IN DEPTH: Roofing Systems

New Ventilation Options

Ventilation options are growing to meet a wider range of needs as its importance becomes more apparent. “Ventilation manufacturers are impressing upon roofers the importance of ensuring there is enough ventilation in the roof system,” PrimeSource’s Spyhalski says. “Some aren’t aware of the need for both intake and exhaust systems.”

“We’re seeing more use of externally baffled systems,” Obdyke’s Murray says. These protected units ensure moisture can’t penetrate the openings. But other types are popular too. “During renovations, some homeowners switch to ridge vents, so that design is growing overall versus turbines or roof pots. There are still a lot of markets that favor roof pots, but the trend is turning to ridge vents because they’re more unobtrusive and aesthetic.”

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Upgrading Underlayment

More contractors are turning to highergrade synthetic underlayments to provide more and longer protection, both during construction and in the event of a natural disaster. “In the past, contractors mostly used OSB and felt paper,” Huber’s Flotkoetter says. “Now, many are going beyond that to acquire more benefits because the underlayments are better. And they’re asking how it interacts with other products. They’re thinking through the combination of products they’re using.”

Synthetics offer key benefits, PrimeSource’s Spyhalski says. “Contractors are looking for non-skid resistance for safety reasons. Synthetics also are gaining market share due to their light weight. There are more squares on a roll, so the project can go faster. The prices also are dropping on synthetics, making them closer in cost to felt paper. They are becoming more competitive.” Safety has become a major concern as OSHA tightens requirements for fall protection, which impacts any roofing project (see right sidebar).

Homes in the West and Southwest that have tile roofs installed often use highergrade underlayments, DuPont’s Hubbell says. “The tile finish materials are delivered to the rooftop to allow installers to place the tiles easily. That creates broken pieces, grit and dirt on the roof, which can pose problems. Having underlayment already laid provides protection.”

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