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5 Problems With Peel and Stick Roofing Underlayment

Posted on June 22, 2024

peel and stick roofing problems

Roof underlayments play a major role in a roofing system. They act as a protective barrier between the roofing materials and the roof deck, helping keep the roof waterproof and protecting the home from rain, wind, and snow. 

Though several types of roofing underlayments are available, one that has made rapid strides is the peel and stick roof underlayment. This modern roofing material has gained popularity due to its ease of installation and enhanced protective qualities. However, we have seen some issues with it over the years, and if you are installing this underlayment, you should know about it. 

At Prestige Roofing, we aim to provide homeowners with reliable, high-quality roof replacement services and related insights. We will explore five major peel and stick roofing problems in this blog post. 

Peel and Stick Roofing Underlayment
Peel and Stick Roofing Underlayment Source :

#1 It Traps Moisture If Not Installed Properly

Peel and stick underlayments are known for their water resistance. However, they can trap moisture if not installed correctly, leading to major roofing problems like leakage. This is one of the most common peel and stick roofing problems. 

During installation, the peel and stick roofing underlayment must be laid down smoothly, without any wrinkles, gaps, or tears. Even the tiniest hole or crease can create a pathway for water to seep through. This trapped moisture can then get absorbed into the roof deck, insulation, and even the walls inside your home. 

To prevent this, ensure the deck surface is cleaned and has no debris or dust. It’s also important to overlap the peel and stick roofing underlayment properly and seal all seams and edges to create a waterproof barrier. If not sealed correctly, moisture can penetrate through these gaps and become trapped underneath.

#2 They Are Only Compatible with Certain Roofing Materials

Peel and stick roof underlayments are only compatible with some roofing materials. They can be problematic with textured or uneven materials or ones that expand or contract over time. If the roofing material has a very rough texture or bumps, there might be better options than peel and stick roof underlayment. Some roofs, like metal roofs, might expand or contract over time, causing tears to your underlayments.

To prevent this issue, always check the manufacturer’s guidelines. These guidelines will help you decide whether to choose a peel and stick roof underlayment for your roofing system. 

#3 Peel And Stick Underlayment Is Difficult To Remove At The Time Of Roof Replacement

While the strong adhesive of peel and stick roofing underlayment is beneficial for initial installation, it can pose significant challenges when removal is necessary for repairs or replacements. 

During removal, the adhesive may pull up parts of the roof deck or leave behind residue that is difficult to clean. This can damage the decking material, necessitating additional repairs and increasing the overall cost and time of the project.

When it’s time to replace your peel and stick roof underlayment, there’s an easy solution: don’t remove the old material. Just add a new layer right on top of the existing underlayment. This will cover any holes or worn areas in the old layer. Make sure to install the new layer well, sealing up all holes or gaps so no moisture can get through. It’s a quick and simple way to refresh your underlayment without a total tear-off. 

However, if removing the existing peeling and sticking underlayment layer is mandatory, hire a professional to ensure the roof deck is not damaged. 

#4 Higher Cost Compared to Traditional Underlayment

While peel and stick roof underlayments offer several advantages, their higher cost compared to traditional underlayment options can be a significant drawback for many homeowners and builders. The average cost of each peel and stick roll is around $150, which is slightly higher than the traditional underlayment options. 

Many homeowners think that peel and stick underlayments will cut down their labor costs, but as we’ve already mentioned, even a minor installation mistake can lead to other potential problems. So, while it may take less time to install, the attention to detail required adds time to the process. 

If you are working on a tight budget, you can choose other, more affordable options than peel and stick roof underlayments. Consider your contractor’s advice, as sometimes better options can cost you a little more, but the long-term performance and other benefits will justify their cost. 

#5 They Are Sensitive To Fluctuating Temperatures

Peel and stick roof underlayments are susceptible to damage from extreme temperatures due to the nature of their adhesive backing. In cold weather, the adhesive may stiffen and lose its ability to bond effectively with the roof deck, potentially leading to gaps and leaks. On the other hand, harsh heat can cause the adhesive to soften and become overly pliable, compromising its waterproof seal and allowing moisture to seep through. 

This sensitivity to temperature fluctuations highlights the importance of selecting a peel and stick underlayment that is rated for the specific climate conditions in your region. Opting for a product designed to withstand both extreme cold and heat will ensure optimal performance and protection for your roof.

Peel and Stick Roof Underlayment vs. Other Roof Underlayment Options 

Peel and Stick Roof Underlayment, 
Synthetic Roof Underlayment, 
Traditional Roof Underlayment
Source :
Peel and Stick Roof UnderlaymentSynthetic Roof UnderlaymentTraditional Roof Underlayment
Peel and stick roofing underlayment is made from rubberized polymer blends. These are also known as ice and water shield underlayments.Synthetic roof underlayment is made with woven or spun plastics, such as polyethylene or polypropylene.Asphalt felt underlayment, also known as traditional roof underlayment, is made of organic paper or mats saturated with asphalt.
More expensive, averaging around $0.40 to $1 per sq. ft.It’s cheaper than peel and stick, averaging around $0.17 – $0.55 per sq. ft.Least expensive, averaging around $0.05 to $0.50 per sq. ft.
Lifespan: 25-40 years.Lifespan: 25-50 years.Lifespan: 12-20 years.
Superior water resistance can create a completely waterproof barrier.It offers superior water resistance and protection.It provides moisture resistance but can wrinkle if wet during installation.
Adhesive backing eliminates the need for nails, reducing labor and installation time.Requires specific nails, not staples.Easy to install with staples.
Average tear resistance compared to the traditional felt underlayment.High tear strength, withstands harsh weather conditions.Lower tear resistance strength than the other two underlayment types. 

Why Is It Important To Choose The Right Roof Replacement Contractor?

A roof replacement is a valuable investment in your home, and choosing a reliable partner who can understand and meet your specific roof-related requirements is really important. This means finding a contractor who is not only experienced but also committed to providing high-quality materials and workmanship. Taking the time to research and select the right partner can ensure a successful roof replacement project that will protect your home for years to come. If you are looking for a partner who can replace your roof in Northeastern Wisconsin and the surrounding areas, we are here to assist you. At Prestige Roofing, we have an entire team of expert roofers who will pour their skills into your project. Our professionals will advise you throughout the planning process and help you choose the best underlayment and materials for your needs. For a free consultation, call us today at (920) 791-0414.