuard on low-slope roofs, in valleys, eaves, and around flashings to protect our client’s roofs.

RhinoRoof by InterWrap

This synthetic roofing underlayment is affordable due to it being priced competitively with standard 15lb felt alternatives.

WinterGuard and Rhino Roofing underlayment.

WinterGuard and Rhino Roofing underlayment being installed by Archer Roofing.

RhinoRoof can be used in extremely low temperatures without becoming stiff and difficult to unroll. It also does not dry out, crack, or leach oils in the heat like felt.

RhinoRoof will not absorb water, either: it lays flat and will remain 100% impervious to mold.

Another consideration is its fiber-grip and slip-resistant walking surface, which makes it easy to work with and contributes to roofing contractor safety.

Deck Armor by GAF

This breathable synthetic roofing underlayment helps to protect your home while reducing trapped moisture at the same time, which is a good fit for newer, airtight homes.

Deck Armor’s state of the art technology helps prevent water from infiltrating under your shingles and causing damage to your roof structure while reducing trapped moisture from inside your attic, allowing it to escape. One downside is that it cannot be left exposed as long as the alternative synthetics and it is not as water-resistant.

Regardless of which underlayment option you choose, make sure that your roofing company is in fact installing it!

GAF Deck Armor breathable roofing synthetic.

GAF Deck Armor is a breathable synthetic roofing underlayment that prolongs the life of a roof.

Having torn off enough roofs in Toronto, I’ve come across many homes where no underlayment has been installed at all.

In fact, the roof we just ripped off recently had no underlayment paper, with shingles being nailed right into the plywood.

This explained the numerous leaks the client was experiencing in the home, since the integrity of the roofing system was compromised from the very beginning. Unbeknownst to the client, the previous roofer did not put down this protective layer due to the time, energy and money being saved.

Such dishonesty is rampant in an unregulated industry where the “bottom line” can be (and usually is) the determining factor in a client’s choice for a roofing company.

At Archer Roofing, we value our honest reputation and strive to ensure our client’s satisfaction for the long run, which is why we only install superior products like synthetic underlayments from reputable companies.

In fact, we will not install felt or tar paper on a project due to the company roofing warranty that we offer.

You can trust us with your home. Feel free to call us for a free inspection and we’ll give you an honest and professional assessment of what your roof might be needing.