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Andy Johnson Owner of White Leaf Roofing - roofing contractor in Chandler, AZ

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Discover the Best Underlayment for Tile Roof in Arizona: A Durable Choice for Desert Climates

Best Underlayment for Tile Roof in Arizona

In Arizona’s relentless heat and monsoon rains, the right underlayment for your tile roof is crucial. This guide compares felt, synthetic, and self-adhering underlayments, trimming the fluff to directly help you find the best underlayment for tile roof in Arizona, ensuring the most durable and cost-effective option for your roofing needs.

Key Takeaways

  • The extreme weather of Arizona necessitates a durable and strong tile roof underlayment, acting as a critical barrier against monsoon winds, temperature fluctuations, and water intrusion.

  • Tile roofs are prevalent in Arizona due to their aesthetic appeal, longevity, and ability to withstand harsh climates, with options such as felt, synthetic, and self-adhering underlayments available for different needs and budgets.

  • Regular inspections of roof underlayment are recommended every three to five years, and the selection of a quality roofing company is essential for proper installation and long-term roof performance.

Understanding Arizona’s Unique Climate and Roofing Needs

Imagine the roof of your Arizona home as a warrior’s armor, the first line of defense against an unrelenting sun and violent weather. The tile underlayment, hidden beneath the ornamental tile, serves as a critical barrier, safeguarding your home from water intrusion with its watertight properties. It’s not just any armor, though; it must withstand the fury of monsoon winds and scorching temperatures that would test even the stoutest shield.

The relentless Arizona weather demands an underlayment that’s more than just a barrier. It must be a bastion – strong, durable, and resolute in the face of the elements. Your home’s roof underlayment is not just a layer; it’s a sentinel, standing vigil over the comfort and safety of your family.

Understanding these requirements is paramount. Without the right underlayment, even the most robust tile roof could succumb to the harsh climate, leading to costly roof replacements and the potential for water damage within your cherished home. It’s a silent guardian that, although unseen, is indispensable in the fight against Arizona’s extreme weather.

Tile Roofs: The Popular Choice in Arizona


Clay Roof TilesConsider the iconic silhouette of an Arizona neighborhood: rows of homes crowned with elegant tile roofs and durable metal roofs, reflecting the vibrant hues of the desert landscape. There’s a reason these roofs are ubiquitous across the state. With a lifespan that can stretch across decades, they are built to endure the extreme weather that characterizes the Arizona sky.

These majestic tile roofs do more than just resist the elements; they defy them. Crafted to stand up to wind, heat, and the ravages of time, tiles are impervious to rot and insects, attributes that are non-negotiable in the harsh Arizona climate. And when the mercury soars above 100°F, you’ll be thankful for the superior heat resistance that tiles provide, keeping your home cooler and more comfortable in hotter regions, as well as providing durability in colder climates.

But the allure of tile roofs isn’t solely functional. Their aesthetic appeal is as much a draw as their durability. A tile roof offers the following benefits:

  • Complements the desert landscape in a way that is both timeless and striking

  • Enhances your home’s curb appeal

  • Potentially increases your home’s value

  • Makes a style statement that speaks to both the heart and the mind

  • Marries practicality with the distinctive beauty of the Southwestern architectural vernacular.

Types of Underlayment for Tile Roofs


pulled tiles on a roof repair showing the underlaymentThe quest for the perfect underlayment for your tile roof leads to a crossroads with three distinct paths: felt (SBS-modified bitumen), synthetic, and self-adhering underlayments. Each offers its own merits and considerations.

  1. Felt underlayment, steeped in tradition and favored for its straightforward installation, can be a familiar choice for many.

  2. Synthetic underlayment has emerged as a modern contender, boasting superior wind resistance and lighter weight, making it particularly suited to Arizona’s climate.

  3. Then there’s the self-adhering underlayment, the premium choice that seals itself around fasteners to create a watertight barrier, though it comes with a higher price tag.

Consider these options carefully to determine the best underlayment for tile for your tile roof.

As we navigate through these options, it’s essential to weigh the balance between cost and performance. The right choice for your home is not just about today’s weather but about providing lasting protection for years to come.

Asphalt-Saturated Felt Underlayment: A Time-Tested Option

Asphalt-saturated felt underlayment, commonly known as felt paper or tar paper, has been the go-to roofing material choice for roofers for generations. Its blend of asphalt, cellulose, polyester, and bitumen imparts a water-resistant quality that meshes well with Arizona’s dry heat. Not only is it water-resistant, but it’s also cost-effective, making it a popular choice for homeowners who are looking for a balance between effectiveness and affordability.

But while asphalt-saturated felt is a venerable option, it’s not without its caveats. In Arizona’s intense heat, this type of underlayment may face durability concerns, potentially shortening its effective lifespan. Therefore, when opting for felt, experts recommend choosing a heavier, 40-pound grade for increased strength and resilience, with options like Eagle True 2-40 and MB Technology Layfast TU43 standing out for their quality and warranties.

Synthetic Underlayment: A Modern Alternative


Roofing Contractor in Chandler - removal of tilesIn the realm of roof underlayment, synthetic options are the new kids on the block, and they’ve quickly gained popularity. Crafted from innovative polypropylene materials like polyethylene or polypropylene, synthetic underlayment is celebrated for its enhanced tear resistance and longevity, potentially outlasting traditional asphalt-saturated felt. Its benefits include:

  • Enhanced tear resistance

  • Longevity

  • Lightweight nature

  • UV resistance

These qualities make synthetic underlayment a prime candidate for protecting your home under the relentless Arizona sun.

However, no solution is without potential drawbacks. Synthetic underlayment may struggle to effectively self-seal around nail or fastener penetrations, which could lead to vulnerabilities and leaks, especially in the face of Arizona’s heavy rainfall. So, while it may represent the best material for some, it’s crucial to consider the full spectrum of your roof’s needs when selecting an underlayment.

Self-Adhering Underlayment: A Premium Solution


Roofer-in-Gilbert-AZFor those seeking the utmost in roof protection, self-adhering roofing underlayment stands as a bastion of security. Composed of a rubberized asphalt mixture, it’s renowned for providing exceptional waterproofing and heat resistance. This type of underlayment can significantly extend the lifespan of your roofing system, withstanding the rigors of Arizona’s monsoon seasons and intense heat for up to 25-35 years.

The installation process of self-adhering underlayment is as innovative as its composition. With its self-adhesive property, this underlayment requires no nailing, reducing labor costs and the risk of accidental punctures that could compromise its integrity. It’s a green choice too, with fewer harmful chemicals and potentially recyclable materials, highlighting its environmental consciousness.

Despite these advantages, self-adhering underlayment comes at a premium price. However, the long-term durability and waterproof seal it offers, acting as a waterproofing agent, can prove cost-effective over time, particularly when you factor in the protection it provides against issues common in Arizona’s climate.

Comparing Costs and Lifespan of Underlayment Options

When it comes to underlayment, the adage “you get what you pay for” often holds true. There are different types of underlayment available, each with its own benefits and lifespan:

  1. Felt underlayment: This is the most economical option upfront, typically lasting 12 to 20 years, and potentially up to 30 if installed correctly.

  2. Synthetic underlayment: While costing a bit more per square foot, synthetic underlayment promises a longer lifespan and increased durability.

  3. SBS rubber modified bitumen underlayment: This is at the higher end of the scale in terms of cost, but it may offer substantial long-term savings due to its extended durability.

Consider your budget and the specific needs of your roofing project when choosing the right underlayment for you.

However, it’s not just the material costs to consider. Felt underlayment can bring additional installation expenses due to its heavier nature and the labor intensity required for handling and fitting. Therefore, when comparing options, it’s wise to factor in not only the purchase price but also the potential long-term savings and effectiveness of the underlayment in safeguarding your home.

Expert Recommendations for Arizona Tile Roofs

Roofing experts in Arizona often emphasize the importance of choosing an underlayment that can endure the state’s notorious heat. A high-quality underlayment, resistant to higher temperatures, is vital for durability and preventing damage in extreme conditions. The longevity of your tile roof can be significantly influenced by the quality of the underlayment; thus, it’s essential to select an underlayment that equals or surpasses the tiles’ quality for maximum protection.

Regular inspection is also key. Roofing professionals recommend that underlayments on Arizona roofs be checked every three to five years to ensure they remain in good condition and to address any issues proactively.

Ultimately, for a tile roof in Arizona, experts suggest opting for an underlayment that comes with a 30-year warranty, providing peace of mind and certainty in the long-term performance of your roof.

Common Signs Your Tile Roof Underlayment Needs Replacement

Even the most robust tile roofs are not immortal, and the underlayment is typically the first component to show signs of wear. While underlayment should be replaced every 12-20 years, factors like weather exposure can shorten its lifespan. Inside your home, signs such as water damage, water stains, or leaks can indicate that the underlayment is failing. Externally, missing or damaged tiles and deterioration of soffits, fascia, or gutters can all be red flags pointing to potential underlayment issues.

Staying vigilant with regular inspections, particularly after severe weather events, can help you catch these signs early. By doing so, you can undertake necessary repairs or replacement before minor issues escalate into major, costly problems.

Choosing the Right Roofing Company for Underlayment Installation

Embarking on a roof underlayment project can be daunting, but selecting the right roofing company will make all the difference. Ensure the company you choose is fully licensed and insured, which not only attests to its legitimacy but also provides a safety net should anything go awry. Investigate the company’s reputation through reviews and testimonials, as these are valuable indicators of service quality and reliability.

A comprehensive service range is another hallmark of reputable roofing companies. Look for providers offering:

  • Inspection

  • Repair

  • Roof replacement

  • Installation services with strong customer service and clear communication. Additionally, comprehensive warranties and dependable after-sales support reflect a company’s commitment to customer satisfaction and its readiness to address potential future issues.

Lastly, a transparent pricing structure and a clear project timeline are essential to avoid unexpected delays and expenses.


Selecting the right underlayment for your tile roof in Arizona is a critical decision that affects your home’s protection and comfort. From the cost-effective asphalt-saturated felt to the innovative synthetic and premium self-adhering options, there’s a solution to fit every need and budget. Remember, the best underlayment is one that can withstand the unique challenges of Arizona’s extreme climate, ensuring that your home remains a safe haven for years to come. Embrace the expertise, heed the warning signs, and choose wisely, for your peace of mind is built, layer by layer, starting from the top down.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most economical underlayment option for Arizona tile roofs?

The most economical underlayment option for Arizona tile roofs is asphalt-saturated felt underlayment, providing affordability and effectiveness with a potential lifespan of up to 30 years if installed properly.

How often should I inspect my roof underlayment in Arizona?

You should inspect your roof underlayment in Arizona every three to five years to ensure it remains in good condition and address any issues proactively.

Can synthetic underlayment self-seal around fasteners to prevent leaks?

No, synthetic underlayment does not effectively self-seal around fasteners to prevent leaks, unlike self-adhering underlayments which provide better protection.

What should I look for in a roofing company when replacing my underlayment?

When replacing your underlayment, look for a fully licensed and insured roofing company with a strong reputation, comprehensive services, clear communication, warranties, and transparent pricing. Choose a company that meets these criteria to ensure a reliable and satisfactory experience.

Are there any environmental benefits to choosing self-adhering underlayment?

Choosing self-adhering underlayment offers environmental benefits, such as fewer harmful chemicals, lower emissions, and potentially recyclable materials.