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Trends in Roofing Underlayment

Over the last 10-15 years, the roofing underlayment market has undergone a major shift from traditional asphalt felts to synthetic underlayments. In the early 2000s, there were a handful of synthetic underlayment products all trying to wrestle a sliver of the market away from asphalt felts. Today, there is an endless array of synthetic underlayment brands available, with more coming every day. This exponential growth can be attributed to the increasing number of contractors who value the enhanced features and performance of synthetic underlayments. In addition to features, pricing is a major driver as the gap between synthetics and felt continues to shrink, helping to loosen felt’s grip on the market.

One of the most important features of today’s synthetic underlayments is enhanced walkability in both wet and dry conditions. In fact, a 2014 GAF survey of Master Elite® Contractors found that the most valued installation attribute of an underlayment by far is walkability/safety, followed by strength/tear-resistance. Typically made of polypropylene, synthetic underlayments are virtually untearable and do not absorb moisture. This helps to avoid wrinkling and telegraphing, which can take away from the finished look of the roof. These features are all major factors for the migration away from felt and toward synthetics.

GAF has been a leader in the synthetic underlayment market, beginning first in 2006 with Deck-Armor™ Premium Breathable Roof Deck Protection, with its unique breathable technology, and later in 2011 with Tiger Paw™ Roof Deck Protection, one of the most popular synthetic products on the market. Now, in order to provide a superior, cost-competitive option for contractors who still haven’t made the switch from asphalt felts, GAF has launched FeltBuster® High-Traction Synthetic Roofing Felt, now available everywhere.

This lightweight, 10-square, 48″-wide roll is designed for use with asphalt shingles. FeltBuster® High-Traction Roofing Felt combines tough synthetic construction with a special spunbound walking surface. This surface helps provide increased traction compared to typical asphalt felts. Its medium-gray surface is cooler to work on than either traditional black felts or the leading low-cost synthetic felt replacement (which is also black). As with all of GAF’s underlayments, FeltBuster® High-Traction Roofing Felt is part of the GAF Lifetime Roofing System and is covered by a Lifetime* ltd. warranty when installed as part of that system.

So, GAF’s lineup of synthetic underlayments now includes FeltBuster® (good), Tiger Paw™ (better), and Deck-Armor™ (best).

Learn more about GAF’s new FeltBuster® High-Traction Synthetic Roofing Felt

*See GAF Shingle & Accessory Ltd. Warranty for complete coverage and restrictions. The word “Lifetime” means as long as the original individual owner(s) of a single-family detached residence [or the second owner(s) in certain circumstances] owns the property where the shingles and accessories are installed. For owners/structures not meeting the above criteria, Lifetime coverage is not applicable. Lifetime ltd. warranty on accessories requires the use of at least three qualifying GAF accessories and the use of Lifetime Shingles.


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