What's the right way to fasten roofing underlayment?
I live in Boston and am having my asphalt roof shingles replaced. I've been trying to decide which underlayment to use. The contractor wants to use Roofers Select and I'm looking at synthetics. Are cap nailers, cap staplers and cap fasteners required to put these underlayments on right? Can regular staples be used? -- Lincoln, Mass.
Roofer's Select is an industry-standard felt underlayment manufactured by the CertainTeed Corporation of Valley Forge, Penn. Roofer's Select felt attaches to the roof sheathing and provides a waterproof membrane underneath many different types of roofing materials, including shingles, shakes, metal or slate roofing.
There are two types of Roofer's Select felt underlayment: No. 15 standard, single underlayment and No. 30 heavy-duty, shingle underlayment. The heavier-duty felt is reinforced with fiberglass fibers. Both products are resistant to wrinkling and tearing.
There are several different types of synthetic roofing underlayments, such as DuPont's RoofLiner, a product made from a blend of copolymer plastics. This product claims greater longevity and better resistance to tearing and water penetration than asphalt-saturated felt. When installed by a roofing contractor, RooflLiner comes with a 30-year limited warranty.
Deciding which underlayment is best to use often comes down to personal preference. For low-slope roofs, a waterproof membrane like CertainTeed's Winterguard or DuPont's RoofLiner is often needed for maximum protection and the best warranty. Asphalt-saturated felt will generally not be considered an acceptable alternative, according to the CertainTeed Shingle Applicator's Manual.
The CertainTeed Corporation says using cap nails -- not staples -- is the preferred method for correctly attaching roofing underlayments. Cap nails provide better resistance against having the underlayment tear out of place if the roof is left exposed for any length of time, particularly in an area with high wind. Cap nails and cap fasteners are small ring-shank nails with an enlarged nail head that provides greater "grip" on the felt underlayment than regular staples.
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