Synthetic Underlayment vs. Tar Paper: Unveiling the Best Roofing Protection for Bergen County Climate

Jul 22, 2023Roofing, Uncategorized

When it comes to roofing underlayment, two primary contenders vie for the top spot: synthetic underlayment and traditional tar paper. Both serve as a crucial layer of protection between your roofing materials and the elements. In this blog post, we’ll explore the differences between these underlayment options and break down the pros and cons of each, focusing on their performance in the unique climate of Bergen County, NJ.

Synthetic Underlayment:

Synthetic underlayment is a relatively newer roofing technology that has gained popularity for its enhanced performance and durability. It is typically made from polypropylene, polyester, or a blend of both materials. Here are its key characteristics:

– Superior Water Resistance: Synthetic underlayment offers exceptional water resistance, preventing moisture from seeping into the roofing structure even during heavy rain or snowfall.
– Lightweight: This underlayment is lighter compared to traditional tar paper, making it easier to handle and install.
– Tear-Resistant: Synthetic underlayment’s tear-resistant properties provide added protection during installation and adverse weather conditions.
– UV Resistant: It offers excellent UV resistance, preventing premature degradation and ensuring longevity.

– Cost: Synthetic underlayment can be more expensive than traditional tar paper, though the added benefits may outweigh the upfront cost.
– Slippery: In certain weather conditions, synthetic underlayment can be slippery, making it essential to take necessary safety precautions during installation.

Tar Paper (Asphalt-Saturated Felt):

Tar paper, also known as asphalt-saturated felt, has been a long-standing choice for roofing underlayment. It is composed of organic or fiberglass material and coated with asphalt.

– Cost-Effective: Tar paper is typically more affordable than synthetic underlayment, making it a budget-friendly option.
– Established Track Record: With decades of use, tar paper has proven its reliability as a standard underlayment material.
– Familiarity: Many roofing contractors are experienced in working with tar paper, simplifying the installation process.

– Limited Lifespan: Tar paper’s lifespan may be shorter compared to synthetic underlayment, making it more susceptible to wear and tear over time.
– Absorption of Moisture: Although it provides some level of water resistance, tar paper can absorb moisture, potentially leading to rot and mold in certain conditions.
– Heavier: Tar paper is heavier than synthetic underlayment, which could make transportation and installation slightly more challenging.

Best Choice for Bergen County Climate:

In the Bergen County climate, which experiences a mix of hot summers, cold winters, and occasional storms, synthetic underlayment often emerges as the preferred choice. Its superior water resistance and UV resistance make it well-suited to withstand the region’s diverse weather patterns.


Selecting the right roofing underlayment is crucial to ensuring the long-term protection and durability of your roof. While both synthetic underlayment and tar paper have their merits, synthetic underlayment’s enhanced performance and longevity make it a compelling choice, especially in Bergen County’s challenging climate.

Before making a final decision, consult with a reputable roofing professional to assess your specific roofing needs and determine the best underlayment option for your project. Investing in the right underlayment will provide peace of mind, knowing that your roof is fortified against the elements for years to come.