IN DEPTH: Roofing Systems

Self-adhered underlayments also are gaining popularity. “Self-adhered underlayments are quickly becoming the norm, as opposed to being an option,” MFM’s Reis says. “They offer complete protection to the structure from wind driven rain, ice dams and condensation.” In those cases, he points out, ventilation options are critical. “Contractors need to ensure proper roof ventilation because self-adhered underlayments act as an air barrier.”

Some self-adhered underlayments offer a split-release liner, so half of the layer can be applied without worrying about the other half sticking in the wrong place, Reis adds. “It allows for a much faster and easier installation, especially in valley applications. Eliminating potential gaps and wrinkling helps ensure a watertight seal to the roof substrate.”

Sheathing Gains Share

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Radiant-barrier sheathing also is gaining market share in the South. “Awareness is growing in all of the Sunbelt states, but some use it more extensively than others,” LP Building Products’ Bittles says. Some parts of California require it, and an estimated 80% of homes in Texas use it, she says. “The Southeast has lower awareness overall, but it’s steadily increasing. There’s still a lot of work to do to educate consumers and builders about the benefits.”

“The trend is growing to have an energy- efficient roof system, and radiant barrier sheathing is a part of that,” Weyerhaeuser’s Scott adds. “It’s an easy way to boost efficiency for the roof, especially in the South. It’s been around about 20 years, but awareness has grown. Helping its growth has been that the price point has dropped by about half. That means it doesn’t add a lot of money to the project to get a very efficient finished product. Some of the new demand is due to contractor preferences and codes, but it’s becoming more commonplace overall.”

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